From Governor Howard Dean -- March 19, 2011:
Last December, when President Obama made a deal with Republicans to continue the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, I said there was no shared pain in the agreement. I called it the easy way out for everybody. And I emphasized it's not fiscally responsible in addressing the deficit, the biggest long-term threat to America.
Now, Republicans are pushing for well over $50 billion in cuts to the budget, which would result in the loss of 700,000 jobs nationwide according to leading economists. They won't even consider cutting the $53 billion the Republicans have used to subsidize the oil industry or eliminating projects out of the defense budget that even the Pentagon says it doesn't need and doesn't want. Instead, they want cuts on everything from local law enforcement to community health centers, from food assistance to low-income women, infants, and children to rural development investment. And of course, they made it clear over and over again, that cutting Social Security benefits must be on the table.
Republicans have gone from being fiscally irresponsible to morally reprehensible in only a few short months. Their goal appears to be the death of civil society by 1,000 cuts.
It's time for Democrats to stand up and hold their ground. Republicans in Congress can't balance the budget on the backs of the poor and middle class -- there must be shared sacrifice.
This approach to shared sacrifice is backed up by the support of the American people. A recent Washington Post poll shows the vast majority of Americans believe the best way to reduce the deficit is through a combination of spending cuts and increased taxes on America's most wealthy.
But it's not about polling. It's about responsibility. If there is one thing we've learned from years of Republican misleadership, it's that you just can't trust Republicans with your money.
Republicans don't know how to balance budgets. They never have. I've balanced budgets. I did it as Governor for 12 straight years. I'm not the only Democrat with a strong fiscal record. Republicans like to forget that the last President to balance the budget and create a surplus was Democrat Bill Clinton.
Democrats can get the job done as long as we stand up for what we believe and never back down.