We need to put jobs first

We need to put jobs first
Date October 05, 2004
Section(s) Columnists
By John Kerry

I’ve visited Newton several times over the past year and talked to Americans who make up the backbone of our economy — computer programmers and autoworkers, nurses and firefighters, teachers and small business owners. I know that the people of Newton — and specifically the employees of Maytag — are feeling a real squeeze.

But while Newton is hit particularly hard right now, the truth is that this middle-class squeeze is hitting the entire country. Across Iowa and across America, health care costs are skyrocketing, and good jobs are being replaced by jobs with lower pay and fewer benefits — if they are replaced at all.

When it comes to the economy, George Bush doesn’t have a record to run on — he has a record to run from: 1.6 million lost jobs. Eight million Americans looking for work and 45 million Americans without health insurance, five million more than the day he took office.

Four million more Americans have slipped into poverty — and more than one million are children. Families struggle to pay the biggest increase in college tuition in history. Bankruptcies and foreclosures are the highest they have ever been. We’ve gone from record surpluses to record deficits.

America cannot afford a president who’s the first to lose jobs since Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression.

It’s time to set a new direction for America. John Edwards and I have a plan to create good jobs here in America, lift up our middle-class by cutting their taxes and lowering the cost of health care, make American businesses more competitive and make Washington live within a budget just like middle-class families do.

First, we will create good-paying, middle-class jobs right here in America.

Today, if a company is torn between creating jobs in Michigan or Malaysia, we now have a tax code that encourages you to go overseas. George Bush thinks that’s right. I believe it’s wrong. And as president, I will end it.

I will close the tax loopholes that reward companies for shipping jobs overseas. Instead, we’re going to use that revenue to reward companies that create and keep good jobs here in the United States of America. Under my plan, we’ll cut the corporate tax rate by 5 percent, giving 99 percent of businesses a tax break.

Second, we will make sure that we reward the hard work of our middle-class families by cutting their taxes and lowering their health care costs.

To help them cover the rising costs of child care, we’ll offer a tax credit of $1,000. To give more young Americans the chance to go to college, we’ll offer a tax break on up to $4,000 in tuition for four years of college. And to help middle-class families pay for health care, we’ll offer a health plan that will lower premiums up to $1,000 a year.

Third, we’ll restore America’s competitive edge to lift up our economy and invest in the middle-class jobs of tomorrow.

If we want America to thrive in the long run, we must invest more in our people and their ideas so that we can create high-tech, high-wage jobs in industries that are already improving the quality of our lives.

We will push the boundaries of science, and never let ideology get in the way of life-saving research or cutting-edge technology.

We will offer tax credits to help us seize the possibilities of the Broadband Revolution and make Internet access available to all of America’s families.

And we will offer tax credits to buy and produce the fuel-efficient cars of the future.

Finally, our plan is paid for while cutting the deficit in half in four years by ending tax giveaways that are nothing more than corporate welfare.

We’re going to make government go back to a simple rule: pay as you go.

We can do this. We can build a stronger America where there’s a growing middle-class and every American has the chance to work and the opportunity to get ahead.

This is our plan — and this is the new direction we will set for America.


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