January 5, 2002
10:06 A.M. EST
Good morning. The events of September the 11th left America sadder and stronger,
and they clarified some important goals for our country. We have a war to wage
and a recession to fight. Defending our country and strengthening our economy
are great priorities for 2002. We must be determined and we must keep our focus.
This Saturday, I'm traveling in Oregon and California, talking with people who
have been hit hard by the economic downturn. When I return to Washington on
Monday, I will be meeting with my economic advisors and other officials to discuss
the latest economic data and work for a quick recovery for our economy.
My administration has offered our ideas for creating new jobs. I've proposed
speeding up the tax reductions Congress passed last year, because the faster
tax rates come down, the faster our economy will grow.
I have proposed tax refunds for lower and moderate income families, to put money
in the hands of people with kids to support and bills to pay. I have proposed
reforming the alternative minimum tax so employers and entrepreneurs no longer
see their taxes rise as their profits shrink. In tough times, we need to encourage
entrepreneurship and small business growth, not punish it.
I've proposed better tax treatment for employers and entrepreneurs who invest
in new equipment, which will help the hardworking people who use the equipment
and those who manufacture the equipment.
The Council of Economic Advisors estimates that these ideas could save at least
300,000 threatened jobs.
I'm also calling on Congress to act immediately to help the unemployed workers.
I've proposed extending unemployment benefits by 13 weeks, and I've supported
tax credits to protect the health insurance of workers who've been laid off.
But we can't stop there. It is important to help workers who've lost their jobs.
It is even more important to help workers find new jobs. In tough times, people
need a unemployment check; but what they want is a paycheck. Americans want
the independence of a job, and the satisfaction of providing for their families
themselves. A job is more than a source of income; it is a source of dignity.
I made my proposals to create new jobs and help dislocated workers on October
the 4th, three months and 943,000 lost jobs ago. The House of Representatives
accepted my proposals. But the Senate Democratic leadership would not even schedule
a vote. Some in the Senate seem to think we can afford to do nothing, that the
economy will get better on its own, sooner or later. I say that if your job
is in danger or you have a loved one out of work, you want that recovery sooner,
We need a plan to lengthen unemployment benefits, we need a plan to shorten
the recession. The Senate should act on both. America's workers cannot afford