WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the Bush Administration’s two-day “economic summit,” which is focusing on issues such as tax reform and Social Security:
“Democrats are absolutely committed to real tax reform that reduces the complexity of our far-too-complicated system, as well as initiatives that are designed to preserve and strengthen Social Security for future generations. We are ready and willing to work with those who share our commitment.
“Unfortunately, Day One of the Administration’s ‘Economic Summit’ seems little more than a collection of like-minded individuals who are intent on pushing a preordained partisan agenda rather than conducting an open, honest dialogue on issues that require broad bipartisan support.
“Our Social Security system faces long-term challenges that must be addressed, but there is no immediate crisis that demands destroying a program that protects millions of seniors from poverty and continues to hold tremendous promise for future generations.
“More importantly, diverting funds away from the Social Security trust fund to private accounts is the wrong solution that is nothing more than a Trojan Horse to dismantle Social Security. Furthermore, it is fiscally irresponsible to borrow $2 trillion to privatize the system.
“I also appreciate the President’s interest in tax reform. As the tax reform bill in 1986 demonstrated, Presidential leadership on this issue is absolutely imperative for real reform to occur. The irony, of course, is that while the President has talked generally about the need for tax reform over the last six months, he has proposed and signed legislation into law during the last four years that has made our tax code far more complicated. And even today, Vice President Cheney simply reiterated the President’s call to make his tax cuts permanent. I urge the President to spend his political capital on real reform and bring bold ideas to the table, not just reiterate support for his past policies.
“Effective, successful tax reform requires President Bush to put the interest of middle-class Americans above political contributors, and oppose more legislation by the Republican Congress that increases tax loopholes. Democrats will push next year to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, simplify rules for small businesses, and stop individuals and corporations from gaming the system.”