“President Bush, acknowledging the risk of recession, embraced about $145 billion worth of tax relief and other incentives Friday to give the economy a “shot in the arm. ” Bush said such a growth package must also include tax incentives for business investment and quick tax relief for individuals. And he said that to be effective, an economic stimulus package would need to roughly represent 1 percent of the gross domestic product — the value of all U.S. goods and services and the best measure of the country’s economic standing.
“There is a risk of a downturn,” the president said in his remarks at the White House.
White House advisers say that in current terms, 1 percent would amount to around $145 billion, which is along the lines of what private economists say should be sufficient to help give the economy a short-term boost.
The president and Congress are scrambling to take action as fears mount that a severe housing slump and painful credit crisis could cause people to close their wallets and businesses to put a lid on hiring, throwing the nation into its first recession since 2001.
Bush said that Congress and the administration need to settle on a temporary economic package that could be implemented quickly to “keep our economy growing and create jobs.”
“Letting Americans keep more of their money should increase consumer spending,” he said.
Bush outlined several criteria for the package to meet: It must be “big enough to make a difference in an economy as large and dynamic as ours,” it must be built on “broad-based tax relief,” it must take effect right away but be temporary, and it must not include any tax increases.
Specifically, he called for tax incentives for businesses, including small companies, to make new and major investments this year. “Giving them an incentive to invest now will encourage business owners to expand their operations, create new jobs and inject new energy into our economy in the process,” Bush said.Print Story