CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight - Transcript
SEN. JON CORZINE, (D) NEW JERSEY: Well, I really think there are two sets of books here. The one presented in the budget plan meets the president's objective over the next 5 years of halving the budget deficit.
Unfortunately, it leaves out some major programs like the cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cost of the beginning investment in the privatization of Social Security which the president has made his top priority on domestic. The reform of the alternative minimum tax, which I know Senator Grassley believes has to be addressed. There is the extension of the tax cuts that the president has put down.
All of those things are going to lead to much higher deficits because they are going to erode the revenues and increase the expenditures that we have. So I don't think we're seeing the real product of what's going to happen over the next 5 years.
PILGRIM: Senator Grassley it does leave out Iraq and Afghanistan. Is that OK?
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R-IA) FINANCE CMTE. CHAIRMAN: Well, listen, when you appropriate money for things that are going to be one-time expenditures or maybe two-time expenditures and you don't predict the future to know exactly how much you want, you wait until you get there, until you know exactly what you should ask for. But one of the principles of bookkeeping is you don't build into a baseline that kind of expenditures, because it's just an excuse to spend on top of that amount next time.
And so it seems to me this is the most honest sort of budgeting, when you don't put things into the baseline that aren't going to be there forever. And in regard to the tax cut, I think you have to take Greenspan's word for it that the tax cuts were very, very essential to get us out of the recession and to have the revitalization of tax money coming into the federal government that's coming in right now.
And makings those tax cuts permanent is not anything that needs to be budgeted from this standpoint, because it's existing tax policy. Should it be for 10 years or should it be permanent? Everybody believes that permanency and predictability in tax policy is the best way to do that.
PILGRIM: What about Social Security?
GRASSLEY: You are asking me?
GRASSLEY: Social Security won't be an issue unless the president becomes Professor Bush and has a seminar with the American people. And at the Grass Roots convince people that there needs to be changes made in Social Security so our grandchildren and children can have the same programs that we have. And unless we make changes, they won't have.
Unless the president gets that job done, it won't really be an issue here in Congress. Now I want the president to make that jump. And I want to be able to help him get the reforms that he's proposing. Or even if he doesn't propose them, reforms that we know need to be done so that our children and grandchildren can have Social Security.