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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Monday, January 02, 2006

November 2003: Kline Asserts Bush Economic Plan is 'Doing Exactly What it Was Supposed to Do'

Recent posts have reviewed John Kline's activity in Congress as presented in the Congressional Record, and a couple of posts ago I asked ". . . didn't he have anything to say about major issues facing the country during the summer of 2003?" During his first ten months in the House of Representatives, freshman congressman Kline's contributions on the floor were infrequent and typically full of fluff.

Finally, on November 5, 2003, Kline gave a sustained speech praising Bush's handling of the economy. It even included facts and empirical data, resources he had previously only used when praising some collegiate athletic team on its most recent national title. But on this day, Kline proudly proclaimed that ". . . the President's Jobs and Growth Package is doing exactly what it was supposed to do," and had some numbers to back up his claim.

I don't have too much to say about this speech; I'm merely reproducing it here in order to provide a full accounting of John Kline's record (that is, after all, why I'm here). But I just wanted to make a few observations.

Kline argues that Bush's economic plan was working in the fall of 2003 because of the strong 7.2% GDP growth rate in the third quarter of 2003, which is impressive, and it makes good political sense for a Republican House to give credit for this strong performance to the Republican president's policies. The problem is, it's far too easy for someone like me to point to the lackluster economic performance 9 months later and ask why the president's policies have lost their magic. Kline also notes that from the beginning of January 2003 through November 5, 2003, the U.S. stock markets gained roughly $2 trillion in value. The problem with that is that someone like me can ask Kline why, with Bush's wonderful economic policies in place for the past 2 years, the stock market has increased in value by less than three percent. In fact, it's been pretty well stagnant.

Anyway, we can play these statistical games endlessly. The bottom line is, there were some positive economic indicators in the fall of 2003, and Kline put himself on record as giving Bush's tax cuts, etc., the credit for them. Here's his speech:

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mario Diaz-Balart), my distinguished colleague, for yielding, and more importantly, most importantly, for his leadership on this issue and so many issues. It is such a pleasure to serve with such a fine gentleman.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today, of course, to join he and my other colleagues in sharing the really great news what we are seeing in the United States economy. As you heard from the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mario Diaz-Balart) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hensarling), the United States economy grew at the astonishing rate of 7.2 percent in the third quarter. The highest rate since 1984. That warrants the repetition that we are giving it this evening.

It is a sign that the President's Jobs and Growth Package is doing exactly what it was supposed to do. And I am so pleased to have been a part of this Congress to help make this a reality. That package that we passed this year helped to generate our growth spurt by bringing economic activity to a higher level. That was exactly the purpose. This, in turn, increased the incomes and the living standards, the living standards for American workers. Not just the living standards for the rich, the living standards for American workers. And, in addition to this incredible, astonishing growth, we have seen other important indicators of a reviving, in fact, a rapidly growing economy.

My colleague, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hensarling), mentioned that home ownership has reached the highest level ever, the highest level ever. And since the beginning of this year, the value of the United States stock markets has increased $2 trillion. Two trillion dollars. That is money in retirement accounts and 401(k)s and IRAs and mutual funds. That is real wealth to Americans. Disposable income is up 5.8 percent.

And, just as predicted, when you let the American workers, businesses, and families and individuals keep more of their own money, when you tax it less, and disposable income goes up, other good things happen. Manufacturing goods are up. Shipments of durable goods are up. Consumer confidence is, you guessed it, up. Things are looking up and there is more to come.

Mr. Speaker, the point has been raised that jobs are not as high as we would like them to be, but I am here to tell you that they are on their way. This economic indicator always lags, and we are already starting to see signs that the labor market is beginning to improve. Claims for unemployment insurance are down.

My colleague from Texas mentioned that 57,000 new jobs are were created in September. Progress is evident. We have more work to do. And the good news is that the President and the leadership in this house never planned to rest on its laurels.

The President, the administration, the House, has a plan to further strengthen the economy and create more jobs. Six easy points that the President has articulated, and it bears repeating tonight for our discussion. We want to ensure an affordable and reliable energy supply, and we are working on passing an energy bill; we want to reduce the burden of frivolous lawsuits on our economy; streamline regulations and reporting requirements; make health care costs more affordable and more predictable; open new markets for American products; enable families and businesses to plan for the future with confidence by bringing consistency and predictability to the system.

Mr. Speaker, this Congress and this President recognized a need and responded. We are already seeing signs of success and more to come. I am so pleased to be here with you tonight and to be part of this Congress and this team working for a better, stronger America.


Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.

1/12/2006 06:55:00 PM  

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