Action on Economic Stimulus Proposal
Farmers Journal Corporation Convention
The J.W. Marriott
November 28, 2001
1:32 P.M. EST
Well, thank you so very much for that warm welcome. And it is great to be here
with the farmers and ranchers and researchers and business leaders who make
America the most innovative and most productive farm nation in the world.
I am somewhat nostalgic for our place in Crawford. But I've been a little busy
lately. (Laughter.) I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak about the
future of agriculture and the future of our economy, because they both begin
with your work.
I want to thank Andy for providing this opportunity for me to come and speak.
And I want to thank our Secretary of Agriculture for doing such a fine job of
not only representing farmers and ranchers here at home, but doing a fine job
of making sure our farmers and ranchers are heard overseas, as well.
She and Bob Zoellick went to Doha. I told them, no longer are we going to treat
our farmers as trading commodities. Agriculture is the cornerstone of our economy,
and our international agreements must reflect that.
And so, Madam Secretary, thank you for your hard work in Doha. I appreciate
it very much. (Applause.)
The success of agriculture contributes to the strength of this nation. It is
in our national interests, in our national security interests that we have a
strong farm economy. And the farmers of America contribute to the values of
our nation, and to the generosity of our nation. As we speak, trucks and planes
are delivering American food to the hungry in Afghanistan. Those rations say,
"A gift from the people of the United States." This gift is made possible
by the farmers in our country, and I want to thank you for it.
The farmers represent and preserve the values of our nation: hard work, risk-taking,
love of the land. I always like to say people who own their own land understand
the necessity to be good stewards -- every day is Earth Day if you own your
own land. The farmers represent love of family and love of our country. And
farming is our first industry, the industry that feeds us, that clothes us and,
increasingly, provides our energy.
As Andy mentioned, I was the governor of the state of Texas; it happens to be
the second largest agricultural state in the country. I understand how tough
it is to make a living on the farm. I understand how much hard work goes into
making the land productive. And I understand how valuable an asset land is and
how important it is that it stay from one generation to the next. And that's
why I'm glad to have signed a law that is sending the death tax on its way to
Today, our nation is challenged by a great conflict. We face new threats and
they require a fight on many fronts, both overseas and here at home. After September
the 11th, I vowed to the world that we would bring to justice those who killed
innocent women and children and men here in America. I also said that any nation
that harbored a terrorist, that aided a terrorist, that abetted a terrorist
would be held accountable. And that's exactly what's taking place today. Thanks
to our military, thanks to friends and allies, we are destroying the Taliban
military and we're destroying the camps that terrorists use to plan attacks
on nations such as America.
We're meeting our goals in Afghanistan. After all, our allies now control most
of the country. One of the objectives I laid out in front of Congress is that
we would rescue those who were held, detained against their will. And so I had
the honor last Monday of welcoming two young Baylor graduates to the White House,
part of the humanitarian rescue mission that we pulled off successfully.
As I mentioned, we're feeding the hungry and providing medicine and clothes
to those poor, suffering, innocent citizens of Afghanistan. And we're after
al Qaeda. The evil ones think they can hide. They think they can run. But they're
learning that this is a patient nation, a nation that is determined to smoke
them out and to bring them to justice. And that's exactly what we're going to
I also recognize that we've got a war here on the home front, and it's important
for the American people to know that their government is doing everything we
possibly can to disrupt and deny the enemy; that we take every threat seriously;
that we run down every lead; that we're on full alert. The thing I'm most proud
of is that the American people will not be intimidated by the evil ones; that
they understand that the intent of the al Qaeda murderers was to freeze our
nation in place, but they don't understand America like I do. America is resolved.
We are united. And we will not relent until we make sure that those who believe
they can harm our government and our friends are brought to justice, whether
it be in Afghanistan or any other place they hide. (Applause.)
I said when this war first started that the farther away we get from September
the 11th, the more likely it is people will forget that there are evil ones
in the world who want to destroy our country, what we stand for. And that may
be the case amongst some. But that's not what I've seen in America. This nation
is resolved to do whatever it takes, in whatever theater is necessary, to make
sure that civilization, itself, remains intact; to make sure that our children
and our grandchildren can grow up in a world that is free and peaceful.
It is the calling of our time, and it's a calling that we accept. And we're
going to win. I view this as a fight between good and evil, and good will always
We also have difficulties here on the home front because of our economic situation.
Statistics recently showed that shortly after I was sworn in as President, our
economy was slow and had been slowing for a while. I made the case, and fortunately,
Congress listened, that a slow economy required immediate action when it came
to tax relief, and they delivered. That's an important part of making sure that
we generate growth, is to let people keep more of their hard-earned money so
they can spend it and not the government.
