Plan for Economic Growth in Ohio
Remarks by the President to Timken Company Employees
April 24, 2003
9:56 A.M. EDT
Thank you all, very much. (Applause.) Thanks a lot. (Applause.) Thanks for
the warm welcome. I appreciate you letting me come by to say hello. (Laughter.)
I'm honored to be in Canton, and I'm honored to be here at the Timken Company.
Tim was telling me that you all have been in business since 1899 -- turns
out that's when William McKinley, of Canton, slept in the same room I'm sleeping
in. (Laughter.) Tim told me that this is a company -- we are a "roll
up your sleeves" company, a can -- it is a can-do environment. Which
is one of the reasons I've got so much optimism about the future of our economy
-- because of the "roll up your sleeves" attitude by thousands
of our fellow Americans, because of the business sense of "we can do
whatever it takes to overcome the obstacles in our way". I know you're
optimistic about the future of this company. I'm optimistic about the future
of our country. It's important that Washington, however, respond to some
of the problems we face.
One of the problems we face is not enough of our fellow Americans can find
work. There's too much economic uncertainty today. And so three months
ago, I sent Congress a package that would promote job growth and economic
vitality. For the sake of our country, for the sake of the workers of America,
Congress needs to pass this jobs growth package soon. (Applause.)
And that's why I thank you for letting me come and talk to you about some
of the problems that we face here in America. I appreciate the Timken family
for their leadership, their concern about their fellow associates. They're
working hard to make sure the future of this company is bright, and therefore,
the future of employment is bright for the families that work here, that
work to put food on the table for their children.
I appreciate so very much Jim Griffith, the CEO of the company, for setting
up this wonderful setting for a speech. I want thank you all for taking time
out of your work to come and let me share some thoughts with you. I want
to thank you for loving your country.
I appreciate Hector Barreto, who is the Administrator of the Small Business
Association. He's traveling with me today. And I named a good man to run
what they call the General Services Administration, a fellow named Steve
Perry, who learned how to be -- (applause) -- he's making sure that we spend
your money wisely. And he cut his teeth right here in the Timken Company.
And he's really a good man. He's doing a fine job.
I appreciate the Governor of the state of Ohio for joining us today. Governor
Taft, I'm honored you're here with us. (Applause.) And we've got Senator
Mike DeWine with us, as well. Mike, thank you for coming. (Applause.) Congressman
LaTourette, Steve LaTourette -- and Ralph Regula, as well, from the Ohio
delegation. (Applause.) We got members of the state senate; we got members
of the state house; we got members of the city council; we got the mayor
-- we got a lot of people showing up today. (Laughter.) And I'm glad they're
here. Thank you all, for taking time out of our schedules to come. (Applause.)
I've just come from an interesting discussion with some of our fellow citizens,
who have joined me on the stage -- the Freelands, who are retired citizens.
They are anxious about their future. They want to make sure they got enough
money to live out their final years. We talked about some of the tax relief
package and what it means to their lives -- extra money in their pocket means
that they're likely to have retirement security, which is something we're
all concerned about.
I met with Brenda James, from Stockport, Ohio. She told me Stockport had
500 people, counting all the cats. (Laughter.) And I said, well, that's 200
less than Crawford. (Laughter.) Counting all the cows. (Laughter.) But Brenda
is a -- owns her own insurance company. She is a small-business owner. She
is a representative of thousands and thousands of people who own their own
business, part of the small-business sector, which is an incredibly important
part of our economy.
As well, Mike Kovach is here. He's from Youngstown, Ohio. Mike started his
own business. It grew from two people to 70 employees. A small-business owner
is an integral part of the backbone of the U.S. economy. If you're interested
in jobs and job creation, you better be worried about the small-business
sector of America. And the plan I'm about to talk about addresses the needs
of the small-business owner.
We got Charles Parker and his wife here, Linda. Charles is a farmer; that's
a small-business owner. Linda works right here for the Timken Company, as
does Pat Williams. I'll talk about Pat a little bit later and what this plan
means for her and her family.
Finally, Bryan Rice, of Rice's Nursery, right here in Canton. If you're
interested in buying a plant, as the weather gets better and you want to
improve your garden, Byron said he's got some for sale. (Laughter and applause.)
Today, I had the honor of meeting Anson Park. Anson, you need to step out
here so people can see you. Come over here. Anson is not hard to miss. (Laughter.)
