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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
June 21, 2004
Remarks by the Vice President to Bush-Cheney Supporters
Henderson Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
9:10 A.M. PDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. (Applause.) Or as the President would say, knock it off. (Laughter.) Well, that was, Gustavo, as fine an introduction as I've had. And if you need temporary employment over the next three or four months, I got a job for you. (Laughter.) That was great.
No, I really appreciate your kind words for the President and myself. It means a great deal. And that's what it is all about, the kind of story that you've just heard -- in terms of his success, it's not the government that creates jobs; it's entrepreneurs out there who respond to the opportunities -- (Applause.)
It's great to be back home in the West, and in southern Nevada again. President Bush was here just the other day for a terrific event in Reno with Senator John McCain. And the President asked me to bring you his best wishes this morning -- from the President of the United States. (Applause.)
Of course, I did bring Lynne with me this morning. (Applause.) All right, huh? I like to tell people that we got married because of a great Republican electoral victory in 1952 because in those years I was a youngster living in Lincoln, Nebraska with my folks. Dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. Lynne was in Casper, Wyoming. And when Eisenhower got elected, he reorganized the Agriculture Department. Dad got transferred to Casper, Wyoming. And I was 13 years old. That's where I met Lynne. We grew up together, went to high school together, and come August, we'll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. (Applause.)
But I explained to a group the other night that if it hadn't been for Dwight Eisenhower's victory, Lynne would have married somebody else. (Laughter.) And she said, right, and now he'd be Vice President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.)
It's an honor to be today with so many distinguished guests. I'm pleased to report your Senator John Ensign and Congressman Jon Porter a superb job for Nevada and for the nation. (Applause.)
The President and I are tremendously grateful for all of our supporters here in Nevada. We were very proud to carry this state four years ago. We know that Nevada is going to be critically important again this year, and we're counting on your energy and your dedication. The President and I plan to do our part, as well. We'll work hard to earn your vote here in Nevada. And with your help, this state will be part of a nationwide victory for the Bush-Cheney ticket. (Applause.)
I can't think of a better place to talk about America's vibrant economy than here in the Las Vegas area. Every month, more than 5,000 people come here to make this part of Nevada their home. Las Vegas is growing so fast you have to print two phone books a year just to keep up. That's not happening in very many other places.
There's a good reason why so many people are coming here. This is one of the most confident, optimistic places in America. This is a welcoming place: home to young families, to senior citizens, to high-tech workers, business leaders, and even a few people who have convinced themselves they can beat the house. (Laughter.) All of you see a bright future ahead, for southern Nevada and for our country.
As all of us know, these past three-and-a-half years have brought many challenges to America, and our economy has been through a lot. We have faced recession, terrorist attack, and the uncertainties that exist in a time of war. Yet we have come through all of these challenges. We have acted on our fundamental convictions about the economy. We've left more money in the hands that earned it, by passing three measures of tax relief, in 2001, 2002, and 2003. (Applause.) We've kept the government from overstepping its limits by simplifying and eliminating regulations. And now we see an economy growing bigger and better -- thanks to the steady effort of American workers, and thanks to the sound policies and leadership of our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
Here in Nevada, 845,000 taxpayers have seen their income tax burden reduced since the President took office. More than 245,000 married couples pay lower taxes because of the marriage penalty relief. More than 210,000 families pay lower taxes because we increased the child tax credit. And more than 160,000 small businesses have owners whose additional tax savings make it possible for them to invest, to expand, and to hire more workers.
As we learned last Friday, 3,800 Nevada workers found new jobs in May, and more than 94,000 have gone back to work since January of '02. Over that same period, your unemployment rate has dropped from 6.6 percent to 4.1 percent. People in Nevada have more money in their pockets because of President Bush's tax cuts, and you are putting that money to good use -- far better use than the federal government had kept it. (Applause.)
We're witnessing that same upward trend all across the nation. America added 248,000 jobs in May -- our ninth consecutive month of job creation. American businesses have created jobs for nearly a million workers in the last 100 days alone; and we've added over 1.4 million jobs since last August. Manufacturing jobs have increased for four straight months, and more manufacturers have been reporting increased activity than at any time in the last 20 years. The national unemployment rate is now 5.6 percent, down from 6.3 percent June a year ago, and below the average unemployment rate for the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. The results are coming in -- the Bush tax relief is working. (Applause.)
We're seeing great progress in many other areas, as well. Over the past year, economic growth has been 5 percent -- the fastest pace since Ronald Reagan's first term in the White House. In the past 12 months, Americans have seen their per capita, real disposable personal income - - the best measure of the money people actually have in their wallets - - increase 3.3 percent, far higher than the 1.4 percent in the year before we took office. The home ownership rate is the highest ever. Interest rates and inflation are low. Manufacturing activity is increasing. Productivity is high. Business investment and factory orders have been rising. America's economy is moving in the right direction, and President Bush's policies are making us stronger every day. (Applause.)
President Bush and I are proud of the progress that America's economy has made. And we know firsthand what a difference it has made. I've had the chance to meet with small business owners and workers all across the country -- most recently in New Hampshire, Colorado and Ohio. They've seen some tough times in recent years, but now things have clearly turned around. And more importantly, they're optimistic about the future. The President and I share that basic optimism, and we have a clear understanding of the work that remains to be done. We need to remove obstacles standing in the way of further growth and new jobs. We need to create a greater sense of certainty in the economy, so families and businesses have the confidence to invest for the future. This economy still has tremendous potential to grow. That's why we'll keep moving forward with a comprehensive, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda.
