May 18, 2004
Are You Better Off?
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to ask the question that President-to-be Ronald Reagan made famous in a debate in 1980: ‘Are you better off today than you were four years ago?’
“And the answer, for most Americans, is no. Under President Bush and the Republican Congress, most Americans have suffered.
“If you are a taxpayer, you are not better off. We went from a budget that was in balance – in 1999 the deficit was zero—and on a path to a $5.6 trillion surplus, to one now that is half a trillion dollars in debt this year alone.
“If you are a senior, you are not better off because prescription drug costs for seniors have skyrocketed 44 percent in the last four years. And what do they get: a hoax of a prescription drug bill?
“If you are student you are not better off because the Bush Administration has underfunded the No Child Left behind Act by $27 billion since 2001, and wants to cut funding for higher education by $1.3 billion while college tuition has increased by 28 percent.
“If you are a worker, you are not better off because 2.2 million jobs have been lost and the unemployment rate is 5.6 percent, one third higher than the 4.2 percent when President Bush took office.
“And workers are not better off because wages have failed to keep pace with inflation, rising a mere nickel between March and April.
“If you are a consumer, you are not better off because gas prices have increased from $1.26 a gallon to a record $2.01 a gallon since President Bush took office.
“In the next few days, we will offer a further list of grievances of the reckless policies of the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress.“Clearly, we are not better off than when President Bush took office.”
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