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Portrait of Rep. Collin Peterson Congressman Collin Peterson -- Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District
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Republicans are crowing about the economy, while millions of American families are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet, and going deeper in debt.

The Bush economy is moving in the wrong direction; health care, energy and college costs have risen since President Bush took office, even as the purchasing power of American paychecks has dropped.  

      Gas prices have doubled topping $3.00 a gallon, with the price of oil topping a record in July. [Energy Information Administration, 7/06]

       This year, families are paying $3,200 more than in 2001 due to rising energy costs. [Government Reform, 5/21/06]

      In 2005, the typical family was paying $1,200 more a year for health insurance increasing 55 percent in real terms. [KFF, 2005]

      In 2006, health care premiums for a family of four will climb nearly another 10 percent, with families paying about $2,810 for premiums and an average of $2,210 in out-of-pocket expenses for treatments.  [Millman Inc., Bloomberg, 7/6/06]

      College tuition has gone up about 40 percent in real terms. [College Board, 2005]

      Median family income has dropped every year of the Bush Administration, and Americans paychecks have been flat or declined in more than half of the 65 months of the Bush Administration. [Census, BLS, 8/2005; Labor Department, 6/06; Bloomberg, 6/20/06]

      For the first time in 30 years, people with college degrees are seeing their incomes stagnate.  Employees with four-year degrees saw their wages fall 5.2% from 2000 to 2004 when adjusted for inflation.  [ Los Angeles Times, 7/24/06]

Young families face huge challenges college debt, jobs without good benefits, and rising interest rates.

      The typical student graduates from college with $17,500 in debt. [College Board, 2005]

      Federal Reserve interest rate has climbed to the highest level in five years pinching the pocketbooks of families with credit card debt, car loans, and adjustable rate mortgages.

      About 3.7 million employees have lost employer-provided health insurance since 2000 and the percentage of those with employer-sponsored retirement plans dropped from 2001 to 2004. [CRS, 5/06; CPS, 8/05]

Republicans record budget deficits are out of control and driving our country deeper into debt to foreign investors and governments.

      Republicans have turned President Clintons projected 10-year $5.6 billion surplus into a nearly $3 trillion deficit.

       America has borrowed more than $1 trillion for foreign governments and investors over the last five years, slightly more than the total we borrowed in the first 211 years. [Treasury Department]

      Interest payments are growing faster than all other items in the Bush Administration budget.

      America s total debt has climbed by more than 50 percent to more than $8 trillion. 

Republicans misplaced priorities give more tax cuts for the wealthy, more giveaways to the big oil companies, and more record deficits.

      Republicans voted to protect more than $5 billion in oil industry giveaways.

      In most recent Republican tax bill, most middle-class families will receive less than $30, while the average tax cut for millionaires is about $65,000.

Democrats have a New Direction for America , with a plan to bring economic opportunity and security to all Americans, not just the wealthy few.

p        Democrats will begin by fighting for a pay raise through a minimum wage increase.

o        Nearly 15 million Americans will likely benefit from an increase to $7.25 an hour -- 6.6 million directly and 8.3 million indirectly.

o        Almost 60% of these workers are women, and 40% are people of color

p       Democrats are fighting for fiscal responsibility, through pay-as-you-go budgets, so that our children and grandchildren are not saddled with mountains of debt.

p       Democrats have an Innovation Agenda to create good-paying jobs and keep America number #1.  It would do so by:

   Building a skilled workforce in science, engineering, and information technology,

   Spurring federal research and development,

   Guaranteeing access to broadband technology, and

   Achieving energy independence by 2020 through emerging technologies.

p       Democrats are fighting to end tax breaks that promote shipping jobs overseas.


p       Democrats have proposed legislation to make health care, energy and education more affordable. Democrats will: 

o        Prosecute energy companies that cheat consumers;

o        Permit reimportation of quality pharmaceuticals and use the governments mass purchasing power to bring down drug prices for seniors; and

o        Cut interest rates on college loans.

Democratic Leadership puts priorities of working families first.  

Under President Clinton, all families prospered; they saw their income grow, opportunities for good-paying jobs increase, and a better standard of living. 

   Nearly 23 million new jobs were created (or 237,000 per month).

6      Only 41,000 jobs per month have been created and 2.9 million manufacturing jobs lost under the Bush Administration.

   America had five years of real wage growth, and middle-income families saw their incomes grow 10 percent in real terms.

6      The income for middle-class families has dropped $1,669 or nearly 4 percent under the Bush Administration.  [CPS, 8/05]