The Times has two encouraging stories for Bush, one of which is good news for all of us:
The U.S. economy, lifted by consumer and business spending, broke out of the doldrums and grew at an annual rate of 2.4 percent in the second quarter of 2003, the strongest showing in nearly a year.
The improvement in the gross domestic product in the April to June quarter, reported by the Commerce Department Thursday, came after two straight quarters of lousy economic growth. GDP increased at just a 1.4 percent pace in both the final quarter of 2002 and the first three months of this year.
Light at the end of the tunnel? For Bush, it seems that the tax cuts are coming when they are really needed:
The refund checks have started arriving, and for many residents here, the $400-a-child tax credit, part of President Bush’s latest effort to stimulate the economy, could not come at a better time.
Matt Ross, a father of two, said he intended to pay a few bills and, with school starting in a few weeks, buy new clothes for his children. Robert and Sharee McCutcheon, who also have two children, said their money would go for school supplies and Christmas presents. Roger Kintz, father of two girls, including an aspiring Olympic gymnast who is competing this week in Detroit, said his money would help pay for the trip.
Bridgett Bedwell, the mother of two boys, was thinking about her family dentist. “I’m fixing to have braces for my kids’ teeth,” she said. “That check really helps me out, especially when the braces are costing me $4,000.”
Spend. Spend. Spend. This is precisely what President Bush and Republican lawmakers were hoping for in enacting tax cuts that included an increase to $1,000 from $600 in the tax credit for children. Against concerns about the rising federal deficit (now projected at a record $455 billion) or the cost of maintaining troops in Iraq (almost $1 billion a week), supporters of the tax cuts, which passed the House largely on a party-line vote, argued that a sluggish economy was best improved by Americans’ keeping more of their money so they could spend it. On Friday, the Treasury Department began mailing out the first of more than 25 million checks, $400 for each child who was 16 or younger in 2002.
This graf really gives you some insight into how some Democrats think:
Others, less taken by Mr. Bush’s job performance, questioned the timing of the tax cut, suggesting either that the money could have been used for other things