I want to tell you why I want to introduce Anson. You know a lot of focus
on America these days is on our military, how strong we are, how mighty we
are, how powerful we are. And that's -- it's been helpful to be mighty and
powerful. But in the midst of the discussion of our military might, oftentimes,
we overlook the true strength of our country. And the true strength of America
is the hearts of our fellow citizens. That's the strength of America -- the
compassion of neighbor loving neighbor.
Anson Park, is an employee of Enterprise -- he's a volunteer in what they
call the Asset Program, with Akron Urban League, which is a mentoring program,
a program designed to make sure that every child has a chance to succeed
in America, a program that understands that if you're a fortunate soul, if
you're somebody with talents to give, you're called upon to lend those talents
to help somebody in need. Whether you become involved in mentoring or in
your church or synagogue, in helping in need, the definition of patriotism
is to help somebody. And my call to our fellow Americans is our might is
more than our military; our might is our compassion for our fellow citizens.
And I want to thank you, Anson, and thank thousands across America, and the
hundreds in this room who are serving your country by teaching a child to
read; or making sure a shut-in gets loved; or helping a boy or a girl at
a Boys and Girls Clubs. The strength of America is the compassion of America.
And I'm honored you're here, Anson, thank you. (Applause.)
In January of this year, I defined two great priorities for this nation,
priorities for my administration. First, we will confront and defeat threats
to America, wherever they gather. (Applause.) We have made very clear that
we would hunt down terrorists who hate us and who want to harm us. And we
made very clear that we would deal with the growing danger of Saddam Hussein
and his brutal regime. The world now knows we keep our word. (Applause.)
Our men and women in uniform have made us all proud; the women in uniform
have made us all proud -- because they've showed incredible skill and bravery
and decency. They fought the enemy with fierce courage; they treated the
innocent with compassion and respect; and they are working to make sure the
Iraqi people are free. (Applause.)
You see, the values of America understand and say clearly that freedom is
not America's gift to the world; freedom is God's gift to each and every
person of the world -- no matter where they live. (Applause.) And it was
with that value that our soldiers are now acting in Iraq. And we're working
to make sure America is more secure, but we're also making sure that the
Iraqi people can be free, can run their own country, can decide their own
fate. I know that some of you here today have a loved one serving in the
Armed Forces. You tell them, the United States of America is proud of your
loved one's service. (Applause.)
We learned a good lesson on September the 11th, 2001 -- I say a good lesson,
it better be a good lesson, it was a sad day -- but we learned a lesson,
and that is that oceans will no longer protect us from the threats of a new
era. We must have -- there's a new reality in the world today. We learned
that lesson, but the world has also learned that this nation is resolute,
that we're determined. And the terrorists are learning that they are not
safe -- anywhere on this Earth -- from the justice of the United States of
America. (Applause.) Our coalition of 90 nations is still intact. We're still
working hard. We're waging the war on terror every single day -- and we're
And here at home, we have another great priority. We will work for a vigorous
and healthy and growing economy so that every American who wants to work
can find a job. (Applause.)
This nation and this economy has been through a lot. We have come through
a recession. The first three quarters of the year 2001 were recessionary.
They were negative growth. We had to deal with some major corporate scandals.
Some of our citizens forgot to tell the truth. They thought they could cook
the books. It affected the psychology that -- their behavior affected the
psychology of this country. They will be dealt with. Americans now know that
if you try to lie, cheat or steal from employees or shareholders, you will
be dealt with.
We've also seen a slowdown in the global economy. Other countries around
the world aren't growing. We've been attacked. We fought a war in Afghanistan,
and now we have finished a war -- in the process of finishing a war in Iraq.
And yet, in spite of those obstacles and difficulties, this economy is growing.
As a matter of fact, we are growing faster than most of the industrialized
In other words, we've overcome some obstacles because there are great strengths
in this economy. Interest rates are low. And that helps people, for example,
who are trying to buy a home or refinance a home. Inflation is low. Oil and
gas prices are coming down, which helps the consumer. It puts more money
in your pocket. The entrepreneurial spirit in America is healthy. It's a
great strength of our country -- if you feel like you've got what it takes
to start a business, if you want to go out on your own, you think you've
got a good product, this country says, we welcome you to do so. This is an
entrepreneurial heaven here in America. And that's positive for our country.
But the greatest strength of the American economy is found right here, right
in this room, found in the pride and skill of the American work force. Last
year, productivity growth in America was 4.8 percent -- that is the best
annual increase since 1980. Here at Timken, last year, productivity rose
10 percent. Which means that America can compete with any nation in the world
because we got the finest workers in the world. (Applause.)
