THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. The terrorists who attacked the United States on September 11th targeted our economy, as well as our people. They brought down a symbol of American prosperity, but they could not touch its source. Our country's wealth is not contained in glass and steel, it is found in the skill and hard work and entrepreneurship of our people; and those are as strong today as they were two weeks ago.
Our economy has had a shock. Many workers lost their jobs this week, especially in the airline and hospitality industries, in restaurants and in tourism, as companies struggle to remain afloat. I applaud those companies who are making extra efforts to avoid laying off workers even during difficult times. Many Americans have also seen the value of their stocks decline. Yet, for all these challenges, the American economy is fundamentally strong. We have the best-educated, most productive work force in the world. Our factories produce more goods, and a broader variety of goods, than any country in the world.
Our scientists continue to push forward the frontiers of technology and science, and our entrepreneurs continue to invent new ways to bring these advances to market. This is why people from around the world invest in America.
We have taken action to address our year-long economic slowdown. Tax rebate checks continue to arrive in Americans' mailboxes. The $40 billion in tax relief these rebates represent will nearly double next year to over $70 billion in tax relief, with more in each of the next 10 years, as the child credit gets bigger, tax rates come down, and the marriage penalty relief kicks in.
You can look forward to an improved business climate in America in the years ahead. The Federal Reserve has done its job of keeping our financial system strong and stable, cutting interest rates in half in the last eight months. Energy prices have remained steady. In fact, they are lower now than they were in the spring.
And members of Congress are working together, regardless of party, in the best American spirit, to help get our economy moving again. The administration and congressional leaders of both parties have agreed to deliver emergency aid to keep our airlines flying. This will help the airlines maintain short-term stability as they work toward long-term viability for the benefit of all the workers and companies that depend on air travel.
And, as well, we can assure the American traveler we are working hard to make sure that a tough new security program is implemented in our airports and our airplanes.
I appreciate so very much working with Congress to assure the safety of the travelers in America. I'm also working with Congress to strengthen our broader economy and to get Americans back to work. Both parties in both Houses of Congress are united in our determination to use the fundamental strength of our economy to meet our immediate economic challenges.
I'm deeply grateful to Speaker Hastert and Minority Leader Gephardt, to Majority Leader Senator Tom Daschle, and Senator Trent Lott, for their helpful advice and for their constant support, and for their extraordinary service to our country in a difficult time.
I want to thank America for the outpouring of support. I want to thank America for their strong will. And I want to remind the people of America, we're still the greatest nation on the face of the Earth, and no terrorist will ever be able to decide our fate.
May God bless you all, and thank you for listening.
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Last modified: Fri May 9 19:21:31 CDT 2003