For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 30, 2004
Fact Sheet: Strengthening America's Economy and Creating Jobs in Wisconsin
On March 30, 2004, President Bush addressed entrepreneurs at the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he discussed his policies to strengthen the economy and help small businesses create jobs for all Americans by:
- Opening foreign markets to U.S. products and services and providing a level playing field for American workers and farmers;
- Creating the conditions for American companies of all sizes to compete with and outperform the world; and
- Making sure that America's workers have the best skills and education in the world.
Background - Wisconsin's Small Businesses and Workers are Opening Foreign Markets
- Exports are vital to our Nation's economic strength. Especially because 95% of the potential customers for American products live outside the United States, America must reject the politics of economic isolationism. Isolationist policies would endanger our economic recovery, cost U.S. workers jobs, lead to higher prices for American consumers, and put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage.
- Wisconsin's workers benefit from economic growth and job creation by participating in the worldwide economy. Wisconsin's farms, factories, and offices are shipping high-quality goods and services across the world - including machinery, medical tools, cars and trucks, steel, food, and aircraft parts.
- Wisconsin's exports were worth $11.5 billion last year and they grew more than four times faster than the national average in the last four years. Last year, Wisconsin's exports to Canada, Mexico, and China rose significantly.
- Foreign-owned companies employ nearly 100,000 workers in Wisconsin, and nearly half of them work in manufacturing companies including Fiskars Consumer Products, a Finnish company; Kikkoman Corporation, a Japanese company; and Atlas Cold Storage Holdings in Appleton, a Canadian company.
- The tax relief proposed and signed into law by President Bush over the last three years was the right action at the right time for all Americans. The President.s tax relief agenda has resulted in significant benefits for the residents of Wisconsin:
More than 2.1 million taxpayers in Wisconsin have seen their income tax bills reduced.
- Over 440,000 small business taxpayers in Wisconsin have additional tax savings to invest in new equipment, expand facilities, and hire additional workers.
- More than 710,000 married couples in Wisconsin are benefiting from marriage penalty relief.
- Over 520,000 families in Wisconsin have benefited from the increase in the child tax credit from $500 to $1,000.
- Wisconsin's unemployment rate is 5%, well below the national average and down from 5.8% a year ago.
- Despite a recession, the stock market decline, terrorist attacks, corporate scandals, and war, this economy is strong and getting stronger. The economy is growing at the fastest rate in two decades, and America currently has the fastest growing economy of any industrialized country in the world. Inflation, interest rates, and mortgage rates are near historic lows. Homeownership rates are at the highest level ever. After-tax incomes are up by 8.4% since the end of 2000.substantially higher than following the last recession, and household wealth is at an all-time high. The unemployment rate dropped from its peak of 6.3% last June to 5.6% today.below the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
- The President.s pro-growth policies are working, but he will not be satisfied until every American looking for work has found a job. To create more jobs, we must make sure America remains the best place in the world to do business. The President has outlined a six-point plan for building on the success of his jobs and growth agenda to create even more job opportunities for America.s workers.
- Tax relief was vital to getting the economy moving again, and for the sake of job creation, it must be made permanent.
- There need to be fewer regulations so business owners can focus on their business rather than spending hours on paperwork.
- We need legal reform to cut down on frivolous lawsuits. Even the threat of frivolous lawsuits puts a damper on job creation, investment, and expansion.
- We need to address the high cost of health care and provide coverage for the uninsured through association health plans, health savings accounts, and medical liability reform.
- We need affordable and reliable supplies of energy so we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
- Finally, we need to open more foreign markets to U.S. products and services.
- The President.s policies have brought us back from recession to recovery. Now is not the time to change the policies that are strengthening our economic recovery. A pro-growth economic agenda, and help for American workers to gain the skills to secure good jobs, are the right ways to respond to the challenges of our growing and changing economy. Raising taxes and retreating into economic isolationism is the wrong course to take. These policies would endanger our economic recovery and cost U.S. workers jobs.