WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush publicly acknowledged for the first time Friday that the U.S. economy is in a recession and worried aloud that Detroit's Big Three automakers may not all survive their mounting troubles.
Four days after the long-suspected existence of a recession was made official, Bush used the word himself.
"Our economy is in a recession," Bush said flatly, speaking to reporters on the South Lawn only hours after the release of a government report showing the biggest month of job losses in 34 years. "This is in large part because of severe problems in our housing, credit and financial markets, which have resulted in significant job losses."
While repeatedly listing the serious problems in the economy, the White House has refused to embrace the actual term until Monday, when a panel for the National Bureau of Economic Research said the recession began last December and is ongoing.
With automakers, particularly General Motors, in fear of bankruptcy, they are seeking from Washington a huge cash infusion of up to $34 billion, beyond an existing $25 billion loan program. Lawmakers are considering the idea, but there is uncertainty about the level of support on Capitol Hill for that plan.
Bush displayed skepticism about the wisdom of new aid to companies that still need to make "hard choices on all aspects of their business." So while urging lawmakers to act next week to help the battered industry, Bush urged a Congress controlled by opposition Democrats to follow his approach...more