Levin ‘optimistic as Democrat’Published 5:16pm Monday, October 8, 2012
BUCHANAN — “I’m very optimistic as a Democrat,” said U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, pointing to jobless numbers that are below 8 percent for the first time during the Obama administration.
“People in this country are optimistic anyway, but there’s now reason for optimism,” Levin told the South County Democratic Club Saturday afternoon at the senior center. “That was Mitt Romney’s magic number. Now, he’s got to make up reasons why it’s still bad. I don’t know how anyone knocking good news for this country can be elected president.
“I watched Mitch McConnell, Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, say at the beginning of this Congress that the No. 1 Republican goal was to defeat Barack Obama,” he said.
“I’ve been there 34 years and seen a lot of Republican leaders,” said Levin, explaining that Bob Dole’s wit could be biting.
“But he would never say or believe he wanted a president to fail,” Levin said. “That’s what Senate Republicans have tried to do, over and over. The economy is doing better, but not because we had any help from Republicans,” Levin said. “They want to repeal our Wall Street reforms, and we’ve improved access to health care for people who didn’t have access or pre-existing conditions. We finally have in place something to prevent seniors falling through the doughnut hole if they have lots of prescription drugs. Kids can stay on your insurance policy up to age 26. They want to repeal Obamacare, though now Romney’s hedging. What’s his plan?
“What we’re seeing in the Republican picture is nothing but negative,” said Levin who was accompanied by Barbara, his wife of 51 years.
Levin stopped in Benton Harbor and continued to Cleveland to raise funds for a colleague without taking questions from the Buchanan crowd.
Levin slashed at Romney for his proposal for 20 percent tax cuts.
“They want to go back to trickle-down ‘Bushonomics,’” Levin said. “We’ve been there, done that. We know what happened. We want to go back to Clinton economics. We know we’ve got to reduce the deficit. Bill Clinton got us the first surplus in 30 years. Be proud, Democrats. We are the fiscally responsible party now. If you go to war, you ought to pay for it.
“President Bush said, ‘Go shopping,’ and we ended up with huge deficits. The only specific we’ve heard from Romney is eliminating Big Bird on Sesame Street. Four trillion dollars in tax cuts, mostly to upper-income folks. We ask how lost revenue is made up, we have silence. It is fiscally irresponsible. As Clinton said at the Democratic convention, believe in arithmetic. Romney’s plan does not add up. He claims it’s revenue-neutral, so where’s $4 trillion coming from? Don’t let him say what people want to hear without specifics.”
Levin said Obama believes deficit reduction must be coupled with protecting programs, such as Pell Grants, highway infrastructure or crop insurance.
“We cannot slash things important to middle-income people and say we’re working together to get out of a hole,” he said. “The key is we need more revenue. He’s talking about raising taxes on folks who make more than $250,000, going back to the same tax rate under President Clinton. It’s long overdue. The gap between the wealthiest and the rest of us is immoral,” Levin said.
Another source of revenue is closing loopholes carved into the federal government like a block of Swiss cheese.
“This is collecting hundreds of billions of dollars of taxes due to Uncle Sam,” Levin said. “Will Mitt Romney go after loopholes used to funnel money offshore, like Microsoft’s $6 billion to Puerto Rico? Or the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the Bahamas? He used them. How do you think he’s worth $250 million?”
Accompanied by Barbara, his wife of 51 years, Levin stopped in Benton Harbor and continued on to Cleveland to raise funds for a colleague without taking any questions from the Buchanan crowd.