- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says the economic policies of the Bush administration are benefiting only the nation’s wealthiest people and that more needs to be done for working-class Americans.

“Tax cuts alone cannot secure the middle class. They are not the cure-all for everything that ails the American economy,” the New York Democrat told 3,000 supporters Tuesday night at the Chicago Economic Club.

On Monday, Mrs. Clinton, who is up for re-election in November, introduced the Federal Housing Fairness Act, a bill that would make Federal Housing Administration loans available to more middle- to lower-income working families in states with higher costs of living.

Peter Sepp, spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union, said Mrs. Clinton is using inaccurate statements in an attempt to pit the rich against the poor.

“We’ve had robust economic growth almost from the moment the tax cuts were enacted,” said Phil Kerpen, policy director of the Free Enterprise Fund.

“That has resulted in a five-year low in unemployment, which proves people across the income distribution board are benefiting.”

Internal Revenue Service statistics show the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans are paying a slightly higher percentage of overall taxes than they did before Mr. Bush’s tax cuts were enacted, while the bottom 50 percent of income earners are paying less than they were in 2001.

Mrs. Clinton, who voted against the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and several other tax-cutting measures during her first term, marked a clear divide between herself and Republicans.

“We are not working together. We are not finding common ground. We are not making the investments in the future that our country desperately needs,” Mrs. Clinton said at the Chicago kickoff of a speaking tour.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, called Mrs. Clinton’s claims baseless.

“The facts are pretty clear: Republican tax relief has sparked surging economic growth. In Illinois alone, the unemployment rate has dropped from 5.6 to 5.0 percent in the last six months,” Mr. Hastert said.

The Republican National Committee told supporters in an e-mail: “Sen. Clinton’s Plan For The U.S. Economy: Higher Taxes, Increased Spending And A Large Dose Of Pessimism.”

After the speech on the economy Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton headlined a fundraiser for Pennsylvania Treasurer Bob Casey Jr., a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. Mr. Casey is challenging Sen. Rick Santorum, a Republican.

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