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Essay/Term paper: Bob dole: a race to the top

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Politics

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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 feasibly cut taxes
would result in utter elimination of constituent based programs such as Medicare,
defense, and social security. The President also said that these reductions
will backfire and eventually, Dole will ruin his own campaign. Dole has reduced
to chanting the ever popular and feeble insult "liberal, liberal," but against a
man who has spent his career fortifying himself against it, Dole will not be
able to sway the public. When asked at a press conference what he thinks of
Dole's tax-cut package, the President remarked, "All he is going to accomplish
is to blow a hole in the deficit" (Rubin 1996, 12). Dole had his own words
about the President's statement saying, "All I'm going to do is blow a hole in
his lead"(Rubin 1996, 12). President Clinton's own proposal suggest a raise in
the people's incomes which won him the hearts of the majority, and a sixteen
point lead in the polls. In the Presidents own words, For two years we pursued
an economic strategy that has helped produce more than five million new jobs.
But even though the economic statistics are moving up, most of our living
standards aren't. It's almost as if the American people are being punished for
productivity, we have got to change that. Increase in jobs isn't enough, we
need increase in incomes("The Senate Insider Reappears for a Chat" 1996, 12, 13).

Dole supporters say that his plan may not translate to everyone due to
the complexity of it. Getting people not to think and having blind support of
the Republican party may be Dole's best bet to win the election, especially
since many of Dole's numbers did not add up. Dole's campaign advisers say the
he is running for President, not accountant in chief ("Can Dole Snatch Back
Election 96'" 1996). Dole's plan merely plans to bait voters with the promise
to lower tax bills so he can overcome President Clinton's lead in the polls.
Every analysis of Dole's plan calls it vague, hopelessly optimistic assumptions
on top of assumptions, basically it will never work. Dole's one chance of
victory, or saved embarrassment for that matter lied in renouncing his tax-cut
package and using his other strengths such as his experience in Washington. The
worst case scenario would be that he looses the support of his supply-siders,
which would not make much difference because he has not gotten that much more
than grief from them anyway. In short, it is a tragedy that Dole has sold his
soul to win the election, and now he won't end up with either.
Dole likes to call himself an agent of change and says that President
Cinton is only a defender of the status quo. This seems to upset the
traditional views of both parties and reverses the roles. President Clinton
proposes only minor tax cuts and specifies payment through minor spending cuts
and other revenues while still protecting Medicare, social security, and other
related issues. Between President Clinton's election in 1992 and the present,
the national deficit has fallen 60% from 290 billion dollars to around 117
billion dollars (Barnes 1996). The strongest case supported the candidate who
best represents the conservative American and also holds true to the Democratic
party's tradition, United States President and fellow American, William
Jefferson Clinton.


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