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pd13ja03 Letter to Congressional Leaders on Continuation of the National...
The President. Well, it's interesting you asked that question. A lot of people get dividends, see. And that's one of the reasons why we're analyzing this issue of taxing things twice, particularly dividends. Most seniors--over 50 percent of the seniors receive dividends. First of all, it's unfair to tax money twice. There's a principle involved. The Government ought to be content with taxing revenue streams or profits one time, not twice. And in dividends, we tax the corporate profit, and then we tax the money being sent to the shareholder. And that doesn't make any sense. That's unfair. That's bad public policy. Many of the shareholders that pay the taxes are senior citizens. These are senior citizens who have retired and senior citizens who can use that money. Thirdly, the reduction in taxes on dividends will encourage capital flows into the marketplace. It will encourage investment, and that's what we want. We want to encourage investment activity. Investment means jobs. And so I'm not going to specifically tell you what's in the speech tomorrow, though it looks like some others might have already done that. I do encourage you to listen to it. But I encourage you to look at the entire package. It's a package that's shaped for economic vitality and growth. Listen, we're doing fine. Tomorrow you'll hear me say this economy is one of the strongest in the world. But what we believe is that we can be stronger. And we also know that when somebody is looking for work who wants to work means we've got to continue to try to stimulate job growth. Now, we don't believe it's the role of Government to manage the economy. We've got great faith in the private sector. And so we're going to create the environment for the private sector to be stronger. That's the policy of this administration. Sandra, good luck to you. Thanks. Q. Thank you, sir. North Korea Q. Mr. President, on North Korea, sir? The President. I'll answer one on North Korea, yes, real quick. Q. Yes, sir. What would it take for the U.S. or any other nation to have direct talks with North Korea? And they claim to believe that the U.S. is a threat to them. The President. Yes. Q. What can you say? The President. Well, first of all, I went to Korea and clearly said that the United States has no intention of invading North Korea. I said that right there in South Korea. And in Kim Chong-il's neighborhood, I spoke as clearly, as I said, and said, ``We won't invade you.'' And I'll repeat that: We have no intention of invading North Korea. We expect North Korea to adhere to her obligations. She's in an agreement with the United States and said that she would not develop nuclear weapons, and we expect people to keep their word. We will have dialog; we've had dialog with North Korea. The Secretary of State visited with the Deputy Foreign Minister---- Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. The Foreign Minister. The President. ----the Foreign Minister, excuse me. And talking is one thing, but we expect people to honor obligations. And for Kim Chong- il to be a credible member of the world community, he's got to understand that he's got to do what he says he's going to do. [[Page 33]] I believe this will be resolved peacefully, and I believe it can be resolved diplomatically. Thank you. Q. Thank you, sir. Q. What were you laughing at before we came in, sir? [Laughter] The President. I'm not telling. [Laughter] I won't tell, but somebody will leak it. [Laughter] Note: The President spoke at 4:11 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Treasury Secretary-designate John Snow; William Donaldson, Chairman-designate, Securities and Exchange Commission; President Saddam Hussein of Iraq; and Chairman Kim Chong-il and Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun of North Korea. The Office of the Press Secretary also released a Spanish language transcript of these remarks. A portion of these remarks could not be verified because the tape was incomplete. <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 33-38] Pages 27-58 Week Ending Friday, January 10, 2003 Remarks to the Economic Club of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois January 7, 2003 Thank you all very much. It's a windy day out there, which is-- [laughter]--a good day for a windy speaker. [Laughter] I'm honored to be your guest here at the Economic Club of Chicago. I want to thank Michael for the invitation. I like a short introduction. He didn't let me down. [Laughter] For 75 years, the business leaders and the entrepreneurs in the club have helped make Chicago a prosperous and energetic city. You understand the concerns facing American workers and employers, and you believe, as I do, that we must address those concerns honestly and aggressively. Today in Washington, a new Congress convenes, and I will ask members of both parties to work with me to secure our economic future. We cannot be satisfied until every part of our economy is healthy and vigorous. We will not rest until every business has a chance to grow and every person who wants to find work can find a job. So today I'm announcing a growth- and-jobs plan to strengthen America's economy, specific proposals to increase the momentum of our economic recovery. And this is a good city to give it in. This is one of America's great cities. And one of the reasons why is because you have a great mayor in Richard Daley. We're from different political parties, but we have some things in common: We both married above ourselves. [Laughter] It is good to see the first lady of Chicago here. Thank you for coming. We both have