After seven years in office, President George W. Bush has taken his share of criticism from his political opponents, the media and even sometimes from his own party.
He warned conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., February 8 that voices in the media will try to sway people from conservative values in the upcoming election year.
“In the year ahead, the pundits, the so-called experts, the commentators, analysts will offer more gloomy predictions and more big-government solutions,” Bush said. “And when they do let us remember the record – this is the book they seldom correct.”
Bush pointed to some of what he said he considered highlights over the past seven years – despite the claims by “experts” his efforts would fail. He included among his successes his tax policy.
“[W]hen I took office, we inherited a recession,” Bush said. “And then we acted. We guided by this principle: the best way to help our economy grow is to leave money in the hands of those responsible for our prosperity – that of course would be the American people. With your support, we passed one of the largest tax cuts in American history, and then we cut taxes again.
“All-in, nearly $2 trillion in tax relief over the last seven years. Our critics wanted a different approach,” he said. “They believed that the best way to keep the economy, to help the economy, was to keep taxes in Washington and to expand the size and scope of the federal government.”
“[A] prominent newspaper said my administration was on the tax-cut rampage and called our tax relief unfair and unaffordable,” Bush said. “A think tank expert called the tax relief a reckless gamble.”
But that editorial never considered what would happen as a result of the tax cuts. Bush told the audience strong economic growth and increased revenue from that growth has put the United States on track to balance the budget by 2012.
“Despite these dire predictions, the tax cuts we passed contributed to a record 52 months of job creation,” Bush said. “[B]ottom line – tax relief works.”
Bush invoked the memory of former President Ronald Reagan and reminded the audience how he was judged while in office compared to how the judgment of Reagan changed after he stepped away from public service.
“[O]n health care, one side says we should expand the federal government’s control over your private medicine,” Bush said. “[W]e should expand access to health care, empower consumers to make choices and ensure that medical decisions are left in the hands of patients and their doctors.”