Bush: Financial markets are strong

Published: Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Friday that while there is some uncertainty about slowing economic growth, the nation's "financial markets are strong and solid."

Bush spoke after getting an update from his top economic advisers, who are helping him decide whether to offer a package to stimulate the U.S. economy as it weathers the housing slump, rising oil prices and an uptick in unemployment.

"This economy of ours is on a solid foundation, but we can't take economic growth for granted," Bush said. "And there are signs that will cause us to be ever more diligent and make sure that good policies come out of Washington."

Sitting around a table with his economic advisers in the Roosevelt Room, the president warned Congress against taking steps that would increase taxes. "If the foundation is strong yet indicators are mixed, the worst thing that Congress can do is raise taxes on the American people and on American businesses," Bush said.

Bush met with the advisers - his first with them as a group - the same day the Labor Department reported that hiring all but stalled in December.

"While there is some uncertainty, the report is that the financial markets are strong and solid," Bush said.

He described the nation's economic indicators as mixed.

He said there have been 52 straight months of job creation, but job growth slowed last month; core inflation is low, but U.S. consumers are paying more for gasoline and for food; and consumer spending is strong, yet the values of many U.S. homes are on the decline.

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