Joseph Lieberman on Budget & Economy
Democratic Jr Senator (CT), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004
LIEBERMAN: We can get the economy going again. We need a Democratic president to make it happen.
FACTCHECK: In fact, the economy grew at the unexpectedly rapid annual rate of 8.2% in the third quarter (June, July and August) according to the latest official figures from the Department of Commerce. That was the best quarterly growth in 20 years.
A: Until middle class Americans and those working hard to get into the middle class get their jobs back, the 3.5 million that they lost under Bush; until they begin to be able to afford their health insurance or get it back--2 million lost their health insurance under Bush; until they have some sense of ability to send their kids to college without coming out with an enormous burden of debt, then we don't have an economic recovery.
A: I think it’s because, as the election gets clearer, people are saying to themselves: Hey, the times have really been good, eight years we’ve gone from the biggest deficits to biggest surpluses, 22 million new jobs, and a good stock market. Why change horses here in mid-stream? Let’s keep going in the same direction. I think that’s going to move people to Al Gore.
Q: Why is it close? Shouldn’t your ticket be way ahead?
A: I think it’s just because a lot of people maybe have thought that the prosperity goes on automatically. It doesn’t. If Al Gore is elected, we are going to continue to have surpluses in the federal government, which is the most important thing the federal government can do. Honestly, an American Academy of Actuaries said last week, under George Bush’s economic plan, we are going to go back into annual deficits, won’t pay off the long-term debt, high interest rates, high unemployment, not where we want to go.
LIEBERMAN: We’re not spending any more than is projected by the experts. In fact, unlike our opponents, we’re setting aside $300 billion in a reserve fund just in case those projections the nonpartisan experts make are not quite right. We understand that balancing the budget, keeping America out of debt is the way to keep interest rates down and the economy growing.
CHENEY: With respect to the surplus, we’ve got to make some kind of forecast. We can’t make 12 month decisions in this business. We’re talking about the kinds of fundamental changes in programs and government that are going to affect people’s lives for the next 25 or 30 years. And one of the difficulties we have is that for the last eight years, we ignored a lot these problems. We haven’t moved aggressively on Social Security. There are important issues out there that need to be resolved, and it’s important for us to get on with that business.
A: The estimates that Dick referred to are the estimates of the Republican staff of the Senate Budget Committee. We use the numbers of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. We agree that the surplus in the Social Security fund should be locked up. We believe that the surplus in the Medicare fund should be locked up. They raid the Medicare trust to pay for their tax cut. Let me come back to the remaining $1.8 trillion. The numbers show that $1.6 trillion goes to that big tax cut which sends 43% to the top 1%. But when you add on the other spending programs that our opponents have committed to, plus the cost of their plan to privatize Social Security, they are $1.1 trillion in debt. And that means we go back to higher interest rates, to higher unemployment, to a kind of stealth tax increase on every American family, because when interest rates go up, so too do the cost of mortgage payments, car payments, credit card transactions.
A: Vice President Gore and I have a long-term strategy. If this administration had been given the funding it requested from Congress, we’d be further along: developing cleaner sources of energy; giving tax credits to use energy more efficiently; creating a new generation of vehicles that can get 80 miles per gallon. We also have a short-term strategy to deal with ups and downs of energy prices. I know it was controversial, but we believed it was important to reach into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, put it in the market, show the big oil companies and the OPEC oil-producing countries that we’ve got some resources with which we can fight back. We’re not just going to lay back and let them roll over our economy. And we did it also because gasoline prices were rising and home heating inventories were real low. Since the reserve was opened, the price of oil has dropped $6 a barrel.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
My amendment says we are going to take about $18 billion as a strong signal from the Congress that we want to support effective programs and we want the taxpayer dollars spent in a responsible way. My amendment doesn't take all of the $88 billion for the programs found by PART, realizing there may be points in time when another program is not meeting its goals and needs more money. So that flexibility is allowed in this particular amendment. It doesn't target any specific program. Almost worse than being rated ineffective, we have programs out there that have made absolutely no effort at all to measure their results. I believe these are the worst offenders. In the following years, I hope Congress will look at those programs to create accountability.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
The effect of this amendment will simply be to cut domestic discretionary spending $18 billion. Understand the programs that have been identified in the PART program are results not proven. Here are programs affected: Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, child abuse prevention, and treatment. If there is a problem in those programs, they ought to be fixed. We ought not to be cutting Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, and the rest. I urge a "no" vote.
Dear President-Elect Bush,
Members of the Senate New Democrat Coalition and the House New Democrat Coalition are interested in working with you to develop a responsible fiscal policy. We are proud of our records of fiscal discipline that have helped to produce the unprecedented surpluses for our country. We believe that continuing to use part of the surplus to pay down our national debt is a moral obligation that we owe to future generations. As New Democrats, we believe that a delicate balance can be struck between maintaining fiscal discipline, paying down our national debt, responding to the public’s understandable desire for common-sense tax relief and making important investments in our future. We are convinced that your stated goal of providing an excessive tax cut will lead to less debt reduction. This in turn would lead to higher interest rates resulting in lower capital investment and productivity growth and ultimately a lower standard of living for all Americans. We are ready, however, to work with you on a smaller package of tax cuts designed specifically to stimulate our slowing economy in the short run while protecting Social Security and Medicare. In the longer term we are eager to work with you on a policy that encourages individual savings and investment, invests in college education tax credits, promotes research and development and bridges the technology gap that exists in our country today.
|Other candidates on Budget & Economy:||Joseph Lieberman on other issues:|
Republican Presidential Nominee:
Sen. Sam Brownback(KS)
Gov. Jeb Bush(FL)
Rep. Newt Gingrich(GA)
Mayor Rudy Giuliani(NYC)
Gov. Bobby Jindal(LA)
Secy. Condi Rice(CA)
Gov. Mark Sanford(SC)
Sen. Fred Thompson(TN)
Secy. Tommy Thompson(WI)
Democratic Presidential Contenders: