John Snow, Secretary of the Treasury

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This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, August 13, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, President Bush (search) continued his working vacation in steamy Texas and Wednesday he summoned his economic team for closed-door meetings. The focus was boosting the economy and creating jobs, but, as the president’s ratings dip to post-9/11 levels, just what will the administration do to get more people working?

Earlier, I caught up with Treasury Secretary John Snow on that very issue.


JOHN SNOW, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: I think the economy is on a good path right now, a path of accelerating growth and accelerating recovery, with GDP growth rates looking pretty good, actually. If we get growth rates like those, and they’re certainly achievable, then we’re going to create a tremendous number of new jobs.

So, yes, I still think the job outlook is good, and that, of course, is the number one subject on the president’s mine. He’s not going to rest until every American who’s looking for a job can find work.

CAVUTO: So, Secretary, let me ask you, if in the November 2004 election, those 3 million jobs have not been created, would you deem this administration a failure?

SNOW: Well, I’m going to deem this administration a success if we have the economy going the right way, and I think it will be going the right way, Neil, with growth rates that are very good and with jobs being created and the unemployment rate coming down.

That would be a real achievement when you think what this president has had to deal with. He inherited a recession. He inherited an economy that was in significant decline. He ran into the problems of the corporate scandals, which took the wind out of the market, the market meltdown, 9/11, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And yet, despite all of that, the American economy is now on a good growth path. That’s a testimony to his leadership and his commitment to the economy and to jobs and to growth.

CAVUTO: Now, Secretary I know all the things that you say the president inherited, many of them even before you came on board. At what point, though, does the administration say this is the starting trend line, we take credit and/or blame for what happens from there?

SNOW: Well, as I say, watch the GDP growth rates, watch the path the economy is on, and watch what happens to jobs. I think we’ll all be very pleased with those numbers.

CAVUTO: So what you’re saying now, sir, is that the two tax cuts we have had in 2001 and again in 2003 and the monetary stimulus that’s already out there from the Federal Reserve -- nothing more is planned, right, that this is what you’re waiting to see improve things?

SNOW: I think that we’re on the right path. What’s been done will bear fruit. I think we’re on a good path. That’s right.

CAVUTO: Are you surprised that the dollar hasn’t benefited more from these improving economic stats?

SNOW: Well, of course, Neil, as you know -- as a student of the economy -- lots of things affect the dollar, and we have a fluctuating exchange rate. We believe in floating rates, we believe in letting markets set the value of the dollar, and the processes through which the dollar gets set are best left to the marketplace and with a minimum of intervention and probably, frankly, a minimum of comments from the Treasury Secretary.

CAVUTO: But, having said that, sir, the fact that now foreign investors are increasingly betting on the euro over the dollar as a sentiment and a proxy for economic strength, that doesn’t bother you?

SNOW: Well, I’m not really going to get into a discussion on the subject of the dollar here, except to say we believe in letting the market set the dollar’s value.

What we can do, Neil, as I said many times, is focus on the fundamentals of the economy, and, if we do that, I think the marketplace will take care of the relative value of currencies pretty well.

CAVUTO: Finally, sir, your sentiment on the state of the economy. As we speak, as you predicted, retail sales have turned around. They’re very, very strong. Are you afraid, though, a lot of this could be sort of like a one-shot wonder, that a lot of Americans who are seeing these child-care tax credits come in are going to spend them and then retrench again?

SNOW: No. No, I’m not because the child-care tax credits are only a piece of the president’s jobs and growth plan. It’s a far-reaching package, the most far-reaching tax package in decades, and I’m confident it’s going to have a lasting effect on the performance of this economy.


CAVUTO: All right. Treasury Secretary Snow.

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