famous and influential brothers. [Laughter] Our dads spent a little time in politics. [Laughter] And we love our country more than we love our political parties. The thing I like most about the mayor is he gets the job done for the people of Chicago. And Mr. Mayor, I'm proud to call you friend. And I want to thank another proud son of Chicago, Rod Blagojevich, for being with us today as well. He's soon to have the second-best job in America, being a Governor. I congratulate him on his election. I look forward to working with him for the good of Illinois and for the good of our country. Thank you for coming, Governor-elect. I appreciate you being here. I flew in today with the Senator from Illinois, Peter Fitzgerald. I appreciate his leadership. I appreciate his friendship. And as we speak, the Senate is debating the Fitzgerald bill which will extend unemployment benefits to those who are looking for work in America. And Peter, I want to thank you for your leadership on this important issue. And on that very same airplane was traveling with me Steve Friedman, who is the new Director of the National Economic Council. I'm honored that such a respected economic leader has agreed to join my administration. I appreciate the fact that he's willing to take time away from a comfortable private life to serve our country. He is a strong addition to a great economic team, and I want to thank him for his willingness to serve America. Thank you for coming, Steve. I've also named two other good people to join this team. John Snow is my nominee to serve as the Secretary of Treasury. Bill Donaldson is my nominee to be the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. [[Page 34]] They will fill essential positions in my administration, and I urge the Congress to confirm them quickly. As the new Congress meets today, our duties to this Nation are clear. We have a responsibility to meet great dangers to our country, wherever they gather. We will continue to hunt down the terrorists all across the world. Cell by cell, we are disrupting their plans. One by one, we're showing these merciless killers the meaning of justice. We're also confronting the outlaw regime in Iraq that lives by violence and deception and is arming to threaten the civilized world. The world's demands are clear: For the sake of peace, Saddam Hussein must disarm himself of all weapons of mass destruction and prove that he has done so. Should he choose the other course, in the name of peace, the United States will lead a coalition of the willing to disarm the Iraqi regime of weapons of mass destruction and free the Iraqi people. And we're dealing with North Korea as well. It's a regime that has expelled international inspectors and is attempting to defy the world through its nuclear weapons program. The United States and other nations will confront this threat as well. In this case, I believe that by working with countries in the region, diplomacy will work. We have no aggressive intent, no argument with the North Korean people. We're interested in peace on the Korean Peninsula. As we deal with the dangers of our time, different circumstances require different strategies. Yet our resolve in each case will be clear: We will not permit any regime to threaten the freedom and security of the American people or our allies and friends around the world. Even as we confront these dangers, you need to know I know we have needs here at home, especially the need for a vigorous and growing economy. Too many Americans today are wondering about our economy. They're asking, ``How is the economy really doing?'' Well, the American economy is the strongest and most resilient economy in the world. In spite of the terrible shocks that our Nation has received, our economy is growing, and the entrepreneurial spirit in America is strong. We've made great progress these past 2 years. Remember, in the summer of 2000, during the Presidential campaign, the market had started on a steady decline. Job growth started to dwindle. The economy had begun to slow. When I took office, the signs of recession were real. So I worked with the United States Congress to reduce income taxes for everyone who pays them. More than 100 million individuals, families, and sole proprietorships received tax relief. This tax relief was the largest in a generation, and it gave the economy a boost just at the right time, ensuring that the recession was one of the shortest and shallowest in modern American history. Americans should be able to count on those tax cuts as they plan their financial futures. So I will continue to press the Congress to make these tax cuts, including the end of the death tax, permanent. We know that the tax cuts worked, and Americans deserve to know their tax cuts will not be taken away. We faced a second test with the attacks of September the 11th, 2001. These attacks caused terrible suffering and a massive disruption of the economy. Flights were canceled. Many hotels and stores were empty. Stock trading was halted for nearly a week. So we acted: We reopened the markets; we helped the people of New York City recover; we assisted the airlines; we provided tax incentives for business investment; and we passed terrorism insurance so building and real estate projects could go forward. And then our economy was tested a third time, when Americans discovered serious abuses of trust by some corporate leaders. So we passed historic reforms to assure corporate integrity, to punish wrongdoers, and defend the interests of workers and investors. Corporate greed and malfeasance cause innocent people to lose their jobs, their savings, and often their confidence in the American system. For the sake of justice, and for the sake of every