Local News

Edwards Pans Bush Economic Stimulus Ideas

Posted February 12, 2003 11:53 a.m. EST

— North Carolina Sen. John Edwards said Sunday if he were president he would stimulate the economy with measures that would have a faster effect and cost less than the permanent tax cuts President Bush will unveil this week.

The Raleigh Democrat said he would extend unemployment benefits for people who have been jobless for six months and help cash-strapped states pay for homeland security to keep police and firefighters on the job.

He said he would push to give each family a $500 tax credit to defray higher energy costs and allow businesses tax breaks on equipment they buy.

Edwards said his plan would cost $120 billion, compared to the Bush plan's estimated pricetag of $600 billion over 10 years.

"I think it's the most we can afford that actually has an effect this year," Edwards said. "It also needs to be done in the context of long-term fiscal discipline and long-term fiscal growth, economic growth."

Edwards made his comments during an extended interview broadcast on ABC's "This Week" program. It was his first appearance on one of the Sunday political interview shows since announcing Thursday he would seek the Democratic Party nomination for president.