As generations pass, and times change, the people of the United States change aswell. What may have been a major issue in the 1980 election might not evenconcern voters in 2000. Economic issues are continually changing with the times.
Each election develops its own “personality.” Despite agreeing on someissues, the four major [now just two] candidates in the upcoming 2000presidential election hold different opinions on three major economic issues:tax reform, health care, and free trade/immigration. One of the most importantissues of the 2000 presidential election is tax reform. This topic, possiblymore than any other issue in the election, reflects the greatest disparity amongcandidates of the same party. Among the Democrats, Bill Bradley and Al Gore havecontrasting ideas concerning tax reform. Perhaps the most educated candidate onthis issue, Bradley is a former member of the Senate Finance Committee and oneof the major contributors to the 1986 overhaul of the tax code. Bradley’sposition, made known in numerous debates, is that he is strongly against largetax cuts. The former senator believes that while the economy is doing well, thegovernment should utilize tax revenues to improve schools, protect socialsecurity, and pass a national healthcare program instead of concentrating on taxreduction. Bradley recently told New York Times writer James Dao that he wouldveto the recently approved 792 billion dollar tax cut in “a nanosecond”. Theonly specific tax cuts Bradley has proposed are tax breaks for health insurancepayments. Concerning the budget surplus, Bradley seeks to direct most of themoney to reducing child poverty as well as making health care more affordablefor low-income families.1 Vice President Gore has established a position on taxreform different from that of Senator Bradley. The two candidates do sharesimilar beliefs regarding the 792 billion dollar tax cut that Gore refers to asa “risky tax scheme.” Gore has stated that, if elected president, he wouldimplement a 200 to 300 billion dollar tax cut over the next 10 years. Gore seeksto allocate this money to reach specific goals such as expanded tax incentives,and education and retirement savings programs. Gore refers to his cut as”relatively modest,” and claims his figures are more realistic than those ofRepublican George W. Bush. Gore however, claims that he would not hesitate toimplement larger cuts in a economic slowdown but rules out tax increases in goodeconomic times.2 Republican candidate George W. Bush presents a position on taxreform clearly different than that of either of the two democratic candidates.
Much like that of the “typical Republican,” Bush is calling for large taxcuts if he is elected to office. As Bush has often stated, “It’s thepeople’s money, not the governments.” He has called for a 1.3 trilliondollar tax cut over the next ten years, a figure close to 4 times that of VicePresident Gore. The centerpiece of Bush’s tax cut is a gradual reduction inmarginal tax rates, meaning everyone will be affected by his proposals. On thisissue, Bush states, “if you’re going to have a tax cut, everyone ought tohave a tax cut.”3 Offering a tax reform perspective somewhat different thanthat of Gore, Bradley and Bush, Republican candidate John McCain wants toimplement a “flat tax,” a reform that would replace the current progressivemarginal rates with a single ?flat’ tax. McCain claims that, in this way,the government will not be promising tax cuts from surpluses the economy mightnot produce in the future. In sum, McCain believes taxes should be flatter,lower, and more simple. He believes that a vast majority of Americans pay toomuch of their income on taxes. McCain believes his tax “pitch” is modestenough in size that it leaves funds left over from surplus tax revenues to dealwith other needs of the economy. He claims this “balanced approach” is thekey to tax reform in the 21st century.4 Another pivotal issue in the upcomingelection is health care. Bill Bradley’s health care plan calls for thereplacement of Medicaid with 150 dollar vouchers per month. However, Bradleystill sees problems with insufficient funding for AIDS/HIV patients. In additionto this change, Bradley feels strongly about not punishing the disabled forworking. Under the current system, once disabled people begin working, they losetheir federal health benefits. Bradley wants to make sure that, under his newplan, disabled people can work and still receive their needed health care.5Unlike his fellow Democratic candidate,
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