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Bush Speaks Before Chamber of Commerce About Tax Relief

Aired April 16, 2001 - 14:24   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush is using today's income tax deadline to promote his $1.6 trillion tax cut plan. He has just shown up at a rally sponsored by a business group, actually, the United States Chamber of Commerce, a group that strongly supports his tax plan. He's now addressing the group, we're going to take a bit of that live. Let's see what the president has to say.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm especially honored to be able to speak to the folks who really help our economy grow: the entrepreneurs, the business folks of America, the employers, the risk-takers, the people who really work hard to realize the great American dream.

As Kelly said, this is tax day. All across America, husbands and wives spent last weekend side by side at the kitchen table, trying to finish their 1040s. You have to say this for the income tax: It tends to bring families together.

(LAUGHTER)

The Internal Revenue Service asks our families in America a lot of questions: How much did you earn? Did you move last year? How big is your mortgage payment?

You know, the truth of the matter is, the IRS knows more about is than our neighbors do. In a lot of cases, they know more about us than our families do.

But while the tax system knows a lot about our citizens, there's a lot our citizens may not know about our tax system.

In 2001, the federal government will take a bigger share of the U.S. economy in taxes than in any year since 1944. And I'll remind you, in 1944, we had 11.5 million people under arms.

The federal government will take more as a percentage of the national economy this year than it did during World War II except for one year, more than at any year of the Vietnam War or the Korean conflict, more than it took to win World War I or prevail in the Cold War. Our country is at peace, but our government is charging war-time prices.

Enough is enough. The American people deserve tax relief.

(APPLAUSE)

We often hear it said, we cannot afford tax relief. But even after adjusting for inflation, the U.S. government will collect twice as much income tax revenue in 2001 as it did in 1981.

Enough is enough, folks. It's time to give our folks some tax relief in America.

(APPLAUSE)

During the budget debates in Washington, some members of Congress complained that they did not have enough money to spend. But in 2001, the income tax will yield $2 billion in revenues for each and every one of the 535 members of Congress. I think they should be able to get by on that.

(LAUGHTER)

Even the senators.

(LAUGHTER)

No, enough is enough. People in America deserve tax relief.

(APPLAUSE)

Thanks to the help of a lot of folks here and all around the country, tax relief is on the way.

The American taxpayer won some important victories a couple of weeks ago. The House of Representatives voted in favor of a plan that I think is an important plan: $1.6 trillion in tax relief over the next 10 years.

The Senate approved most of my tax plan, but wants the government to spend far more. Some members of the Senate are, unfortunately, proving the point I make all across the country: If you send it, they will spend it.

(LAUGHTER)

Federal discretionary spending rose by 8 percent in 2001. The Senate has just voted to increase the discretionary spending by another 8 percent in 2002.

At that rate, federal discretionary spending will double by 2010. Think about that. If we keep spending at the pace the Senate wants, in only nine years' time, government operations will cost twice as much as they do today.

Now, senators are in their home states this week listening to the taxpayers. I hope Americans will send a clear message: Excessive federal spending threatens economic vitality. What we want is a stronger economy, not larger federal government.

(APPLAUSE) There's a better way: Increase discretionary spending by a moderate and responsible 4 percent -- by the way, at a rate larger than inflation -- and then reduce taxes for everyone who pays taxes.

My plan does not puncture the tax code with loopholes. It doesn't give special treatment to special interest. My plan targets only one interest, the public interest.

It directs help to individuals and families and small businesses. It is a plan for real people. And it will help produce real prosperity.

Let me tell you a little bit about what tax relief means for American families. My plan, when fully implemented, returns about $1,600 to the typical family of four. $1,600 pays the typical mortgage for more than a month. $1,600 will buy the typical family nearly three months worth of groceries. $1,600 will fuel two cars for a year.

There are a lot of American mothers and dads who wake up in America today anxious over bills they have to pay. Their worries don't get any easier when the federal government takes more of their income in taxes than they pay for food, shelter and clothing.

For families with children to raise and debts to pay, tax relief will lift burdens and ease worries.

For small businesses, tax relief means more customers and improved cash flow, more money to hire more workers, more money to expand benefits, more money to invest in new technology.

Tax relief will create new jobs, tax relief will generate new wealth, and tax relief will open new opportunities.

If you read some of the news accounts of this budget debate, if you listen to what some of the members of Congress say, you'd think that little of value can ever happen in America unless the government makes it happen. You'd think that when we return money to the taxpayers, it evaporates into the air.

Let me tell you some of the things $1.6 trillion could mean to the private economy. It could buy 10 million new middle-income homes. It could pay the tuitions of 26 million young people at a private college or university for four years each. It could purchase 76 million new automobiles. These are the kinds of things Americans do with their own money, and there are many others.

Just ask Tommy and Sharon Winfield (ph), for example. They're watching via closed circuit here from Atlanta, Georgia. The Winfields (ph) have three children. Tommy has been working as an operating engineer at Children's Hospital of Atlanta for the past three years. They pay $1,380 a year in federal income taxes. Under my plan, they'd pay nothing.

I first met Tommy a few weeks ago when we were having a roundtable discussion about tax relief. I asked him whether he thought the relief would make a difference to his family. You see, there are some who say, "$1,380, that's nothing, that's not enough money for anybody."

But let me tell you what Tommy said loud and clear, and I hope the members of the United States Congress hear it.

Tommy said, "Sir, if they don't believe you," meaning, whether or not tax relief means anything, "then they should just ask me." $1,380 means a lot to Tommy. It means a lot to a lot of folks in America, those who are struggling with higher energy bills, because we hadn't had an energy policy, those who have got big credit card debts.

We've got the Burke (ph) -- Brake (ph) family with us from Alexandria, Virginia, Kelly and Pam. One less son.

(LAUGHTER)

WATERS: All right. George Bush before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington today, warning against excessive federal spending, 4 percent overall is what he recommends, and saying again and again: "Enough is enough, it's time for our folks to get some tax relief in America," taking advantage of this tax day, a sensitive time for all Americans and their tax bill. The president taking advantage of that to promote once again his $1.6 trillion tax cut plan, now before the Congress in the United States.

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