2004 Budget Released
February 3, 2003
The budget for 2004 meets the challenges posed by three national priorities:
winning the war against terrorism, securing the homeland, and generating long-term
economic growth. It restrains the growth in federal spending and addresses the
long-term fiscal challenge presented by Medicare and Social Securitys unfunded
promises. This years budget also helps America meet its goals both at home and
We remain at war with an enemy that seeks to use murder, stealth, and fear against
all free nations. Yet our response has been resolute. The people of Afghanistan
have been freed from the oppressive regime that sponsors the terrorists who
planned and carried out the attacks of September 11, 2001. We are hunting down
the terrorist leaders and their collaborators, one by one. And we continue to
disrupt their plots, shut down their financing, and deny them safe haven.
We have moved to secure the nations safety. Just 10 days ago, the new Department
of Homeland Security began operations in the biggest reorganization of the Federal
Government in a half-century. The cabinet-level department unifies the work
of 22 programs and agencies and will move quickly to better protect Americans
from threats here at home. We also have moved to defend Americas interests abroad,
and to confront danger wherever it emerges. Working with our allies and partners,
we will face down regimes that govern by fear and deception, and we will devote
the necessary resources to protect ourselves and our friends against the use
of weapons of mass destruction.
We are strengthening our economy by allowing American families to keep more
of their own money and encouraging businesses to save, spend, and grow. While
the economy is growing, it is not growing fast enough. Too many Americans who
want to work cant find a job, and too many American families are falling behind.
The growth and jobs plan I outlined earlier this year will provide critical
momentum to our economic recovery. For every American paying income taxes, I
propose speeding up the tax cuts already approved by the Congress, because Americans
need that relief today. And for America's 84 million investors, and those who
will become investors, I propose eliminating the double taxation of stock dividends.
Double taxation is unfair and bad for our economy.
Government cannot manage or control the economy. But government can remove the
barriers blocking stronger economic growth. My plan will give Americans more
tools to achieve that growth.
A recession and a war we did not choose have led to the return of deficits.
My Administration firmly believes in controlling the deficit and reducing it
as the economy strengthens and our national security interests are met. Compared
to the overall federal budget and the $10.5 trillion national economy, our budget
gap is small by historical standards. By protecting our vital national security
interests and promoting economic growth, we will meet the challenges and concerns
of the American people. We will not let them down.
I will also insist on spending discipline in Washington D.C., so we can meet
our priorities. We must prepare for the future costs of Social Security and
Medicare. My budget takes the first steps toward modernizing Medicare and includes
prescription drug coverage.
We will continue to focus on getting results from federal spending. A federal
programs measure of success is not its size, but the value it delivers. And
my budget will focus on this goal in a new and important way. If federal programs
cannot show results, they should be overhauled, or retired.
And while human compassion cannot be summarized in dollars and cents, this budget
addresses the many challenges our society faces: bridging the gap for low-income
families, so they can buy affordable homes; helping communities of faith pull
the addicted from the grip of drugs; lifting children out of poverty and hopelessness
by creating good schools and offering them caring adult mentors; and easing
the pain and hardship of the global epidemic of AIDS.
Some of the challenges we face will endure for many years and require great
resources. As we look down that path, we will not always get to choose which
battles we fight. It is, however, our duty to fight them. History may not remember
every single way we contributed to this nations betterment, but it will remember
if we failed to try. The courage to take on challenges, and the enterprise with
which we have succeeded in meeting them, have always distinguished America.
This same courage and enterprise will help America meet these challenges, and
prevail once again.