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Bush Says Economy Strong Enough to Weather Problems


President Bush concedes that the credit crunch and mortgage problems in the United States have caused financial "storm clouds and concerns." But he maintains the nation's economic underpinnings are good. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.

Consumer confidence in the United States took another beating in November, as problems in the housing and credit markets intensified. A Labor Department report confirms that consumer prices surged eight-tenths of a percent last month -- the largest increase since 2005.

President Bush on Monday spoke about the U.S. economy in a speech in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He said Americans have reasons to be concerned, but he assured business and community leaders that the U.S. economy remains fundamentally strong.

"We've had a pretty good economic run here in the country -- six years of growth. We've had 51 straight months of increased employment. It's the largest, longest period of uninterrupted job growth in the nation's history; people are working, productivity is high," he said.

The president credits his tax cuts for the growth in jobs.

But Democratic Party Senator Charles Schumer says the president's upbeat economic assessment proves he is "out of touch" with reality. "The president's speech was designed to calm the markets and American fears that the economy is in a tailspin. Unfortunately, by offering nothing but the same old 'everything's OK' response, today's speech is just going to worry the markets further," Schumer said.

Investors, worried about a slowing U.S. economy and rising prices, extended last week's losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 175 points following the president's speech and all the major indexes lost at least one percent.

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