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Obama: G-20 summit good time to assess economy

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[September 19, 2009]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the world's leading economic powers have made progress in stabilizing the global financial system but much work remains to produce needed jobs and growth.

"The good news is that we've made real progress since last time we met - here at home and around the world," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. The G-20 summit in Pittsburgh next week comes five months after the group of 20 nations with the world's leading and emerging economies met in London.

Obama said it will offer a good chance for a "checkup to review the steps each nation has taken - separately and together - to break the back of this economic crisis." He recalled that the April meeting came at the height of the crisis.

Obama noted several steps have been taken to spur the U.S. economy, pointing to the stimulus package, efforts to unlock frozen credit markets and free more loans for people investing in homes, cars, education or financing small businesses. And he said other nations have been challenged to address underlying problems that caused a deep global recession.

But Obama said his administration knows that "stopping the bleeding isn't nearly enough. We know we still have a lot to do here at home to build an economy that is producing good jobs for all those who are looking for work today.

"And we know we still have a lot to do, in conjunction with nations around the world, to strengthen the rules governing financial markets and ensure that we never again find ourselves in the precarious situation we found ourselves in just one year ago."

He said it's essential that the U.S. government update the rules governing financial firms and markets.

"At next week's G-20 summit, we'll discuss some of the steps that are required to safeguard our global financial system and close gaps in regulation around the world - gaps that permitted the kinds of reckless risk-taking and irresponsibility that led to the crisis," he said.

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He said another important step for the U.S. is establishment of a consumer protection agency that would be intended to protect people from signing up for mortgages they can't afford and contracts they can't understand.

Lobbyists for big financial institutions are working to stop these changes, said Obama, who added that it's critical to follow through on the changes.

"We cannot let the narrow interests of a few come before the interests of all of us," he said. "We cannot forget how close we came to the brink, and perpetuate the broken system and breakdown of responsibility that made it possible."


On the Net: http://www.whitehouse.gov

[Associated Press; By WILL LESTER]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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