President Bush discusses the economy with Small Business Owners
George W. Bush
President of The United State
thanks for the kind words, thank you for being an entrepreneur who was
encouraging to your fellow workers to serve their country.
You represent a lot
of bosses across this country who encouraged the Reservists or the Guard who
made sure there was a job available when they came home and, at the same time,
supported their family. And I want to thank you very much for that.
want to welcome you all to the Rose Garden.
It is a beautiful
day. It's a beautiful day for our country, too. We've got troops still fighting
in Iraq, and our nation takes great pride in the men and women who wear our
country's uniform and who sacrifice for security and peace. The world has seen
their skill and their courage and their humanity. They bring security to our
country and, at the same time, bring freedom to the Iraqi people.
appreciate the chance to meet with small business leaders from around our
country to discuss the challenges facing our economy.
The small business
folks in America, the entrepreneurs represent one of the great strengths of this
country: the spirit of free enterprise, the willingness to take risks, the hard
work required to move this economy forward.
business owners and employees understand that this economy has a great deal of
The American people
have all the talent to meet that potential, and that's why I'm so optimistic
about the future for our economy.
The nation needs
quick action by our Congress on a pro-growth economic package. We need tax
relief totaling at least $550 billion to make sure our economy grows. (Applause.)
And American workers and American businesses need every bit of that relief now
so that people who want to find a job can find one, so that people that are
looking for work are able to put food on the table for their families.
want to thank Christine for coming.
I appreciate the
fact that she is the CEO of her own business. We just had a roundtable
discussion in the Roosevelt Room, and one of the things I love -- told the folks
there I loved about America was the fact that somebody can own their own
business, that ours is an ownership society. I think that's one of things that
makes America so unique is the entrepreneurial spirit and the drive by people
from all walks of life to start their own business, succeed with their own
business. And at the same time, it's that drive that makes it likely somebody is
going to find work.
appreciate Karla Aaron, who's with us, as well, Hialeah Metal Spinning from
And I want to thank
Tim Barrett who is the owner of Wood World. Tim said he's got -- he's about as
small a business unit as you can get. He's got four employees. I said, well it's
four times bigger than the smallest. And I appreciate Frank Fillmore as the
president of the Fillmore Group. Thank you all for standing up here, as well.
Steve Anderson was
with us today, who is the head of the National Restaurant Association. His
association represents all kinds of entrepreneurs. The restaurant industry is a
great place for people to get their start in achieving the American Dream.
Gomez was here representing the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The most interesting statistics about the entrepreneurial spirit is the
number of Hispanic small businesses that are flourishing in our country. It's
one of the great tributes to America and our open society.
appreciate so very much Tom Donohue, who is the head of the U.S. Chamber, for
joining us today.
Jerry Jasinowski is
the head of the National Association of Manufacturers is with us. Karen Kerrigan
is the Small Business Survival Committee -- that's a pretty good name. Tom
Musser is the National Federation of Independent Businesses, NFIB. And Terry
Neese is Women Impacting Public Policy, joined us at our discussion in the
Roosevelt Room. Bill Parsley of Carswell Distributing Company. Dirk Van Dongen,
who is my good buddy, who represents the National Association of Wholesaler
Distributors. And Melanie Sabelhaus, who represents the Small Business
Administration. We had a great discussion. I want to thank you all for joining
us there and I appreciate everybody else coming today, as well.
On the first day of
the new Congress more than three months ago, I spoke to the business leaders in
Chicago, Illinois. I described two great and immediate tasks facing our country:
first, to meet the dangers to America wherever they gather; and, secondly, to
achieve a vigorous and growing economy. Those remain the highest priorities of
my administration. And there's no doubt we're going to meet those priorities.
government is acting to protect the American people from the threats of a new
era. In Iraq, the regime of Saddam Hussein is no more. A
month ago -- one month ago -- that country was a prison to its people, a haven
for terrorists, an arsenal of weapons that endangered the world. Today, the
world is safer. The terrorists have lost an ally. The Iraqi people are regaining
control of their own destiny. These are good days in the history of freedom.
Our victory in Iraq
is certain, but it is not complete. Centralized power of the dictator has ended
-- yet, in parts of Iraq, desperate and dangerous elements remain. Forces of our
coalition will engage these enemies until they surrender or until they're
destroyed. We have waged this war with determination and with clarity of purpose.
And we will see it through until the job is done.
press on to liberate every corner of Iraq, we are beginning the difficult work
of helping Iraqis to build a free and stable country.
The immediate tasks
involve establishing order, as well as delivering food and water and medicines.
We'll help Iraqis to restore electrical power and other basic services. We'll
help destroy the former regime's weapons of mass destruction. We'll help the
Iraqi people to establish a just and representative government, which respects
human rights and adheres to the rule of law. These tasks will take effort, and
these tasks will take time. But I have faith in the Iraqi people, and I believe
that a free Iraq can be an example of reform and progress to all the Middle East.
victory in Iraq will be a crucial advance in the war against terror.