The high productivity that comes from steady innovation and skilled workers
gives our economy a tremendous edge. In the mid 1980s, it took Timken an
average of 14 worker-hours to produce a ton of alloy steel. Today it takes
less than four hours. Over the long run, this kind of productivity makes
American products more competitive, and it raises the standard of living
for the American people. The true strength of the country is the fact that
we're a productive nation.
And as a result of the strengths, we're growing. But this economy has got
unmet potential. We know this economy can grow faster, and as it grows faster,
it will create more jobs. And we also know that the right policies coming
out of Washington can unleash the great strengths of the economy and create
the right conditions for growth and prosperity. And that's what I want to
talk to you today about -- what Washington can do.
Sometimes when you hear, don't worry, we're from the federal government,
we're here to help, it makes people a little nervous. (Laughter.) The role
of government is to create an environment in which capital moves freely,
in which the entrepreneurial spirit is strong, create the conditions so that
people feel comfortable about investing, and therefore, create the conditions
for job growth.
We're making some progress in Washington. We've got a consensus on an important
principle: Members of both political parties now support tax relief. Both
sides agree. Both sides understand that if people have more money in their
pocket, they will likely spend it, or invest it, which is good for job growth.
They also understand that the money we're talking about in Washington is
not the government's money -- it's your money. It's the people's money. (Applause.)
And when you have more of it, it drives up demand for goods and services.
And that's important, given the productivity increases of today. You see,
there's pressure on employment. The more productive the work force becomes
-- if productivity arises -- rises like it's doing now, it means a worker
can produce more. And unless there are folks willing to buy more goods and
services, a company is not likely to hire. Productivity increases mean you
can get by with less workers. And so the only way to create the conditions
necessary for additional job expansion is to increase demand for goods and
services. And the best way to create demand for goods and services is to
let people have more of their own money. And that's why tax relief is important
in the year 2003. (Applause.)
The debate over whether we ought to have tax relief is over. That's positive.
Now we're talking about how big the package ought to be and what it ought
to look like. And I've got some ideas about how big it ought to be and what
it ought to look like. The package ought to be least $550 billion in size
over a 10-year period in order to make sure that the economy grows. The package
needs to be robust, so that we can create more than a million new jobs by
the end of 2004. That's not my projection. That's the projection of a lot
of smart economists who've analyzed the package. They believe that if the
package is implemented by the United States Congress, of at least $550 billion,
more than a million new jobs will be created by the end of '04. And that's
good for the American worker. And that's what the whole purpose of the package
is, to create the conditions for job growth, so people can find work.
Some in Congress say the plan is too big. Well, it seems like to me they
might have some explaining to do. If they agree that tax relief creates jobs,
then why are they for a little bitty tax relief package? If they believe
tax relief is important for job creation, they ought to join us and join
this administration and join many in Congress and have a robust package that
creates enough work for the American people. (Applause.)
When I was campaigning and first got into office, the country's economy
was slowing down. And then, as I say, the minute I got sworn in, we were
in a recession. And that's why I went to Congress for a tax package. I said,
we got to get the people more money, so that we keep demand alive.
And Congress responded, but the problem is they responded with a phased-in
program. They said tax relief was important, and tax relief should be robust,
but they phased it in over a period of years --three years in some cases,
five years in others, and seven years. Listen, all I'm asking Congress to
do is to take the tax relief package they've already passed, accelerate it
to this year so that we can get this economy started and people can find
If the economy help -- needs help now, why wait? Instead of slowly raising
the child credit from $600 to $1,000 per child, let's do this year and send
the $400 for every child to the American family now. (Applause.) Instead
of gradually reducing the marriage penalty, we ought to do it now. Congress
ought to respond to the conditions of the day. (Applause.) They shouldn't
play politics with job creation.
That's why you hear a lot of talk in Washington about what this means. I'll
just tell you -- let me just give you the facts, and you can decide whether
this plan is fair. If you're a family of four, making $40,000 a year, this
tax plan will reduce your taxes from $1,178 to $45 -- a family of four, $40,000.
Pat Williams works right here for the Timken Company. She's a single mom.
She's got the toughest job in America, being a single mom. (Laughter and
applause.) She's got two children: Sheree is in college; Danielle is in high
school. Under the plan I've just described and submitted to the United States
Congress, her yearly tax bill would fall by nearly $1,000 -- every year.
