Washington, DC—Senator Charles Schumer of New York, the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, delivers this week’s Democratic Radio Address. Democrats are willing to work with the President to design a responsible strategy for stimulating our economy and reversing current policies that have us headed for recession.
The text of the radio address, as delivered, is below:
“Good morning. This is Senator Chuck Schumer speaking from New York City, the nation’s financial capital. We begin the New Year with America’s economy in the worst shape and the middle class at its most uncertain since the days immediately following 9/11. In the short time we have together this morning, I am going to lay out what we need to do to get our economy moving again.
“Unfortunately, this Administration seems satisfied with the current state of the economy and the fortunes of the middle class. Democrats are not. This Administration continues to defend economic policies that help the select few, while ignoring the pocket-book needs of middle-class Americans. They continue to take a do-nothing approach as our nation’s housing crisis escalates, failing to come to grips with the escalating home foreclosures and devastating loss in home equity caused by the subprime mortgage crisis.
“And despite all of the warning signs of a recession, the Administration has ignored the need for a change in policy—leaving hardworking families on their own to sink or swim. Consider these facts:
- From 2000 to 2006, most Americans saw their real income actually go down.
- Meanwhile, the average tax relief for a millionaire under this Administration is 100 times larger than the relief for the typical middle-class household.
- At the same time, the price of college tuition, health care and energy—three of the largest expenses for middle-class families—have skyrocketed.
- And in the last nine months alone, the housing crisis has cost Americans $240 billion in home equity—gutting the main source of middle-class wealth.
“Democrats know that we can do better. We will make every effort to work with this Administration to change course and get our economy moving forward in a way that benefits all Americans. We will not be stymied as the Administration is by an attitude that says ‘do nothing.’ We will act quickly and decisively to avoid a recession.
“We urge both the Administration and our Republican colleagues in Congress to work together with Democrats to design a stimulus package that meets three critical principles. First, it should be targeted at the middle-class who will bear the brunt of the economic decline, and not the wealthiest Americans – who should be congratulated on their good fortune, not rewarded with more tax relief. Second, it should be timely. We should not wait to introduce policies that won’t kick in until after a recession is already upon us. Three, it should be temporary. We should not have stimulus policies today that would permanently burden our children tomorrow.
“We ask President Bush to take off his ideological handcuffs and work with us to develop legislation consistent with these three nonpartisan principles—aiming relief at the middle-class, and making that relief immediate and cost-effective. Using these principles to guide them, there are two areas in particular on which the Administration must change its attitude.
“First, prominent economists believe that the best way to jumpstart is not only with tax cuts, but with stimulus spending. The President seems to focus only on tax cuts, which are important, but we need spending as well, whether it be for short-term items such as extending unemployment insurance or longer-term investments such as in clean energy and infrastructure.
“Second, the Administration must focus on the housing crisis and declining home values. One foreclosure alone has costly ripple effects throughout neighborhoods and communities, and analysts are predicting two million more foreclosures over the next two years. We should take immediate, common sense measures to prevent unnecessary foreclosures to preserve the economic value of our nation’s homes. The President has so far taken a hands-off approach to the housing crisis, an approach that clearly has not worked.
“If the President continues to maintain his ideological position that there should be no government help for the economy, or that the only action necessary is tax breaks for the wealthy, he will only hasten our descent into a recession that his do-nothing philosophy has caused.
“Up until now, the President has both ignored the threats of a recession and said it is wrong for the federal government to help the middle class out. It is time to scrap the Bush playbook and replace it with measures that allow the economic fortunes in this country to grow together, not apart. We must act immediately to stimulate the economy and help the middle-class and others who need it. We hope the Administration and our Republican colleagues in Congress will quickly join us in our efforts.”