|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
June 18, 2004
Remarks by the Vice President at Adam Aircraft Industries
Adam Aircraft Industries
2:05 P.M. MDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. I want to thank Rick and John for leading our tour this afternoon of this outstanding company. The employees of the company, obviously, are doing fantastic, innovative work, and you can all be very proud of the tremendous products you're producing right here.
And we're delighted -- Lynne and I -- are delighted to be here for such a warm welcome to Englewood and to be back in Colorado. You grow up in Wyoming, Colorado is pretty close to home. Think of all the greenies that come up there and take our fish. (Laughter.) But we've spent a lot of time in this state over the years. And it's my pleasure to bring greetings to all of you from our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)
You may know as Vice President, my only official job is to preside over the Senate. When they wrote the Constitution, they created the post of Vice President, they got down to the end of the Constitutional Convention there in Philadelphia, and suddenly discovered they hadn't given him anything to do. (Laughter.) So they made him the presiding officer of the Senate where he gets to preside and cast tie-breaking votes.
My predecessor John Adams also had floor privileges. He could actually go down into the well of the Senate and engage in the debate of the day, then he did a couple of times, and they withdrew his floor privileges. They've never been restored.
But I have a chance to observe the Senate in action, and I want to tell you two of my great friends, and I think two men who do a superb job for Colorado and the nation are Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Wayne Allard. They do a great job for everybody here in Colorado. (Applause.)
I've come here today to speak about our economic program. But before I do that, I want to say a word about the news out of the Middle East this afternoon. We have heard from terrorists now who are claiming that they have beheaded another American hostage, Mr. Paul Johnson. This horrendous act shows once again the nature of the enemy that we're facing in the war on terror. They have no shame, not a shred of decency, and no mercy even for the innocent. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. Paul Johnson this afternoon, a good man, a fellow citizen who may well have murdered today. All Americans can be certain of President Bush's resolve in this war. America will hunt down these killers, find them one-by-one, and destroy them. (Applause.)
Colorado is a proud, enterprising state -- where people value their independence, put their hearts into their work, and have a confident outlook on the future. I see that in an optimistic spirit right here at Adam Aircraft. You're showing the remarkable potential for innovation and growth in America's economy. With talented workers, with entrepreneurs willing to take risk, you've found a way to fill a growing demand in the general aviation market. You're producing high quality aircraft and selling them to satisfied customers. And that's a wise business plan. It's no surprise that orders are starting to come in.
In this line of work, you understand that the most advanced technology yields its full potential only in experienced and resourceful hands. So you've created a culture of teamwork, great skill, and creativity; and, sure enough, turned a small company into a thriving business. I want to thank you for your good example. And on the President's behalf, congratulate you on your success.
One of the President's great goals for our nation is a healthy, vigorous, growing economy, and that starts with a thriving small business sector. We understand, as you do, that the role of government is not to create wealth. The role of government is to create an environment that rewards the spirit of enterprise, so that employers and entrepreneurs have the confidence to expand, to invest, and to hire new workers. That's the principle behind our pro-growth agenda, and I believe we've got a lot to show for the effort. 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, the uncertainties that exist in wartime. Yet we've come through all of these challenges. And now we see an economy that gets bigger and better every day, thanks to the steady effort of American workers, and I think to the sound policies and leadership of our President.
Our pro-growth strategy begins with leaving more money in the hands who earn it. So we proposed and delivered three rounds of tax relief -- in 2001, 2002, and 2003 -- reducing the federal tax burden on every American who pays income taxes.
When we passed those tax relief measures, some people back in Washington had their doubts. They said that tax relief wouldn't matter at all to most people. But out here in the real world, things look a little different. Since President Bush took office, More than 1.7 million taxpayers in Colorado have seen their income tax bills reduced. More than 565,000 married couples in Colorado are benefiting from marriage penalty relief, and more than 400,000 families in Colorado have benefited from the increase in the child tax credit. The average savings from the President's across-the-board tax cuts topped $1,500. Some say that's not much. But it sure feels like a lot when you have to send it to Washington. We did the right thing by returning it to you. (Applause.)
By putting more money into the private economy, tax relief has also helped more Americans find new jobs. Small and medium-sized businesses create most of the new jobs in America -- so we designed the tax relief to help small businesses expand and to hire more workers. We cut marginal tax rates to benefit sole proprietors, who pay business taxes at the individual rates. We increased the annual deduction for equipment purchases by small businesses -- from $25,000 to $100,000. And for the good of family businesses, farmers, and ranchers, we began to phase out the unfair federal death tax.
