Bob Dole: A Race to the Top

People understand they can\'t get all these tax cuts, protect their
favorite programs, and balance the budget," says Susan Tanaka speaking on the
promises made by presidential candidate Bob Dole to the American public (Gibbs
1996). Bob Dole proposed his tax cut package on Aug. 5, 1996 hoping to entice
the public into voting for him in the 1996 presidential elections. Dole focuses
his proposal towards social conservatives and supply siders believing he will
give them their link to growth-oriented tax cuts which will amount to 551
billion dollars over the next six years (Rubin 1996). So how does Bob Dole plan
to make all these things happen without remaining in office for at least 12
years? He does not, it is merely an impossible act in a desperate attempt to
get himself elected.
As a tradition, the "Grand old Party" has always benefited the rich more
than the middle and working class people of America. Bob Dole promises a plan
which will avoid business tax cuts and combine a marginal rate cut with a $500
per child tax credit, targeted towards low and middle income tax payers. The
result, a plan that while still benefiting the rich more than the middle class,
more evenly distributes between all income groups (Duffy 1996). Under Dole\'s
tax cut plan, a family of four with an annual income of 31,000 would see their
tax bill drop from $2,000 to $800, a difference of $1,200. "The way the tax
cut was packaged shows that they were still sensitive to the old anti-Reagan
argument that tax cuts just benefit the rich and they tried to show that their
plan would benefit everybody," remarked Rick Grafmeyer, a tax partner at Earnest
& Young, a national accounting firm (Barnes, 1996, 29).
While Dole flaunts the benefits of his tax-cut proposal, he fails to
mention what will suffer in order to activate his tax cuts. First of all, Dole
made no mention of how his tax-cut proposal will pay for the $551 billion
reduction in taxes. Secondly, Dole does not say that he needs to cut spending
in "small" areas such as Medicare, student loans, defense spending and social
security. (Gibbs, 1996) Even if Dole plans to leave these things out of the cut,
that still leaves 30% of the budget to absorb the cost of the tax cut.
Professor Alan Aurbach, of the University of California at Barkeley, explains
the situation perfectly when he said, "they might as well turn the lights out in
Washington" (Lacayo 1996, 44). President Clinton\'s administration counts on the
fact that Dole\'s tax cuts will more likely than not balloon the deficit and the
Clinton administration remains confident that the American public will realize
this and deter from voting for Dole.
While Dole says he can cut taxes by 548 billion dollars and still
balance the budget, his plan proposes billions of dollars in new government
spending programs. Some of these programs include a 12 billion-dollar school
choice scholarship, an anti-drug offensive and a missile defense system which
has the possibility of costing up to 60 billion dollars. Jack Kemp jumps on the
Dole bandwagon by promising Montana ranchers that he and Dole will eliminate
estate taxes, which has not even been proposed as part of Doles plan. Further,
Dole says he can protect the benefits of all veterans, treat victims of the gulf
war, and account for all soldiers missing in action in Vietnam, "no matter how
much money it takes" (Gibbs 1996). The public obviously does not believe in
these promises considering the fact that in a poll taken in September of 1996,
two thirds of the voters said that it was impractical of Dole to propose that he
could cut taxes and still balance the budget. As Kerin Smirniotis says, "His
intentions are good, but no one in their right mind will believe that he can
just pull all of this money out of the air" (Barnes 1996, 6). Dole\'s team says
his campaign merely rearranges budget priorities. They also say that Dole\'s
difficulty in convincing voters lies in the fact that the American public
doesn\'t fully understand his plan, which clearly seems to defy the principals of
simple math (Lacayo 1996).
President Bill Clinton argues that Dole hastily made these promises not
considering the consequences and selfishly insinuates that his plan will
contribute to all working people, rich and poor. The result being that Dole
will loose trust from both sides and inurn also loose support from both sides
(Duffy 1996). President Clinton says the only way Dole can