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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 6, 2006

Fact Sheet: President Bush's Agenda for Job Creation and Economic Opportunity


Today, President Bush Addressed The Economic Club Of Chicago On His Agenda To Continue Creating Jobs And Expand Economic Opportunity. The President discussed the policies that must be in place to keep the economy growing in 2006. The economy added 108,000 new jobs in December and has added more than 400,000 jobs in the last two months. More than 4.6 million new jobs have been added since May 2003. The unemployment rate is now down to 4.9 percent - lower than the average of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Opportunity Starts With Economic Growth

The President Has Acted To Maintain Growth By Cutting Taxes. In the past five years, the economy has endured a stock market collapse, recession, terrorist attacks, corporate scandals, high energy costs, and natural disasters. These economic shocks required decisive action. The President called on Congress to cut taxes - and Congress responded. Taxes were lowered on individuals and families, and by cutting taxes, the Administration helped raise real after-tax income per person by 7 percent while the President has been in office - making a real difference for America's families.

The President Is Acting To Restrain Spending. America is at war, and the government will spend what it takes to support the troops. That means the government must show discipline in other areas of the Federal budget. Each year the President has been in office, the growth rate for non-security discretionary spending has been reduced. Last February, the President's budget proposed an actual cut in non-security discretionary spending - the most disciplined proposal since Ronald Reagan was President. Working with Congress, the Administration ended or reduced about 90 low-priority or poorly performing government programs, cut non-security discretionary spending, and kept overall discretionary spending growth below the inflation rate. By passing pro-growth economic policies and insisting on spending restraint, the government is on track to cut the Federal deficit in half by 2009.

The Government Will Address Other Important Challenges. A growing economy requires secure and affordable sources of energy; a health care system where workers can find affordable care; and a private pension system that is fully funded and keeps its promises. A growing economy requires legal reform and regulatory reform. The President will continue to discuss these issues in the coming weeks and months.

Ensuring Opportunity Through Education And Training

America Has A Moral And Economic Interest In Ensuring That Americans Have The Skills Needed To Succeed. As the global economy changes, America will need workers to fill the jobs of the 21st century, or the jobs will go elsewhere. Education will help Americans succeed. If recent patterns continue, the typical worker will hold 10 jobs between the ages of 18 and 38. To take advantage of new opportunities, workers will have to acquire new skills over their entire working careers. Education also means a higher standard of living. Evidence shows that higher education levels are directly connected to higher incomes. Today, the earnings gap between a high school diploma and college degree has widened to about $23,000 per year. To help Americans take advantage of new opportunities, the government will do its part to help them get the education they need.

Acquiring Needed Skills Begins With Making Sure America's Schoolchildren Can Read And Write And Add And Subtract. That is why the President proposed and Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The premise of this law is clear: students are expected to learn. In return for Federal money, the government insists that states measure their students' performance. If schools are succeeding, they will be praised. If schools need improvement, they must change. If schools do not change, parents will have other options for their children's education.

The Administration Is Making It Easier For More Americans To Receive A College Education. In the 21st century, the best jobs will require a college education. To make opportunity real for all Americans, college degrees must be more affordable. So the Administration has increased funding for Pell grants by 49% since 2001 and increased the number of students receiving Pell grants by one million - making them available to the largest number of students in the Nation's history.

The Federal Government Will Help Workers Get Job Training. People need to get training for jobs that actually exist, and that means job-training programs that are flexible, work with employers, and meet the local workplace's demands. Community colleges are one of the most effective ways to get people needed training. The Administration's Community-Based Job Training Grants are designed to help workers get job training in high-growth industries through community and technical colleges. These colleges work with employers to train workers for jobs that actually exist - and in 2005, the Administration awarded $125 million in grants and will help them again in 2006. By reforming job training programs and supporting community colleges, the government is helping workers improve their lives and keeping America a land of opportunity.

Ensuring Opportunity By Promoting Free And Fair Trade

America Must Welcome The Opportunities That A Global Economy Offers. Ninety-five percent of potential customers live abroad. Opening new markets will help the economy to continue to grow and create job opportunities for Americans.

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