Biden: Weak U.S. Economy Partly Due to Concern Over ‘Real Estate Bubble’ in China

By Penny Starr | October 6, 2011 | 6:30 PM EDT

Vice President Joe Biden said at an Oct. 6, 2011 event in Washington, D.C., that the U.S. economy is being negatively affected by foreign economies, including a housing bubble in China.( Starr.)

( – Vice President Joe Biden said the U.S. economy continues to slide, in part, because of economic uncertainty abroad, including concern over a “real estate bubble” in China.

He made his remarks on Thursday in response to questioning by NBC’s David Gregory at a Washington Ideas Forum at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Gregory asked Biden: “Why is the economy getting worse?”

Biden mentioned domestic issues, such as the congressional battle over raising the debt ceiling in July and then the downgrading of the nation’s credit rating in August.

He then discussed foreign problems that he said were "not within our power" to correct but are "within our orbit" of concern, such as  the economic turmoil in Greece and other countries, the concerns of the European banks, and an apparent housing market problem in China.

“There are roughly, depending on the estimate, 30 to 50 million apartment units in China that are vacant and people are worried about the real estate bubble there,” said the vice president.

Biden then said the economy would improve if President Barack Obama’s $447-billion jobs legislation, the American Jobs Act, were passed by Congress because the bill would, according to some economists, create between 1.7 and 2 million jobs. Most of those jobs would be public sector, government jobs.

"We can now give it [the economy] a jump start by passing this jobs bill," said Biden. "The things that we can control are the things that frustrate me the most that we are not able to get done."

The legislation would, Biden said, increase the growth of the GDP “by up to a couple percentage points.” The cost of $447 billion, however, is 2.97 percent of the current GDP: $15.01 trillion.