Archive for January, 2009

January 24, 2009

alexander_ioan_cuza

In 1848, known as the year of European revolutions, Moldavia and Wallachia fell into revolt. The Moldavian unrest was quickly suppressed, but in Wallachia the revolutionaries took power and governed during the summer (see 1848 Wallachian revolution). Young Cuza played a prominent enough part to establish his liberal credentials during the Moldavian episode and to be shipped to Vienna as a prisoner, where he soon made his escape with British support.

Returned during the rule of Prince Grigore Alexandru Ghica, he became Moldavia’s minister of war in 1858, and represented Galaţi in the ad hoc Divan at Iaşi, acting under the guarantee of the European Powers in the wake of the Crimean War to nominate a prince for Moldavia. Cuza was a prominent speaker in the debates and strongly advocated the union of Moldavia and Walachia. In default of a foreign prince, he was himself nominated in both countries by the pro-unionist Partida Naţională (profiting from an ambiguity in the text of the governing Treaty of Paris) and elected prince of Moldavia on January 17, 1859 (January 5, Julian) and, after street pressure changed the vote in Bucharest, of Wallachia on February 5, 1859 (January 24, Julian).

Thus Cuza achieved a de facto union of the two principalites. The Powers backtracked, Napoleon III of the French Empire remaining supportive, while the Austrian ministry withheld approval of such a union at the Congress of Paris (October 18, 1858); partly as a consequence, Cuza’s authority was not recognized by his nominal suzerain, Abdulaziz, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, until December 23, 1861, (and, even then, the union was only accepted for the duration of Cuza’s rule).

The union was formally declared three years later, on February 5, 1862, (January 24, Julian), the new country bearing the name of Romania, with Bucharest as its capital city.

Cuza invested his diplomatic actions in gaining further concessions from the Powers: the sultan’s assent to a single unified parliament and cabinet for Cuza’s lifetime, in recognition of the complexity of the task. Thus, he was regarded as the political embodiment of a unified Romania

Assisted by his councilor Mihail Kogălniceanu, an intellectual leader of the 1848 revolution, Cuza initiated a series of reforms that contributed to the modernization of Romanian society and of state structures.

His first measure addressed a need for increasing the land resources and revenues available to the state, by “secularizing” (confiscating) monastic assets (1863). Probably more than a quarter of Romania’s farmland was controlled by untaxed Eastern OrthodoxDedicated Monasteries”, which supported Greek and other foreign monks in shrines such as Mount Athos and Jerusalem (a substantial drain on state revenues). Cuza got his parliament’s backing to expropriate these lands. He offered compensation to the Greek Orthodox Church, but Sophronius III, the Patriarch of Constantinople, refused to negotiate; after several years, the Romanian government withdrew its offer and no compensation was ever paid. State revenues thereby increased without adding any domestic tax burden.

The land reform, liberating peasants from the last corvées, freeing their movements and redistributing some land (1864), was less successful. In attempting to create a solid support base among the peasants, Cuza soon found himself in conflict with the group of Conservatives. A liberal bill granting peasants title to the land they worked was defeated. Then the Conservatives responded with a bill that ended all peasant dues and responsibilities, but gave landlords title to all the land. Cuza vetoed it, then held a plebiscite to alter the Paris Convention (the virtual constitution), in the manner of Napoleon III.

His plan to establish universal manhood suffrage, together with the power of the Domnitor to rule by decree, passed by a vote of 682,621 to 1,307. He consequently governed the country under the provisions of Statutul dezvoltător al Convenţiei de la Paris (“Statute expanding the Paris Convention”), an organic law adopted on July 15, 1864. With his new plenary powers, Cuza then promulgated the Agrarian Law of 1863. Peasants received title to the land they worked, while landlords retained ownership of one third. Where there was not enough land available to create workable farms under this formula, state lands (from the confiscated monasteries) would be used to give the landowners compensation.

