Indiana Senator Evan Bayh criticized Vice President Dick Cheney and members of his own democratic party’s lack of attention to “middle class Americans” during a speech in Des Moines today. Bayh, who says he’s still not made up his mind if he’ll run for president, was critical of the Bush administration and Cheney early in his speech.
Bayh says Vice President Cheney likes to tell audiences that household net worth is at an all-time high.He says, “Like so much else about this administration, he is technically accurate, but grossly misleading.” Bayh says middle class Americans are working harder, but receiving less, while he says the national debt has increased by three-trillion dollars.
Bayh also turned his finger to his own party, saying they’ve failed to listen to the desires of the middle class. Bayh says, “We may consider ourselves the party of the middle class, but too many middle class Americans no longer consider us their party. They have left the democratic party in droves, costing us the last two presidential elections and the last six congressional elections.” Bayh says if democrats don’t learn some lessons, they may lose the next two elections as well.
Bayh says democrats have to target middle class voters to win back the White House. Bayh says without an agenda that speaks to the middle class, democrats will no longer be the party of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Clinton, or the party of the majority. He says democrats have to fight for the interests of the middle class and for things that make a difference in the lives of middle class Americans.
Bayh says his plan begins with national security. Bayh says democrats must reclaim the “tough and smart” legacy of Truman, Roosevelt and Kennedy and go toe-to-toe with republicans on the issue of national security. Bayh says democrats must also help the middle class economically. He says one way to do that is to offer a six-thousand dollar tuition tax credit for families making up to 100-thousand dollars a year.
Bayh says the credit would cover 87-percent of all Americans, and says to put it in context, the tuition at the University of Iowa is about 62-hundred dollars, and Iowa State University’s tuition is about 58-hundred dollars. Bayh says democrats must also help the middle class to gain affordable health care. He says the government should help buy down insurance premiums so all businesses can offer affordable health insurance.
Bayh calls for a government match of retirement savings, so workers can continue their middle class lifestyle in retirement. Bayh spoke to a group of about two dozen people. Its Bayh’s sixth visit to Iowa in the last 12 months.