The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
October 9, 2003

President Bush Discusses Economic Strategy From New Hampshire

Excerpts from October 9, 2003 Speech in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Click here to read full remarks

Because we believe in our free enterprise system, we can be confident in our economy's future. Our economy has been through a lot. When I took office, the stock market had been declining for nine months, and our economy was headed into recession. And just as we started to recover, the attacks of September the 11th struck another blow to our economy. And then investor confidence was shaken by scandals -- scandals in corporate America -- dishonest behavior we cannot and we will not tolerate in our country. (Applause.) And then we faced the uncertainty that preceded the battles of Afghanistan and Iraq.

No, we've been through a lot. But we acted; we led. We acted to overcome these challenges and acted on principle. Government doesn't create wealth. The role of government is to create the kind of conditions where risk-takers and entrepreneurs can invest and grow and hire new workers. We acted to create the conditions for job growth so people can find work. When Americans have more take-home pay, more money in their pocket to spend, or save, or invest, the whole economy grows, and people are more likely to find a job. So I twice led the United States Congress to pass historic tax relief for the American people. (Applause.)

We wanted tax relief to be broad and fair as possible -- so we reduced taxes on everyone who pays income taxes. (Applause.) We have a tax code that penalizes marriage. That doesn't make sense. (Laughter.) So we reduced the marriage penalty. It costs a lot to raise children -- we understand that in Washington, D.C. -- and it costs a lot to pay for their education. So we increased the child credit to $1,000 per child. (Applause.) And when we said the check was in the mail, we meant it. (Applause.)

We recognize that it's counterproductive to discourage investment, especially during an economic recovery. So we quadrupled the expense deduction for small business investment, and cut tax rates on dividends and capital gains.

It is unfair to tax the estates of people -- people leave behind after a lifetime of saving, or building a small business, or running a farm. When you leave this world, the IRS shouldn't follow you. (Laughter.) So we're phasing out the federal death tax. (Applause.)

I proposed and signed these measures to help individuals and help families -- but I did so, as well, to help small businesses. See, most small business owners pay taxes under the individual tax rates, and therefore, when we cut all rates, small businesses benefit. We help mom-and-pops and start-ups and small businesses by allowing higher expense deductions.

The reason I did so is because I understand small businesses create most of the new jobs in America. If we're worried about job creation, if we want there to be jobs for America, we must encourage small businesses. See, small businesses are the first to -- usually the first to take risk, the first to hire new people. By helping small businesses we help the entire economy. (Applause.)

These actions are helping people across this state. We've cut taxes on 112,000 small business owners in New Hampshire. We've reduced the marriage penalty for 192,000 couples. We've increased the child credit for 124,000 families. See, I know this: I know that New Hampshire citizens can spend their money better than the people in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

We're following a clear and consistent economic strategy, and I'm confident about our future. Last month this economy exceeded expectations and added net new jobs. Inflation is low. After-tax incomes are rising. Homeownership is at record highs, and productivity is high and it is rising, as well. Factory orders, particularly for high-tech equipment, have risen over the last several months. Our strategy has set the stage for sustained growth. By reducing taxes, we kept a promise, and we did the right thing at the right time for the American economy. (Applause.)

We're moving forward, but we are not satisfied. We can't be satisfied so long as we have fellow citizens who are looking for work. I understand that here in New Hampshire, one out of every five jobs have been lost in the manufacturing sector. That's an issue we must deal with. We must act boldly from this point forward to create jobs for America. So I want Congress to join me in a six-point plan to encourage job creation.

First, we must help small businesses grow and hire by controlling the high cost of health care. I have laid out a plan to do so. We must confront the junk lawsuits that are harming a lot of good and honest businesses. I have laid out a plan to do so. We must have a sound national energy policy -- we must keep the lights on, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.) We must continue to cut useless government regulations that choke job creation. We must work for a free trade policy that opens up markets and levels the playing field for American workers and manufacturing companies. (Applause.)

And we need to make sure the tax relief we passed doesn't disappear in future years. And you're wondering why I would say that. Well, because of a quirk in the legislation, the tax cuts that we passed are scheduled to go away unless we act. See, the child credit goes away in a couple of years. In other words, you get the thousand dollars now; it's going down to $700 in a couple years -- unless the Congress acts. The death penalty which is scheduled to go away comes back unless the Congress acts.

You see, when we passed tax relief, I know most Americans did not expect to see higher taxes come back through the back door. I also understand for job creation, it's important to have certainty in the tax code. People have got to be able to plan. And so if Congress is really interested in job creation, they will make the tax cuts we passed permanent. (Applause.)

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