Huge income gains in December help drive growth and consumer spending

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Personal income growth exploded at a record pace of 3.7 percent in December, the Commerce Department reported today. The strong incomes helped drive consumer spending growth at a rate of 0.8 percent during the all-important holiday season. News of the unprecedented income expansion comes on the heels of last week\’s report that the U.S. economy grew at a torrid 4.4 percent in 2004, marking the strongest year of growth since 1999.

"President Bush\’s tax cuts are putting more money in the pockets of Americans," said ATR President Grover Norquist. "When everyday people are allowed to keep more of their hard earned money, they spend, invest, save and drive our economy forward."

A substantial portion of the record income expansion is due to an explosion in dividend payments to individual investors. For example, Microsoft Corp., one of the most widely held stocks in America, made a huge dividend payment that put $32 billion in the pockets of its shareholders. President Bush cut taxes on dividends in 2003, giving corporations a strong incentive increase the value and prominence of dividends.

"Dividends put more money in the hands of individual investors, and thanks to President Bush, more and more companies are paying them," said ATR President Grover Norquist. "The tax cuts on dividends and investment are a terrific deal for all Americans and should be made permanent."