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Clinton: Bush should raise taxes to pay for recovery

Democrats should make tax cuts an issue in 2006, former president say

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Former President Clinton argued that Bush's tax cuts should be repealed to pay for the recovery efforts.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former President Clinton believes the Democrats should pounce on and exploit President Bush's refusal to hike taxes to finance Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They should continue to oppose it, and they should make it an issue in the 2006 election, and they should make it an issue in the 2008 election," said Clinton, interviewed on Sunday by George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week."

"I think it's very important that Americans understand... tax cuts are always popular, but about half of these tax cuts since 2001 have gone to people in my income group, the top 1 percent. I've gotten four tax cuts. They're responsible for this big structural deficit, and they're not going away, the deficits aren't."

Clinton said America's deficit has forced the United States to borrow "money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, and our tax cuts."

"We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else."

The former president, who is involved in a Katrina relief fund-raising effort with former President Bush, elaborated on the issue of tax cuts, saying leaders should hope "for the sake of our country that the cows don't come home before we have time to rectify" the problem.

"I mean, sooner or later, just think what would happen if the Chinese -- we're pressing the Chinese now, a country not nearly as rich as America per capita, to keep loaning us money with low interest to cover my tax cut, Iran -- I mean Iraq, Afghanistan, and Katrina. And at the same time to raise the value of their currency so their imports into our country will become more expensive, and our exports to them will become less expensive."

He said the United States depends on Japan, China, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Korea "to basically loan us money every day of the year to cover my tax cut and these conflicts and Katrina."

"I don't think it makes any sense. I think it's wrong."

Clinton's appearance on the show marks the first time he was interviewed by Stephanopoulos, who worked as a senior adviser for policy and strategy in the Clinton administration from 1991 to 1996.

As for his relief efforts with former President Bush, Clinton said $90 million to $100 million have been raised.

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