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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 20, 2008

President's Radio Address

     Fact sheet In Focus: Economy

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. 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, the government is acting to protect our Nation's economic health from serious risk. Our free enterprise system rests on the conviction that the Federal government should intervene in the marketplace only when necessary. Given the precarious state of our financial markets and their vital importance to the daily lives of the American people, government intervention is not only warranted, it is essential.


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In recent weeks the Federal government has taken a series of targeted measures designed primarily to stop the problems of individual firms from spreading more broadly. But more action is needed. We must address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets. America's economy is facing unprecedented challenges, and we're responding with unprecedented action.

My Administration is working with Congress on legislation which will approve the Federal government's purchase of illiquid assets, such as troubled mortgages, from banks and other financial institutions. This decisive step will address underlying problems in our financial system. And it will allow financial institutions to resume lending and get our financial system moving again.

The Department of the Treasury is also acting to restore confidence in a key element of America's financial system, by offering government insurance for money market mutual funds. For every dollar you have invested in an insured fund, you'll be able to take a dollar out.

The Federal Reserve is also providing more liquidity to money market mutual funds, which will help ease pressure on our financial markets.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued new rules temporarily suspending the practice of short-selling on the stocks of financial institutions. This is intended to prevent investors from intentionally driving down particular stocks for their own personal gain.

Finally, when we get past the immediate challenges, my Administration looks forward to working with Congress on measures to bring greater long-term transparency and reliability to the financial system.

These measures require us to put a significant amount of taxpayer dollars on the line. But I'm convinced that this bold approach will cost American families far less than the alternative. Further stress on our financial markets would cause massive job losses, devastate retirement accounts, further erode housing values, and dry up new loans for homes, cars, and college tuitions.

In this difficult time, I know many Americans listening may be wondering about the security of your finances. Through the FDIC, every savings account, checking account, and certificate of deposit is insured by the Federal government for up to $100,000. The FDIC has been in existence for 75 years, and no one has ever lost a penny on an insured deposit. And this will not change.

In the long term, Americans can have reason to be confident in our economic strength. America has the most talented, productive, and entrepreneurial workers in the world. This country is the best place in the world to invest and do business. And as we've seen repeatedly over the past eight years, we have a flexible and resilient system that absorbs challenges, makes corrections, and bounces back.

We will weather this challenge too -- and we will do it together. This is not a time for partisanship. I'll work with Democrats and Republicans alike to steer our economy through these difficult times and back to the path of long-term growth. Thank you for listening.