Paulson: Americans need foreclosure help

Treasury chief tells CNN the percentage of Americans who can't afford their mortgages are one of the main sources of economic distress.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson said Friday the government needs to make a "big effort" to help Americans who can avoid foreclosure.

In an interview on CNN's "American Morning, Paulson said "92% of Americans are making mortgage payments on time," but the percentage who aren't are one of the main sources of current economic problems.

Paulson also said that stimulus rebate checks, due in May, are going to have a positive effect by creating 500,000 to 600,000 jobs this year.

"You need to file a tax return to get a rebate check," said Paulson. That's why the IRS is making a large push to get the 20 million Americans who don't normally file a tax return to do so this year, he said.

The Treasury Secretary rejected criticism that government money to help banks and financial institutions should instead go directly to help those with mortgage trouble.

Paulson said it was important for the government to support banks and financial institutions, since bank funding helps create jobs and provides consumers with home and student loans.

"Stable, orderly markets are very important," he added. To top of page

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