The President’s Budget

April 23, 2002

April 23, 2002

I am back from Ukraine, a rural nation struggling to recover from the hangover from communism. It does have great agriculture potential but before you become concerned that we are talking about another Brazil, I don't think so. They have so much pent-up demand for meat -- pork, beef and poultry -- that they can crank up their grain production quite a bit before it would start to spill over into the world market. Time will tell, but it is a lot better to have them as a friend and not paI1 of the old Soviet Union.

Upon return to the U.S., I was asked by President Bush to join in a meeting at the White House with some business and industry representatives. He asked our help to fund and pass his budget priorities. The priorities make a lot of sense.

  1. Adequate funding for Homeland Security
  2. Rebuild the military
  3. Keep the economy growing

He told us once again that we will find the killers responsible for 9-11.

And they will be brought to justice. He added, "They must have thought that as a nation we would be so materialistic and self absorbed that all we would do is file a law suit." He told us that we can expect the biggest increase in military spending in 20 years. But ofcourse that is after years ofdecline and neglect.

The President warned that some members of Congress want to roll back the tax cut. He said that raising taxes would slow the economy. He wants to make the tax cut permanent, especially the elimination ofthe death tax. We all erupted in applause. The President's budget calls for a 2% increase in spending outside of homeland security and defense. Hold the line at 2%. His words, "We must be responsible in spending the peoples' money. Don't overspend. I'm asking for your help."

"You have the tool to help -your voice. I have the tool -- my veto pen." I say -- use it if necessary.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.