Presidential Election 2000 As generations pass, and times change, the people of the United States change as well. What may have been a major issue in the 1980 election might not even concern voters in 2000. Economic issues are continually changing with the times. Each election develops its own “personality.” Despite agreeing on some issues, the four major [now just two] candidates in the upcoming 2000 presidential election hold different opinions on three major economic issues: tax reform, health care, and free trade/immigration. One of the most important issues of the 2000 presidential election is tax reform. This topic, possibly more than any other issue in the election, reflects the greatest disparity among candidates of the same party.
Among the Democrats, Bill Bradley and Al Gore have contrasting ideas concerning tax reform. Perhaps the most educated candidate on this issue, Bradley is a former member of the Senate Finance Committee and one of the major contributors to the 1986 overhaul of the tax code. Bradleys position, made known in numerous debates, is that he is strongly against large tax cuts. The former senator believes that while the economy is doing well, the government should utilize tax revenues to improve schools, protect social security, and pass a national healthcare program instead of concentrating on tax reduction. Bradley recently told New York Times writer James Dao that he would veto the recently approved 792 billion dollar tax cut in “a nanosecond”.
The only specific tax cuts Bradley has proposed are tax breaks for health insurance payments. Concerning the budget surplus, Bradley seeks to direct most of the money to reducing child poverty as well as making health care more affordable for low-income families.1 Vice President Gore has established a position on tax reform different from that of Senator Bradley. The two candidates do share similar beliefs regarding the 792 billion dollar tax cut that Gore refers to as a “risky tax scheme.” Gore has stated that, if elected president, he would implement a 200 to 300 billion dollar tax cut over the next 10 years. Gore seeks to 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 of Republican George W. Bush. Gore however, claims that he would not hesitate to implement larger cuts in a economic slowdown but rules out tax increases in good economic times.2 Republican candidate George W.
Bush presents a position on tax reform clearly different than that of either of the two democratic candidates. Much like that of the “typical Republican,” Bush is calling for large tax cuts if he is elected to office. As Bush has often stated, “Its the peoples money, not the governments.” He has called for a 1.3 trillion dollar tax cut over the next ten years, a figure close to 4 times that of Vice President Gore. The centerpiece of Bushs tax cut is a gradual reduction in marginal tax rates, meaning everyone will be affected by his proposals. On this issue, Bush states, “if youre going to have a tax cut, everyone ought to have a tax cut.”3 Offering a tax reform perspective somewhat different than that of Gore, Bradley and Bush, Republican candidate John McCain wants to implement a “flat tax,” a reform that would replace the current progressive marginal rates with a single flat tax.
McCain claims that, in this way, the government will not be promising tax cuts from surpluses the economy might not 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 too much of their income on taxes. McCain believes his tax “pitch” is modest enough in size that it leaves funds left over from surplus tax revenues to deal with other needs of the economy. He claims this “balanced approach” is the key to tax reform in the 21st century.4 Another pivotal issue in the upcoming election is health care. Bill Bradleys health care plan calls for the replacement of Medicaid with 150 dollar vouchers per month.
However, Bradley still sees problems with insufficient funding for AIDS/HIV patients. In addition to this change, Bradley feels strongly about not punishing the disabled for working. Under the current system, once disabled people begin working, they lose their federal health benefits. Bradley wants to make sure that, under his new plan, disabled people can work and still receive their needed health care.5 Unlike his fellow Democratic candidate, Vice President Gore believes in keeping Medicaid as our countrys largest health care provider. Gore claims that by changing the current Medicaid system, we would be removing some of the key protective features of the system.
Firstly, AIDS/HIV patients, as well as senior citizens, are provided with the health care they otherwise could not receive from private insurers. Secondly, Gores Medicaid plan has no deductible, and would eliminate cost-sharing and premiums for those living on low incomes. When questioned about Bradleys idea of 150 dollar vouchers, Gore responded, “Thats not a plan, thats a magic wand. It doesnt work that way because the problem that people with AIDS and other diseases have in the private health insurance market is that the insurance companies dont want to take them. They want to get rid of them. You give them $150-a-month voucher, they cant buy it.”6 Governor Bush, like his opponent Al Gore, wants to keep Medicare, but make it more flexible.
Over the past decade or so, large sums of money won by the government from the tobacco companies in law suit settlements. Bushs primary idea for health care in the 21st century is to use the money obtained from these settlements to give to those families who do not qualify for Medicare and those families whose income is 200% under than the poverty level. Bushs other ideas for reforming health care include bringing down health care costs, reforming tax laws, limiting frivolous malpractice lawsuits, and allowing medical savings accounts.7 Like some of the other candidates, Senator McCain wants to use some of the budget surplus to fund medical insurance for the 11 million uninsured children in America. With the 10% surplus the US is experiencing at present, many of the candidates wish to put it into …