George W. Bush photo

Remarks on the National Economy

December 05, 2008

Today's job data reflects the fact that our economy is in a recession. This is in large part because of severe problems in our housing, credit, and financial markets, which have resulted in significant job losses. I'm concerned about our workers who've lost jobs during this downturn, and I'm—as we work to address the problems of this economy, we've extended unemployment insurance benefits to those who have lost their jobs during this downturn.

We are focusing on the root causes of the economic downturn in order to return our economy to health. The most urgent issue facing the economy is the problem in the credit markets. Businesses and consumers need access to credit at affordable rates to spend and invest. And so we're working to stabilize the markets and make credit more affordable and available. We're working with the Federal Reserve and FDIC, and credit is beginning to move. A market that was frozen is thawing. There's still more work to do, but there are some encouraging signs.

A root cause of the slowdown is housing. And so we continue to take actions that will avoid preventable foreclosures and speed a return to a healthy housing market. Interest rates help the housing market recover, and interest rates, mortgage rates are going down. And plus, there's a number of programs in place to help Americans stay in their homes, to limit the preventable foreclosures.

I am concerned about the viability of the automobile companies. I'm concerned about those who work for the automobile companies and their families. And likewise, I am concerned about taxpayer money being provided to those companies that may not survive. Put out a detailed plan recently that uses money that Congress appropriated last fall for the auto industry, money that can be used so long as the companies make hard choices on all aspects of their business to prove that they can not only survive, but thrive.

It is important that Congress act next week on this plan. And it's important to make sure that taxpayers' money be paid back if any is given to the companies.

It's going to take time for all the actions we have taken to have their full impact. But I am confident that the steps we're taking will help fix the problems in our economy and return it to strength. My administration is committed to ensuring that our economy succeeds. And I know the incoming administration shares the same commitment.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:29 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. The Office of the Press Secretary also released a Spanish language transcript of these remarks.

George W. Bush, Remarks on the National Economy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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