Tim Kaine, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia, unveiled his economic agenda Wednesday, pitching many of the populist measures the White House has pushed in the run-up to President Obama’s reelection.
Kaine called for a three-pronged approach centered on boosting employment by increasing access to capital and jumpstarting infrastructure and green-energy projects, building an educated workforce and balancing the budget with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.
Those measures are similar to what Obama and congressional Democrats have proposed in recent months. An example isn’t hard to find: during a speech on college affordability Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden warned a Norfolk high school that the country’s rank in percentage of high schoolers obtaining college degrees had dropped to 16th.
On a conference call Wednesday to discuss his plan, Kaine said college affordability was “critical” and he told reporters: “We were number one for a long time, today we’re 16th in the world in the percentage of our young adults getting degrees after high school.”
Kaine also said he would let the top tier of President Bush-era tax cuts expire to help reduce the national debt. He proposed $2 or $3 in budget cuts for every $1 in new revenues, some of which can be achieved by closing tax loopholes.
“There’s no way to close this just through spending cuts” without sacrificing programs like grants for college students and Medicaid, he said.
“We can’t balance our budget by taking a pledge of allegiance to Grover Norquist,” Kaine said, knocking George Allen, his likely Republican opponent next fall. Allen has signed the infamous pledge of conservative stalwart Norquist not to raise taxes.
Allen, too, has a three-part plan to improve the fiscal outlook in the U.S. dubbed the “Blueprint to America’s Comeback.”