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Edwards wants Congress to create economic cushion of as much as $100 billion

Edwards wants Congress to create economic cushion of as much as $100 billion

Presidential candidate John Edwards says the country cannot simply wait for the economy to turn around, and he wants Congress to come up with as much as $100 billion (euro69.54 billion) to prepare for a potential economic slowdown.
The Democrat and former North Carolina senator suggests an initial investment of $25 billion (euro17.39 billion) for job creation and other aid, and be prepared to come up with the rest if the economy slides into a recession. He was scheduled to unveil his economic plan at campaign stops on Saturday in eastern Iowa.
In his policy paper provided to The Associated Press, Edwards said the economy is struggling because of the housing crisis and stagnant wages. Housing, energy and health care costs have increased, while the median income for working-age families dropped $2,400 (euro1,670) between 2000 and 2006, he said.
"Families across the country are working harder than ever, but in the last seven years, the typical family's income actually decreased at the same time the costs of health care, energy, and housing are skyrocketing," Edwards said in a statement released by his campaign. "The truth is our economy is slowing under the weight of stagnant wages, a major housing crisis and a spike in energy costs. And now, leading economists are saying there's a substantial risk we could enter a recession."
Edwards' plan does not include recommendations for how Congress should pay for the economic rescue package.
"We intentionally do not pay for these proposals because we do not think now is the right time for spending cuts or tax increases. But starting in 2009, we will pay for each of our proposals," Edwards campaign spokesman Eric Schultz said in an e-mail.
He also wants Congress to update the nation's unemployment system, which he said now leaves workers unprepared for hard times. He calls on Congress to help states cover 500,000 additional workers each year, and set aside resources now to keep workers from having to wait for benefits if the unemployment rate rises.
Aid to states also should be boosted to keep them from having to increase property taxes or cut programs such as Medicaid _ the health insurance program for the poor _ in order to balance their budgets, Edwards said.
To combat the housing crisis, Edwards wants lawmakers to create a home rescue fund to help families get counseling, loans or other financial aid to avoid foreclosure. He also believes that families facing bankruptcy should be allowed to rewrite terms of their mortgage, and write off debt that exceeds the value of their home.
To keep such a crisis from happening again, Edwards said Congress should pass stronger laws against predatory lending and create a federal regulator to oversee financial services products.
Edwards wants Congress to make a major investment in clean energy that he contends would both fight global warming and create jobs to spark economic activity.
Several of Edwards' economic proposals, including some of his energy and housing proposals, have been included in other policy plans he has offered over the course of the presidential campaign.
"The big new aspect is that there's a recognition our economy is weak enough that we need to take immediate action _ not wait for the next president," Schultz said.


Updated : 2021-04-17 16:00 GMT+08:00