(CNSNews.com) - "Too big, too risky and too unfair to working families": That's how House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) described the tax plan President Bush sent to Congress Thursday. However, Gephardt said "virtually every Democrat in Washington" supports a tax cut - albeit a smaller one than Bush has in mind.
"The President's plan," according to Gephardt, "is like walking into a Lexus dealer, falling in love with a car you can't afford, and putting down your entire life savings on just the down payment. You clearly can't afford this car, but you buy it anyway. The result is massive debt that this person is going to spend years climbing out of. I believe this is what the president is proposing to do with an entire nation."
Saying that a warning light is "flashing on the dashboard of our economy," President George Bush Thursday sent Congress his $1.6 trillion tax-cut plan Thursday. He believes it will jump-start the economy, and he likes the idea of making a tax cut retroactive to Jan. 1 so taxpayers can begin paying lower taxes right now.
"We need tax relief now. In fact, we need tax relief yesterday, and I'll work with Congress to provide it," Bush said.
But Gephardt said the president's plan may have a shaky foundation: "We cannot count on the economic forecasts that the Republicans rely on to hold over ten years. Their plan is worse than leaving no room for error. It puts our country on a perilous path to a repeat of mountainous deficits and all the ramifications that accompany it."
Congressional Democrats also have the benefit of experience, Gephardt believes.
"In 1981, a new Republican president came into office on the promise of a tax cut. That tax cut resulted in massive deficits that have taken the American taxpayer 13 years of high interest rates to pay off. Mark my words: the Republican tax cut will be a $3 trillion dollar deal before the dust has settled. We must not repeat the mistake we made 20 years ago," Gephardt said.
However, the 2000 edition of the "Almanac of American Politics" said Gephardt started off in the House as one of the new breed of Democrats who did not automatically favor big government and higher taxes. He voted for the 1981 Reagan tax cut and was the House co-sponsor of New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley's bill that was the basis of the 1986 tax reform.
Gephardt was first elected to the House in 1976.