Join our investing community

Bush warns of 'long and painful recession'

Discussion in 'Finance & Banking' started by Billv, 25th Sep, 2008.

  1. Billv

    Billv Getting there

    Joined:
    15th Jul, 2007
    Posts:
    1,796
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    WASHINGTON - President Bush on Wednesday warned Americans and lawmakers reluctant to pass a $700 billion financial rescue plan that failing to act fast risks wiping out retirement savings, rising foreclosures, lost jobs and closed businesses. "Our entire economy is in danger," he said.

    His dire warning came not long after the president issued extraordinary invitations to presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, one of whom will inherit the mess in four months, as well as key congressional leaders to a White House meeting on Thursday to work on a compromise.

    "Without immediate action by Congress, American could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold," Bush said in a 12-minute prime-time address from the White House East Room that he hoped would help rescue his tough-sell bailout package.

    Bush explicitly endorsed several of the changes that have been demanded in recent days from the right and left. But he warned that he would draw the line at regulations he determined would hamper economic growth.

    "It should be enacted as soon as possible," the president said.

    The bailout, which the Bush administration asked Congress last weekend to approve before it adjourns, is meeting with deep skepticism, especially from conservatives in Bush's own party who are revolting at the high price tag and unprecedented private-sector intervention. Though there is general agreement that something must be done to address the spiraling economic problems, the timing and even the size of the package remained in doubt and the administration has been forced to accept changes almost daily.

    Seeking to explain himself to conservatives, Bush stressed he was reluctant to put taxpayer money on the line to help businesses that had made bad decisions and that the rescue is not aimed at saving individual companies. He tried to address some of the major complaints from Democrats by promising that CEOs of failed companies won't be rewarded.

    "With the situation becoming more precarious by the day, I faced a choice: to step in with dramatic government action or to stand back and allow the irresponsible actions by some to undermine the financial security of all," Bush said. "These are not normal circumstances."

    The president turned himself into an economics professor for much of the address, tracing the origins of the problem back a decade to a large influx of money into the U.S. system from overseas, low interest rates, the "faulty assumption" that home values would continue to skyrocket, easy lending by mortgage companies, over-borrowing by home owners and exuberant building by construction firms.

    But while generally acknowledging risky and poorly thought-out financial decisions at many levels of society, Bush never assigned blame to any specific entity, such as his administration, the quasi-indepedent mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or the Wall Street firms that built rising profits on increasingly speculative mortgage-backed securities. Instead, he spoke in terms of investment banks that "found themselves saddled with" toxic assets and banks that "found themselves" with questionable balance sheets.

    Intensive, personal wheeling and dealing is not usually Bush's style as president, unlike some predecessors. He does not often call or meet with individual lawmakers to push a legislative priority.

    But with the nation facing the biggest financial meltdown in decades, Bush took the unusual step of calling Democrat Obama personally about the meeting, said presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino. White House aides extended the invitations to Republican McCain and to GOP and Democratic leaders from Capitol Hill.

    more here
    Bush warns of long recession without rescue plan - Yahoo! News