One way to make sure America is strong is to rally the compassion. Another way is to make sure that our economy is strong. I want to tell you right up front that I do not think the role of government is to try to create wealth. That's not the role of government. The role of government is to create an environment in which people are willing to take risk. (Applause.) The role of government is to create an economic climate in which the Rolf's of the world say, gosh, I've got a good idea, I want to take a risk. And, therefore, employ people. That's really what I view my job is. If there's roadblocks, to eliminate them. And if there's ways to make the environment better, do so. I wanted to talk a little bit about that. High taxes is a road block. (Applause.) High tax rates discourage investment. And when you discourage investment, you discourage job creation. And, therefore, working with people in Congress, both the House and the Senate, we worked to reduce the tax burden on working people in America. And it came at exactly the right time. Tax relief was vital. (Applause.) It was vital for our economic future, because when you give people more of their own money to spend, they demand. And when they demand, somebody produces. And when somebody produces, somebody gets to work. (Applause.) But the other thing that was important about tax relief is that it is -- recognizes the importance of small business, because many small businesses are unincorporated. Many small businesses are sole proprietors, or are limited partnerships. And by cutting the personal rates, all personal rates, what we are in effect doing for the small business community was encouraging cash flow. And more cash flow on small business owners means more jobs. And so one of the crucial things we've done to address the economic recession and its slowdown, and the effects it caused on working people, was to say, let's give people their own money back. (Applause.) For a while they were talking about taking away that tax relief -- "they" being some people in Washington, D.C. I couldn't imagine anybody saying in the midst of a recession, we're going to raise taxes. They were reading the wrong textbook, Senator. (Laughter.) Anybody in their right mind knows that if you're interested in making the economy more vital, you let people keep more of their own money. I don't hear much of that talk anymore now that the plan looks like it's working.This snapshot from the Economic Policy Institute shows W's miserable performance on job creation from March 2001 forward.
The number of payroll jobs reached a low point six months ago, in August 2003. Job growth has averaged only 61,000 a month in the last six months—far less than the 137,000 jobs a month now required to keep the jobs gap from widening. As a result, despite positive job gains, the jobs gap has grown from 6.6 million last August to 7.1 million in February 2004.
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