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pd05ap04 Digest of Other White House Announcements...
I laid out a doctrine that said, ``If you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist.'' By the way, when the President says something, you better mean it. It turns out in this job--I, of course, meant it. And the Taliban found out what we meant. They didn't yield, and so I unleashed a great United States military. I did so to uphold the doctrine. We wiped out the ability for the terrorists to use Afghanistan as a training facility. We also liberated people, liberated about 25 million people from the clutches of one of the most barbaric regimes in the history of mankind, so barbaric--[applause]. Now the country is changing. There's women's rights. There's equality under the law. Young girls now go to school, many for the first time ever, thanks to the United States and our coalition of liberators. We started to recover from September the 11th. The resolve of the country, by the way, is incredible when tested. It's a nation of people of deep character. Perhaps it's because we've got a lot of people of deep faith in our country. But we discovered shortly thereafter that there were some of our citizens who must have not been raised right, because they didn't tell the truth. There was corporate scandals in America that betrayed the trust. When somebody betrays the trust in our world, it can affect confidence. I mean, if you're not sure whether or not the accountants are telling the truth, it's hard to invest. These corporate wrongdoers cost people [[Page 499]] their jobs, cost a lot of people their savings. It affected our psychology. We had to overcome the hurdle. We passed tough laws, by the way, in Washington, and now the message is very clear: We will not tolerate wrongdoing in the boardrooms of America; we will hold you to account if you lie or cheat. But we overcame that. As I mentioned to you, it's important for this country never to forget the lessons of September the 11th, and that is, when we see a threat, we must deal with it before it fully materializes. That's one of the clear lessons of that horrible day in our history. I looked at intelligence from Iraq and saw a threat. The United States Congress looked at the same intelligence, and the Members of Congress saw a threat. The United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence, and it saw a threat. And so, in the fall of 2002, I went to the United Nations Security Council and said, ``We all see a threat. Let's come together and deal with the threat. Let's say to Mr. Saddam Hussein, `You have one final chance to disclose and disarm, for the sake of peace and security.' '' A lot of people remembered that he was a person that had used weapons of mass destruction on his own people. He's a person that had terrorized the neighborhood. He's a person that was paying suiciders to kill innocent citizens. He's the person that tortured people. He's the person that had rape rooms. He's the person that had mass graves. He was a threat. Saddam Hussein once again chose defiance, and so I had a choice to make: Do I trust the word of a madman, or do I take action to defend America. Given that choice, I will defend our country every time. This is an historic time. We're going to get it right in Iraq. Iraq will emerge as a free society. I'll tell you a very interesting story. I was having kobe beef with Prime Minister Koizumi from Japan. Laura and I were over there, and by the way, she sends her greetings. She's a great First Lady, I might add. Very interesting conversation, because we're talking about how we should work together to deal with Mr. Kim Chong-il and the nuclear weapons program on the Korean Peninsula. In other words, we were working together on a common threat. It dawned on me in the midst of the conversation, had we not gotten the post-World War II peace right, an American President and a Japanese Prime Minister wouldn't be talking about how to deal with a common threat. It also dawned on me during the course of the conversation that when we get it right in Iraq, some day an American President will be talking to an elected President or Prime Minister of a country in the heart of the Middle East, talking about how to deal with the threats of a future generation. These are historic times. A free and democratic Iraq will change the world. It's a hard job in Iraq. After all, there are terrorists who want to stop the progress of liberty. And there's a reason: They understand that a free society is not in their interests; a free society is a peaceful society; a free society is one that will put the conditions of terrorism out of business. That's why we love freedom in America. See, the other thing I believe in, I believe that freedom is not America's gift to the world. I believe freedom is the Almighty's gift to each man and woman in this world. On your TV screens, starting in 2002, were the words ``March to War.'' I don't know if you remember that. That's not conducive for creating jobs. Think about what it means, ``March to War.'' It's a negative thought. One of the hurdles we had to overcome was the business about going to war. If you're trying to plan your future, whether you're an employer or employee, you're not going to be all that optimistic, thinking that your country's marching to war. We're now marching to peace. We've overcome that hurdle. We've overcome four major hurdles, when you think about it. People say, ``How can you be so optimistic about our country?'' And the answer is, ``Because I've seen what we've come through.'' And guess what? Our economy is growing. Interest rates are low. Inflation is low. Homeownership rates are the highest in history. More people are owning their home. There is a minority homeownership gap in America, but now more minorities own a home than ever before, which is incredibly positive. When people own something, they have a vital stake in the future [[Page 500]] of this country. Manufacturing activity is up. The unemployment rate today is lower than the average rate in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. We've overcome a lot. Wisconsin is helping lead the growth of this country. Farms, factories, and offices are shipping high-quality goods all across America and