WASHINGTON (AP) -- President George W. Bush on Friday acknowledged that the U.S. economy is weakening, but expressed hope that tax rebates that will start going out on Monday should help shore things up.
The rebates range from $300 (euro192) to $1,200 (euro769) and are the centerpiece of the government's $168 billion (euro107.7 billion) stimulus package, enacted in February, to brace the teetering economy. Roughly 130 million households are expected to get them. The Bush administration is hoping that people will spend the money, helping to bolster the economy.
''This money is going to help Americans offset the high prices we're seeing at the gas pump, at the grocery store and will also give our economy a boost to help us pull out of this economic slowdown,'' he said in brief remarks.
The Internal Revenue Service says the first direct deposits of rebates in banks will begin Monday, with paper checks to follow starting next month.
Said Bush: ''Obviously our economy is in a slowdown.''
Earlier this week, the president denied the U.S. was in a recession, instead saying, ''We are in a slowdown.'' But many economists believe the economy may already be in a recession.