Bush pledges to revamp
tax code, Social Security

By Joseph Farah

NEW YORK – President Bush pledged tonight to revamp the nation’s tax code and the archaic Social Security system in his acceptance speech before the Republican convention at Madison Square Garden.

He called for changes in the nation’s tax, health care, pension and job-training systems as he laid out a second-term agenda, pledging to make the country safer and help the economy.

“I am running for president with a clear and positive plan to build a safer world and a more hopeful America,” Bush said.

Bush spent an equal amount of time discussing the war on terror and domestic issues.

Bush’s agenda for a second term includes a 10-year, $1 trillion plan to overhaul Social Security, private health savings accounts and making permanent $1.7 trillion in tax cuts.

“Government should help people improve their lives, not try to run their lives,” Bush said.

Bush called for making tax cuts permanent and allowing Americans to invest part of their Social Security taxes in private retirement accounts.

Bush said he’s running with a “compassionate conservative philosophy” in which government “must take your side.”

He added: “Many of our fundamental systems – the tax code, health coverage, pension plans, worker training – were created for the world of yesterday, not tomorrow. We will transform these systems.”

“In all these proposals, we seek to provide not just a government program, but a path – a path to greater opportunity, more freedom, and more control over your own life,” he said.

Protesters disrupted the 62-minute speech twice. Bush was forced to stop speaking both times because the crowd shouted down the demonstrators.

Bush did mention his opponent several times during the speech. He pointed out several differences between the candidates – from positions on Medicare reform to health care to education reforms to child tax credits and the marriage penalty.

“You face a choice,” the president said. “My opponent’s policies are dramatically different from ours.” He said Kerry has proposed more than $2 trillion in new spending – “and that’s a lot, even for a senator from Massachusetts.”

“His policies of tax and spend – of expanding government rather than expanding opportunity – are the policies of the past,” Bush said.

But Bush’s domestic agenda for the next four years was hardly the program of someone who wants to shrink the role of the federal government. He offered new initiatives for building medical centers in poor areas of the country as well as increased spending in education – an area of the federal government earmarked only eight years ago by Republicans for elimination.

Bush said the U.S. “is striking terrorists abroad so we do not face them here at home.”

“We have fought the terrorists across the earth, not for pride, not for power, but because the lives of our citizens are at stake.”

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