Bush Holds Tight On Tax Cuts

President-elect Bush smiles as he finishes a meeting with technology leaders, at the University of Texas in Austin.
The Federal Reserve's double dose of interest rate cuts, intended to ward off an economic slowdown, is apparently doing little to slow President-elect George W. Bush's drive for tax relief.

Bush announced Thursday that not only was his $1.3 trillion dollar tax cut still necessary, but he may seek to speed it through Congress, reports CBS News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts.

"It's possible that we may need to implement it faster," Bush told reporters in Austin, Tex. "And I'd be willing to work with members of the Congress, if that be the case."

Meeting with leaders from the battered high-tech industry, Bush declared he is optimistic about the long-term prospects for the economy, but that it needs a bigger short-term boost than Fed chair Alan Greenspan has given it.

"The size of the plan I put forward is the size of the plan that is, I think, going to be necessary to help keep this economy strong," Bush said.

All through the campaign, Bush's plans for a massive tax cut were criticized by Greenspan. The chairman's actions on Wednesday to cut interest rates were taken by some as a preemptive move to show he's in control.

"You could argue on the one hand that he is staking out his turf," said Alan Blinder of Princeton University, and on the "other hand that this plays to Bush-Cheney line."

Bush knows it is crucial to forge a constructive relationship with the Fed chairman. Bill Clinton did, and the economy soared. Bush's father didn't - and in the end, he blamed Greenspan for his 1992 loss to Mr. Clinton.

"I reappointed him," the elder George Bush said of Greenspan, "and he disappointed me."

Lingering tensions from those days aren't lost on Greenspan or the man who will soon become the second President Bush.

"They want to adopt the alliance model rather than the pie-throwing model that Bush's father practiced," said Bob Woodward, author of Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom.

It's not just Greenspan that Bush could irk by speeding through a huge tax cut. Democrats in Congress said that if Bush tries to ram a partisan tax bill down their throats before building up any good will, he'll have a fight on his hands from the word go.

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