February 12 2009, 9:22 AM
Caterpillar Inc., which makes large construction equipment, is offering voluntary early retirement to about 2,000 workers around the country, including an undisclosed number in Denver, as the company grapples with an expected 22 percent decline in sales this year, the worst times in 16 years, according to the Denver Business Journal. The company is in the midst of cutting more than 22,000 regular and contract jobs as President Obama attempts to help such companies by stimulating the economy with a package of initiatives and tax cuts. A deal reached in the Senate and the House trimmed overall spending, including construction money for schools, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Nonetheless, Colorado Democrats hailed the package as necessary, if somewhat imperfect. Yet Obama did not get the broad bipartisan support he had hoped for. Representative Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, one of many Republican critics, calls the package "a wish list of liberal pet projects." Still, Congressional leaders reached agreement on a final plan. The question now, writes The New York Times, is whether the plan is the "opening act for a more ambitious domestic agenda from President Obama or a harbinger of reduced expectations."