edwards bashes bush's 'war on jobs'
I haven't picked a Democratic presidential candidate yet -- whoever runs against Bush will have my vote -- but whoever wins the nomination should use the key points of this speech by John Edwards.
The President and I agree on one thing: this campaign should be a debate about values. We need to have that debate, because the values of this president and this administration are not the values of mainstream America, the values all of us grew up with Ė opportunity, responsibility, hard work.
Thereís a fundamental difference between his vision and mine. I believe America should value work. He only values wealth. He wants the people who own the most to get more. I want to make sure everybody has the chance to be an owner. [Emphasis added]
For a man who made responsibility the theme of his campaign, this president sure doesnít seem to value it much in office. Weíve lost 3.1 million private sector jobs. Over $3 trillion in stock market value lost. A $5.6 trillion budget surplus gone, and nearly $5 trillion of red ink in its place. Bill Clinton spent 8 years turning around 12 years of his predecessorsí deficits. George Bush erased it in two years, and this year will break the all-time record.
Yet even with all those zeroes, the true cost of the administrationís approach isnít what theyíve done with our money, itís what they want to do to our way of life. Their economic vision has one goal: to get rid of taxes on unearned income and shift the tax burden onto people who work. This crowd wants a world where the only people who have to pay taxes are the ones who do the work. [Emphasis added]
Make no mistake: this is the most radical and dangerous economic theory to hit our shores since socialism a century ago. Like socialism, it corrupts the very nature of our democracy and our free enterprise tradition. It is not a plan to grow the American economy. It is a plan to corrupt the American economy and shrink the winnersí circle.
This is a question of values, not taxes. We should cut taxes, but we shouldnít cut and run from our values when we do. John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan argued for tax cuts as an incentive for people to work harder: Americans work hard, and the government shouldnít punish them when they do.
This crowd is making a radically different argument. They donít believe work matters most. They donít believe in helping working people build wealth. They genuinely believe that the wealth of the wealthy matters most. They are determined to cut taxes on that wealth, year after year, and heap more and more of the burden on people who work.
How do we know this? Because they donít even try to hide it. The Bush budget proposed tax-free tax shelters for millionaires that are bigger than most Americansí paychecks for an entire year. And just last week, Bushís tax guru, Grover Norquist, said their goal is to abolish the capital gains tax, abolish the dividend tax, and let the wealthiest shelter as much as they want tax-free.
Look at the choices they make: They have driven up the share of the tax burden for most working people, and driven down the burden on the richest few. They got rid of even the smallest tax on even the largest inheritances on earth. This past month, in a $350 billion bonanza of tax cuts on wealth, they couldnít find $3.5 billion to give the child tax credit to poor people who work. Listen to this: They refused to cut taxes for the children of 250,000 American soldiers who are risking their lives for us in Iraq, so they could cut dividend and capital gains taxes for millionaires who were selling stocks short until the war was over.
The president keeps promising his plan will create jobs Ė but it hasnít, it wonít, and thatís not why he did it. He said he wanted to end the double taxation of dividends. Then he turned around and signed a bill that lets people shelter dividends from companies that donít pay taxes at all, including companies that evade taxes by setting up headquarters in Bermuda.
This President says he canít afford to fund No Child Left Behind, but his tax bill ought to be called No Tax Shelter Left Behind.
It is wrong to reward those who donít have to work at the expense of those who do. If we want America to be a growing, thriving democracy, with the greatest work ethic and the strongest middle class on earth, we must choose a different path.
As President, I will put the government, the economy, and the tax code back in line with our values. No more tax breaks for corporations that move their headquarters overseas or buy life insurance on janitors and make themselves the beneficiaries. No more tax breaks for CEOs who give themselves millions in top-hat pensions while giving no pensions at all to ordinary workers. No more playing games with the budget and driving up deficits. And no more of the Bush administrationís war on work.
Strong stuff, and strong stuff is what the Democrats need. No more me-too, Bush-lite stuff; voters want an alternative to Bush's odious policies. The Democratic candidate needs to challenge Bush on each of his so-called strong points -- integrity, security, and the economy -- and show the American people how desperately this nation needs an alternative to Bush's failures.
(via Brad De Long via Doc Searls)