Bush Offers $1.6 Trillion Tax 'Refund'

By Campbell, Jeremy | The Evening Standard (London, England), February 28, 2001 | Go to article overview

Bush Offers $1.6 Trillion Tax 'Refund'


Campbell, Jeremy, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: JEREMY CAMPBELL

PRESIDENT BUSH announced tax cuts worth $1.6 trillion as "a refund" to the American public from overspending government.

In his first major primetime speech since taking office, he aimed his "simple and direct" words at Americans worried by the spectre of a recession, plunging consumer confidence and a sick stock market, putting his case for deep tax cuts and restraint on government spending.

In a variation on the theme that the era of big government is over, Mr Bush called for a government that is "active, but limited, engaged, but not overbearing". Too much government, he said, "crowds out initiative and hard work".

Opinion polls show Americans have serious doubts that tax reduction is what the country needs but Mr Bush told a joint session of Congress: "Unrestrained government spending is a dangerous road to deficits.

"Taxes are too high and the government spends more than it needs."

This statement drew delirious cheering from Republicans while Democrats were mute. Mr Bush continued: "I'm asking for a refund."

He presented a budget which he said will shrink government debt while still putting substantial sums of money for "excellent schools, quality health care, a secure retirement, a cleaner environment and a stronger defence". …

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