Economic crisis can’t be solved overnight: Bush
On the eve of the crucial G-20 summit on the current financial crisis, US President George Bush acknowledged on Thursday that the global economic meltdown can’t be solved overnight and called for decisive action from governments around the world.
“This crisis did not develop overnight, and it will not be solved overnight. But our actions are having an impact,” Bush said while addressing the prestigious Manhattan Institute in New York on ‘Financial Markets and the World Economy’.
Bush, who is the host of the G-20 summit in Washington over the weekend, said in addition to addressing the current economic crisis it is also essential for the world leaders to make broader reforms to strengthen the global economy over the long term.
Arguing that nations must make their financial markets more transparent, like improving accounting rules for securities, the US president also emphasised on the need to ensure that markets, firms and financial products are properly regulated.
“By bringing greater stability to this large and important sector, we would reduce the risk to our overall financial system,” he said, and called for enhancing the integrity of the financial markets.
For example, authorities in every nation should take a fresh look at the rules governing market manipulation and fraud, and ensure that investors are properly protected, he said.
Observing that all these steps require decisive actions from the governments of the world, Bush said: “At the same time, we must recognise that government intervention is not a cure-all.”
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For example, some blame the crisis on insufficient regulation of the American mortgage market. But many European countries had much more extensive regulations and still experienced problems almost identical to our own, he said.
History has shown that the greater threat to economic prosperity is not too little government involvement in the market – but too much, Bush said, adding: “Our aim should not be more government – it should be smarter government.”
Making a case for free market in the wake of growing criticism against it, Bush said: “While reforms in the financial sector are essential, the long-term solution to today’s problems is sustained economic growth. And the surest path to that growth is free markets and free people.”
The crisis, Bush argued, is not a failure of the free market system. The answer was not to try to reinvent that system but to fix its problems, he said.
“It is to fix the problems we face, make the reforms we need, and move forward with the free market principles that have delivered prosperity and hope to people around the world,” Bush said.