And at the same time, in order to address an economic slowdown, we brought sorely
needed fiscal discipline to Washington, D.C. that we fought for and got a budget
that was realistic, that didn't grow way beyond the means of our government.
And by the end of summer, the economy was beginning to stabilize. Yet the terrorist
attack of September the 11th, no question, dealt our economy a serious blow.
So while we fight our enemies and states that harbor terrorism, and while we
defend our homeland and our airways, we must take further action to strengthen
our economy. Americans know our economy was targeted for terror -- by terror.
And they're asking us to fight back, and we must.
These are incredibly tough times for some of our fellow Americans. Some have
lost their jobs. Some have had their hours curtailed. Many have seen their savings
shrink, and small businesses are struggling just to stay in business. We're
facing tough times, but if we act quickly, I'm confident we can grow our economy.
On October the 5th, seven weeks ago, I asked Congress to send me an economic
stimulus package, and I outlined the principles that should guide the plan.
First, any plan must help displaced workers. Any plan must recognize that folks
have been severely hurt by the attack on September the 11th and we must help
Secondly, the plan should speed up the individual income tax cuts Congress approved
last May. The sooner rates come down, the faster our economy will rise. The
plan should provide tax relief for low-and moderate-income workers to help them
through these tough times. The plan should allow companies and entrepreneurs
to deduct the cost of new investments more quickly to encourage businesses to
grow and to create job opportunities for Americans. And the plan should reform
the corporate income tax to do away with the alternative minimum tax, a tax
that pushes tax rates up at exactly the moment when corporate America's profits
are going down.
The House of Representatives acted on a stimulus bill, but it seems to be stuck
in the Senate. It is important for the Senate not to look for ways to spend
new money, but to look for ways to create new jobs. And so I ask the Senate
leadership to work out their differences and pass an economic stimulus plan
so they can get it in conference and get a bill to my desk as quickly as possible.
The American people expect it, and I expect it. (Applause.)
This country is waiting for action. And in the time that we have been waiting,
more than 415,000 workers have lost their jobs. Further delay could put more
Americans and more families at risk. So let's move. Let's get the job done.
I also want to improve our homeland security and our economy by having a national
energy plan. I want to thank the Farm Journal Forum for emphasizing the importance
of ethanol and biofuels. These fuels are gentle on the environment. They are
fuels that can be renewed year after year, and fuels that can expand our farm
economy. These fuels are made right here in America, so they can't be threatened
by any foreign power.
Ethanol and biofuels are fuels of the future for this country. Since the beginning
of my administration, I have strongly supported ethanol and biofuels. And the
energy plan I sent to Congress back in the spring supports biofuels.
The House passed an energy plan. Now it's time for the Senate to act and pass
an energy plan. It's in our national security interests to do so. I look forward
to signing a national energy bill.
I'm also ready to sign trade promotion authority, to open up markets for American
industry and American farmers. This authority sends an unmistakable signal to
our trading partners that the Congress and the administration are united on
trade. The House will soon vote on trade promotion authority. I hope you'll
join me in pressing for its passage and, in the process, helping to restore
U.S. leadership in support of free trade.
U.S. leadership matters. We recently helped bring China into the World Trade
Organization, and that is good for American farmers. It is in our interests,
in our agricultural interests to help feed China. We helped start a new world
trade round in Doha. Our negotiators came back from Doha with excellent news
for American farmers. American farmers too often lose markets or suffer low
prices because of unfair export subsidies. The Doha Declaration calls for reducing
export subsidies and, ultimately, phasing them out.
For too long, the agricultural market has been rigged against farmers who play
fair. Doha shows the way toward a more level playing field. That's good news
for the world's hungry; it's good news for the world's most productive food
producers -- the American farmers.
We've got a good stimulus bill, a sound energy plan and it's important to have
a good farm bill, too. A good farm bill should keep the safety net under our
food producers, without misleading our farmers into overproducing crops that
are already in over-supply by increasing loan rates. A good farm bill should
help farmers help themselves with farm savings accounts. These accounts would
help farmers set aside money in good years to sustain them in hard times. A
good farm bill should promote responsible stewardship of America's farms and
ranchers by promoting conservation on working lands. A good farm bill should
honor our trade obligations, as we expect our competitors to honor their obligations.
And a good farm bill should be generous, but affordable. It should honor the
budget limits that Congress has agreed to live by.
You know, we've learned a lot about our country since September the 11th. We've
learned that our people are strong, that our military is very good at what it
does, and that our country's heart has never been more generous and good. And
we have much to mourn and much to rebuild, but much to be grateful for.
Just a few days ago we gave thanks for God's bounty to America. But we should
never forget that it takes the hard toil on the land to turn that bounty into
the food we eat; and that we share with the world's hungry our bounty. We should
never forget who does that toil. It's the American farmer and the American rancher.
May God bless you all, and may God bless America. (Applause.)