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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Bush in Bluegrass Country

Aired August 16, 2002 - 11:40   ET

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


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush is going to the podium in Louisville, Kentucky. I want to go ahead and listen in to President Bush.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you all. It is great to be here in the state of Kentucky.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me say, it's great to be back to the state of Kentucky.

(LAUGHTER)

I want to thank you all for coming. It is my -- it's going to be my honor today to talk to you about our country, our future. I want to talk about how to make our country a safer country and a stronger country and, as importantly, a better country. And there's no better place to do it than Louisville, Kentucky.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank Anne for her kind introduction. And I want to thank the other members of the Kentucky delegation who are here today, who are my friends, and that would be Senator Jim Bunning and Congressman Ken Lucas. I appreciate all three members of the congressional delegation coming down today.

(APPLAUSE)

As you know, they're up there in Washington meeting, and it's an honor that three members decided to come and hear the president.

(LAUGHTER)

I want to thank your governor, Paul Patton, for coming today.

Governor, I appreciate you taking time to be here. I'm honored that you're here.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank Elaine Chao, who is a member of my Cabinet, the secretary of labor.

I appreciate your coming, Elaine.

(APPLAUSE) I want to thank the head of the Small Business Administration, Hector Baretto, for joining us, as well.

Thank you, Hector.

(APPLAUSE)

Oh, I forgot to mention the first lady of Kentucky. One thing you learn is never to forget to mention the first ladies.

(LAUGHTER)

I appreciate Judi Patton being here, as well.

Thank you for coming, Judi.

(APPLAUSE)

Speaking about first ladies, my wife is doing great too. She's...

(APPLAUSE)

I like to remind people that when I married her was a public school librarian. And for all the public school librarians out there, you got an advocate in the White House.

(LAUGHTER)

For all the teachers out there, I want to thank you for being teachers, too.

(APPLAUSE)

She didn't like politics and she didn't like politicians when I married her.

(LAUGHTER)

Now she's stuck with one.

(LAUGHTER)

She's doing a great job. I'm really proud of her. She sends her love and her best to all the people of Kentucky.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank the members of the Louisville community who happen to be small-business owners for coming to visit. We just had a good hour discussion about small-business issues.

You see, one of the best ways to make sure that our economy grows is to have an environment in which the entrepreneur can flourish and the small business can be strong. Most new jobs are created in America by small businesses, and therefore we better worry about the health of small businesses if we're worried about the health and security of the country.

(APPLAUSE)

And I'm worried about the health and security of our country, I am. And we got a lot of work to do. I'm not worried about our future, because I'm optimistic about America. We got a great future ahead of us.

But so long as anybody wants to work can't find work, I think we got a problem in America. And so therefore, our thought process ought to be how to create jobs, how best to make sure that the foundation of economic growth remains strong and that we go forward with creating jobs.

(APPLAUSE)

And that's why I met with the small-business owners and listened to their concerns and heard their points of view.

First, let me tell you the foundation for our economy is strong. I mean, after all, interest rates are low, inflation is low. We got the best workers in the world. Our productivity is high. We got the best farmers and ranchers in the world. And we're really good at a lot of things in America, which creates the foundation for growth.

I am not satisfied, however, until everybody can find work. And so, fundamentally what can we do?

First, you got to understand the role of government is not to create wealth; it's to create and environment in which people can realize their dreams, in which small businesses can grow to be big businesses. And one way to encourage that is to let people keep more of their own money.

(APPLAUSE)

When we came in, it turns out the country was in a recession. That's three quarters of negative growth. And fortunately I was able to team up with members of both political parties to take a chapter out of this textbook. It's the chapter that says, if you let people keep more of their own money, they will demand a good or a service; and if they demand a good or a service, somebody is likely to produce that good or service; and when somebody produces that good or service, somebody is more likely to find work.

The tax relief came at the right time for the American economy.

(APPLAUSE)

If you listen carefully to some of the dialogue in Washington, you begin to hear a little tone about, well, maybe we ought to stop the tax relief from being fully implemented.

That would be a mistake for our economy. That would be a terrible mistake for jobs and job creation.

(APPLAUSE)

Not only should we resist anybody who wants to undo the tax relief, we need to make the tax relief permanent.

(APPLAUSE)

Well, people say, "How can cutting income taxes on the people affect small business?" Well, most small businesses are sole proprietorships, which means they pay tax at the individual income-tax rate level, or most small businesses are limited partnerships.

And so, when you cut the taxes on the people, you're really cutting the taxes on the sole proprietors and on limited partnerships. You're helping small business grow. And when small businesses grow, America is better off.

(APPLAUSE)

But let me also tell you that in the tax relief plan we began to mitigate the effects of the marriage penalty. Listen, a tax code ought to encourage marriage, not discourage marriage.

(APPLAUSE)

And the other thing is, we sent the death tax on the way to extinction. The death tax is bad for Kentucky farmers, it's bad for Kentucky ranchers, and it's bad for Kentucky entrepreneurs.

(APPLAUSE)

Then you say, "Well, why, Mr. President, do you need to talk about making the tax relief permanent?" Because a quirk in the law in the United States Senate says that we're going to cut your taxes, but in 10 years it'll have come back. It's hard to me to explain. I mean, how can you say on the one hand we're cutting your taxes, on the other hand it goes away after 10 years? Well, that's just the way the Senate happens to work right now.

But there's a way to change that, and that is to get the United States Senate to agree to make all this tax relief permanent. It'll help people plan, it'll help good policy, and anybody who wants to find work is more likely to be able to do so if the tax relief is permanent.

(APPLAUSE)

In order to make sure people find work and our economy is strong, Congress must not overspend.

(APPLAUSE)

Every idea sounds like a good idea in Washington -- just that they cost billions of dollars. We need to set priorities, and we have set priorities in Washington, priorities that how to make America safer, stronger and better. And it's my job to hold the line on spending the people's money. See, it's important to have the right mindset up there: We're not spending government money. We are spending your money. And in order to make sure it's spent wisely...

(APPLAUSE)

I look forward to working with Congress to make sure we spend your money wisely. If we overspend, it will serve as a drag on our economy. If we overspend, it will make it harder for people to find work. I'm worried about people finding work. I want anybody who wants a job to be able to find one here in America.

There's some other practical things we can do in Washington D.C. We need to get us a terrorism insurance bill to get our hardhats back to work. Over $10 billion of construction projects are not going forward because people can't get the proper insurance because of what the terrorists did to America.

The government ought to help here. It makes sense that the government help. We want our hardhats back to working. The construction trades believe that over 300,000 workers will go back to work if we can get this bill out of Congress. I want a bill out of Congress that helps the hardhats, not helps the plaintiffs attorneys. I want people going back to work in America.

(APPLAUSE)

KAGAN: We've been listening to President Bush. He's at a fund- raiser today in Louisville, Kentucky. We dipped into that speech, hoping we would hear some comment on the breaking news that's taking place today in Afghanistan. Did not. The president focusing mainly on domestic, economic issues.

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