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. Bradley’s
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, "It’s the
people’s 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 Bush’s tax cut is a gradual reduction in
marginal tax rates, meaning everyone will be affected by his proposals. On this
issue, Bush states, "if you’re 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 Bradley’s 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