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Archive for Saturday, March 3, 2001

Bush paints rosy picture of future U.S. economy

March 3, 2001

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— President Bush, responding to critics of his tax-cut plan, predicted Friday that the budget surpluses needed to pay for his $1.6 trillion tax package not only would materialize over the next 10 years but would exceed the rosy expectations of budget planners.

Given his optimistic forecast, Bush said there is no need for the so-called trigger safeguards Democrats and some of his fellow Republicans want as protection against an economic downturn. The trigger mechanism would terminate the tax cut if the budget surplus needed to fund tax relief fell short of projections.

"People take a pessimistic view about how to project revenues, and that's fine," Bush told the National Conference of State Legislatures. "But I just want you to know I'm much more optimistic than the point of view here in Washington."

The federal budget surplus is expected to hit $5.6 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

That surplus, Bush argues, is sufficient to maintain entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, provide additional money for schools and military pay raises, and fully fund across-the-board tax cuts. And even while his critics contend the $5.6 trillion may not materialize, Bush insists it's a low-ball estimate.

"These numbers are based upon conservative assumptions," Bush said. "We can do better than that in America. America can grow our economy. We're too strong a nation; we're an entrepreneurial nation."

The tax cuts themselves will help fuel economic expansion, adding to future surpluses, Bush told the state lawmakers.

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