A French perspective on the situation after Cuza’s toppling, caricature by Honoré Daumier in Le Charivari (May 5, 1866). A character symbolising the Danubian Principalities, looking on as the Foreign Powers charged with overseeing him quarrel: Oh, my! It looks as if they are no longer taking care of me at all!

Despite the attempts by Lascăr Catargiu‘s cabinet to force a transition in which some corvées were to be maintained, Cuza’s reform marked the disappearance of the boyar class as a privileged group, and led to a channeling of energies into capitalism and industrialization; at the same time, however, land distributed was still below necessities, and the problem became stringent over the following decades – as peasants reduced to destitution sold off their land or found that it was insufficient for the needs of their growing families.

Cuza’s reforms also included the adoption of the Criminal Code and the Civil Code based on the Napoleonic code (1864), a Law on Education, establishing tuition-free, compulsory public education for primary schools (1864; the system, nonetheless, suffered from drastic shortages in allocated funds). He founded the University of Iaşi (1860) and the University of Bucharest (1864), and helped develop of a modern, European-style Romanian Army, under a working relationship with France.

Cuza failed in his effort to create an alliance of prosperous peasants and a strong liberal prince, ruling as a benevolent authoritarian in the style of Napoleon III. Having to rely on a decreasing group of hand-picked bureaucrats, Cuza began facing a mounting opposition after his land reform bill, with liberal landowners voicing concerns over his ability to represent their interests. Along with financial distress, there was an awkward scandal that revolved around his mistress, Maria Catargi-Obrenović, and popular discontent culminated in a coup d’état. Cuza was forced to abdicate by the so-called Monstrous Coalition of Conservatives and Liberals. At four o’clock on the morning of February 22, 1866, a group of military conspirators broke into the palace, and compelled the prince to sign his abdication. On the following day they conducted him safely across the frontier.

His successor, Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was proclaimed Domnitor as Carol I of Romania on March 26, 1866. The election of a foreign prince with ties to an important princely house, legitimizing Romanian independence (which Carol came to do after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878), had been one of the liberal aims in the revolution of 1848. Despite the participation of Ion Brătianu and other future leaders of the Liberal Party in the overthrow of Cuza, he remained a hero to the radical and republican wing, who, as Francophiles, had an additional reason to oppose a Prussian monarch; anti-Carol riots in Bucharest during the Franco-Prussian War (see History of Bucharest) and the coup attempt known as the Republic of Ploieşti in August 1870, the conflict was eventually resolved by the compromise between Brătianu and Carol, with the arrival of a prolonged and influential Liberal cabinet.

Cuza spent the remainder of his life in exile, chiefly in Paris, Vienna and Wiesbaden, accompanied by his wife, his mistress, and his two sons. He died in Heidelberg. His remains were buried in his residence in Ruginoasa, but were moved to the Trei Ierarhi Cathedral in Iaşi after World War II

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Obama: Challenges real, but ‘they will be met’

January 20, 2009

Part I

Part II

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

President Obama’s Inauguration

January 20, 2009

Obama, Bush get ready for change

www.cnn.com

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/20/obama.inauguration/index.html

Barack and Michelle Obama were at the White House on Tuesday to meet with President Bush, as hundreds of thousands gathered at the Capitol for Obama’s inauguration.

The Obamas attended a prayer service at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Tuesday morning and then headed to the nearby White House for a meeting with the outgoing president and first lady Laura Bush.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, arrived at the White House shortly before the Obamas. The Obamas, Bushes and Bidens were expected to have coffee at the before heading to the Capitol.

The 9 a.m. church service kicked off a day of events for the man who will become the nation’s 44th president at noon ET.

As many as 2 million people are expected to crowd into the area between the Capitol, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial as Obama takes the oath of office.

Gerrard Coles of Norwalk, Connecticut, had staked out a position in front of St. John’s.

“Everyone’s down here — hopefully to catch a glimpse of Barack, just for a split second,” he said. “I think this was a beautiful thing. It’s something I always wanted to do. It’s not every day that you get to be a part of history. Rather than just watch it on TV, you actually get to partake in it and you have a story to tell your kids.”

