News Release

The Economy: Bush vs. Daschle?

DOUG HENWOOD
Author of Wall Street, Henwood said today: “It’s nice to see the Democrats doing something other than rolling over. It’s too bad, though, that Daschle is spending so much time on the importance of fiscal discipline — an obsession of Wall Street, but not any broader constituency — when 2.6 million workers have lost their jobs over the last year, and millions more are worried that they’ll be next. And investment and employment tax credits won’t help much; businesses only invest and hire when sales and profits look good, which they don’t right now. Daschle and his colleagues should be talking more about extended and expanded unemployment benefits (only half the unemployed draw benefits now, compared with three quarters in the 1970s) and aid to severely strapped states and localities. And it would be really nice if he brought up some longer-term issues, like a national health insurance plan, which is especially relevant now that millions of workers are losing their insurance, and millions more are facing cutbacks in coverage.”
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DIANA ZUCKERMAN
President of the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families, Zuckerman said today: “Sen. Daschle’s speech calling for ‘fiscal discipline’ was quite restrained and polite by recent political standards — and yet, the result is the kind of political mudslinging that most Americans hate… Daschle did not suggest raising taxes, but the headlines quote President Bush’s response ‘Not over my dead body will they raise your taxes.’ … Unfortunately, the president’s response suggests that the enormous tax cuts that were passed in 2001 will be implemented, regardless of terrorism or war or recession or deficits. The president’s statement is so extreme that the Democrats are off the hook, and no longer have an incentive to provide leadership on this issue. Why bother if they don’t have the votes to override a veto?”
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RICHARD B. DU BOFF
Professor of economics at Bryn Mawr College, Du Boff said today: “There are positive elements to Daschle’s economic statements, but one aspect which is awful and virtually undermines everything else — Daschle’s ‘competitive tax cut’ (my label) theme: Bush’s tax cuts are bad, ours would be better. The only feasible alternative is to repeal the Bush tax cuts as soon as possible. They are far too large, massively concentrated at upper income levels, and do not really begin to take effect for another three to six years. Immediate priority should be extending unemployment compensation, covering medical insurance for people who lose their jobs, and cutting taxes for the bottom third of the income scale only, preferably by giving them a holiday from FICA taxes. This is what should be coupled with a call for immediate repeal of the Bush tax cuts.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378