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Bush Applauds Small Business - 2002-03-19

President Bush is pushing billions of dollars in tax breaks for small businesses in the United States. Mr. Bush says this is the sector of the economy that is responsible for most of the new jobs created in America.

There are indications the U.S. economic recession is winding down. But the president says he is not so sure.

"I don't believe the economy is strong enough to say that we have recovered," he said. "I worry about the fact there are too many people in our country still looking for work."

Mr. Bush says the key to creating more jobs lies with the many small business owners in the United States. "If small businesses create two-thirds of the new jobs, it makes sense that any economic recovery strategy focus on small businesses," he said. The president says he wants to simplify the tax laws for small businesses and cut their tax rates. He says he intends to ease government regulations and help small business owners cope with the often high cost of providing health insurance for their employees.

Mr. Bush unveiled the plan in a speech to a gathering of female entrepreneurs in Washington.

He noted that small businesses owned by women employ seven million Americans, and are growing at twice the rate of other U.S. firms. "When it comes to entrepreneurship and job creation, ours is an increasingly women's world," he said. As he does with most of his domestic policy speeches, Mr. Bush devoted some of his comments to the war on terrorism. He said once again that the battle is far from over, and al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters are trying to regroup. The president said they are driven by their hatred of America. And he brought loud cheers from his audience when he mentioned the Taleban's strong opposition to women's rights.

"And the reason they hate America is because we are free. We are a free society," the president said. "They can't stand the thought of the president of the United States coming to speak to women who own their own business!"

Mr. Bush said these last Taleban and al-Qaida fighters are irrational. And he said the United States will treat them as the international criminals they are.