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Dick Gephardt on Budget & Economy

Democratic Representative (MO-3); Former Democratic Candidate for President


Return to Clinton economic policy from Bush's failed policy

GEPHARDT [to Kerry]: [Maintaining any part of the Bush tax plan] is the wrong policy, and let me tell you why. This plan has failed. The president's economic plan has failed. And we should not keep half of a failure or a quarter of a failure. If it's failed, let's change the policy. Let's do something else. We'll go back to the Clinton tax code. I led the fight in 1993 to put those changes in place; it worked. And my plan will give more money to the average family than the Bush tax cuts.

KERRY: Going back to the Clinton tax cuts, doesn't create another job, it puts a burden on current predicament of middle-class Americans. They lose their current revenue. What's kept America's economy moving in the last two and a half years has been consumer spending. If all of a sudden, when we're trying to recover, we sucked a whole lot of money out of those consumers, we are not going to be able to keep the economy moving. It's the wrong policy.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Healthcare reform is critical to economy

Q: You proposed a $200 billion a year health care plan, and you say that that plan is going to pump money into the economy, and that's the way you're going to provide jobs in this economy. Yet Senator Edwards says that it's a terrible plan, because it depends on companies getting tax credits, and they will then provide the insurance to their employees. And he says by depending on these companies it's like telling employees, quote, "They're in good hands with Enron." Why would corporate America fulfill the role you envision for it?

GEPHARDT: Because my bill makes them do it. We don't just hand out tax credits, we say, "You've got to pass it along to the employee so they can buy the plan that they want to buy." We're never going to solve the economic problems in this country until we solve the health care problem. We have 50 million people without health insurance. We did an economic study. A reputable economic forecaster said that we'd put $312 billion of stimulus into the American economy.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

I led 1990s boom-I can get economy moving again

In 1993, I was the majority leader who led with Bill Clinton to get this economy straightened out. Minority Leader Dick Armey said it would create a depression. He wasn't wrong; he was dead wrong. You remember? 23 million new jobs in seven years. Unemployment was at 3 percent. We took a $5 trillion deficit and turned it into a $5 trillion surplus. We know how to do this. I know how to do it. And when I'm president, we'll get this economy moving again. I'll get rid of the Bush tax cuts.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Push a bold plan for health care and jobs creation

Q: What do you think about the actions and policies of the Bush administration?

A: I have the boldest plan for changing America's course and putting us back on the right track. From the beginning of my campaign, I have framed this election as a stark choice: we can stay with the failed Bush economic plan of tax cuts for the few and the wealthy, or we can have a bold plan to give all Americans health care they can never lose - and create jobs while we're doing it.

Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003

Repeal the Bush tax cuts and invest in people

Q: How will you balance the budget?

A: I have constantly and adamantly called for the full repeal of the Bush tax cuts. I understand what it takes to grow the economy while making investments in people. I led the fight in Congress to pass Clinton's 1993 economic plan that was the foundation for the best economy in America in 50 years. We made tough choices - and we did it without a single Republican vote. Republicans said it would be a job-killer - instead, it resulted in 22 million new jobs.

Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003

1993 tax increase & sound economics caused budget surplus

Let me remind us all that back in 1993 the Democrats passed a economic plan that raised taxes and cut spending, and it created the best economy that we've ever had in 50 years. Remember? Only two short years ago, we were having arguments about what to do with the surplus. When I'm president, we will bring back sound economic policies. This president's economic policy has failed. It's made a mess of this economy, and there's going to be a referendum on his leadership in November of 2004.
Source: AFSCME union debate in Iowa May 17, 2003

Stakeholder economics: Balance for everyone’s benefit

I’m sometimes criticized as anti-business. It’s a false charge, of course. Businesses create jobs; a healthy economy is dependent on a profitable business community.

At the same time, I do advocate basic rules and standards for business and economic behavior. I believe there must be a floor, and in addition, that government has a role in helping find ways to make America’s workplaces better-an approach described as stakeholder economics. It seeks to promote economic growth for all players in the economy and to reduce the adversarial nature of business-labor relations. Old-fashioned economic theory focuses exclusively on one set of stakeholders: the shareholders who nominally own the business. But managers and employees are also stakeholders, and so are communities and governments. Thus, stakeholder economics seeks to recognize and balance the competing claims of various corporate stakeholders so that win-win decisions can be reached for everyone’s benefits.

Source: An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p. 45-47 Jul 2, 1999

Top 1% have benefited much more than average worker

Although our economy has been growing and unemployment is at historically low levels, not everyone is benefiting to the same degree. From 1989 to 1997, the average income of the top 1% of families grew by 10%, whereas the income of people in the middle grew by only .2% and that of the people on the bottom grew by only .1%. Hard work is no longer the ticket to a decent life that it used to be.
Source: An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p. 33 Jul 2, 1999

People are working harder for same wages

[The decline in personal income from the 1980s to the 1990s] comes at a time when the productivity of workers went up by almost 3%. So while productivity was going up, wages were going down.

Between 1947 and 1972, the average family felt a doubling of their income. In the last 20 years, average weekly wages declined by 19% in real terms.

People are working harder. American workers are working about 82 hours more a year than they did 20 years ago, yet their wages are flat.

Source: United We Stand America Conference, p.257-58 Aug 12, 1995

Other candidates on Budget & Economy: Dick Gephardt on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts