WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. economy expanded at a torrid 4.4 percent pace in 2004 Commerce Department reported today, marking the strongest year of growth since 1999. Initial estimates of fourth quarter growth clocked in at a solid 3.1 percent, a figure likely to be revised upward even further in coming months. Today\’s report also shows the economy has expanded at an average quarterly rate of 4.4 percent since the 2003 tax were enacted, far outpacing the historical average of 3.5 percent.

"Today\’s report further demonstrates the economy continues to grow at an above average trend," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). "Stronger economic growth, low inflation, and booming jobs indicates the American economy is healthy and poised for more long term expansion. Clearly, President Bush\’s tax cuts have given our economy the fuel it needs to grow and continue to spread prosperity. "

Other economic data further demonstrates the economy is booming. Job creation has been strong, as more than 2.2 million jobs were added in 2004. The unemployment rate currently sits at a historically low 5.4 percent, far lower than the average rate of the 1970\’s, 80\’s and 90\’s. Also, the Index of Leading Economic Indicators, arguably the most closely watched indicator of future economic activity, rose 0.2 in December and 0.3 percent in November, predicting the strong growth to continue in the coming quarters.

"When taxpayers are allowed to keep more of their own hard-earned money, they drive the economy and make it grow," said ATR President Grover Norquist. "President Bush\’s tax cuts should be made permanent so American economic growth can continue."