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America’s Economy: Rising to our New Challenges

Senator Daschle Outlines A New Growth Agenda for the American Economy

On Friday, January 4, in a speech at the Center for National Policy, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle outlined a comprehensive growth agenda for America’s economy. The plan is aimed at fostering economic growth and job creation on the foundation of fiscal responsibility. Senator Daschle outlined our current economic condition, and presented a seven point plan to restore fiscal responsibility, create jobs, and get America’s economy growing.

The seven points include: a real economic recovery plan; strengthening our homeland security; fiscal responsibility to lower interest rates; investments in education, training, and technology; opening new markets; a balanced national energy plan; and a renewed commitment to retirement security.

1) A Real Short-Term Recovery Package

The recovery package should be comprised of only measures that will promote economic activity now, when the economy needs it, and nothing that will worsen our long-term budget position, including:

A new Job Creation Tax Credit to help businesses put Americans back to work. Those companies that put more people to work this year will get a tax cut. Mechanically, if their payroll taxes are higher this year than last, they will be refunded through the corporate income tax for the difference.

A substantial one-year depreciation bonus ­ 40 percent for the first six months and 20 percent for the second ­ in order to encourage high technology and other investments this year. Extended carry-backs of net operating losses for businesses.

A full package for dislocated workers including unemployment insurance and health care. Rebates for those left out of last summer’s tax cut. Fiscal relief for states.

2) Strengthen Homeland Security

Increase homeland security investments substantially. Broaden Nunn-Lugar to cover India and Pakistan and strengthen it to prevent Russian chemical and biological weapon experts ­ along with nuclear experts ­ from sharing their know how with America's enemies.

3) Restore Long-Term Fiscal Integrity to our Budget

Calls on President Bush to submit a one-year budget proposal that includes an effective stimulus plan, and a long-term plan that: restores fiscal discipline; protects the Social Security and Medicare trust funds over the medium and long-term; makes essential investments in critical areas, including defense, homeland security and education; and does not resort to gimmicks and rosy scenarios.

4) Invest in Education, Training, and Technology to Promote Job Creation and Economic Growth Advance an ambitious high technology and human capital building agenda, including:

-- Providing the resources that the reforms in the "Leave No Child Behind Act" require;

-- A renewed commitment to training and lifelong learning;

-- Making broadband Internet access as universal as telephone service;

-- Making the R&D tax credit permanent; and

-- Investing in the federal research agenda by doubling civilian R&D funding and fully funding the Advanced Technology Program in order to speed new technologies to market.

5) Open New Markets and Expand Trade Adjustment Assistance

Passage of Fast Track (Trade Promotion Authority) legislation in concert with expanded Trade Adjustment Assistance. Expand the coverage of trade adjustment assistance to so-called secondary workers, those people who work for contractors and suppliers of trade harmed companies. For the first time, expand the coverage to include farmers. Expand benefits to address the main problems these people face, such as the loss of health coverage and sharp declines in wages upon re-employment. The proposal includes a new wage insurance initiative for older workers for whom re-training is an empty promise and wage loss is most acute.

6) A Balanced National Energy Plan

Calls for a balanced energy plan that:

-- Reduces our dependence on foreign oil;

-- Balances increased production with conservation;

-- Creates jobs;

-- Invests in new technologies; and

-- Positions America to tap into the estimated $1 trillion market for energy conservation and alternative energy development.

7) A Serious Approach to Retirement Security

Proposes a return to fiscal discipline as a necessary first step in strengthening these programs. Rejects the three recommendations of the President’s Social Security Commission. Expresses support for private accounts as supplements ­ but not replacements ­ for the guaranteed benefit Social Security offers.