The economic turbulence in the fall of 2008 signaled, according to a growing chorus of Bush’s critics, years of the administration’s failed economic policies. Loose regulation of financial institutions contributed to collapses of some of the nation’s largest lenders. Federally operated banks Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received billions in two of several large government bailouts. Bush reluctantly authorized the funding to keep the banks alive and, he reasoned, the economy from collapsing. He admitted in his last press conference that he had “abandoned free-market principles to save the free- market system.” But unemployment rates continued to rise, and the markets did not seem to take much comfort from the moves.