Bush calls for economic package worth about $145 billion

President George W. Bush on Friday called for about $145 billion (€98.81 billion) worth of tax relief to stimulate a sagging US economy and fend off a possible recession. Bush said that to be effective, an economic stimulus package would need to roughly represent 1 percent of the gross domestic product - the value of all US goods and services and the best measure of the country's economic standing. White House advisers say that, in current terms, 1 percent would amount to around $145 billion (€98.8 billion), which is along the lines of what private economists say should be sufficient to help give the economy a short-term boost. The president and Congress are scrambling to take action as fears mount that a severe housing slump and painful credit crisis could cause people to close their wallets and businesses to put a lid on hiring, throwing the world's biggest economy into its first recession since 2001.