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Mr. KAGEN. You can't be any happier than being from Wisconsin. We are still the Dairy State, and I remind that to my colleague each and every opportunity.
Let me tell it to you this way. If I heard my colleague from Colorado correctly, you said that today was an important day for taking a positive step forward.
We saw our country on the brink of disaster. Why? How did we get into that mess? There were two wars at the same time, and the Republicans didn't pay a dime for either one of them. Two wars without paying a dime for it. There were two tax cuts to the very wealthy in the United States, didn't pay for that either. Four hundred billion dollars handed over to big drug companies in Medicare part D, didn't pay a penny for that benefit either. And then at the tail end of the Bush administration, they cracked the door open to the Treasury and allowed Wall Street speculators to take out nearly a trillion dollars, didn't pay a penny for that either.
So we've got a lot of bills that somebody's going to have to pay. We're beginning to move up. The way you do it is to generate private sector jobs. We understand that. But first we had to do a lot of lifting here. We had some tremendous leadership that guided us through these tough times.
The first and most important bill that I helped to pass was to live within our means or pay-as-we-go. It worked during President Clinton's time. It will work again during President Obama's time. We are fiscally responsible here on the Democratic side of the aisle. We wish the Republicans would join us in helping us build that better future.
You mentioned that it's important to generate jobs. But to do that, small businesses and private businesses that I am very familiar with, we need to lower the cost of labor. We've done that. To give tax credits for those employers who will hire people. We did more than that.
According to the Republican adviser to President Reagan, Mr. Bruce Bartlett, on March 19 he said these words: Federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became President. Last year's stimulus bill enacted with no Republican support reduced Federal taxes by almost a $100 billion in 2009 and by $222 billion this year. It was news even at USA Today where the headline reads, ``Tax Bills in 2009 At Lowest Level Since 1950.''
If people in Wisconsin were looking for lower taxes, the Democrats have delivered it to the middle class. They didn't feel it, though. You're not going to get credit for it because the economy was on its knees. We were so deep into this recession.
But today is historic because we did pass a bill, a financial reform regulation bill that guarantees no more bailouts, no more bad loans to people who can't afford to pay them back. The taxpayers won't be on the hook for the speculators on Wall Street. And most importantly, a consumer protection agency that will finally put someone on the side of the consumer looking out only for their best interest. It wasn't done with a Republican-led House of Representatives or Congress. It was done with Democratic leadership.
And it will take Democratic leadership and a strong spine to stand up and take credit for all of the benefits that we're bringing to every American no matter what party they're in, because we're going to have to work together and across the aisle to guarantee that we can generate the jobs we need to work our way back into prosperity to make things here in America again and begin to get a balanced trade deal, not just with Europe, but most importantly with China.
I yield to Mr. Garamendi.
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Mr. KAGEN. In Minnesota or Wisconsin, we have the same ideas. The idea is that on a level playing field, whether it's a football field or a manufacturing competition across borders, we can compete and win against anybody. But there has to be, there must be a level playing field.
We cannot in this country continue to allow China to manipulate its currency to its own advantage. We cannot allow our own corporations or any international corporation to offshore our jobs.
Instead of shipping our jobs overseas, we must export our values. Our values are at stake. We care about our people. We care about our environment. You cannot, you cannot continue in China to sacrifice your environment for economic development.
I think we have got the right message. If you don't make anything, you won't have anything. We have got to get back to our base of making things here in America and making sure that we can compete on a level playing field. That's what we are working so hard to do.
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