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Analysts, Democrats Offer Plans to Revitalize US Economy - 2002-12-08

Following a shake-up of President Bush's top economic team, observers are looking at the future of White House policy.

At a time when the Bush administration has been seeking international support for military action against Iraq, there has been little discussion at home about how to pay for a war. Estimates are that it could run into the tens-of-billions of dollars, but U.S. allies have not been asked to help foot the bill.

At the same time, the White House is grappling with a sluggish domestic economy. That led to last week's resignations of President Bush's economic team of Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey.

Opposition Democrat Party lawmakers are siezing the opportunity to criticize the administration's plan to cut taxes. The Democrats say they want tax cuts that favor the working class, arguing the Republican plan gives too much to the wealthy and adds to government debt.

Democratic Senator Jon Corzine told the television program Fox News Sunday that he thinks the U.S. economy could be stimulated by providing tax cuts to middle class Americans. He says that would invigorate the economy and provide enough funds to fight Iraq.

"If we have all that potpourri of tax cuts, particularly for those going at the very high end of the income scale, I think we are not going to have the kinds of resources to do the things that the American people expect our federal government to do, which is to protect them, both at home and make sure we are pursuing terrorists around the globe," Mr. Corzine said.

Senator Corzine, a former Wall Street insider, called for a change in the Bush administration's economic thinking, not just a change in image.

But also speaking on Fox News Sunday former Republican Party presidential candidate Steve Forbes said he thinks Mr. Bush's new economic advisors should promote sweeping tax cuts across the board as a way to pay for a war effort.

"Get off the backs of the American people. Give them the resources, they will do the job. That is what these bold tax cuts are about. In terms of sacrifice, we are going to be doing that in other ways, including having to look over our shoulders because of terrorist cells in this country," Mr. Forbes said.

Observers have been speculating on who will replace Mr. O'Neill and Mr. Lindsey, but the White House has not indicated any potential candidates.