Bush unveils $150bn economic package
Washington, January 19, 2008
President George W. Bush has called on Congress to give the US economy a 'shot in the arm' with an election-year package of temporary tax cuts and other measures worth up to $150 billion.
Bush said the United States, where share markets have slumped and unemployment is increasing, faced the risk of an economic downturn but that his advisers still expected continued growth, albeit at a slower pace.
He said he wanted Congress to move quickly on a stimulus package that would focus on tax rebates for families and incentives to encourage business investment. The White House said the package could create about 500,000 new jobs.
'This growth package must be built on broad-based tax relief that will directly affect economic growth and not the kind of spending projects that would have little immediate impact on our economy,' Bush said at the White House.
'This growth package must be temporary and take effect right away so we can get help to our economy when it needs it most,' he said.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the administration hoped for a package worth about $140 billion to $150 billion, which is a little more than 1 percent of the economy's size.
Financial markets are reeling amid bleak reports of declining retail sales and rising unemployment on top of soaring oil prices and a credit crunch brought on by a crisis in subprime mortgages.
Economists are talking of a possible recession taking hold before presidential and congressional elections in November and the debate over an economic stimulus has been taken up by candidates campaigning to succeed Bush in the White House.-Reuters