U.S. President George Bush will address the nation Wednesday night --
in a live, televised speech -- to explain the government's proposed
700-billion-dollar bailout plan for financial markets.
A White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino says the president
wants to talk directly to the American people, and help them understand
the extent of the problems facing the economy.
administration's top economic officials have been facing deep
skepticism and sometimes hostile questions about the bailout plan
during a series of hearings before Congress. But the White House denies
the plan is in trouble.
During an appearance today before the House Financial Services
Committee, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the best way to
protect taxpayers from further financial turmoil is for lawmakers to
approve the plan and get the economy growing.
Earlier, U.S. Federal Reserve (central bank) chief Ben Bernanke told
the Joint Economic Committee there are "grave threats" to financial
The financial markets got a rare vote of confidence from billionaire
investor Warren Buffett, who agreed to buy five billion dollars' worth
of stock in a major financial firm. Buffett is regarded as one of the
world's most astute investors, so his investment in Goldman Sachs eased
concerns and boosted some stock indexes.
Buffett also voiced his support for the government's rescue plan.
The legislation would allow the government to buy devalued assets from
troubled financial firms. Those bad investments have made banks
reluctant to lend money, and the lack of credit threatens to stall the
A key economic expert says the bailout may cost "substantially less"
than 700 billion dollars. The director of the non-partisan
Congressional Budget Office, Peter Orszag, says the government
eventually will recover some of those costs when it sells these assets,
which are troubled but still are worth something. Many in Congress want
to make changes in the administration's proposed
plan, including placing limits on compensation for top executives of
investment firms that get government help. Some also want the
government to own part of any company that gets aid from the plan.