(Applause.) It's not $1,000 just this year. It's $1,000 every year. It's
a thousand more dollars of her own money in her pocket. She says this, this
will give me a little more breathing room so that I can assist my children
as they go off and do better and bigger things. It's a beautiful statement
by a mom who is working hard for her children.
There are Pats all over this country who will benefit from the tax plan
-- people who are struggling to make sure their kids can go to college, people
who want to save, people who -- that thousand dollars a year will mean a
lot. Tax relief is good for the average citizen.
An economic plan that makes sense also must focus on small businesses. Small
businesses create most of the new jobs in America. If you're interested in
economic vitality, like I am, and like you are, there needs to a vibrant
component of any tax plan that affects small business. A majority of small
firms pay business taxes at the individual tax rate. Most small businesses
pay individual tax rates. A lot of people assume, well, they pay corporate
rates. That's just not true. Most small businesses are sole proprietorships,
limited partnerships, or subchapter S's. So when you year me talk about reducing
income tax rates, you're really hearing me talk about more capital in the
hands of small-business owners. Reducing income tax rates is money injected
into the small-business sector of the American economy, that sector which
creates most of the new jobs in America.
Under this plan, 23 million small businesses will see their revenues increase
because of tax relief, which means more money for investment, more money
for growth, and more money for jobs. That's what that means. (Applause.)
And the tax code ought to encourage small-business investment. Today, a
small business can deduct a maximum of only $25,000 in the year in which
they buy equipment. The proposal I submitted to the United States Congress
says we need to triple that amount, to $75,000 a year, and index that amount
to inflation. When a small business buys new machinery, not only does it
help that small business become more productive, and more competitive, and
more likely to hire somebody, it also means that the person who build the
machine is more likely to hire somebody. It will have a ripple effect. The
purchase of a machine has a ripple effect throughout our economy. It makes
sense to encourage investment, particularly in the small-business sector.
Mike Kovach knows that. He's from Youngstown, Ohio. He runs City Machine
Technologies. I told you he started his business in 1985 and he had two employees;
and now there's 70. That's a pretty good record. He not only survived, he
thrived. And as a result, 68 more people work, got jobs. He pays taxes on
his business as the individual-rate level. And he wants to make new investments.
The proposal I've just outlined to you will save this good man's company
$15,000 a year. And he says -- let me tell you what he says the tax relief
will mean -- he says, that extra money helps put an entry-level man on my
-- on my shop floor. And the horizons for this fellah are limitless is what
he says. That's Mike's words, not mine. That's what he thinks. And since
he's a decision-maker, I take him for his word. The $15,000 means that Mike
is more likely to hire one extra person. And if that happens all across the
country, we've taken a big step toward making sure that people who're looking
for work can find a job.
He also understands better than some of us in Washington do about how this
economy grows. Any time you can improve the bottom line of Main Street business
-- this is Mike's words -- it's good for the city; it's good for the state;
it's great for the nation. It all trickles up, instead of trickling down.
Now, he may not have a PhD in economics, but he's got a PhD in common-sense
economics. And this tax plan helps people like Mike, and it's needed. And
Congress needs to move. (Applause.)
We can also promote economic growth and job creation by treating investors
fairly. Stock dividends are often the mark of a solid and respectable firm
-- and where you know the profits are real because you see them in cash.
If you pay a dividend, the check actually shows up in somebody's mail box.
It means you're not a pie-in-the-sky company. You're not making hopeful projections
and maybe they happen and maybe they don't. If you pay a dividend and you
tell people you're going to pay a dividend, you got to deliver the dividend.
Timken is a dividend-paying company. I say it's a dividend-paying company,
after all, Timken has paid a dividend for the last 324 consecutive quarters.
(Applause.) That's a solid record. It says to me the people who run Timken
care a lot about their shareholders and the employees -- after all, there
are 44,000 Timken shareholders: employees, retirees, teacher retirement funds,
college endowments, a lot of ordinary investors here in Canton who take great
pride in owning stock in a local company.
Right now, dividends are taxed twice. When the company makes a profit, the
dividend -- the profits are taxed. And that's good. That's the way it should
be. However, when the shareholder receives his or her part of the profits,
it's taxed again. And that doesn't make sense to me. Taxing something twice
is not good public policy, particularly when you're worried about investment
and job creation, and when you're worried about shareholders and their ability
to save and invest -- and worry about retirement citizens who rely upon dividend
income. The double-taxation is bad for the citizens of this country, and
we need to eliminate it. (Applause.)
