For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 15, 2008
President Bush Meets with Cabinet
In Focus: Economy
9:57 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I called my Cabinet together for them to get a full understanding of the extraordinary actions we've taken. Many of the Cabinet members are involved in helping make sure this economy is strong in the future -- no Cabinet member more involved than Secretary Paulson. And we have taken extraordinary measures because these are extraordinary circumstances.
As I said yesterday, it's very important for the American people to know that the program is designed to preserve free enterprise, not replace free enterprise. Decisions we took to enhance liquidity and make sure our financial instruments are strong is a temporary decision. For example, the equity purchases in the banks is designed so that these shares will eventually be sold back to the government*.
Secondly, the program is limited. In other words, the government will buy only a certain number of shares in individual banks. These banks will be privately controlled. The liquidity measures being taken are structured such that the government will be a passive investor. In other words, there won't be government officials sitting on the board of private companies.
These are extraordinary measures, no question about it. But they're well thought out, they are necessary, and I'm confident in the long run this economy will come back.
Mr. Secretary, I want to thank you and your team for working hard during these extraordinary times.
We analyzed the situation very carefully. And the American people must understand that this carefully structured plan is aimed at helping you. If I'd have thought this situation would have been contained only to Wall Street, we'd have had a different response. But in our judgment, had we not acted decisively at the time we did, the credit crunch, the inability for banks in your communities to loan to your businesses would have affected the working people and the small businesses of America. And that's unacceptable to me and that's unacceptable to this Cabinet.
And so I'm looking forward to going to Michigan today to talk to small business owners and community bankers and workers that have been affected by the economy. I'm looking forward to hearing what they have to say. And I'm looking forward to sharing my thoughts about why the government has taken these temporary measures designed to make sure that their lives are going to have the best shot at dealing with this financial crisis.
Thank you very much.
END 9:00 A.M. EDT