The Bush Agenda

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," January 24, 2005, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: We caught up with Treasury Secretary John Snow to check in on the economic fallout of the president's proposals. And something more pressing, the snow.

First reaction to that economic hit from the secretary named Snow. Earlier, I asked him if he was worried about all this snow?


JOHN SNOW, TREASURY SECRETARY: Not really. Those are one-time effects, and they wash out pretty fast. But for the people who are affected, certainly, weekend sales could well be dramatically impacted in a number of locales. This has been a major storm.

CAVUTO: Do you think that it could actually hit our GDP for the quarter, that this might mean it's going to be less growth than was originally predicted?

SNOW: You know, they tend to wash out, these effects, because the sales that didn't occur on a particular weekend occur on another day, subsequently. So, they tend to wash out.

The people who wanted to buy that VCR that didn't buy it on the Sunday when they couldn't get out of their driveway, they go buy it the next week. So, we tend to wash out.

CAVUTO: I apologize, sir. I want to switch to Social Security and now some key Republicans who seem to be saying what you want isn't what we're necessarily going to get. Are you worried that this is almost a non-starter?

SNOW: No, I'm really not. I'm actually encouraged. I'm encouraged, because this issue is being talked about here on your show. It's being headlined in the newspapers around the country. It's the subject that is featured in the dialogue that's on the floors of the Congress now. No, I'm encouraged.

We know it's just the beginning, Neil. And we have a real education job to do here to take the message out about the nature of the problem. But all the attention the issue is getting, I think, is very, very healthy.

CAVUTO: Do you find it interesting that some of the middle ground, that either wayward Republicans are talking about, and certainly wayward Democrats, it will give you some of these quasi-private account data, but you're going to have to give something to us. That is either hike the salary range at which you increase Social Security taxes, or you know, either means test it, or raise the age. Something like that, as the negotiating point.

SNOW: Well, of course, that's where the process starts. People staking claims, laying out positions, that's to be expected. What we want to see happen here is the legislative process move forward. And those cards get on the table.

CAVUTO: But are you interested, sir, in one of those cards being raise the income threshold — it's at $90,000 now. Maybe make it, you know, $110,000, $150,000, as some have said.

SNOW: Well, my basic bias, as reflected in the president's statements, is we shouldn't fix this problem by raising taxes. That's the European path. That's the path that reduces job prospects, raises unemployment.

There are better ways to fix it. But it's not helpful to the end result for to us be negotiating here with ourselves in effect.


CAVUTO: All right, John Snow.

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