GLEN BURNIE – President Bush touted his economic stimulus package to a Glen Burnie factory full of workers Wednesday, reassuring them that he will not allow the American economy to become a victim of terrorism.
“They thought our economy would crater,” Bush said, over the hum of machinery at Dixie Printing and Packaging Corp. “That’s what they wanted, but they don’t understand America.”
Critics have panned the Republican economic stimulus package as a bailout for the rich that repeals the corporate alternative minimum tax and provides tax write-offs for corporate capital assets. It would also cut the 27 percent individual income tax rate to 25 next year and provide tax rebates for those who did not receive them this year.
But Bush told the crowd at the Anne Arundel County carton production factory that his plan would be good for American workers. He sad the plan has an eye on workers, as well as small and medium business owners.
Several of the 20 or so workers who took a break from their work to listen to the president said they were not just comforted by his words, they were inspired.
“It was so dramatic on America,” said Mike McCaster, who works an aerator that vents dust from the paper produced in the factory. McCaster said that after the speech, he supports the president 100 percent.
“The speech was great,” said Fred Crawford, who had his photo taken with the president. “It makes you realize we all have to get behind him all the way.”
As Bush was speaking Wednesday afternoon in Glen Burnie, the House was giving narrow approval to the economic stimulus package just 30 miles down the road in Washington.
In addition to the $60 billion the government has already spent on recovery, Bush said the plan calls for additional tax relief and rebates for low- and moderate-income families. The two together, he said, would stimulate consumer spending and help the economy.
He said the business side of the package eliminates the alternative minimum tax on corporations — which requires that they pay at least some tax regardless of the number of deductions they may have — and gives businesses more tax reductions on investments.
Dixie Printing and Packaging President Newth Morris said he was thrilled to have Bush at his factory and pleased with the specifics of the proposal.
“The president’s plan is important for business,” he said. “The alternative minimum tax has got to go.”
Plant worker Bill Morrison, who was out of work from July until just this week, warmed to both the president’s presence and his plan.
“This is the most exciting first week ever,” he said. “First I got this job and then suddenly I found out the president was coming.”
Morrison, who also works part-time at the Wendy’s across the street to support his two kids, said the news was good.
“I didn’t get a tax rebate last year and that sure would be a plus,” he said of the economic package.
But mostly, Morrison said he was inspired by the president’s accessibility.
“He put his arm around me for the picture and everything,” he said. “Now, you can see he’s not just a cardboard cut-out, he’s actually a really nice person.”