CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Rep. Gephardt Discusses Economy, Unemployment
Aired September 26, 2002 - 10:42 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Back now to Washington. You now see House Democratic leader Gephardt now speaking about Iraq. Let's listen in.
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REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: ... people's lives, and when we are talking about homeland security, or national security, or our policy in Afghanistan or Iraq, I think all of us are trying to do the right thing. We have disagreements over what the right thing is to do, but we are trying to do the right thing, and I think what he so well said yesterday is that if this gets drug into politics, we all fail. The country fails, and that's why we feel so strongly about it.
Let me just -- on the economic issue, let me ask this question that I think we are going to increasingly ask in the days ahead. Are you better off than you were two years ago? We now have an economy that is in some real difficulty. I just want to read some figures to you that relate to what Tom talked about.
In the year 2001, the Republicans passed the Bush economic plan. I won't read you all the quotes, but Dick Armey, on June the 7th of last year, said it will promote economic growth, a strong economy, and new and better jobs for our workers.
Yet, from January 2001, when we had 5.9 million people unemployed, we now have, as of last month, 8.1 million people unemployed. A 2.2 million increase in unemployment as a result, in large part, in our view, of the Bush economic plan, and the failure to amend that plan and change it and make it more relevant to the circumstances in which we find ourselves. We have asked for a summit for months with the president to adjust this plan.
Now, lastly, to show you their predictive powers are not too great, back on August the 5th of 1993, Dick Armey said -- about the Clinton Democratic budget plan -- This plan is not a recipe for new jobs, more opportunities for our young people, or more secure retirement for our parents. He said it's a recipe for disaster.
Yet, what we found from that plan, was that -- whereas we had 9.6 million unemployed in 1992, by 1995 it had gone down to 7.4 million. This is a group that has been wrong twice. They were wrong when they commented on the Democratic plan in 1993, and they were dead wrong when they talked about their own plan about a year ago, and I think it is time to address the most important problems the American people face, which are economic problems. Jobs, wages, unemployment, 401(k)s, pension plans, Social Security, and Medicare, and that's what we hope we can do before this Congress ends.
HARRIS: We are going to skip away from this meeting here in Tom Daschle's dugout.
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