Just thought this was something everyone should read about. here's the story:
President Bush came to Chicago on Tuesday to begin selling what he characterized as a sweeping, bold plan to jump-start the economy--proposing everything from eliminating the taxes investors pay on dividends to creating new $3,000 accounts to help the unemployed find jobs.
"I proposed a bold plan because the need for this plan is urgent," Bush told a crowd of cheering businessmen at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. "Our nation has seen two years of serious and steady challenges."
Bush said his economic stimulus package would cut Americans' taxes by $98 billion this year and $670 billion over the next decade, putting cash in 92 million Americans' pockets while creating 2.1 million jobs. Many of the provisions have been leaking out of the Bush administration for days, but the president chose Chicago to begin the job of selling the public in a half-hour speech to the Economic Club of Chicago.
Democrats in Congress argue Bush's proposals largely benefit the wealthy, with 45 percent of the tax cuts going to 1 percent of Americans--those who make more than $350,000 a year.
"The majority of the benefits ought to go to the majority of Americans," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). "This latest Bush proposal is as bad as the first one. It is not going to save the economy. It is going to help the fat cat contributors.''
State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, who is also Illinois state GOP chairwoman, dismissed such talk, saying the Democrats "are always whining about something or other."
"I think it's great," she said of Bush's proposal. "It covers such a variety of people, and the fact that it is reaching out and touching people who are going to need the most help is very, very good."
For his part, Bush went out of his way to sound bipartisan themes. He met with Democratic Gov.-elect Rod Blagojevich and took Mayor Daley along on the helicopter ride from O'Hare Airport to Meigs Field. Bush said he chose Chicago to unveil his economic plan because it "is one of America's great cities.''
"And one of the reasons why is because you have a great mayor in Richard Daley," Bush said. "We're from different political parties, but we have some things in common: We both married above ourselves. ... We both have famous and influential brothers. Our dads spent a little time in politics. And we love our country more than we love our political parties."
Both the mayor and his brother--former Commerce Secretary William Daley, who ran Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign against Bush--sat on the stage with Bush.
"I think he hit a home run," Mayor Daley said after Bush's speech. "It isn't good vs. evil, rich vs. poor. It's dealing with the economy of the nation."
Bush tried to paint an upbeat picture of the economic progress made under his watch, but conceded "in spite of successes, we have more work to do.
"Too many of our citizens who want to work cannot find a job. And many employers lack the confidence to invest and create new jobs."
Bush is asking Congress to make a variety of tax relief measures already passed for future years effective immediately, including tax cuts set to go into effect in 2004 and 2006.
The president pledged he would then direct the Treasury to immediately adjust the amount withheld from workers' paychecks to allow them to reap some of that savings now.
"If tax relief is good enough for Americans three years from now, it is good enough for Americans today," Bush said.
Bush said a typical family of four with both parents working to earn $39,000 in yearly income would reap more than $1,100 in tax relief.
But the centerpiece of his package is the sweeping call to eliminate the taxes investors pay on dividends. Bush characterized it as an issue of fairness, because the dividends are taxed twice--once as a company's profits and again when they are paid to shareholders as dividends.
"Double taxation is bad for our economy," Bush said. "Double taxation is wrong. Double taxation falls especially hard on retired people. About half of all dividend income goes to America's seniors, and they often rely on those checks for a steady source of income in their retirement."
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