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