We'll continue to reduce the number of mandates and unnecessary regulations coming out of Washington, D.C. Small businesses should be able to spend their time working to become big businesses, not filling out useless paperwork to satisfy the Washington bureaucracy. (Applause.)
Our economy also needs lawsuit abuse reform. (Applause.) Junk and frivolous lawsuits can ruin an honest business. They put people out of work. They clog the courts, delaying justice for people with real legal grievances. It's a lot easier for America's entrepreneurs to hire new workers if they don't have to keep hiring lawyers. (Applause.)
A healthy, growing economy also depends on affordable, reliable supplies of energy. Three years ago, the President sent Congress a sound energy plan to modernize our electricity system, increase conservation, expand the use of alternative fuels, and produce more energy here at home in the United States. If Congress had acted on our energy plan three years ago, today we would be well on our way to increasing our domestic energy supply. The House has passed legislation, yet it's hung in the Senate. It's time for Congress to pass our energy plan, so we can make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)
As you know so well here in Nevada, we also need to make sure frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits don't run good doctors out of business and drive up the cost of health care. (Applause.) Congress needs to pass medical liability reform soon because no one has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit. (Applause.)
We also need to continue our efforts to break down trade barriers and open up markets around the world. The next time you hear someone talk about putting up barriers to trade, remind them that about 97 percent of America's exporters are small or medium-sized companies -- the kind of companies that create most of the new jobs in this country. (Applause.) The surest way to endanger all of those jobs is a policy of tariffs and barriers and economic isolation. We will not give in to that temptation. For the sake of growth and jobs, and for the good of our economic future, the United States of America must remain a confident, successful, trading nation.
In order to generate more jobs and maintain economic growth, we also need to create certainty in the tax code. Families and entrepreneurs need to be able to plan for the future. But unless Congress acts, the tax relief that has proven so successful is going to expire. For the sake of jobs, for the sake of American families, Congress needs to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)
It's pretty clear that the President's tax relief has done exactly what it was designed to do -- add momentum to this economy and help more Americans find jobs. Of course, some people find a way to be pessimistic about everything, and that is the case with the President's opponent in this campaign. (Applause.)
Every day, Senator Kerry does his best to talk down America's economy, an economy that over the last three years has been growing at the fastest pace of any major industrialized nation in the world. (Applause.) As the American people have worked to overcome the challenges of terrorist attack and recession, he's traveled all across the country telling workers and entrepreneurs that it all reminds him of the Great Depression. He's even trotted out the old term "Misery Index." The problem is that by Senator Kerry's definition, things actually got better during the Carter years. (Laughter.) And then got worse during the Reagan-Bush years. (Laughter.) That makes a total of two people who remember the late '70s as the golden age of the American economy. (Laughter and applause.) And those two people, of course, are Jimmy Carter and John Kerry. (Laughter.) By now, even Jimmy Carter is probably beginning to have his doubts.
There's another problem with Senator Kerry's economic pessimism. He doesn't recognize the strengths of our economy, and so it's hard to believe he'd know how to make it any stronger. Senator Kerry talks a lot about creating jobs, yet he hasn't outlined a plan to create a single one. His economic plan comes down to one big goal, raising taxes on the American people.
For example, take the vision he's laid out for America's small businesses, which create about 70 percent of the new jobs in our economy. Many small business owners are sole proprietors, meaning they pay taxes on business profits at the individual income rate. When we cut marginal tax rates, we gave needed relief to millions of small business owners. Senator Kerry voted against that tax relief, and now he's promising to raise marginal rates on small business owners if he's elected.
Senator Kerry is also against the incentives President Bush has provided to small businesses to invest in new equipment. Even though these incentives encourage small businesses to expand and create jobs, Senator Kerry voted against them.
And Senator Kerry wants to reimpose the death tax which we phased out to spare farmers and entrepreneurs from an unfair burden of being taxed twice on a lifetime's work. Senator Kerry's goal is to bring the death tax back to life.
Senator Kerry's plan to raise taxes on small businesses would choke growth, discourage investment, and clog the primary engine of job creation in our economy. We should do exactly the opposite of what Senator Kerry proposes; we should keep moving forward with a pro-growth, pro-jobs, small business agenda. And we should make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)
On the future of our economy, as on so many vital matters confronting our nation, we can see the stark choice that voters will have this November. Senator Kerry doesn't show much faith in America's workers and entrepreneurs. And I know his pessimistic outlook isn't going to sit well with the people who work and vote in Nevada. Listen to his proposals between now and November, and you'll see a clear pattern: Every one of them would increase the power of Washington bureaucrats, and increase the size of the government's claim on your paycheck. Americans have seen the mind set before, in the days of malaise, and we're not going back. (Applause.)
In Nevada and around the nation, American families, workers and businesses have welcomed President Bush's tax relief, and used it to drive this economy forward. And all Americans can be certain of this: We are going to maintain our optimistic, pro-growth, pro-entrepreneur, pro-jobs strategy in Washington, D.C. With the right policies, and with the incredible energy and talent of American workers all across this country, we'll keep a good thing going, and see even better days in the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.) I am confident that this November, with the sharp alternatives before them, the American people will choose the confident, steady, principled leadership of President George W. Bush.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 9:30 A.M. PDT