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President Bush Stresses Economic Themes on Labor Day Holiday

President Bush says the key to bettering America's workforce is to maintain a strong and expanding economy. Mr. Bush focused on economic themes in a Labor Day holiday speech to America's merchant marine union.

President Bush says he wants the United States to retain its status as the world's most-powerful economy - one that provides ever-expanding opportunity for America's workforce. The key, he says, is sticking to what he terms "pro-growth" policies. At the top of his list:

"Keeping those taxes low. Letting you keep more of your own money," said President Bush. "When you have more money in your pocket, you get to spend the money. You get to make the decisions. And the fundamental question facing government is: who best to spend your money? You or the government?"

The president said the long-term health of the U.S. economy also will be strengthened by reducing dependence on foreign energy sources, expanding trade opportunities, and providing educational opportunities to workers.

Mr. Bush was speaking at a vocational training facility for Seafarers International Union members outside Washington.

The president urged the continuation of his economic policies, including an extension of federal tax cuts the White House says has boosted U.S. economic growth. Democrats have been highly critical of the tax cuts, saying they have led to massive fiscal deficits that will be paid by generations to come.

Elsewhere, some immigrant rights groups held Labor Day rallies to remind the public that much work in the United States is performed by undocumented laborers. Immigration reform is expected to be a major issue in congressional elections in November.