College Football Stadium Sees Significant Improvements

Bush Eyes CraneWorks in AL as Example of Prosperity

Tue November 11, 2003 - Southeast Edition
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (AP) President Bush, taking credit for signs of economic rebound, told an audience at an Alabama crane dealership on Nov. 3 “there’s more work to do,” especially in the area of creating jobs for Americans.

Bush carried his message of economic optimism to a state where unemployment is well below the national average, but where some counties are still struggling with double-digit jobless rates.

The president said his formula for economic growth –– largely three rounds of tax cuts –– were fueling a recovery.

“By reducing taxes, this administration kept a promise,” Bush said. “We did the right thing at the right time for the American economy.”

Now, the president said, a huge white crane behind him, “We’re talking about how best we can continue to create new jobs all across America. This economy of ours is growing, the entrepreneurial spirit is strong, but there’s more work to do.”

Of the 2.7 million jobs the U.S. economy has lost since the recession began in early 2001, 2.4 million were in manufacturing.

White House officials arranged for Bush to give the economic speech in what is becoming a favorite backdrop –– cranes and other heavy equipment. Bush is looking to project concern over job losses in the manufacturing sector.

Bush’s audience included nearly 350 small-business owners and employees at CraneWorks, a family owned firm that has seen a 70 percent revenue growth in the last year and added 15 employees since January, according to the White House. CraneWorks is housed in a gleaming new warehouse in an industrial district of Birmingham.

Bush said the crane company he visited was able to buy nine cranes in the last year, thanks to tax cuts.

“CraneWorks isn’t going to succeed because of government policy,” he said. “It’s up to the Uptons [the owners of the company] to figure out how to build a strategy that works. It’s up to the Uptons to figure out a marketing plan. It’s up to them to make wise investment decisions. It’s up to them to treat their employees with dignity. But what government’s doing is trying to put a little wind in their sails, and it seems to be working.”

“Now, that means a couple of things,” the President continued. “Somebody has got to make the equipment, which means somebody is working; somebody has got to maintain the equipment, go rent the equipment; it means people here at CraneWorks are more likely to keep a job, but in the Uptons’ case, [the company] actually added 15 jobs this year.”

Bush credits his three rounds of tax cuts for such gains. At the end of October, the government reported that the gross domestic product grew by 7.2 percent between July and September, the best performance in approximately 20 years.

Alabama’s unemployment rate in September was 5.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in August and below the national rate of 6.1 percent. Some western Alabama counties, however, continue to struggle with high jobless rates.

Bush reiterated his call for his six-point blueprint for boosting the economy: cutting health care costs, reducing medical liability costs for doctors, decreasing class-action lawsuits, increasing domestic energy supplies, making all his tax cuts permanent and trimming back small-business regulation.