all throughout the world. The State's unemployment rate is down from a year ago, below the national average, I might add. The economy is on a path of growth because we acted. You see, the role of Government is not to create wealth but to create an environment that encourages economic vitality and growth, is to create the grounds for the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish. That's the role of Government. And that's why I went to Congress and said, ``Listen, we've got problems, economic problems, and the best way to deal with those problems is let people keep more of their own money.'' When a person has more of her own money, she demands an additional good or a service. And the way our economy works, somebody will meet that new demand for a good or a service by producing a good or a service. And when somebody produces a good or a service, somebody is more likely to keep a job or find work. That's the way the economy works. The tax relief came at just the right time. We also accomplished some other objectives in the tax relief. Remember, I argued that if we're going to provide tax relief, let's provide it for everybody who pays taxes, so that Government is not in the business of picking winners and losers when it comes to tax relief. The fairest way to deal with tax relief is to say, ``If you pay taxes, you get relief.'' We also increased the child credit to $1,000 per child. By the way, that's very helpful if you happen to be a mom or a dad. We reduced the marriage penalty. My question to the Congress is, what kind of Tax Code is it that penalizes marriage? We ought to be encouraging marriage. After-tax incomes in America have been lifted by 8.4 percent since the end of 2000. People have got more money, and it's making a big difference. I also want you to know I understand job creation. Seventy percent of all new jobs are created by small businesses. It seems like, if that's the case and you're worried about somebody finding work, you want to make sure the small-business agenda is vibrant and foremost on our agenda. And it is. Because, you see, most small businesses are Subchapter S or sole proprietorships. I see a lot of people nodding their heads. A sole proprietorship or Subchapter S corporation means that the business pays tax at the individual income tax. And if you're paying tax at the individual income tax as a small business and all taxes get reduced, small businesses have got more money to invest and to expand. We also provided incentives for capital investment. We raised the amount of the limit to $100,000 from $25,000 that the small business can deduct for new capital expenditures. What I'm telling you is, is that small business is a direct beneficiary of the tax plan that we passed. It's an integral part of making sure that the environment for the entrepreneurial spirit is just right. Another way to make sure the entrepreneurial spirit is strong is to get rid of the death tax. The death tax is a bad tax. A lot of farmers want to leave their farm to their family and not to the Government. A lot of small-business owners are dreaming big dreams, not only because they want to help somebody find a job but they also want to leave their business to whomever they choose. The problem with the death tax is, they tax you while you're alive, and then they tax you again after you die. And that doesn't seem fair. And a lot of people who own a small business or a farm, in order to pay the death tax, have to liquidate their assets in order to do so, which means it is impossible to pass your assets on, in many cases, to whomever you choose. Congress wisely put the death tax on its way to extinction, for the good of the entrepreneurial spirit here in America. This economy is going through a fundamental change. We're growing, which is great. One of the reasons we're growing is because we're incredibly productive. You've heard about productivity increases. That means one worker that used to be able to produce 5 units can now produce 15 units. That's what productivity means. A productive society is a society that will generate more [[Page 501]] wealth, and that's very positive. In other words, the more productive you are, the wealthier your society becomes. A productive society means America will remain more competitive, will be able to expand and grow, not only internally but externally, because if you're a productive company here in America, you have a better chance to compete. And remember, our system is based upon competition. If you're a productive company in America, you have a better chance to compete with companies overseas. It's a fact that the more productive you are as a worker, the better you get paid. But the problem is, as I mentioned, many companies are able to fill new orders and don't have the--don't have a need to expand because they're more productive. In other words, it's possible to grow our economy and not have people find new jobs. And that's a problem we face today for some workers. This is called a period of transition. That's an economist's word for things aren't going too well for you. [Laughter] And I understand that. I understand that people are worried about the job they have. They're worried about whether their children can stay close to home where they were raised and find work. A productive society is positive in many ways, but for the worker who needs new skills, it's not so positive in the short term. So we have got to do something about it. We've got to deal with the economy the way it is. Many people are working, and more and more people are working. But there are some who, frankly, feel like they're being left behind, and that's not right. The role of Government is more than just providing unemployment insurance; it's to provide a sound strategy to make sure our economy continues to grow and people find the skills necessary to be productive employees in the 21st century. Those are the challenges we face. Some in our Nation's Capital respond a little differently than I will. They want to increase Federal spending dramatically. The problem with that plan is somebody has to pay for it, and that somebody is going to be you. That's who will pay for it. In order to pay for more spending, you'll hear the language ``tax on the rich.'' When you start raising