A crowd gathered at a barricade near the church was letting children and shorter onlookers move to the front of the crowd so they could get a better view.

Some spectators will be more than a mile from the swearing-in ceremony, watching on giant TV screens erected along the National Mall.

Thousands arrived before daylight Tuesday in standing-room-only trains. They carried blankets and wore Obama scarves to ward off the wind chills of minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Suburban Washington train stations were jammed. A four-story parking deck at the Springfield, Virginia, station was filled at 5 a.m. Trains rolling into the stop about 15 miles south of the Capitol had no room for the hundreds on the platform.

The Metro rail system’s Red Line was shut down about 9 a.m. after a pedestrian was hit by a train, further snarling the already overloaded train service, fire officials said.

On Monday night, visitors wandered around the Mall, snapping pictures and shooting video of the Capitol and monuments.

The scene around Lafayette Square was almost chaotic, with cars turning around in the street as they were confronted with barriers to closed-off areas and clots of pedestrians crossing streets against the light.

The visitors’ excitement rubbed off on some of the jaded locals, one of whom said D.C. residents were “cynical of government.”

“The energy on the streets is something I’ve never seen before,” said Nancy Wigal, a 45-year-old technical writer who lives in the Mount Vernon Square area. “People are walking lighter, standing taller and are reaching out to one another. It feels like hope. It feels like shared happiness.”

The morning began at 4 a.m. for many as those without tickets made a land grab on the Mall, rushing to stake out positions for the ceremony.

After Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden take their oaths of office on the western front of the Capitol, Obama will deliver his inaugural address, which Obama aides say will emphasize that America is entering a new era of responsibility.

In the approximately 20-minute speech, Obama will say America has been hurt by a “me-first” mentality that contributed to the current economic crisis, aides say, and he will call on individuals — as well as corporations and businesses — to take responsibility for their actions.

After a formal farewell to President George W. Bush and lunch with congressional leaders, Obama will head up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, where he and his family will watch the inauguration parade from a reviewing stand. The parade begins at 3:45 p.m. ET.

The new president and first lady will then close the night by attending 10 official inaugural balls.

Officials say they really don’t know how many will show up, but estimates range from 1 million to 2 million.

Organizers have said about 280,000 people can fit into the secure zones around the Capitol and roughly 300,000 into the area around the parade. A mere 28,000 seats are available on Capitol grounds.

Those with tickets to the inauguration will undergo tight screening, including passing through magnetometers, when they enter the seating area in front of the Capitol.

Spectators without tickets will be routed to the Mall, which for the first time will be open from end to end for an inauguration. Security there will be less stringent.

Jeri Pickett of Rochester, New York, was one of the few who got a ticket.

“I’d just like to see the inspiration of America,” said Pickett, when asked what he was expecting from Inauguration Day. “There’s so much warmth here now, and excitement — rejuvenation.”

Transportation officials say they will run subway trains on rush-hour schedules starting at 4 a.m. as well as extra buses. The Metro expects more than 1 million riders.

Inauguration events have already drawn record crowds. A crowd attending an inauguration concert Sunday was estimated between 300,000 and 400,000 and stretched from the Lincoln Memorial all the way to the Washington Monument, which stands at the midpoint of the Mall.

While Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said Monday there was “no credible threat” to the inauguration events, a security cordon has been put in place around the city’s core, turning much of downtown Washington into a pedestrian-only zone.

In addition to Secret Service, the security effort will involve 8,000 police officers from the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions, 10,000 National Guard troops, about 1,000 FBI personnel, and hundreds of others from the Department of Homeland Security, the National Park Service and U.S. Capitol Police.