Ending the double-taxation of dividends, according to many economists, will
help the stock market. It will create value in the stock market. And that's
positive. After all, we're becoming an ownership society -- whether it be
in your pension plan or directly, you own stock. And when the market is strong,
it creates a sense of optimism. It gives you a sense of security. If getting
rid of the double-taxation of dividends increases the markets, it will be
good for millions of investors all across America. It will be good for our
economy. And it will reduce the cost of capital, which means companies like
Timken have got a better capacity to expand, which means jobs.
Ending the double-taxation of dividends would be good for our seniors who
receive half of all taxable dividend income. And that's important. The Freelands
here -- mentioned they're retired; they receive dividend income. It would
be helpful to the Freelands in their -- in their retirement to not have their
dividends taxed twice. Ending the double-taxation of dividends will be good
for Timken workers. And that's important for you to understand. Last year,
this company paid out more than $30 million in dividends -- and a lot of
that went to Timken employees. So when you hear politicians say the tax cut
is only for the rich, they're talking about you. When you have more money
to save and invest, it's good for your future. It's good for this economy.
Economists estimate that ending the double-taxation of dividend will create
more than 400,000 by the end of year 2004. And sooner the Congress gets this
done, the sooner we'll see new jobs for the American people. (Applause.)
When we put the job and growth package together, I didn't set arbitrary
limits on tax relief. Instead, I asked what does the economy need? How do
we stimulate work? What do we need to do for small businesses? What will
create the most jobs? And I concluded that of all the proposals that I laid
out, lower taxes for families, lower taxes for small businesses, ending the
double-taxation of dividends to the tune of at least $550 billion is the
best way to make sure this economy grows. (Applause.)
Now, you hear talk about deficits. And I'm concerned about deficits. I'm
sure you are, as well. But this nation has got a deficit because we have
been through a war. And I told the American people we would spend what is
necessary to win the war. We weren't going to hold back so our soldiers were
-- didn't have the right equipment and the best training and the best possible
And we had an emergency and a recession, which affected the revenue growth
of the U.S. Treasury. I mean, the stock market went down. Some of the pie-in-the-sky
projections didn't make, and the investors said, oops. The numbers weren't
real. The investors said, well, it looks like the days of everything is going
up may end. And so people started selling, and the markets went down. That
affected the revenues coming into the U.S. Treasury. Recession -- negative
growth means less revenues. And so, of course, we've got a deficit. But I
know we can grow out of the deficit with wise policy.
And the best way to deal with the deficit is to address the two things that
affect the deficit. First, increase revenues to the Treasury through economic
growth and vitality. And that's what we discussed here today. And second,
make sure Congress does not overspend your money. Make sure it focuses on
the things that we need and doesn't spend beyond the things that we need.
The best way to solve the deficit is to grow the revenues coming into the
Treasury through economic vitality and have fiscal sanity in Washington,
And with people looking for work here in America, we have a responsibility
to help those people find jobs. So I've asked the Congress to help create
what we call Personal Re-employment Accounts. It's an innovative way to make
sure that workers are helped, that they can help themselves. Under this program
Americans who face the greatest difficulties in finding work will receive
up to $3,000 to use in their job search. And they would have flexibility
in how to use that money. A person with a re-employment account would be
able to decide whether to use the funds for job training, or child care,
or transportation, or to cover the costs of moving to another city. If the
job is attained quickly, within 13 weeks, the worker would be able to keep
the cash balance that exists in the re-employment account. To strengthen
the economy, you not only need good tax policy, but we need to help American
workers find work and the dignity that comes with holding a job. (Applause.)
The last few months have been a time of challenge for this country -- no
question about it. The resolve of this nation has been tested, yet we have
great resources of national character and national strength to overcome any
challenge that we face. Our confidence and our optimism have never wavered.
We're defending the peace of this world. We love peace. We use our might
to make the world more peaceful. We're bringing freedom to corners of the
world that haven't seen freedom in generations. We stand strong on the principle
that freedom belongs to everybody -- no matter the color of their skin, no
matter what their religion, no matter where they live. We're building prosperity
for this country. It's a unique moment in our history, and you're living
through it. And as importantly, the American people are rising to meet it.
I want to thank each of you for your strength. I want to thank you for your
love of your country. I want to thank for the work you do every day. Thanks
for letting me come. May God bless you and may God bless America. (Applause.)