Earlier today, President Bush made several remarks about the health of the economy, and Congressional Democrats that Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took exception to. The president said, “My administration follows a simple philosophy: Our economy prospers when we trust the American people with their own paychecks. When I came to office in 2001, our nation was headed toward a recession. And so we acted. We acted on the philosophy I just described, and we cut the taxes across-the-board. And the American people have used this money to fuel an economic resurgence.”

He continued, “Since 2003, our economy has added more than 8.3 million new jobs and almost four years of uninterrupted growth. We continue to grow at a steady pace, and during the most recent quarter, it grew at an annual rate of 3.4 percent. Unemployment is low. Real after-tax income has increased by an average of more than $3,400 per person since I took office. Tax cuts let Americans keep their own money. It stimulates entrepreneurship. And we have a debate here in Washington over tax cuts. Democrats in Congress want to increase taxes and turn them into additional government programs, and I strongly oppose that approach.”

Bush then spoke about his approach, “When people earn money, tax revenues go up. This year, tax revenues are expected to be $167 billion higher than last year’s, because the economy is growing. Growing tax revenues combined with spending restraint has helped us drive down the federal deficit, and we were able to do so without raising the taxes on the people who work, or without raising taxes on small business owners or farmers. Estimates show the deficit will drop to $205 billion this year. That is well below the average of the past 40 years as a percentage of our economy. Earlier this year I proposed a budget that will completely eliminate the federal deficit within the next five years and produce surplus by 2012. We can achieve this, but it’s going to require spending restraint and it’s going to require keeping taxes low to keep this economy growing.”

The President then went back to the old political stereotype that the Democrats are tax and spenders.  “Not everybody agrees with this approach. There’s been a heated debate so far in Congress, and I suspect there will be a lot of heat when they come back, because Democrats in Congress got a significant appetite for more federal spending. They passed a budget resolution that includes an extra $205 billion in discretionary spending over the next five years. That averages out to about $112 million per day; $4.7 million per hour; $78,000 per minute. Put another way, it’s about $1,300 in higher spending every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year for the next five years.”

“Now, somebody is going to have to pay for it. And that, of course, will be the hardworking American people will have to pay for that excessive spending. If the majority in Congress gets it way, American families, small businesses will face a massive tax hike. It would amount to the largest tax increase in American history. Now, look, I recognize the Democrats control the Congress, and with it, the power of the purse. I also have some power, and it’s called the veto. And I have the votes in Congress to sustain vetoes, and therefore, I will use the veto to keep your taxes low and to keep federal spending under control,” Bush said.

In a statement, Pelosi rebutted Bush’s claims, “After six years of reckless spending in Washington, President Bush is the last person who should brag about fiscal responsibility. The President’s short-sighted economic plans have proven a failure. Rising health care, energy, and college costs have put the American dream out of reach for too many hard-working Americans. And today, the President misled the nation about the budget Congress has sent him.”

She continued, “The New Direction Congress passed a responsible budget that restores fiscal responsibility and makes up for disastrous cuts the President has made to vital services for Americans. Our responsible budget is seven-tenths of one percent below his spending plan, and in the House, we have passed all 12 appropriations bills now with bipartisan support, with an average of 50 Republican votes each. And finally, our responsible budget restores pay-as- you-go budgeting, making no new spending commitment without a way to pay for it.”

Pelosi mentioned the economic choices that Bush has made. “While our budget difference is less than 1 percent, our priorities are dramatically different. The President has chosen to give tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and to spend $3,800 each second, more than $228,000 per minute, to keep our troops in the middle of a civil war in Iraq. Democrats are instead focused on rebuilding our military and our National Guard, investing in protecting Americans from terror here at home, and taking care of our troops, their families, and our veterans. We must redeploy our military might to defeat al Qaeda and be ready to respond and to deter any other threats to our national security.”

“In just the last few weeks, this Congress has made remarkable progress to grow our economy with a plan to achieve energy independence, an Innovation Agenda that will boost our ability to compete in a global economy, health insurance for millions more children, an increase in the minimum wage, and the largest expansion of college aid since the GI Bill. The President took no questions after his report on the economy today because frankly, his assertions wouldn’t hold up. The question the President really should have answered today is this: ‘After six and half years, what have you done to help restore the American dream?,'” Pelosi asked.

This president has no credibility on economic issues. He single handedly managed to turn a surplus into a deficit and we are still 2-3 million jobs short of the level that existed at the end of the Clinton term. The Democrats may want to spend an additional $784 million a week, but over this same time period, the president is spending $2.5 billion  in Iraq alone. I would love for the president to tell the millions of Americans who about to lose their homes this year, how great the economy is doing. Tell that to the real working people who have seen their wages stagnate, and prices continue to go up. The reality is that the Bush tax cuts have helped the few at the expense of the many. In the end, no matter how much President Bush tries to remake his image, he will always be a tax cutter and a big spender.

Text of President Bush’s remarks

Text of Pelosi statement 

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
 

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