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 sides 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 " stay 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 Graf meyer, 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 Auerbach, of the University of California at Berkeley, 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 Ker in 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-sides, 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 PresidentCinton 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 Democraticparty's tradition, United States President and fellow American, William Jefferson Clinton.