President Bush wants Congress to approve $550 billion worth of tax cuts that he says will create more jobs in the struggling U.S. economy.
President Bush gave up on his original goal of a 10 year, $726 billion tax cut, when members of his own party said it was too much government revenue to lose during a time of war and continuing economic weakness.
Now, the president is backing a compromise $550 billion plan, as opposed to even smaller tax cuts passed by the Senate. "We know our economy can grow faster and create new jobs at a faster rate," said President Bush. "We also know that the right policies in Washington can unleash the great strengths of this economy, and create the conditions for growth and prosperity."
Mr. Bush traveled to the state of Ohio this past week to push tax cuts, which he says would help create more than one million new jobs by the end of 2004.
Congressional Democrats say the president's plan unfairly favors the rich by eliminating taxes on corporate dividends, but giving low and middle class families just a few hundred dollars in savings.
In the Democratic response to the president's weekly radio address, Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones describes the president's plan as a tax cut for the "wealthiest one percent of Americans that does nothing to create jobs, and will only sink our nation further into debt. "Democrats are all for cutting taxes," she said. "The difference is, that we believe in cutting taxes responsibly, so that those cuts can serve as fuel to get our economic engine turning again. We believe responsible tax cuts take into account the future, as well as the present, and do not increase deficits, raise interest rates or risk jobs."
President Bush says the economy needs a bigger tax cut than Democrats want, because more money for businesses mean they will hire more workers. "Some members of Congress support tax relief, but say my proposal is too big," Mr. Bush said. "Since they already agree that tax relief creates jobs, it doesn't make sense to provide less tax relief, and, therefore, create fewer jobs. I believe we should enact more tax relief, so that we can create more jobs, and more Americans can find work and provide for their families."
It is the first time since February that the president's weekly radio address has not focused on Iraq. With most of the fighting there finished, the administration is turning more of its attention to the economy, which will be a big issue in next year's presidential election.