Here’s what President Bush said at 10:45 AM today in the Rose Garden.
This is really important.
Good morning. I thank Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and SEC Chairman Chris Cox for joining me today.
This is a pivotal moment for America’s economy. Problems that originated in the credit markets — and first showed up in the area of subprime mortgages — have spread throughout our financial system. This has led to an erosion of confidence that has frozen many financial transactions, including loans to consumers and to businesses seeking to expand and create jobs. As a result, we must act now to protect our nation’s economic health from serious risk.
There will be ample opportunity to debate the origins of this problem. Now is the time to solve it. In our nation’s history, there have been moments that require us to come together across party lines to address major challenges. This is such a moment. Last night, Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke and Chairman Cox met with congressional leaders of both parties — and they had a very good meeting. I appreciate the willingness of congressional leaders to confront this situation head on.
Our system of free enterprise rests on the conviction that the federal government should interfere in the marketplace only when necessary. Given the precarious state of today’s financial markets — and their vital importance to the daily lives of the American people — government intervention is not only warranted, it is essential.
In recent weeks, the federal government has taken a series of measures to help promote stability in the overall economy. To avoid severe disruptions in the financial markets and to support home financing, we took action to address the situation at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Federal Reserve also acted to prevent the disorderly liquidation of the insurance company AIG. And in coordination with central banks around the world, the Fed has injected much-needed liquidity into our financial system.
These were targeted measures designed primarily to stop the problems of individual firms from spreading even more broadly. But more action is needed. We must address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets — the mortgage assets that have lost value during the housing decline and are now restricting the flow of credit. America’s economy is facing unprecedented challenges, and we are responding with unprecedented action.
Secretary Paulson, Chairman Bernanke, […]