Yet, the war on
terror continues. Our nation is still threatened by determined and resourceful
enemies. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remains a danger to
the civilized world. Yet from the very day our country was attacked, we have
sent a clear message to all who would threaten us, and our friends, and our
allies. The United States of America, and our coalition, will defend ourselves.
When we make a pledge, we mean it. We keep our word; and what we begin, we will
priority of the government is to encourage prosperity and the creation of jobs
for all who seek them. Here in Washington, we're now determining the size and
the shape of a package to promote growth in jobs. It's not "if" we have a
package, it's how big will the package be. The "if" is over with. In this
debate, the goal is not to set arbitrary numbers for that package. The goal is
to determine what our economy needs, what small businesses need, what workers
need. And then to take actions necessary to meet those needs. The proposals I
announced three months ago were designed to address specific weaknesses slowing
down our economy and keeping companies from hiring new workers. Those weaknesses
All of you know
that economic and job growth will come when consumers buy more goods and
services from businesses such as your own. And the best and fairest way to make
sure Americans can do that is to grant them immediate tax relief so they have
more of their own money to spend or save.
2001, the Congress passed broad tax reductions in income taxes.
And promised much
of this tax relief for future years. With the economy as it is, the American
people need that relief right away. The tax cuts are good enough for the
American taxpayers three or five or seven years from now, they are even better
Instead of lowering
taxes little by little, the Congress should do it all at once and give our
economy the boost it needs. Instead of gradually reducing the marriage penalty,
we should do it now. Instead of slowly raising the child credit from $600 to
$1,000, we should do it now. And we should send the extra $400 per child to
American families this year, 2003.
together, these tax reductions will help 92 million Americans.
And a significant
part of the benefit to our economy will come within the first two years of the
plan. A family of four with an income of $40,000 would receive a 96 percent
reduction in federal income taxes. Instead of paying $1,178 per year, the family
would pay $45 a year. That means extra money in the family budget year after
year. That money can cover a lot of bills. That money can help families with
purchases they have been delaying. That money will be in circulation, which will
be good for our economy.
And this plan will
help our small business sector. The benefits of the growth plan will come from
increased consumer spending and, as importantly, from lower income tax rates on
the small businesses, themselves. It is important for our fellow citizens to
understand that most small businesses pay their business taxes at the individual
rates. Most small businesses are sole proprietorships, or limited partnerships,
therefore, when you reduce individual tax rates, you benefit small business
As a matter of fact, under this plan, some 23
million small business owners will see their taxes cut, which leaves more money
for investment, more money for growth, more money for job creation. A growing
economy also needs small business investment, and our tax code should encourage
investment. Today, a small business can deduct a maximum of $25,000 in the year
in which they buy equipment. We need to triple the amount that can be deducted
in the year in which they buy equipment.
proposed to Congress that they ought to limit -- the limit ought to be increased
to $75,000, and that limit ought to be indexed to inflation.
By doing so, we
promote greater investment in machinery, and when a small business buys a
machine, it enhances their company's productivity. As well, it means the
machinery manufacturer is likely to have more work available. More investment
equals jobs, and what we're interested in in this administration is helping
people who look for work find a job.
We can also promote
economic growth and job creation by removing the double tax on dividends. Taxing
corporate income once is fair. It is not fair for the federal government to tax
the same money twice. The burden of double taxation falls on the millions of
individuals who receive dividends. It falls especially hard on seniors, who
receive half of all dividend income.
removal of double taxation will put more money into the hands of investors, it
would encourage more investment in American businesses.
Economists say that
this plan will help our stock markets. And since half of American families own
stock, the reform will help them save and help our economy grow.
Now, these measures
were presented to the Congress in the first week of this year. The pro-growth
package was urgent in January, it's even more urgent today. It is important for
you all to understand and for our fellow Americans to understand, the tax relief
I have proposed and will push for until enacted will create 1.4 million new jobs
by the end of 2004.
In two year's time,
this nation has experienced war, a recession and a national emergency, which has
caused our government to run a deficit. The best way to reduce the deficit is
with more growth in our economy, which means more revenues to our Treasury and
less spending in Washington, D.C.
pleased that both the House and the Senate have passed budget resolutions that
show real spending restraint.
And now the
Congress must focus on a robust and effective growth package. We need at least
$550 billion in that package because the more tax relief that goes to the
American people, the more jobs we will create in this economy.
The last few months
have been a time of challenge for America. Our resolve has been tested. Yet, we
have the great resources of national strength and national character to overcome
every challenge we face. Our confidence and our optimism have never wavered. We
are defending the peace of the world. We're bringing freedom to corners of the
world that haven't seen freedom in years. We're also building the prosperity of
This is a unique
moment in our history, and the American people are rising to meet it.
want to thank each of you for your hard work.
I want to thank
each of you for the faith you have shown in this country's future. May God bless
you, and may God continue to bless America. Thank you, all.
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