Commenter smedley and Swamplander Karen Tumulty have asked me to take a look at President Bush’s speech yesterday to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, especially his comments about tax cuts. Here they are:
I remember meeting with some right after the attacks and we were wondering whether or not our economy could withstand a terrorist attack — after all, a recession was in place just as I came into office, then the terrorists attacked, then we had corporate scandals.
And a lot of folks were wondering whether or not this economy would be resilient enough to withstand those pressures. And it turns out it was. And I want to thank you very much for supporting the tax cuts plans that had good effect on small businesses all across the United States during that period of time. I think when people take a look back at this moment in our economic history, they’ll recognize tax cuts work. They have made a difference.
And this is what we’re doing again. We’ve entered another period of difficult times. I am confident in the long term for the United States’ economy. I know we’re resilient. I know we’re entrepreneurial. I know we’ll withstand these times. I want to thank you for supporting the economic stimulus package that we passed, which provides strong incentives for small businesses to expand and will put money into the pockets of the people who earned it.
Secretary Paulson has assured me — he’s a “can-do” guy — that the checks will be coming into the mail in the second week of May. The other thing I do want to assure you of is that if Congress tries to raise taxes, I’m going to veto it. We don’t need tax increases. (Applause.)
Now I don’t think the Bush tax cuts are the cause of our current economic problems (the misdevelopment of our financial system, which began long before 2001 although it took its wildest form afterward, is the main culprit). But there is something bizaarely disconnected from reality about his account. It’s entirely possible Bush will leave office next year having presided over the worst eight-year stretch for the U.S. economy since the Depression (or at least the 1970s). And all he can say is that tax cuts are good?
I do think he’s right about Americans being resilient, though. We can bounce back from anything. Even, uh, the Bush era.