Bernanke Backs Economic Stimulus for Weak Economy

by Tracie Potts
NBC News

The Bush Administration signaled Monday spending billions to rescue banks alone won't pull America out of this economic slump.

Democrats have been urging, and now the administration agrees, something more needs to be done to stimulate the economy.

But what?

At closing, the DOW Jones Industrial Average and had gained 413 points Monday.
As credit begins to ease, Interest rates for lending between banks are dropping.

The economy had been hurting badly more than a year before this banking crisis.

So that problem still needs to be fixed, but lawmakers disagree on how to do it.
In Louisiana, bankers and business owners told President Bush they're beginning to see the effects of the governments rescue plan.

"People's attitudes are beginning to change from intense concern, near panic, to being more relaxed," President Bush, said.

Completely different than the bank rescue, an economic stimulus plan would create jobs and get money to average Americans.

The president had put a stimulus plan on the back burner, but on Monday one of his key financial advisers said Congress should think about it.

"The size and the composition of that are obviously items for the Congress to determine in negotiation and discussion," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, said.

And there's the hang-up.

Democrats want to extend unemployment benefits again and create jobs by giving states billions to fix roads and schools.

Republicans want to cut business taxes so companies will hire more workers.

"The last thing Congress ought to be doing, under any economic doctrine, is raising taxes in a recession," Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, said.

Republicans focus on energy, more drilling, as oil prices continue to drop.

Gas has dipped under three dollars a gallon - much lower in some areas, but for now the government's focusing on banks.

On Monday, regulators put applications online for banks who want Uncle Sam to buy their stock.

"This is an investment, not an expenditure, and there is no reason to expect this program will cost taxpayers anything," Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, said.

The treasury department's spending 250 billion on that and promises taxpayers will get their money back when the stock is sold.

As for the stimulus, the democrats say their plan could cost 150 billion - less than last year's stimulus.

But economists predict it could cost twice that.