Obama Interview With Black Enterprise

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[Presidential Interview]

In an exclusive one–on-one interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine Editor-In-Chief Derek T. Dingle, President Barack Obama discusses the importance of swift passage of the recovery package, reviews his expansive economic agenda, and details his administration’s plans to provide jobs, relief and entrepreneurial opportunities to millions of Americans. Here are excerpts:

Obama on critics who say that the economic stimulus package tries to do too much, that it’s too big:
'Keep in mind that there are other critics who say it’s too small and doesn’t do enough. But, here’s the bottom line, is that we are going to be losing about $2 trillion worth of output over the next two years if we do nothing. For us to have less than an $800 billion package means that we are going to be losing even more jobs or not saving jobs that have to be saved in order to keep this economy moving. So, to the critics I would just say talk to Democratic and Republican economists, conservative and liberal economists, from every school of economic thought, there is almost uniform consensus that not only do we need a stimulus package but it needs to be big enough to actually jolt the economy in place.'

Obama on the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA):
'I’ve committed to revamping the SBA. It’s become an afterthought agency. It has not been as focused as it needs to be on its mission which is helping small businesses grow and helping startups. We’ve got a terrific new director of the SBA who is going to be very aggressive in getting out of federal buildings and reaching out to the business community to figure out exactly what they need in terms of help. Obviously the biggest problem small businesses have right now is access to credit. And so, as part of our financial rollout, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will be talking about a series of measures working with Treasury as well as the Federal Reserve Bank, FDIC and other institutions to open up credit flows to small businesses. We’re also going to expand and hope to use some of the SBA programs that are currently in place for emergency situations and open those up so that small businesses have a place to go to keep their doors open to deal with all the problems that they’re having making payroll.'

Obama on hard-hit minority businesses gaining a portion of the economic recovery package contracts:
'Most states, if not all the states, have provisions in place to ensure minority, women and small businesses participation. We expect states to abide by their local rules. Obviously, federal rules are going to pertain as well when it comes to, for example, making federal buildings more energy efficient. Should that be part of the package, we’re going to be very clear about making sure that goals are set that ensure participation of every type of business imaginable.

Read the full interview at


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