Video: Snow on jobs

msnbc.com
updated 3/17/2004 4:38:18 PM ET 2004-03-17T21:38:18

With the Bush administration under fire from Democrats for a record of lackluster job growth amid a strong economy, Treasury Secretary John Snow said Wednesday that the government’s economic reports don’t adequately track a large number of self-employed workers.

In an interview with CNBC, Snow said that the government’s monthly payroll survey of business establishments undercounts the level of employment when compared to the separate monthly survey of American households

“The American economy seems to be moving in the direction of more self-employment,” he said. “And self-employment is picked up in the household survey and not the establishment survey.”

Snow defended the administration’s policies on promoting job growth.

“A growing economy is the best way to create jobs ,and we’ve go the American economy growing and growing at a good clip,” he said.

The shift of U.S. manufacturing jobs offshore, especially to China, has also become a major campaign issue. Snow said he was encouraged by talks with Chinese leaders over the U.S. desire to see the Chinese move away from a fixed currency and allow it to float against the dollar.

“We’re on a good course; we want to hold their feet to the fire,” he said, but “I’m very pleased with the progress being made.”

As the bond and currency markets worry about whether foreign intervention in the dollar is keeping interest rates down, Snow repeated his support of a strong dollar.

“We favor the strong dollar and we feel that open and competitive markets should be relied on to set currency values,” he said.

And as a battle shapes up on Capitol Hill over the make recent tax cuts permanent, Snow said that raising taxes would harm the U.S. economy.

“One thing we know is that thee economy is in a good recovery  -- the fastest growth in 20 years,” he said. “To raise taxes would be to imperil that recovery, to jeopardize our recovery. Our problem isn’t that we tax too little, it’s that we spend too much.”

Snow also voiced concern about the recent rise in oil prices, saying that the upward move is a “tax” on American businesses an consumers.

“So I would hope that oil prices would recede,” he said.

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