President George W. Bush on Thursday cited "some unsettling times" in the U.S. housing and credit markets as he sought to assure jittery Americans that the U.S. economy is in good shape despite worries about a recession.
"I say that the fundamentals of our nation's eocnomy are strong," Bush told a White House news conference.
Bush said that inflation was down, markets steady, unemployment relatively low, exports up and corporate profits "seem to be strong."
"There is no question there are some unsettling times in the housing markets and credits associated with the housing market," Bush said. But he said he did not see it spreading to the broader ecomomy.
Some economists suggest the housing slump could lead to a recession even in spite of action earlier this week by the Federal Reserve to cut short-term interest rates by a half-percentage point.
He said he was optimistic about the economy. "I would be pessimistic if I thought Congress was going to get their way and raise taxes," Bush said.
Pressed on whether he was concerned that the United States was nearing a recession, Bush said, "You need to talk to an economist."
Bush said his "feelings are not hurt" by criticism leveled at him in a new book by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. "I respectfully disagree with Alan Greenspan when he says this administration didn't handle the fiscal issues we faced in good fashion," Bush said. Greenspan accused Bush of runaway spending and putting politics ahead of sound economics.
When General Wesley Clark spoke about the famous list of seven Middle Eastern countries to be demolished in five consecutive years, he has done nothing but remark, for the last time, if there was any need, Washington's willingness to redesign the Middle East within a more general framework of global domination.