The President's economic program has made a difference for small businesses across your state. More than 470,000 business owners in Colorado have seen their federal tax burden go down since 2001. They're putting that money to good use, and now jobs are coming back -- 1,600 Colorado workers found new jobs in May, and 27,700 people have gone back to work since February. Your unemployment rate is 4.9 percent, down from its peak of 6.2 percent in July a year ago.
We're witnessing that same upward trend all across the country. 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 three months alone, adding over 1.4 million jobs since last August. Manufacturing jobs have increased for four straight months, and more manufacturers are 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 last June and below the average of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. The results are coming in -- the Bush tax relief is working.
We're seeing great progress in many other areas as well. In the first quarter of this year, the economy grew at a strong rate of 4.4 percent. Over the last year, economic growth has been 5 percent, the fastest pace since the first Reagan term. In the past 12 months, Americans have seen their real, per capita, 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 President Bush 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 are rising. America's economy is moving in the right direction -- don't let anyone tell you otherwise. (Applause.)
It's pretty clear that the President's tax relief program has done exactly what it was designed to do, add momentum to America's economy and help more people find jobs. Yet for all our progress, there's still have plenty of work to do. We recognize that there are still challenges, especially in our manufacturing companies. That's why we'll keep moving forward with our comprehensive, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda.
We intend to continue to reduce the number of mandates and unnecessary regulations coming out of Washington, D.C. The Small Business Administration estimates regulations cost small and medium businesses some $7,000 per worker. That discourages hiring and stifles innovation, often without any benefit to the public interest. So we have streamlined tax reporting requirements for small businesses, saving them more than 50 million hours of unproductive work. We're going to continue that effort. Small- and medium-sized businesses should be able to spend their time working to become growing businesses, not filling out useless paperwork to satisfy the Washington bureaucracy. (Applause.)
As you know here at Adam Aircraft, a healthy, growing economy also depends on affordable, reliable supplies of energy. We need to pass sound energy legislation. We need to promote conservation and new domestic production. Had we started the environmentally safe development of ANWR some 15 years ago when it was first proposed, that oil would be arriving today by pipeline right now, at the rate of up to a million barrels per day. For the sake of economic security and national security, Congress needs to pass legislation to make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy. (Applause.)
Our economy also needs lawsuit abuse reform. Junk and frivolous lawsuits can ruin an honest business. They put people out of work. They clog the courts, delay 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.)
We have a plan to help business owners confront the rising costs of health care, as well. We have established health savings accounts, so employees can save tax-free for routine medical expenses. We're calling on Congress to pass association health plans, so small business owners can pool their risk and better more affordable health care plans for their employees. And we have proposed upgrades to our health care information technology, including electronic medical records for more Americans, so we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care.
Here in Colorado and across the country, 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. No one has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit, so Congress needs to pass medical liability reform and do it soon.
One of the most vital choices facing our economy is our approach to trade. We need to continue our efforts to break down trade barriers and open up markets around the world. Last year, Colorado businesses exported some $6.1 billion worth of goods and services -- up more than 10 percent from the previous year. Exports from Colorado to Mexico are up, and exports to Malaysia have more than tripled. Colorado products competing on the world market range from airplane parts to televisions to beef. Colorado is making what the world wants to buy.
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 surest way to threaten all of those jobs would be a policy of tariffs and barriers and economic isolationism. 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 will 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. Small businesses will lose incentives to invest in new equipment. Marginal tax rates on sole proprietors and families will increase. The income tax burden for a family of four earning $40,000 a year will go up by almost a thousand dollars. And small business owners, farmers, and entrepreneurs will see the death tax rise from the dead. Higher taxes now would choke off the economic growth and discourage the strong job creation that we're now seeing. For the sake of American jobs, and for the sake of American families, Congress needs to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)
In Colorado and around the nation, American workers and businesses have welcomed President Bush's tax relief, and used it to drive our economy forward. All Americans can be certain that we're going to maintain a pro-growth, pro-entrepreneur, pro-jobs strategy in Washington. With the right policies and with the incredible energy and talent of American workers like you, we'll keep a good thing going, and see even better days ahead for the greatest nation on earth. Once again, thanks for your hospitality; congratulations on your tremendous accomplishments; and keep up the good work.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 2:18 P.M. MDT