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Senate Proceeding on Jul 21st, 2010 :: 7:00:40 to 7:17:20
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Byron Dorgan

7:00:38 to 7:00:58( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: to the arizona immigration law which is at the desk. the presiding officer: without objection, the motion is pending. mr. demint: i thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a sen

Byron Dorgan

7:00:40 to 7:17:20( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Byron Dorgan

Byron Dorgan

7:00:59 to 7:01:19( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. dorgan: mr. president, my high school english teacher always used to say, "all right, let's review things." so let's review things just for a moment. i have listened to some of this debate here in the united states senate today, and as best as i can tell, we've got standing up saying the deficit is a bad thing.

Byron Dorgan

7:01:20 to 7:01:40( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i think there's general agreement about that here in the senate. and we've got to do something about it. there's general agreement about that. they say we're going to make our last stand here on this deficit with respect to those who are out of work extension of tphoeufplt

Byron Dorgan

7:01:41 to 7:02:01( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: benefits -- of unemployment benefi we were quick to give help to the wealthiest americans, to the biggest investment banks that need help. we gave hundreds of billions of dollars to those interests at the top of the economic ladder who nearly ran the country right into the ditch. but those at the bottom of the ladder that are out of work, unemployed, who are having

Byron Dorgan

7:02:02 to 7:02:23( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: trouble, that's where they say we make our last stand on deficits. so let me try to understand this with a review. we are told the deficit is too high. we can't give help to the unemployed in the manner that we used to give help to the unemployed. we always did that when there's

Byron Dorgan

7:02:24 to 7:02:44( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: an economic downturn. always done that. and, by the way, what we need to do is to repeal the estate tax for the wealthiest individuals now, i don't know, i took mathematics in a high school senior class of nine students. i passed it at least, and i can understand how things add up now and then.

Byron Dorgan

7:02:45 to 7:03:06( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i don't know how that adds up at all. you come to the floor of the senate, you have great apoplexy about giving help to the unemployed. and, by the way, some have even said you give help to the unemployed, it just discourages them to work. you know something? a guy told me the other day

Byron Dorgan

7:03:07 to 7:03:28( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: about a young third grader who was asking -- in school, it was going to be his birthday and he was asked "what would you like for your birthday? what kind of a birthday present would you like?" and this little third grader said a flashlight. they said a flashlight? he said, yes, so i can read at night. they turned off our electricity. how many in this room would even

Byron Dorgan

7:03:29 to 7:03:50( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: understand having your electricity turned off? and having a third grade son that can't read at night because there are no lights and ask for a flashlight for a gift. there's nobody in here that's unemployed. not one person in this room. this is a room full of people at night. put on a blue shirt, pressed white shirt and a necktie and

Byron Dorgan

7:03:51 to 7:04:11( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: come to work all fully employed, and we talk about the unemployed. we're short 20 million jobs in th country. there are millions of people out of work, 5 million manufacturing employees alone have lost their jobs in the last nine years. as we went into this deepest recession since the great

Byron Dorgan

7:04:12 to 7:04:33( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: depression, a whole lot of folks -- kwrerbgs at the lower end of the nick ladder and ph -- end of the economic ladder, and can't find another job. when they worked from their paychecks they paid a small premium for unemployment insurance. they paid for that shurpbgs and now they can't of unemployment here in the united states senate. why?

Byron Dorgan

7:04:34 to 7:04:55( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: because the last stand on deficits is to take a stand with respect to restricting the ability of those who are out of work from getting the funds to extend their unemployment benefits. that's the last stand. did they make a last stand for the big investment banks that ran into trouble? no, n at a. they rushed that aid on a pillows. can we help you? how much do you need?

Byron Dorgan

7:04:56 to 7:05:17( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: now it's the folks at the bottom of the ladder. and all of a sudden we don't have the capability. some of my colleagues just complained about speakers who wanted to talk about the past. you know, if you don't understand the past, you are destined to repeat it. and i understand that neither

Byron Dorgan

7:05:18 to 7:05:38( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: side's much of a bargain. republicans and democrats, this country deserves more from both sides. i understand that. but i also understand what has ca i was here on the floor of the united states senate in february of 2001. and, by the way, when president clinton left office two months

Byron Dorgan

7:05:39 to 7:05:59( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: prior to that, we had the first budget surplus in 30 years. over $200 billion in surplus. president bush said, you know, we've got these projected surpluses now for ten years. let's get rid of let's with the biggest tax cuts by far going to the wealthiest americans. i stood on this floor and said

Byron Dorgan

7:06:00 to 7:06:21( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: absolutely not. let's be a bit conservative. what if something happens. and they said, you know, we're going to give these tax cuts and gi wealthiest americans. if you made $1 million a year, that bill gave you $80,000 a year in tax cuts. so everyone on that side voted for it. absolutely.

