Bush Tax Reductions 'Just Didn't Cut It,' Says Forbes

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes thinks President Bush can get an economic stimulus package passed by both the House and Senate by being more aggressive. Forbes says the administration should fight for more tax cuts and make them immediate and permanent.

"They (the Bush economic team) have not done the kind of job that his military and diplomatic teams have done. They have not been aggressive. They have not asked the right questions. They have not pushed the policies that will remove some of these obstacles that stand in the way of a vigorous economy and ending not only our recession, but the global recession," said Forbes at a Washington news conference.

Forbes believes Bush may be ready to fight for a stronger economic package, especially since the speech two weeks ago in which Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle accused the president of dragging America into a recession.

"I think the president is aroused. I think he is outraged by Daschle's speech. They should take their economic package to the people because I think public opinion will be the ultimate persuaders on Capitol Hill," said Forbes.

Forbes believes Bush "has the credibility and has demonstrated leadership in the war (against terrorism) and he can win on the economic front as well."

"We need a major tax break," Forbes said. "The tax cut that we got this past summer, despite all the ballyhoo of it being big, what did we get? We get a weak cup of tea posing as a bottle of high proof bourbon. It just didn't cut it," said Forbes.

And Forbes thinks the time is right for more tax cuts.

"The small rate cuts that the administration proposed are to be phased in over several years. Make those rate cuts effective now. Not 5 years, 50 years or 500 years from now. We need the help now. Lower those [rates] and make it worthwhile for people to take risks again," Forbes said.

Another way to get the economy going is to lower the capital gains tax to around 15 percent, he said.

During the same news conference, Steve Moore, the president of Club For Growth, called on Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill to resign and said Forbes should be nominated as his replacement. But Forbes said when it comes to the Bush economic team, "I won't be on it."

During a swing through several Midwestern states this week, Bush came out swinging at critics and defended his 10-year, $1.35 trillion tax cut that Congress passed last year. He criticized those Democrats who think the long-term tax cuts should be delayed because of new federal budget deficits.

"That would be a disaster for the American economy and we're not going to let it happen," Bush said.