Washington, DC—Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota delivers this week’s Democratic Radio Address. The Senate will soon take up a plan to strengthen an economy weakened by seven years of misguided fiscal policies and record deficits. Even as Congress moves in a bipartisan fashion to apply short-term fixes to the economy, Dorgan says, we need to begin fixing the record deficits and other root cause of our economic trouble to get us back on track.
The text of the radio address, as delivered, is below:
“Hello, I’m Senator Byron Dorgan. You know, the wild swings in the stock market in recent days and weeks describe a real and widespread concern about this country’s economy. And, as usual, the American people’s concerns about the condition of our economy are right on point. And, frankly, we can’t ignore the serious problems that exist.
“But there is some good news. The Federal Reserve Board sent a strong signal this week with a significant cut in interest rates. It is now pretty clear the Fed is going to use monetary policy very aggressively to boost our economy.
“And also, the President and the Congress began quickly to work together in a bipartisan way this week to develop an economic stimulus plan that would try to give this economy a lift. Now, that plan isn’t yet complete, but it’s sure moving quickly. That’s good news. The proposal includes stimulus checks for individual taxpayers as well as investment incentives for businesses to try to get the economy moving again. All of that makes sense to me.
“The White House’s cooperation with Congress in recent days is long, long overdue. And it’s encouraging. But, let’s hope it is habit-forming. Frankly, there’s a lot more that has to be done to put our economy back on track for the longer term. And we need real cooperation. This isn’t going to be easy.
“President Bush has given us a fiscal policy that has piled up mountains of debt by insisting we fight the war in Iraq with borrowed money. Even as his policies have escalated this unbelievable federal debt load, he continues to insist on giving more tax breaks to the super wealthy. Now, the American people know that doesn’t add up. That has to change.
“Also, our trade policies are creating over $700 billion a year in trade deficits. Each and every day we import $2 billion in goods more than we export. That puts us deep in debt to China and Japan and other trading countries. It weakens the American dollar. It’s a policy that exports good American jobs. And we’ve got to change that, too.
“The subprime mortgage scandal that has now caused so much damage to our economy is flat-out a disgrace. This was an avalanche of greed by a bunch of high-flyers and big shots on Wall Street and in the corporate suites who were making millions – even hundreds of millions – as they were victimizing homebuyers and injuring our economy. They got by with it because those in this Administration who were responsible for regulating these industries were cozying up to those they were supposed to regulate. They didn’t lift a finger to stop this theft. And now, we have to fix it and make sure it never happens again.
“Finally, because of the same lack of regulation, we’ve seen this explosive growth on Wall Street in speculation with hedge funds and derivatives in recent years – to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars – and it’s made it look like a highly leveraged gambling casino, and it’s something I think threatens our economy, too.
“So, today, even as the President cooperates with Congress on short term-measures to help the economy, we need to begin fixing the real cause of our economic trouble. When the President sends soldiers to war, he has to be honest about the cost. And he has to stop piling those costs on our mountain of federal debt for our children and our grandchildren to pay.
“And we’ve got to insist that our trade agreements be changed so that they’re fair to our country and stop the massive trade deficits and loss of American jobs. We have to demand that regulators wake up and stop the greed and speculation that gave us the subprime loan scandal and the hedge fund abuses that threaten our economy. You know, an old Indian Chief once said that success of a rain dance depends a lot on the timing.
“Well, that’s true. Timing is everything, and yes, this is the time to take immediate action on a short term economic stimulus plan to help our economy right now. But then we need to do so much, much more. We need to fix the bigger economic issues that threaten our country’s future.
“I have great hope for the future of this country, but we have to take decisive and courageous steps to fix these things. I am convinced we can do that. We have to say to President Bush, ‘It’s time to change course. It’s time for some leadership. We need to work together to put this country back on track. So let’s start now.”