GOP and Dems Spar Over Economy

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", April 6, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Two hundred and ten days left to go until Election Day. No president -- I mean, you get the ... Both sides are counting on the economy to help deliver a win in November. Isn't the economy bouncing back, and are things better than the president is getting credit for?

Joining us now is economist Walter Williams.

Isn't it true, Mr. Williams that no president -- you get the credit or the blame but there's only so a president by himself can do...

WALTER WILLIAMS, ECONOMIST: That's all right. I think that a president perhaps can persuade Congress to create the conditions, such as low taxes and reducing regulation, that will stimulate the economy and allow Americans to be productive.

COLMES: And it's now political football. You know that the president has accused John Kerry of $900 billion in new taxes. He's not actually accounted for those numbers.

And John Kerry has come back and said $4.8 trillion in entitlements and tax cuts are in the Bush plan passed or proposed going forward, and we're $1.6 trillion in debt and that debt service clearly has a negative effect.

WILLIAMS: A lot of people -- a lot of economists look at the issue of deficits and let's say interest rates. They say, well, it's not much of a relationship.

But I think that the basic point is that America has a robust economy. We should not listen to people who say we should do those kind of things that the Europeans are doing because the Europeans, you know, all the kind of labor regulations, high taxes, and because the Europeans are going down the tubes.

COLMES: Government spending in this administration has gone from 20 - - almost 20 percent from $1.96 trillion dollars to more than $2.3 trillion in Bush's new budget. I could go through the specifics. You've heard it all. As a conservative that's got to disturb you, that level of spending.

WILLIAMS: Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Alan. First of all, yes, government spending is disturbing and it should be disturbing to all Americans.

But, Alan, do you think that President Bush is responsible for the spending? Look at the Constitution of the United States and only Congress can appropriate -- only Congress...

COLMES: I'm talking about what the president presented in his budget. He passed the level of spending.

He presented the budget to the Congress. That's what he wanted.

WILLIAMS: Look, Alan, there are a lot of kids up late and you're going to make them think that the president is in charge of appropriating funds for the United States.

COLMES: It was what he presented to Congress. This was the spending in his budget. Does he take a stance and forget about it?

WILLIAMS: Look, Alan, the Congress can overrule it. Congress has final say, not the president of the United States.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Professor, always good to see you, my friend. Thank you for being back. Thanks for straightening him out. Thank you.

COLMES: You did a great job, by the way.

HANNITY: Stop me where I'm wrong. The president inherited a recession, the economic impact of 9/11 was tremendous on the economy, correct?


HANNITY: Almost immeasurable. Longest quarter of economic growth in history and nearly 800,000 jobs in seven months. Tell me where we have a problem here.

WILLIAMS: Well, we have a problem with the magicians -- the Democratic Party magicians trying to tell Americans that we're losing jobs, we're outsourcing jobs and when we're not, that when we are net gainers the standard of living is rising. By the time the elections come, I believe in the year 2004 there will be a net increase of about two million jobs.

And so there's, you know, no problem whatsoever, except in the area of taxes. We need to lower taxes more, and we need to reduce government spending.

HANNITY: And the president is going to make the tax cuts permanent. John Kerry said he's going to raise taxes. Different vision.

But 5.7 percent is lower than the average in the '90s, the '80s, the '70s and correct me if I'm wrong, I think even the 1960's, right?

WILLIAMS: You're absolutely right. That it was 5.6 but shot up to 5.7 because people went out looking for jobs. Last month in the month of March there were over 300,000 jobs added to the economy and that's the strongest monthly in eight years.

HANNITY: The greatest quarter of growth in 20 years and in the last three months 500,000 jobs, in the last seven months 800,000 new jobs. What is there to complain about here?

And a lower rate than we've in the last four decades. I'm missing something. Unless they politicize -- they're lying to us when they say the economy is so rotten.

WILLIAMS: They are lying and that's what I meant by my statement referring to them as magicians. The magician's job is to create illusions, and they're doing it very well with the American people. They're saying we're outsourcing jobs. But it turns out that we're 'insourcing' more jobs than we're outsourcing.

COLMES: Thank you for coming on the show tonight.

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