U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said in a speech on the Senate floor Monday that backers of a permanent extension of all the 2001 tax cuts set to expire on December 31 forfeit all credibility when they also claim to want to do something to reduce the federal deficit.
"Our country is at war. We have a $13 trillion federal debt. We have a $1.3 trillion yearly budget deficit. Yet some are insisting our country borrow another $1 trillion to give -- permanent -generous tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.
"You can't add $1 trillion to our federal debt and, at the same time, say you want to reduce our federal debt. You've given up all claim to saying you want to reduce the deficit when you are willing to increase the federal debt to give $100,000 a year tax cuts to those who make $1 million a year," he said.
Dorgan told his fellow Senators he believes Congress should extend the middle income tax cuts, for those with annual incomes of $250,000 or less, for a two year period and make a judgment at that time about what the state of the economy is and what more needs to be done.
Dorgan argued that the 2001 tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be allowed to expire at the end of this year as originally intended by President Bush and the Republican Congress that enacted them.
"The 2001 tax cuts were created to return an expected $5 trillion surplus in the coming ten years to the American people," Dorgan noted. "But the fact is there were no surpluses. Instead, we've experienced record budget deficits and financed then by borrowing money from the Chinese and the Japanese.
"If ever there was a moment when the American people should expect and deserve real leadership on issues that matter, it is now," Dorgan said. "Our economic future still hangs in the balance and this time Congress ought to make the right decision rather than the easy decision.