It all adds up to tough times for American consumers and even for major brokerage houses on Wall Street.
The once-prominent investment fund Carlyle Capitol is now bankrupt and major sub-prime lender Bear Stearns has been forced to take out a short term loan to cover its costs. "We're seeing very, very well run financial institutions run into trouble and that tells you that it's really a deeper problem than your plain vanilla meltdown in one little area," said Ken Rogoff of Harvard University.
Still, the president said, the economy is fundamentally strong, pointing to news that inflation is lower than expected; staying steady from January to February.
While many here in Washington and throughout the financial world say America is already in a recession, the president does not use that word, saying only that the economy is going a through a tough time .