Obama: U.S. Can't Afford to Relive GOP Tax Plans

President Bush signing his $1.35 trillion tax cut bill, June 7, 2001 at the White House. Citizens for Tax Justice estimates the total cost of Bush era tax cuts, not counting interest paid on national debt, was $2.1 trillion — one-third of which benefited the wealthiest 1%.
AP Photo/Ron Edmonds
President Barack Obama says Republicans' plan to slash taxes and cut spending if the Republican Party retakes the House of Representatives in the November midterm elections is no more than "an echo of a disastrous decade we can't afford to relive."

Mr. Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday to skewer House Republicans over the "Pledge to America" they unveiled this week. It also promised to cut down on government regulation, repeal Mr. Obama's health care law and end his stimulus program.

"The Republicans who want to take over Congress offered their own ideas the other day. Many were the very same policies that led to the economic crisis in the first place, which isn't surprising, since many of their leaders were among the architects of that failed policy," President Obama said.

"It is grounded in same worn-out philosophy: cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires; cut the rules for Wall Street and the special interests; and cut the middle class loose to fend for itself. That's not a prescription for a better future."

Mr. Obama drew special attention to a website paid for by the GOP Minority Leader John Boehner, "America Speaking Out", which invites public comments on economic policy positions. One of the most popular ideas, judging from voting on the site, is ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

"Funny thing is, when we recently closed one of the most egregious loopholes for companies creating jobs overseas, Republicans in Congress were almost unanimously opposed," said Mr. Obama. "The Republican leader John Boehner attacked us for it, and stood up for outsourcing, instead of American workers.

"So, America may be speaking out, but Republicans in Congress sure aren't listening," he said.

Republicans used their own radio address to defend the plan.

"The new agenda embodies Americans' rejection of the notion that we can simply tax, borrow and spend our way to prosperity," said one of its authors, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy. "It offers a new way forward that hasn't been tried in Washington - an approach focused on cutting spending - which is sadly a new idea for a Congress accustomed to always accelerating it."

The Republican plan was short on specifics but showed a stark contract between the philosophies of the two parties weeks ahead of midterm elections where Republicans are forecast to make big gains and potentially win back the House.

Perhaps the biggest difference was on taxes, where Republicans want to extend all of President George W. Bush's income tax cuts permanently - at a cost of some $4 trillion over 10 years.

Democrats are proposing to keep the rates where they are for individuals making up to $200,000 and for families earning up to $250,000 - but to hit wealthier individuals and some small businesses with tax hikes in January. Their plan would cost $3 trillion.

Now, though, it's not clear there will be a final vote in Congress on either approach before November's elections.