It's official: Bush is totally delusional. The read the full transcript:
The economy is "sound."
Q And banking -- do you think the system is in trouble?
THE PRESIDENT: I think the system basically is sound, I truly do. And I understand there's a lot of nervousness. And -- but the economy is growing, productivity is high, trade is up, people are working. It's not as good as we'd like, but -- and to the extent that we find weakness, we'll move. That's one thing about this administration, we're not afraid of making tough decisions. And I thought the decision that Secretary Paulson recommended on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was the right decision.
No nobody is talking about raising taxes. You don't get it, Mr.Bush:
Q Mr. President, just to follow up with Terry's question a little bit. You talked about the mortgage markets and banks. Are there other entities in the economy that are so crucial to the stability and confidence in the economy -- I'm thinking particularly of General Motors, which today is cutting jobs, announcing they're going into the credit market to raise billions of dollars -- are there other entities that are so crucial to stability that require government action to show support for them?
THE PRESIDENT: Government action -- if you're talking about bailing out -- if your question is, should the government bail out private enterprise, the answer is, no, it shouldn't. And by the way, the decisions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- I hear some say "bailout" -- I don't think it's a bailout. The shareholders still own the company. That's why I said we want this to continue to be a shareholder-owned company.
In this case, there is a feeling that the government will stand behind mortgages through these two entities. And therefore, we felt a special need to step up and say that we are going to provide, if needed, temporary assistance through either debt or capital.
In terms of private enterprises, no, I don't think the government ought to be involved with bailing out companies. I think the government ought to create the conditions so that companies can survive. And I've listed four. And one of the things I'm deeply troubled about is people who feel like it's okay to raise taxes during these times. And it would be a huge mistake to raise taxes right now.
You're not an economist but you are the President of the United States:
THE PRESIDENT: When will the economy turn around?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm not an economist, but I do believe that we're growing. And I can remember this press conference here where people yelling "recession this, recession that" -- as if you're economists. And I'm an optimist. I believe there's a lot of positive things for our economy. But I will tell you it's not growing the way it should and I'm sorry people are paying as high gasoline prices as they are. And all I know is good policy will help expedite a -- will strengthen our economy.
Q Do you think it will change before you leave office?
THE PRESIDENT: I certainly hope it changes tomorrow. But it's -- I'm also realistic to know things don't change on a dime. But nevertheless, the economy is growing. There's obviously financial uncertainty. We've talked about the decisions on the GSEs here. People need to know that if they've got a deposit in a commercial bank the government will make good up to $100,000 worth of their deposit. There's no question it's a time of uncertainty. There's a lot of events taking place at the same time. But we can pass some good law to help expedite the recovery.
One such law is a good piece of housing legislation. The Congress needs to get moving on it. Another such law is to send a signal that we're willing to explore for oil here at home. I fully understand that this is a transition period away from hydrocarbon, but we ought to be wise about how we use our own resources. I think it would be a powerful signal if we announce that we're going to really get after it when it comes to oil shale. There's enormous reserves in the western states. And I think if the world saw that we're willing to put a focused, concerted effort on using new technologies to bring those reserves to bear, which would then relieve some pressure on gasoline prices, it would have an impact.
The other thing is, is that -- I'm sure you know this, April, but we haven't built a refinery, a new refinery in the United States since the early '70s. It makes no sense. And yet you try to get one permitted, it is unbelievably difficult to do. People aren't willing to risk capital if they're deeply concerned about how their capital is going to be tied up in lawsuits or regulations. And we import a lot of gasoline, refined product from overseas.
So there's some things we can do to send signals that it's important that we can get the economy -- take advantage of the positive aspects and get it moving stronger again.
The other thing is trade. It is -- I don't understand the decision on the Colombia free trade market -- free trade agreement. The Congress has given preferential treatment to goods coming out of Colombia through the Andean Trade Preference Act. In other words, Colombia businesses can sell into our country relatively duty free. And yet we don't have the same -- we don't get the same treatment. Now, why does that make sense? It doesn't.
Trade, our trade or exports have helped keep the economy growing, April, as paltry as it may be. Doesn't it make sense for us to continue to open up further opportunities to sell goods? I think it does. I do not understand why it's okay for Colombia to be able to sell into our country close to duty free, and we don't have the same advantage. And secondly, turning our back on somebody like Uribe makes no sense at all. He is a courageous fighter against terrorists. And yet our Congress won't even bring up a free trade agreement with Colombia.
Anyway, it's -- politics is just choking good sense. And the other thing is, is that once we get moving on Colombia, we need to get moving on Panama and South Korea. It's in our country's interest we do that.