By Jay Heflin - 08/09/10 09:19 PM EDT
"It would be one thing if, having run the economy into the ground, having taken record surpluses and turned them into record deficits, if, having presided over the meltdown of our financial system, that they had, you know, gone off into the desert for a while and reflected, and said, 'Boy, we really screwed up. What we were selling didn't work. It badly damaged the American economy. And now we're going to come back with a whole new set of ideas,' " Obama said.
"But that's not what's happening," he added. "Instead, they are trotting out the exact same idea that got us into this mess in the first place. Their big economic plan is to renew the tax cuts that helped turn surpluses into deficits, tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And once you get past that, they don't have another new idea."
Congress passed and Bush signed into law the tax cuts within months of taking office. It's roughly $1.3 trillion cost was not offset, and many at the time contended the provisions would create jobs by allowing employers to keep more of their earnings.
Results from a Labor Department study released earlier this year showed that three million jobs were created under Bush. Former President Clinton, also a two-term president, created more than 23 million while in office.
"What they're [Republicans] really counting on is amnesia," Obama said. "That's their basic theory in this election, you know. They know they messed up, and they know that we pulled the country out of the problems that we were in."
"But they figure: Well, you know what? He's [Obama] been in office long enough, and this was a deep enough, tough enough recession," Obama said. "And thing's aren't where people know they should be. And so maybe they'll forget that actually this [recession] was the result of our economic policy. So we'll just offer the same policies."
Still, Republicans aren't the only ones clamoring to extend all of the Bush tax cuts.
A growing number of Democrats worried about their reelection bids are hesitant to support Obama's campaign pledge to raise taxes on individuals earning above $200,000 per year and couples who make more than $250,000.
They prefer extending all the tax cuts for at least one year, then waiting to see if the economy improves before deciding to repeal any of the tax breaks in the future.