Another 20,000 members of the National Guard are ready to respond if there is an emergency, according to outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

1/18/09 Barack Obama Lincoln Memorial Concert Speech

January 19, 2009

Obama’s Train Tour

January 18, 2009

Obama: “A bad situation could become dramatically worse”

January 8, 2009

obama

CNN : http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/08/transition.wrap/index.html

President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday said Congress must take “dramatic action” on his economic aid package as soon as possible, warning that a failure to do so would have devastating long-term consequences for the nation.

“If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The unemployment rate could reach double digits,” he said.

“For every day we wait or point fingers or drag our feet, more Americans will lose their jobs. More families will lose their savings. More dreams will be deferred and denied. And our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse,” he said.

Obama laid the groundwork for urgent action on his “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,” a plan he says will save or create more than 3 million jobs and invest in health care, energy and education, among other priorities.

Obama said his plan will immediately help jumpstart the economy by doubling the production of alternative energy within three years, improving the efficiency of federal buildings and homes, computerizing medical records, equipping schools with 21st century classrooms, expanding broadband across the country, and investing in science and new technologies.

The president-elect said the cost of his plan would be “considerable” and would “certainly add to the budget deficit in the short term.” He did not put a price tag on the stimulus package, but observers have estimated it would cost about $800 billion.

“Government at every level will have to tighten its belt, but we’ll help struggling states avoid harmful budget cuts, as long as they take responsibility and use the money to maintain essential services like police, fire, education, and health care,” he said.

The plan is expected to include tax cuts for businesses and middle-class workers, money to help states dealing with their own financial crises, and funds to build infrastructure. The earliest the stimulus plan could be signed into law would be mid-February.

As Obama tried to rally support for his massive economic package, he stayed away from specifics on how the plan would be implemented.

One of the reasons the Obama team hasn’t gotten into too much specificity yet is because they do not want to dictate to the new Congress exactly what to do, transition officials said.

Also, if they put out too many details, they know that people on Capitol Hill could start pushing back and wanting to make changes, CNN’s Ed Henry said.

“Critics — once you put out a detailed document — will start firing away at controversial provisions that might start going down, and it will look publicly as if the president-elect is losing some political clout if he has to start changing the plan dramatically,” Henry said.

“I think what they are trying to do … is to lay out broad principles here and let Congress sort of do the heavy lifting on the details of it,” he said.

Obama on Thursday addressed critics who oppose such a massive spending plan by the federal government.

“It is true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth, but at this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe,” he said.

Obama contrasted his plan with other attempts to strengthen the economy, saying that the difference is his plan “won’t just throw money at our problems — we’ll invest in what works.”

“I know the scale of this plan is unprecedented, but so is the severity of our situation. We have already tried the wait-and-see approach to our problems, and it is the same approach that helped lead us to this day of reckoning,” he said.

The president-elect said that the economic crisis was the consequence of an “era of profound irresponsibility” in which “too many Wall Street executives made imprudent and dangerous decisions, seeking profits with too little regard for risk, too little regulatory scrutiny, and too little accountability.”

He also pointed the finger of blame at politicians who “spent taxpayer money without wisdom or discipline, and too often focused on scoring political points instead of the problems they were sent here to solve. The result has been a devastating loss of trust and confidence in our economy, our financial markets, and our government.”

Despite the dire situation that he described, Obama expressed hope that the country would recover.

“We are still the nation that has overcome great fears and improbable odds. If we act with the urgency and seriousness that this moment requires, I know that we can do it again,” he said.

Obama has promised that his administration will embrace budget reform. He vowed on Tuesday to “bring a long-overdue sense of responsibility and accountability to Washington” and warned that members of Congress won’t be allowed to slip earmarks into the economic recovery package.

The president-elect met with key Democratic and Republican congressional members Monday, and leaders from both sides of the aisle were optimistic after the meeting.

Republicans, however, cautioned that they are interested in seeing significant tax cuts in the plan and expect to provide significant input into the process as well.

“This potentially $1 trillion bill would be one of the largest spending bills in U.S. history. It would increase the deficit by half a trillion dollars overnight and deepen an already enormous national debt,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said. “Before we all agree to it, the American people need to see the details.