Not a Taxing Plan

With the presidential elections just days away, leaders of the Democratic Party are hoping to convince voters that the economy is in a stagnant, recessed state. They are hoping to portray John Kerry as the man who will bring back the years of Clintonian success. However, what the liberal pundits neglect to mention is that during the past four years, under the administration of George W. Bush, the American economy has grown steadily-despite an inherited recession and political uncertainty caused by despicable acts of terrorism. During the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, the United States developed global economic hegemony, evident in every region of the world. Under the Bush administration, this superiority has grown and America is recognized almost everywhere in the world as the sole economic superpower. Domestically, Bush has passed tax relief bills that, contrary to popular belief, help every citizen. Furthermore, homeownership is at a record high of 69.2 percent, after-tax incomes have increased by more than 10 percent since December 2000, and unemployment rates nationwide have been steadily decreasing since the onset of economic recovery following the 2001 recession. With an economy of value greater than $10 trillion, there is very little any president, Republican or Democrat, can do to stimulate economic growth in the near future. President Reagan, who had the largest impact on the economy of any recent president, cut taxes, encouraged the Federal Reserve board to keep interest rates high, and slowed government spending on domestic programs. But even Reagan was only partly responsible for the tremendous expansion in the economy that began during his tenure and has continued through “Clintonian prosperity,” to the present. Stable oil prices during the Reagan years helped keep inflation low. The advent of corporate raiders forced American companies to stay lean and mean. The influx of immigrant workers and the relative weakness of American labor unions kept inflationary wage increases in check. The expansion of free trade policies in markets around the world and the explosion in technology also contributed to a healthy U.S. economy through the 1990s until now. One of the most common misconceptions about the Bush administration’s economic policies is that they caused the recession of 2001. This notion is false. Economic data from the months prior to Bush’s inauguration shows a severely stagnated economy. According to the Commerce Department’s revision of economic data the annual growth rate of the US economy in the last six months of Clinton’s presidency was a weak 0.8 percent. For reference, the annual growth rate for the second quarter of 2004 was 4.8 percent. Graphs of the percent change in GDP and the percent change in employment further support the assertions that recession had its roots in the final years of “Clintonian prosperity” and that Bush’s policies brought the economy out of recession. In other words, the recession President Clinton left behind has turned into prosperity under George W. Bush. Bush’s most effective measures in spurring economic growth have been his tax relief programs. Contrary to liberal spin, these tax cuts have benefited all taxpayers, not just the wealthy. During the past four years, Bush has signed into law four tax cuts. The most recent, the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004, was passed on October 8. Due to the President’s tax relief programs, a family of four with an income of $40,000 will save more than $900 on their taxes next year. Overall, 94 million Americans will have a lower tax bill next year, including 70 million women and 38 million families with children. The Job Creation and Workers Assistance Act of 2002 provided tax relief to businesses and taxpayers affected by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and included a 13-week extension on unemployment insurance. This act has a projected tax relief of $41.9 billion over the period 2003-2012. The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act of 2003, a 10-year $350 billion tax package – the third-largest tax cut in U.S. history – temporarily reduced dividend taxes, permanently reduced capital-gains taxes, and increased the child credit for most taxpayers. To support the middle and lower classes, President Bush created a 10 percent tax bracket, which provided much needed relief for families earning under $14,000 per year. President Bush’s continued commitment to lowering taxes has put money back into the pockets of every American and has helped to make the recession of 2001 one of the shortest in American history. As President, George W. Bush has done everything in his power to ensure the prolonged prosperity and hegemony of the American economy. He has kept governmental intervention to a minimum and his tax cuts have helped millions of American families and businesses to prosper. As Election Day draws nearer, American voters should consider the state of their lives as consumers as well as the state of the steadily improving US economy. If they know their facts, they should ultimately cast a vote to extend the presidency of George W. Bush for four more years.