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Bush Remains Upbeat on US Economy

President Bush says the U.S. economy remains resilient, despite signs of a slowdown in growth and higher unemployment figures. VOA's Michael Bowman reports from the White House.

Recent weeks have seen a sobering string of economic news, from a sharp spike in unemployment to continued housing foreclosures to record-setting energy prices. Many economists are openly discussing the possibility of a recession this year, after more than four years of uninterrupted economic expansion.

President Bush says it is understandable that Americans are anxious about the economy.

"We cannot take growth for granted," he said. "We confront economic challenges, from the downturn of the housing sector to high energy prices to painful adjustments in some of the financial markets."

President Bush was speaking to business and political leaders in Chicago, Illinois.

Already, the U.S. central bank has lowered interest rates in an effort to try and stimulate the economy. President Bush says more action is needed, including securing new trade deals with foreign countries, expanding oil exploration, and keeping taxes low.

"I have worked with Congress to cut taxes, and pro-growth economic policies work," he said. "When you cut taxes, it means that people have more money to save, spend or invest. More money in the pocket. More money to support a family."

Mr. Bush pointed out that many of the tax cuts he championed at the start of his administration are scheduled to expire in coming years. He said, unless Congress acts to extend the tax breaks or make them permanent, Americans will surrender far more of their income to the federal government, and have less money to meet their needs and keep the economy going.

Leaders of the Democratically-controlled Congress have criticized many of President Bush's most-favored tax initiatives as favoring wealthy Americans over the middle and lower classes. They have also questioned the wisdom of cutting taxes at a time when America is at war and the nation's debt is increasing.