In this article, which stopped me in my tracks, Dick Gephardt (!) advocates a $75 million tax cut, coupled with $125 million in spending increases (which is more like what I expect to hear from our boy).
It's amazing that this is the same person who has been screaming about how Bush "squandered the surplus", considering that he has not explained where he expects to find the $200 million to fund this plan. I'm curious, because unless he plans to hack something else, the money is not there.
Gephardt also pushed for familiar Democratic priorities: a raise in the minimum wage to $6.65 an hour from the current $5.15; an extension of unemployment benefits; a new system to protect worker pensions; a crackdown on excessive compensation for corporate chief executives; cuts in federal subsidies for corporations; and a "budget summit" to help erase a long-term federal deficit.
All of the usual Dem boilerplate is there, plus the "budget summit" to ease a problem that has an obvious solution. To eliminate the deficit, spending must be reduced to a level below that of income. Neither party is willing to take the steps necessary to achieve such a feat, however, and pork-barrel projects are the rule for politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Amusingly enough, the White House ignored most of Gephardt's speech (liberally peppered with attacks on the administration) and seized on the tax cut proposal as something that they can support.
"The idea of tax incentives to help stimulate growth is always an interesting idea," Fleischer said. "We'll take a look at what the congressman said. We want to work with Democrats and Republicans alike."