Byron Dorgan

7:06:22 to 7:06:43( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: happy to vote for it to reduce this country's income. what happened -- very quickly -- we ran into a recession. then we had a terrorist attack against our country on 9/11. then we are at war against afghanistan, then at war in iraq. this congress appropriated massive amounts of money as it sent young men and women to war and did not pay for one penny of it. not a penny.

Byron Dorgan

7:06:44 to 7:07:04( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: all of it went right on to the debt. and those who cried the loudest on the floor of the senate these days -- right now -- are the very ones tha voted to reduce this country's income with the biggest benefits going to the wealthiest americans. and now they come to us and say, well, you know, now we make our last stand for the unemployed, to prevent the unemployed from

Byron Dorgan

7:07:05 to 7:07:25( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: getting what they should and, by the the floor, they say why can't we repeal the estate tax that will help the wealthiest americans. let me just mention the estate tax for a moment. first of all, my colleague said death tax. he knows and i know that there is no such thing as a death tax. if my colleagues should die, his

Byron Dorgan

7:07:26 to 7:07:46( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: estate is not taxed. his entire estate goes tax-free under current law to his spouse. it is true that thi year there's zero estate tax for anybody, and my colleague didn't mention that was an -- that was created in an architecture of tax cuts in 2001 that many of us voted against, by the way, that

Byron Dorgan

7:07:47 to 7:08:08( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: turns out to have fundamentally goofy. they created an estate tax relief that goes down, down, down and down to zero in this year, and then springs way back up in 2010. we didn't do -- in 2011. we didn't do that. that wasn't us. that was the other side. now what they say is they'd like to repeal the estate tax altogether because they think

Byron Dorgan

7:08:09 to 7:08:29( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: it's a tax on death. it's not. it's tax on inherited health, and they know that. this year because there is a zero estate tax, about four billionaires have died and not one penny of their estate will be taxed. and most of their estates were never taxed. they were growth appreciation of stocks and various assets never subject to a t

Byron Dorgan

7:08:30 to 7:08:50( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: most people have an income and it's subject to a tax. they help send kids to school with that tax. they build roads, pay for police, pay for defense. but that run-up in tax for the billionaires -- that run-up in income i should say has never borne a tax to support anything. and my colleagues say i want to make sure they never pay a tax.

Byron Dorgan

7:08:51 to 7:09:11( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: let's have the little folks pay theax, the rest of the folks pay the tax, but not the people at the top. what an unbelievable irony that on the very day that we have people digging in the boots of their -- the heels of their cowboy boots saying we're making our last stand to prevent the unemployed from getting the unemployment compensation extension they deserve, on the

Byron Dorgan

7:09:12 to 7:09:32( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: very day that they say we can't do that, they come to the floor of the senate saying, but what we have to do as a priority is relieve the richest americans, the wealthiest americans of the obligation to pay estate tax. if there is any narrative that tells the american people whose side you're on or whose side

Byron Dorgan

7:09:33 to 7:09:53( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: they're on, this little vignette describes it completely, in my judgnt. now let me just mention that the reason it's important to understand how we got to this point is we'll never get out of it unless we understand that. a lot of my colleagues have been perfectly content for most of a decade standing on this

Byron Dorgan

7:09:54 to 7:10:16( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: deciding that we will ship men and women to iraq and afghantan to fight, but we will not pay for the cost. they have been perfectly content to do that. i've come to the floor of the senate to say you tpwhaoe? sacrifice works a number of in this country. if we're going to ask young men and women to sacrifice their

Byron Dorgan

7:10:17 to 7:10:37( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: lives, to go 12,000 miles away and strip on body armor in the morning and risk their lives in harms waeurbgs perhaps we can ask the american people to provide the funds to pay for it. i proposed that here on the senate. president bush at one point said you all do that, bill. and my colleagues were content to say, yeah, let's just spend the money and we

Byron Dorgan

7:10:38 to 7:10:58( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: on the we'll send kids to war, and they can come back an that's how we got here. the second portion of how we got here is about ten years ago, what was then called financial reform was passed. i voted against that as well. that said to the financial institutions in this country, katy bar the door, do

Byron Dorgan

7:10:59 to 7:11:19( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: whatever you want. we won't watch. we protections that existed after the great depression. we won't look and and as a result, we saw in recent years unbelievable speculation and gambling. that's not business. it's just flat-out gambling. we saw the creation of exotic inruments, c.d.o.'s,

Byron Dorgan

7:11:20 to 7:11:41( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: derivatives, credit default swaps, naked credit default swaps and the like. and we saw just unbelievable rampant gaming going on as opposed to thoughtful investing in this country future. and as a result, this country nearly had an economic collapse. it's important for us to understand how that happened because we had regulators come to town who were supposed to regulate.

