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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 31, 2004

President's Radio Address

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week we received encouraging reports that show our economy is gaining strength. Consumer confidence hit a two-year high in July. Existing home sales hit an all-time new record in June. The home ownership rate has hit a new all-time high. And since last summer, our economy has grown at a rate as fast as any in nearly 20 years.

These gains in our economy have come at a time when Americans are benefiting from the full effects of tax relief. I have traveled across America, meeting small business owners who are investing tax savings into new equipment, and I have met families who are using tax savings to pay for their children's needs. All of this added economic activity is creating opportunity. Since last August, Americans have started work at more than 1.5 million new jobs, many of them in high-growth, high-paying industries.

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The impact of our growing economy is being felt in Washington, where estimates of government deficits are shrinking. My administration now forecasts that the combined deficits in 2004 and 2005 will be about $100 billion less than previously expected, and because of my policy of strengthening the economy while enforcing spending discipline in Washington, we remain on pace to reduce the deficit by half in the next five years.

These are hopeful signs and we must make sure our economy continues to gain momentum. Families are working hard to make ends meet, and these families depend on good policies in Washington that promote growth, new jobs and new opportunities.

Thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act, we are improving our public schools so students learn basic skills like reading, writing, math and science. We have expanded Pell Grant college scholarships so that more students can attend college, and we are helping community colleges train workers for the new high-skill jobs being created in our growing economy.

We're giving individuals more control over their health care dollars through newly created health savings accounts, and we must also address the rising costs of health care by enacting common-sense reforms in our medical liability system. We must continue to open up foreign markets to American goods, because on a level playing field, American workers and farmers and entrepreneurs can compete with anybody, anytime, anywhere.

We must enact reforms to our legal system, so hardworking entrepreneurs are not run out of business by frivolous lawsuits. We must have a national energy policy so we become less dependent on foreign sources of energy. We must have sensible regulations so that America's job creators can focus on satisfying their customers and not bureaucrats in government.

And we must keep taxes low on American families and small businesses, by making the tax relief we have passed permanent. Thanks to tax relief enacted since 2001, a family of four earning 40,000 a year now pays nearly $2,000 less in federal taxes. That is enough to pay the average home electricity bill for more than a year, or fill up the gas tank of two cars for an entire year.

To millions of hard-working Americans, tax relief has been the difference in helping make ends meet. This is a crucial time for our economy. We have emerged from a period of great challenge. Terrorist attacks, recession and corporate scandal hurt the wallets of millions of Americans, but these shocks to our economy did not damage our spirit. We're a hardworking and resilient nation. Our economy is on a rising path, and together, we will bring our prosperity to every corner of America.

Thank you for listening.