Obama Says TARP Funds Can Go Toward Cutting Deficit, Creating Jobs

ABC News’ Karen Travers and Sunlen Miller report:

President Obama said today that while the federal bailout program for financial institutions turned out to be “much cheaper than we expected,” it is still “not cheap and he suggested that some of the savings could be put toward programs to stimulate job creation.

The Obama administration anticipates that the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will cost taxpayers $200 billion less than the $341 billion estimate that it projected in August.

Obama today that some of the repaid money and cost savings from the $700 bill TARP funds could be “devoted to deficit reduction” or put toward small businesses to stimulate job growth.

“It means that some of that money devoted, can be devoted to deficit reduction and the question is, are there selective approaches that are consistent with the original goals of TARP,” Obama said after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Those “selective approaches” could be focused on job creation, but the president did not answer a question on whether he supported using the bailout money specifically to fund job creation programs,

Obama said he will address ways to stimulate growth in his economic speech in Washington tomorrow.

“The fact that having gotten the financial crisis under control, having finally moved in the positive territory when it comes to economic growth, our biggest challenge now is making sure that job growth matches up with economic growth,” Obama said.

Obama said he will address the issue of making sure small businesses are still lending, in order to accelerate job growth.

“Although we stabilized the financial system one of the problems that we’re still seeing all the time, and I heard about it when I was in Allentown just this past week, is the fact that small businesses and some medium sized businesses are still feeling the huge credit crunch,” the president said. “They cannot get the loans they need to make capital adjustments that would allow them to expand employment. And so that’s a particular area where we might be able to make a difference.”

-Karen Travers and Sunlen Miller

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