Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Iowa Gov. Blasts Bush Tax Policies

Aaron Terrazas/The Hoya Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-Iowa) spoke about the effects of the Bush budget on the states.

Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-Iowa), considered by many as a potential vice presidential candidate, attacked President Bush’s tax cuts and economy policies in a speech in ICC Auditorium last Friday.

Vilsack criticized the tax cuts specifically from the point of view of state governments.

“This administration has pursued the most shortsighted, breathtakingly misguided economic policy of any in my lifetime,” he said. “It has mortgaged our future with an astonishingly reckless tax policy.”

He also attacked President Bush’s claim that the U.S. economy is growing, arguing that it is instead undergoing a “jobless recovery,” as coined by the political press.

“While our economy is growing, it still isn’t producing enough jobs. Wall Street may be doing very well, but Main Street is suffering,” he said.

Admitting that Bush inherited a contracting economy, Vilsack said that the brief recession was the “inevitable result of a long boom,” but that the Bush administration converted what would have been a mild and brief contraction into a long-term colossus.

“That is where Bush has failed – not because we had tough times under his watch . but because he has chosen policies that are so shortsighted.” Vilsack said. “They took a challenging situation and made it a bad dire situation.”

According to Vilsack, much of the blame lies with the Bush tax cuts “targeted to the wealthiest who need them the least.”

He argued that statistics show how 75 percent of the current $5 trillion deficit is due to a drop in federal revenue.

Furthermore, he said that the federal treasury has not seen the largest drops in revenue yet as several more tax cuts are scheduled to take effect in the years to come.

The loss of revenue from the tax cuts accompanied by an increase in spending due to the international war on terror has resulted in gargantuan deficits, Vilsack said.

“If America is not disciplined [with its budget], the global markets will surely punish us,” he said. “The IMF says our net financial obligations to the rest of the world could be equal to 40 percent of our total economy within a few years – an unprecedented level of external debt for a large industrial country.”

The Bush administration recognizes these problems, according to Vilsack, but consistently “fails to level” with the American public because of political motivation.

Last week, when Bush announced his new budget he admitted that one in every four dollars the government spends will be borrowed, Vilsack said. The deception, however, began when the administration did not disclose that the budget does not include the cost of operations in Iraq or the opportunity cost of tax cuts, Vilsack added.

“To put off the damage until after he is out of office – to say we will fix our budget with phantom economic growth and magic asterisks – that insults our intelligence,” he said. “It demonstrates a striking disregard of the fact that our children will be shouldered with the enormous burden of picking up the tab and a limited future to boot.”

Vilsack then attacked Bush’s stance on international trade, citing the recent statement by the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors that outsourcing of American jobs would benefit the economy.

“I’ve got a number of unemployed workers in my state who would love to visit with the president and his adviser to talk about the real pain of `outsourcing,'” he said, emphasizing the importance of “fair trade” instead of “free trade.”

Not until late in the speech did he mention Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential contest. When asked whether his trip to Washington was to promote his status as a potential vice presidential contender, he keenly said, “I’m flattered that you brought that up, but that’s not the question we’re here to discuss.”

Other dignitaries in attendance included Gov. Bob Wise (D-W.Va.) and John Podesta, who served as President Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff from 1998 to 2001 and serves on the faculty at Georgetown University’s Law Center.

The event was co-hosted by the Georgetown Lecture Fund and the Center for American Progress.

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