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Bush: Strong Action Being Taken on US Economy

President Bush says the U.S. economy is facing challenging times. But as VOA's Paula Wolfson tells us, the president says the government is taking decisive action.

As a jittery U.S. stock market opened for business, the president sought to reassure the American people.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with his top economic advisors, Mr. Bush said his administration is on top of the situation.

"One thing is for certain - we are in challenging times," he said. "But another thing is for certain - that we have taken strong and decisive action."

He signaled his support for steps taken in recent days by the U.S. central bank to cut interest rates and to provide financial markets with a sense of stability - in large part by rescuing the crisis-ridden investment firm, Bear Stearns. And he praised Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson for his efforts to promote calm and correct the economic slump.

"You have shown the country and the world that the United States is on top of the situation," he said. "Secondly, you have reaffirmed the fact that our financial institutions are strong and that our capital markets are functioning efficiently and effectively."

President Bush stressed that his administration will continue to monitor the situation and will take additional action, as warranted. He emphasized once again that the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are sound, saying in the long run, everything will be fine.

His comments - which were added to his schedule on relatively short notice - were aimed at easing economic concerns both at home and abroad. The slump in the U.S. economy - caused in part by problems in the home loan market - has had an impact around the world.

Stock prices are down in many countries, the dollar has hit record lows against the euro and the yen, and oil and gold prices have hit new highs.