Byron Dorgan

7:11:42 to 7:12:03( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: and they boasted about being business friendly. don't worry, we won't look. there's a new sheriff in town and this sheriff doesn't have a weapon. so don't worry about it. then we saw a decade go by in which this country's economy nearly collapsed. so that's how we got where we were. it's important for people to understand that. they say let's not review the past.

Byron Dorgan

7:12:04 to 7:12:25( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: let me just review one final point. when president barack obama walked through the white house door, had he gone to sleep for 12 months, has he did nothing at all, he would have had a $1.3 trillion budget deficit because that's what the previous president left him. $1.3 trillion on auto pilot. now, having said all of that,

Byron Dorgan

7:12:26 to 7:12:46( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: lete sayhis: this deficit, in my judgment, is unsustainable. it cannot continue. we have to defuse it. this is a time bomb that will destroy this country's economy inevitably at some point. we can't have a government whose

Byron Dorgan

7:12:47 to 7:13:08( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: size and whose cost is such that the american people are either unable or unwilling to pay for it. you can't do that. and so we have to fix it. and we have to fix it together. but if we don't learn from what happened, if we don't understand the past decade of what happened going from a $2 hundred billion a year budget surplus to the largest deficit

Byron Dorgan

7:13:09 to 7:13:29( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: to a near economic collapse, if we don't learn that, we are destined to rept it. mr. president, again, it seems to me that everybody here are people are good faith. i don't come here suggesting there are people of bad faith here, but there are some people with bad judgment here, for sure.

Byron Dorgan

7:13:30 to 7:13:51( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: and all you have to do is look at the record. those who say let's not look at the record, i guess don't want the record to be understood. i think the only way we get out of this unbelievable deficit and debt trap is to underand what has caused it. i'll tell thu for sure -- i'll tell you this for sure, we are not going to get out of this mess by having people come to

Byron Dorgan

7:13:52 to 7:14:13( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: the floor of the senate by saying one of the biggest problems of this country is the death tax when no such tax exists. what an unbelievable spoof. death tax my eye. we have a tax on inherited wealth and have been paying it are the people i the upper income levels. we have had $3.5 million kpebgs

Byron Dorgan

7:14:14 to 7:14:35( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: for the husband and the -- exemption for the husband and wife. you don't pay a penny unless you have $7 million clear, husband and wyoming how many families have that? my colleagues say in the midst of all the economic trouble we face, what's the priority? get rid of the death tax, so-called death tax that doesn't

Byron Dorgan

7:14:36 to 7:14:57( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: exist or perhaps i can rephrase it for them, get rid of the tax on inherited wealth for the wealthiest americans. these are billionaires' best friends, i guess. i have nothing against billionaires. i guess i wish i was one. but, when billionaires die, they, i to be able to contribute something to this country.

Byron Dorgan

7:14:58 to 7:15:20( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: i mean, it's unbelievable to me. i hope people have listened to this discussion today and understand that the priority, the priority here is to eliminate the estate tax, the tax on inherited wealth which would only apply to the wealthiest americans. it's unpwhraoefb -- it's

Byron Dorgan

7:15:21 to 7:15:42( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: but i've seen other unbelievable things, some of which have led trouble. i hope perhaps more sober times, we can discuss the best of what both parties have to offer this country because i think both parties do make a contribution. we can't wait much longer. this is not something we can delay. it's not something we can decide to postpone. this country is in trouble.

Byron Dorgan

7:15:43 to 7:16:04( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: we have a deep, deep federal budget deficit that comes from the deepest decline in the economy since the 1930's. and as a result of that decline, we have victims at the bottom of this economic ladder who haven't had work in some cases for t years. they get up in the morning feeling helpless and hopeless wondering, how on earth can i find a job?

Byron Dorgan

7:16:05 to 7:16:26( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: what do i tell this congress ought to at least pay as much attention to those folks at the bottom of the economic ladder ast has paid to the interests at the top of the economic ladder. we shoveled hundreds and hundreds of dollars to those at the top, the most comfortable pillows to help them medicine to calm their nerves.

Byron Dorgan

7:16:27 to 7:16:47( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: but this the bottom, will rogers had it best. it applies today and it applies to this chamber. will rogers said, "the unimloit here ain't eating regular, but we'll get around to them as soon as everybody else gets fixed up okay." well, let me say this, i whole lot of other folks got fixed up at the top of the economic ladder, at the top of this

Byron Dorgan

7:16:48 to 7:17:09( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: country's economy. a whole lot of folks got fixed up. it is the case that the unemployed here ain't eating regular. and this caucus, this congress, this senate ought to care about that. it's part of our responsibility. and then let's get about the business of having a real debate, a thoughtful rather than yes, about all of the issues

Byron Dorgan

7:17:10 to 7:17:21( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: that affect us -- spending, taxing -- and let's use real terms, not things like death taxes that comes from a poster that decides they want to fool people.

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