Wednesday, September 21, 2011
NEW YORK |
(Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama sought support for his job creation plan at a philanthropic summit on Wednesday, saying improving the prospects of the world's richest economy was good for the world.
As the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economic outlook remains grim, Obama told participants at former U.S. President Bill Clinton's summit that people were still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis and its subsequent economic pain.
"America is still the biggest economy in the world, so the single most important thing we could do for the global economy is to get our own economy moving again. When America is growing the world is more likely to grow," Obama said.
"We can do all this, we can create jobs now and invest in our future and still tackle our long term debt problems."
But Obama said his $447 billion plan to create jobs, which he presented to Congress earlier this month, was not intended as a "silver bullet" for America's problems.
"It will put more people back to work, it will put more money into the pockets of working people and that's what our economy needs," he told the Clinton Global Initiative.
With unemployment over 9 percent and the economy near another recession, the state of the U.S. economy is expected to be crucial to Obama's re-election prospects for 2012.
More than 1,200 people, including more than 50 heads of state, business leaders, humanitarians and celebrities are attending the three-day Clinton summit which ends on Thursday.
This year the meeting is focusing on creating jobs, sustainable consumption and programs for women and girls. To attend Clinton's summit, commitments must be made on one of those issues and they must be kept or participants cannot return.
SOCIAL GOOD CORE STRATEGY
The chief executives of PepsiCo and Barclays said corporate philanthropy which helps promote social good was now also a core business strategy.
Chief Executive Indra Nooyi said when PepsiCo could not find enough sunflower oil in Mexico, the company helped local farmers find financing to grow sunflowers.
PepsiCo then bought the sunflowers at market rate and used them for "heart healthy" snacks.
Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond said such "sustainable solutions," where corporations help local businesses become long-term suppliers, "are the best for creating jobs, for creating economic growth and creating better lives."
Clinton's summit came from his frustration while president from 1993 and 2001 at conferences that prompted little action.
Since the initiative started, more than 2,000 pledges have been made valued at more than $63 billion, which organizers say have improved the lives of more than 300 million people.