Partisan Democrat suggests raising taxes – but lacks the guts to say as much

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SC) today attacked President Bush over a battle he lost seven months ago: Tax relief.

Attacking both President Bush and Congressional Republicans for passing the largest tax relief package in a generation last May, Mr. Daschle today swung American politics away from cooperation and back toward petty partisan antagonism. Daschle said the tax relief package "fail(ed) to prevent a recession, as its supporters said it would, (and) it probably made the recession worse." Yet, the heartland Senator would not go so far as supporting a tax hike to reverse it.

Taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform, which fought vigorously for the tax cut last spring, said Mr. Daschle "minced his words," and "lacked the guts to come out and speak the truth: that he wants to raise taxes to pay for increased government spending."

"Calling the President\’s tax relief package the cause of the current recession is out-and-out balderdash," said Norquist. "All the warning signs for the recession were there well before President Bush\’s inauguration, and the biggest part of the tax cut hasn\’t yet taken place. Daschle\’s rhetoric amounts to political demagoguery of the first order. He talks one way to his constituents in South Dakota who supported the tax cut, while spitting venom here in Washington against it."

President Bush urged Congress to take up economic security legislation immediately following the September 11th terrorist attacks. The House of Representatives passed an economic bill endorsed by the President that gave tax relief to businesses and individuals to spur investment and consumer spending. But Democrats who control the Senate passed their own "stimulus package," which involved hundreds of obscure government spending plans and subsidies of agriculture and other areas.

"Daschle is a guy whose idea of economic stimulus is to subsidize bison-farming in the Dakotas. Is this really the type of man that Americans can trust to manage the largest economy in the history of the world? Americans need and want tax cuts to stimulate economic growth – not tax hikes like Mr. Daschle seeks, but is too pusillanimous to endorse outright."