Detroit’s Cobo Hall played host to Democratic presidential
candidate John Kerry for the second year in a row as Kerry laid out
his economic plan to the Detroit Economic Club yesterday
morning.

Touching on topics such as outsourcing, tax relief and
healthcare, Kerry offered most of the same details he had
highlighted during the Democratic primaries and also provided
insight into his proposals on the federal deficit and health
care.

He blamed the Bush administration for leading the country into
deep debt and said he would work to cut the deficit in half.

To accomplish his goal, Kerry said he would begin by eliminating
corporate welfare — tax laws that give breaks to large
corporations. He also suggested cutting government programs that
have outlived their purposes, eliminating bureaucratic position
added over the last three years and downsizing 100,000 unnecessary
contractors.

“We believe it’s time for Washington to live within
a budget just like you do,” he said.

Ever since President Bush took office, a $5.6 trillion surplus
left by former President Clinton has turned into trillions of
dollars of debt, Kerry said. The current national debt is $7.3
trillion.

“This President has added more to the deficit than every
president from George Washington to Ronald Reagan combined,”
he added.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm — who introduced Kerry —
described the audience he addressed as historically conservative
but asked that they listen to the candidate with an open mind.

University Regent Andrew Richner (R-Grosse Park Point), who was
present at the event and also was a delegate at the Republican
National Convention in New York City, said Kerry had the wrong
answer for the economy.

“Kerry is taking a page out of the Clinton playbook and
creating a false sense of economic misery,” he said.

Kerry revealed details of his health care plan, including
legislation that he says would lead to lower premiums by up to a $
1,000. To combat the rising cost of child care, he plans to offer a
tax credit of $1,000, although he did not specify additional
details to the plan.

Throughout his speech, Kerry wove a theme of an “excuse
presidency,” saying Bush points at war and recession too
often to excuse the current economic condition of the county.

“This president has created more excuses than jobs,”
Kerry said. “His is the excuse presidency: never wrong, never
responsible, Never to Blame. President Bush’s desk
isn’t where the buck stops — it’s where the blame
begins.”

Elisabeth Burton Walker, an 82-year-old Southfield resident,
said she supports Kerry because she doesn’t buy the excuses
Bush makes regarding job losses.

“I was born in 1922 and that depression was bad,”
she said, adding that the current recession was one that could be
overcome with the right policies.

Bush-Cheney spokeswoman Sharon Castillo said the president has
been under extremely difficult circumstances since he took the
presidency and added that Kerry’s attitude was no help.

“Today we heard more of the same pessimism,” she
said. “Pessimism is not going to create one single job.
Senator Kerry talks the talk. But can he walk the walk?”

Other than elaborating on healthcare and decreasing the federal
deficit, Kerry’s other proposals had been discussed during
last year’s visit to the Detroit Economic Club, as well as
during other campaign stops throughout the last year.

Kerry also blamed Bush for allowing American jobs to go abroad.
He said as president he would eliminate tax codes that facilitate
the outsourcing of jobs.

“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,” Kerry said. “I believe it’s wrong.
And as president, I will end it.”

Kerry continued to attack the president on the loss of jobs in
the country. Kerry outlined his New Jobs Tax Credit — that
gives incentives to companies who create new jobs as well as healt
care cost cuts for employers who provide health coverage for their
workers.

Gloria Kubasiewicz, accounting manager of a company that seeks
to beautify Detroit called Detroit Downtown Inc., said that
Kerry’s speech provided a definite plan for improvement.

“We hear so many promises, but some answers were given
today.”

Outside Cabo Arena, seven protestors carried graphic images of
aborted fetuses, saying that the Catholic candidate for supporting
abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy.

“How can you have a strong economy if you don’t have
life?” said protester Cecille Jean of Canton.

About 1,000 people attended the speech. The Detroit Economic
Club is a speaking venue for business and government leaders.
University President Mary Sue Coleman is on the club’s Board
of Directors.

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