honest business in America, I have made this commitment: Corporate misdeeds will be investigated; they will be prosecuted; and they will be punished. We have met the tests before us because the American people have worked hard through difficult times. And now our country [[Page 35]] has entered its second year of economic growth. Our trade with other nations is expanding, bringing lower prices that come from imports and better jobs that come from exports. More Americans are buying and building houses, a central part of the American Dream. The homeownership rate is now 68 percent, close to the highest ever. Low interest rates have allowed Americans to tap the rising value of their homes. In 2002, refinancings added more than $100 billion to American pocketbooks, money that helped renovate homes or pay off debt or cover tuition or purchase other goods. The most important indicator of our economic strength is the growing skill and efficiency of the American worker. The productivity of American workers went up by 5.6 percent over the last four quarters for which we have data, the best increase since 1973. As productivity rises, so do wages and our standard of living. Nationwide, incomes are rising faster than inflation. We have the most productive, creative, and promising economic system the world has ever seen. America sets the standard for scientific research, engineering skill, and medical innovation. Our companies and universities attract talent from every single continent. Investors from around the world know America is the safest place to put their money. People around the world who search for a better life still dream of working and living in the United States of America. All these conditions create a platform for long-term growth and prosperity. Yet, in spite of successes, we have more work to do, because too many of our citizens who want to work cannot find a job and many employers lack the confidence to invest and create new jobs. We can help assure greater success tomorrow with the policies we choose today. Now, these policies must recognize that our $10-trillion economy is sustained by the labor and enterprise of the American people. Government spends a lot of money, but it doesn't build factories. It doesn't invest in companies or do the work that makes the economy go. The role of Government is not to manage or control the economy from Washington, DC, but to remove obstacles standing in the way for faster economic growth. That's our role. And those obstacles are clear. Many jobs are lost in America because Government imposes unreasonable regulations, and many jobs are lost because the lawsuit culture of this country imposes unreasonable costs. I will continue to press for legal and regulatory reform. But today--today I want to talk about these concerns: Americans carry a heavy burden of taxes and debt that could slow consumer spending. I'm troubled by that. I'm also troubled by the fact that our tax system unfairly penalizes some productive investments. And I worry about people who are out of work. They need our help, both in short-term benefits and long-term opportunity. By directly confronting each of these challenges, we can preserve the hard-won gains our economy has made and advance toward greater prosperity. Our first challenge is to allow Americans to keep more of their money so they can spend and save and invest--the millions of individual decisions that support the market, that support business, and help create jobs. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of our economy. It has been the driving force of our recovery. Yet there are warning signs I won't ignore, and I hope the Congress doesn't ignore either. Many Americans live in constant and increasing personal debt, with credit card bills so heavy they often cannot pay much more than the monthly minimum. Millions of citizens spend their entire adult lives living paycheck to paycheck, never getting a chance to save for their children's education or their own retirement. Americans today are paying about a third of their income in taxes. All of this puts pressure on family budget and therefore clouds our economic future. Americans facing these struggles are due to receive additional tax relief in 2004 and again in 2006. Republicans and Democrats in Congress already approved these tax rate reductions. And the time to deliver the tax rate reductions is now, when they can do the most good for the American businesses. For the sake of economic vitality, I'm asking Congress to make all the tax rate reductions effective this year. The tax cuts should be retroactive to January 1st. Upon passage, [[Page 36]] I'll order the Treasury Department to immediately adjust the amount of money withheld for income taxes, so that Americans will keep more of their paychecks right away. By speeding up the income tax cuts, we will speed economic recovery and the pace of job creation. If tax relief is good enough for Americans 3 years from now, it is good enough for Americans today. An additional beneficiary of this tax cut will be small businesses. About 30 million Americans include small-business income when they file their individual tax returns with the IRS. Faster tax relief will help these businesses to expand sooner, to hire new people faster, and to build a stronger foundation for the recovery. We also know that middle-income families need additional relief. So today I'm asking Congress to speed up three other tax reductions promised in 2001, tax reductions that will help our middle-income families. Instead of slowly reducing the marriage penalty until 2009, we should do it now, to help 35 million married couples. Instead of waiting
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