- The Washington Times - Monday, August 19, 2002

Sen. Jon Corzine, New Jersey Democrat, yesterday called to "rescind or freeze" part of President Bush's 10-year, $1.35 trillion tax cuts to help get the U.S. economy "back on the right track."
Interviewed yesterday on CBS' "Face the Nation," Mr. Corzine a former Wall Street executive who spent a record $60 million of his own fortune to win election said he agrees with the White House that "fiscal constraint" is needed in these tough economic times.
The White House says Congress, particularly the Democrat-controlled Senate, needs to limit federal spending. But Mr. Corzine said yesterday, "Some of it may have to come on the spending side. But we need a two-sided policy. We need to focus on tax cuts as well as the spending things.
"The president's still talking about tax cuts for the top 2 percent [of Americans in terms of income] and saying that's going to stimulate the economy. That's not going to do it," he said.
Asked if he thinks the Democratic Party should support a repeal of the Bush tax cuts, Mr. Corzine said: "In my view, we should cap the inheritance tax, we should rescind or freeze those top two tax rates, and we ought to go after corporations that move money offshore to protect it from the American taxes, so that taxpayers who benefit from the American economic system are paying their fair share.
"That's not happening" now, he said.
Glenn Hubbard, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, was also on the show and responded immediately to Mr. Corzine's proposal to end some tax cuts: "It is a tax increase. It's also economic nonsense."
Mr. Hubbard said that rescinding the president's tax cut "would probably hurt economic growth by about two-tenths of a percentage point over the foreseeable future."
"That's $1,000 for every man, woman and child in this country over a decade." Mr. Hubbard said.
While the Bush administration focuses on what it says is evidence of an improving economy, Mr. Corzine said yesterday: "We've got serious problems in this economy. The future is very bleak with regard to our fiscal policy.
"We've seen our budget go from surpluses of $200 billion, $300 billion to this year we're going to run a $165 billion, $170 billion deficit. We have to borrow $1.8 billion a day to finance our budget deficit, our trade deficit," said the senator, who also cited a 2 percent rise in unemployment and "2.5 million lost jobs."
Mr. Corzine, a former co-chairman of Goldman-Sachs, said constituents tell him that "national defense, homeland defense and prescription drug benefits" are among their top priorities.
"Those need to be represented before we have a tax cut for the top 2 percent wealthiest Americans," the New Jersey Democrat said.
Mr. Corzine isn't the only Senate Democrat who has suggested rolling back or delaying some of the Bush tax cuts in recent months. At one time, only Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts was on record calling for such a change. Others, such as Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said such a move couldn't happen.
But now Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, both potential candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004, also are talking about such alternatives.

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