- The Washington Times - Friday, February 28, 2003

Treasury Secretary John W. Snow yesterday said he expects that President Bush's economic-stimulus plan will be passed by early spring.
"I hope that by April when it becomes clear that the tax cuts are going to become law we'll immediately see a big bounce in the economy," Mr. Snow said in an interview with The Washington Times.
"We'll resume upward growth after the president's tax cuts are passed and the geopolitical situation in Iraq is resolved," he said. "The stock markets will quickly put the war behind them.
"This will be a replay of what happened after the '91 Gulf war," he said, when the stock market roared back and oil prices fell significantly.
Although he usually resists making economic forecasts, Mr. Snow said, he would "go out on a limb" and predict that the president's proposals to phase out the dividend tax and accelerate his income-tax rate cuts would add 1 percent to the economy's annualized growth rate.
Republicans introduced Mr. Bush's economic-stimulus plan in the House and Senate yesterday, but Mr. Snow said it would be premature to discuss any compromise with the Democrats so early in the legislative process.
"It's way too early to talk about an alternative. We're in the first inning of a game that is going to be played pretty fast, but we are going to go up to the Hill and we'll ask lawmakers what are your concerns here."
Mr. Snow acknowledged that much of the economy's lethargy was caused by lack of capital investment, which Mr. Bush's proposal is aimed at unlocking. But he said the bigger factor holding back the economy was uncertainty over Iraq and skyrocketing oil and gas prices.
Mr. Snow also said part of the economy's weakness has to do with even weaker economies in Europe.


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