US President George W. Bush holds a news conference in the White House Press Briefing Room in Washington February 28, 2008. Bush said that the US economy is in a slowdown but not headed into a recession. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
US President George W. Bush said in Washington on Thursday that the US economy is in a slowdown but not headed into a recession.
"I don't think we're headed to recession. But no question, we're in a slowdown," Bush told a White House news conference.
"And that's why we acted, and acted strongly, with over 150 billion dollars worth of pro-growth economic incentives, mainly money going into the hands of our consumers, and some money going to incent businesses to invest, which will create jobs," the president said.
The economic incentives Bush mentioned is the centerpiece of government efforts to prevent the economy from sliding into a recession.
The 168 billion dollar package, which will rush tax rebates ranging from 300 dollars to 1,200 dollars to millions of people and give tax breaks to businesses, has been passed by Congress and signed into law on February. 13 by the president.
Bush said that the purpose of the package is to encourage consumers. "The checks will start going out in the second week of May," he announced.
"Consumerism is a significant part of our GDP growth, and we want to sustain the American consumer, encourage the American consumer, and at the same time we want to encourage investment," he said.
The US economy has slowed down significantly due to a severe slump in housing and a persisting credit crunch stemming from troubles in the subprime mortgage market, where loans are given to homebuyers with weak credit histories.
In the final three months of last year, the economy grew at a scant 0.6 percent pace, sharply down from a brisk 4.9 percent rate in the previous quarter, according to revised readings released by the Commerce Department on Thursday.
(Xinhua News Agency February 29, 2008)