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Bush Willing to Intervene in Financial Markets Again


President Bush says the government will intervene again if further action is needed to stabilize U.S. financial markets. The president made the comments a day after U.S. officials issued a $30 billion line of credit to prevent the collapse of one of Wall Street's biggest investment banks. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

President Bush says the Federal Reserve Bank and the Treasury Department acted swiftly to promote stability in U.S. financial markets at what he says is a crucial time for the U.S. economy.

"If there needs to be further action, we will take it in a way that does not damage the long-term health of our economy. In the long run, Americans ought to have confidence in our economy," he said.

The president told dockworkers in the state of Florida that the move this past weekend to save the investment bank Bear Stearns was necessary. The 85-year-old firm was sold for less than one-tenth of its last market price.

This was the fourth time in five days that the president made public remarks about the economy, seeking to reassure the American people. Higher gasoline and food prices are depressing retail sales. The U.S. economy lost 80,000 jobs over the last two months.

That decline is now the biggest issue on the minds of voters. In a public opinion poll by CNN last week, 42 percent of Americans said the economy is the most important issue in November's presidential election. That is twice the number who said the war in Iraq is most important.

President Bush says the government is not only moving to stabilize financial markets but is also helping some homeowners who are unable to make their house payments now that adjustable rate mortgages are rising.

"In the short run, the strains on the economy have been caused by the turmoil in the housing market which has required focused and decisive action," he said. "And that is exactly what the federal government is doing. There are problems, by the key is to recognize problems and act early, which we have done."

The president says the stimulus package he signed last month will help boost the economy by providing tax incentives for businesses that invest in new equipment this year and tax rebates for more than 130 million families.

Mr. Bush again called on Congress to approve a free trade agreement with Colombia, saying it will boost U.S. exports.

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