income-tax rates up, you're raising on small businesses. If the tax relief helps small businesses, the corollary to that is that when you raise those taxes, it means small businesses are going to pay. If 70 percent of the new jobs are created by small businesses, it makes absolutely no sense to be taking money out of their coffers to expand the role of the Federal Government. Tax and spend is the enemy of job creation. Taxing and spending in excessive amounts in Washington, DC, is not creating an environment for the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish. Quite the contrary. It will diminish demand. It will make it difficult for people to start their own businesses and to expand. There's another issue we're facing as well in the Nation's Capital. That's whether or not we're going to build walls around America, whether we're going to isolate ourselves from the world. I call it ``economic isolationism.'' When you hear people talk about, ``Let us reconsider free trade agreements,'' what they're really saying is, is that perhaps we ought to wall ourself off from the rest of the world. See, I think that would be absolutely wrong for America to be so pessimistic about our ability to compete that we've become economic isolationists, that we erect barriers to trade, that we're so--that we lack confidence, that we say to our farmers and ranchers, our entrepreneurs that we don't think you can compete. See, I believe just the opposite. I believe this Nation can compete anywhere, any time, anyplace, so long as the rules are fair. Look at it this way. America's got 5 percent of the world's population. That means there's 95 percent of the people out there that should be buying products that say ``Made in the USA.'' It's important to understand that exports, the ability to sell overseas, to be able to make something here in Wisconsin and sell it elsewhere, is an important part of your economy. Dairy farmers are selling their goods overseas. I read this, and I wasn't quite sure--it says that Wisconsin cheese is being sold in France. [Laughter] That's a good cheese. Oshkosh Truck sells overseas. Harley Davidson sells overseas. Wisconsin exports last year were worth $11.5 billion. See, Wisconsin is making products the world wants to buy. Wisconsin's exports to Canada rose last year. [[Page 502]] Exports to Mexico rose. Exports to China rose fourfold in the last 4 years. In other words, people are finding jobs here in Wisconsin because they're helping make products that people want in other countries. Exports equal jobs. It's important for people to understand that. Nationwide, 97 percent of all U.S. exporters are small and medium- sized businesses. You know, a lot of folks say, ``Exports--you got to be a big guy to be able to export.'' No, there's a lot of small-business owners and entrepreneurs and medium-sized businesses that are making products, goods, and services, that people want. An important part of our economy is the small-business sector, as I told you. Companies with fewer than 20 employees make up nearly 70 percent of all U.S. exporting firms. So when you hear the talk about, ``Let's wall off America from the rest of the world,'' I want you to remember that we're talking about walling off small businesses from opportunities--opportunities to sell a product and, therefore, opportunities to eventually hire somebody. The other thing it's important for people to understand is that foreign companies recognize how great the U.S. workforce is. I mean, we're very good at what we do. We've got fantastic workers here in America, incredibly productive people. And therefore, there's a lot of foreign-owned companies that are interested in bringing their business here. A hundred thousand workers in Wisconsin work for foreign-owned companies, half of them in manufacturing. Fiskars Brands employs U.S. workers. It's a Finnish company. Kikkoman Foods, they make soy sauce. They employ U.S. personnel. In other words, when you hear about trade, just remember, trade means selling product overseas, but it also means welcoming foreign capital here in the United States to employ people, so they can find work. It's an important part of the equation to know that confident trade policy not only means the sale of goods, but confident trade policy means people want to set up their plants here. I was in Greer, South Carolina, at a BMW plant selling BMWs into Germany. We've got great workers in America. We ought not to be fearful of the future. We ought to be confident of our capacity to compete. And so, the question is, what do we do about trade policy? And that's what I want to spend a little time talking about. Five--for five decades, Presidents have made the decision that U.S. markets should be open, for the good of our consumers. In other words, when there's competition, it generally means better price. Other markets haven't been open to U.S. goods. So it seems like to me, the logical thing to do, rather than shutting down our own market, which will hurt consumers and hurt opportunity, is to spend time opening up other people's markets. And so when you hear me talk about negotiating trade agreements, really what we're doing is leveling the playing field. What we're really doing is make sure America has a chance to compete on the same terms that people can sell into our market. And if they don't respond, there's some things we can do. See, if we say, ``Our market is open, and yours isn't, so open yours up,'' rather than shutting ours down and creating trade wars which will jeopardize jobs, make it harder for small business to exist, there are things we can do. For example, we filed the first World Trade Organization case against China because of their unfair tax policy. We got Canada to stop exporting subsidized dairy products into the United States. We won a major international case against Mexico's telecommunications barriers. In other words, this administration is not going to--refuses to accept the doctrine of economic isolationism but instead says, ``We'll use the tools necessary to make sure that the playing field is level.'' Japan is buying American apples. If you're an apple grower, that's good news. India is buying American almonds. My point is, not only are
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