Tags: Bush | Touts | Trade | Tax | Cuts | Fix | Economy

Bush Touts Trade, Tax Cuts to Fix Economy

Tuesday, 15 January 2002 12:00 AM

"We're worried about jobs in our country. We want everybody who wants to find work to be able to have work,” Bush said. "Everybody who wants a job should be able to provide for their family. I'm worried about the loss of jobs."

Speaking from the Port of New Orleans, Bush emphasized that international trade was a "jobs issue" that would generate consumer confidence in the American worker and U.S.-made products. His trip ends a two-day, three-state presidential trek that took him on a route along the Mississippi River to the John Deere factory in Moline, Ill., and then a feed mill in Aurora, Mo., on Monday.

His comments previewed the debates he will face with lawmakers when they return to Washington from their Christmas recess on Jan. 23. Dominating attention then will be his economic stimulus package, which the White House says has been stalled by the Democrat leadership in the U.S. Senate, and approval of his prized trade promotion authority.

Trade promotion authority, also called "fast track authority," would give Bush the power to broker trade deals with foreign governments and present it to Congress for an up or down vote. It passed by a slim one-vote margin in the U.S. House of Representatives last month.

"There are some who play politics with the trade issue. They want to shut down trade,” Bush said Tuesday. "I like to remind people, those who shut down trade aren't confident. They're not confident in the American worker; they're not confident in the American entrepreneur; they're not confident in American products."

Some Democrats and pro-Democrat conservation groups say fast-track authority would endanger American jobs and lessen environmental safeguards.

Bush reassured the audience of dock workers in New Orleans that all precautions were being taken to ensure security on U.S. soil.

"I fully understand the enemy still lurks out there and the enemy still would like to hit us. But America has changed since Sept. 11,” he said. "We're now more alert. We've got a Coast Guard that's now actively patrolling our coasts, trying to make sure nobody comes in to hurt us. We've got the FBI whose major function now is to prevent further attack.

"We've got better intelligence sharing around the world to make sure that we find people before they come to our country. We're all on full alert."

Bush also hailed his education plan, which he signed into law last week, as an important factor in creating jobs. The measure will put in place sweeping changes next year. Those changes would mandate increased student testing for performance and link school accountability with the receipt of federal dollars, but they severely limit school choice.

A comprehensive national energy policy was also critical to economic security, Bush said. He said he wanted to ensure the United States could generate its own energy supplies similar to the way farmers provide the bulk of the nation's food supply.

"We receive a lot of our energy, over 50 percent of it, from other parts of the world. Sometimes they like us; sometimes they don't,” Bush said. "And it's those times when they don't like us that makes me nervous as the president of the country. It's in our national interest to have a national energy plan."

Bush also touted tax relief as a means to spur the economy. Some Democrats have blamed his 10-year, $1.35 trillion tax cuts as the cause of the dwindling federal "surplus" coffers - that is, excess of tax revenue. They have resisted his proposal that would accelerate that plan as part of the economic stimulus.

"I don't know what economic textbook they've been reading, but it's not the one that most Americans have read,” Bush said. "They understand tax relief is the best way to encourage an economic recovery in America."

Bush was set to return to the White House later Tuesday.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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We're worried about jobs in our country. We want everybody who wants to find work to be able to have work," Bush said. Everybody who wants a job should be able to provide for their family. I'm worried about the loss of jobs. Speaking from the Port of New Orleans, Bush...
Tuesday, 15 January 2002 12:00 AM
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