Here are the campaign stands taken by three presidential candidates: President Clinton, the Democrat; former Sen. Bob Dole, the Republican, and Ross Perot, the Reform Party candidate.
Cut taxes in the next seven years
Clinton: Yes, by $124 billion with “targeted, affordable tax cuts that help families … without undermining Medicare, Medicaid, education and the environment, and it doesn’t touch Social Security.”
Dole: Yes, by $458 billion for taxpayers who work, make profitable investments or rear children, so that they are “free to keep as much of what they earn as the government can strain with all its might not to take, not the other way around.”
Perot: No, not until the budget is balanced, because “you and I understand this is free candy being offered us just before the elections.”
Explain how taxes would be cut
Clinton: Yes, the biggest cuts would be a tax credit for parents of children 12 or under, and others would reward savings, home-selling, and pursuit of higher education.
Dole: Yes, the biggest cuts would be rate cuts of 15 percent on earnings and 50 percent on profits from sale of investments, and a tax credit for parents of children 18 or under.
Perot: No, any tax changes should be based on recommendations from a commission of leading tax authorities assigned to find a way to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service and the tax code.
Specify how to pay for tax cuts
Clinton: Yes, eliminate some tax breaks for businesses and auction off the right to use the airwaves.
Dole: Yes, auction off the right to use the airwaves, approve spending restraints that Republicans in Congress endorsed this year, add new restraints in domestic spending, assume that nonpartisan estimates of future deficits are overly pessimistic, and watch the tax cuts stimulate the economy so much that taxable income will increase and interest rates will stay down.
Perot: No, don’t make cuts until the budget is balanced.
Make it harder to raise taxes.
Clinton: No, the current Constitution works.
Dole: Yes, require a three-fifths vote in Congress to raise taxes.
Perot: Yes, replace the tax code and then require a voter referendum for future tax increases.
Balance the budget by 2002
Clinton: Yes, by using regular budget process.
Dole: Yes, by a constitutional amendment if possible, but otherwise using regular budget process.
Perot: Yes, but a constitutional amendment will be needed.
Adopt a short-term plan to restrain spending on medicare for the elderly
Clinton: Yes, by $124 billion.
Dole: Yes, by $158 billion.
Perot: No, except as part of a long-term plan.
Create a bipartisan commission to recommend long-term financing for medicare.
Clinton: Yes, then take its recommendations seriously.
Dole: Yes, then take its recommendations seriously.
Perot: Yes, but make it nonpartisan, exclude lawmakers and pilot-test its recommendations before adoption.
Clinton: Yes, by disarming domestic violence offenders, banning cop-killer bullets, toughening federal penalties for drug traffickers who possess or criminals who use firearms, restoring gun-free safety zones around schools, and requiring computerized, instant background checks for would-be handgun purchasers.
Dole: Yes, by punishing criminals who use guns, and by requiring computerized, instant background checks for would-be purchasers of any kind of firearms.
Perot: Yes, by imposing severe penalties on anyone who uses guns in crimes or brings them to school, but something more than background checks should be used to make sure nobody with a criminal record can purchase any kind of firearms.
Keep most abortions legal
Clinton: Yes, and any ban on late-term, “partial birth” abortions needs exceptions to protect the mother’s health or life.
Dole: No, amend the Constitution to ban all abortions except those necessary to save the mother’s life, or in cases of rape or incest.
Perot: Yes, government shouldn’t intrude on a woman’s decision.
Limit the terms of members of Congress Clinton: No.
Dole: Willing to tolerate limits, but won’t endorse them.
Lower legal immigration
Clinton: Yes, pass a “moderate, temporary” cut, limit public benefits to legal immigrants, but make public schools educate illegal immigrant children.
Dole: Yes, pass a “moderate” cut, end public benefits to legal immigrants, let public schools exclude illegal immigrant children.
Perot: No, if the applicants have job skills or education that this country needs.
Reform campaign financing
Clinton: Yes, by passing an existing bipartisan bill.
Dole: Yes, by passing a bipartisan bill to be developed by a commission.
Perot: Yes, by banning all contributions from PACs, corporations, unions or givers outside a candidate’s district.
Encourage hiring and promotion of women and minorities
Clinton: Yes, by reducing preferences but expanding efforts to encourage them to seek government contracts and higher education.
Dole: Yes, by prohibiting most preferences and encouraging the Justice Department to prosecute public or private discrimination.
Perot: Yes, by prohibiting most preferences and encouraging the Justice Department to prosecute public or private discrimination.
Reduce violent and drug-related crime
Clinton: Yes, by fighting against cuts in prison funding, fully funding drug courts and the Safe and Drug-Free Schools program, spending more to keep prisons drug-free, keeping Cabinet-level status for the drug czar, convincing schools to teach values and build character, supporting summer jobs programs, continuing to require able-bodied federal prisoners to work and supporting a victims rights amendment to the Constitution.
Dole: Yes, by restoring full funding of the drug czar’s office, using the Oval Office to teach youth that drug use is dangerous and wrong, doubling federal subsidies for state prison construction, prosecuting juveniles as adults for serious violent crimes, appointing more conservative judges and U.S. attorneys, spending more to help states run boot camps or separate violent and non-violent juvenile prisoners, making federal prisoners work at least 40 hours a week to earn compensation for their victims, increasing funds for private groups like Boys & Girls Clubs in high-crime neighborhoods, supporting school vouchers that let parents transfer children in dangerous public schools to private schools, and supporting a victims rights amendment to the Constitution.
Perot: Yes, by increasing spending on addiction and drug education programs, increasing punishment of drug dealers who sell to children, mandating life sentences without parole for anyone convicted of three violent crimes, creating opportunities for neglected children before they “resort to crime to pay for their drug habits” and urging parents to teach children that “their education is much more important than tangible things.”
Change environmental protection methods.
Clinton: Yes, by more negotiation with and education of businesses, simpler regulations that emphasize results rather than procedures, faster toxic waste cleanup, protection of endangered species, authorization of “sting” operations to prevent criminal polluting, and opposition to a “takings” law that would make it easier for owners to seek compensation when regulation reduces the value of their property.
Dole: Yes, by requiring that benefits of any regulation exceed its costs, curbing the reach of the Endangered Species Act, and adopting “takings” protections for property owners, Perot: Yes, by treating business as a potential partner, rather than a potential culprit, and by adopting “takings” protections only if they can be drafted to avoid rewarding land speculators.
Preserve social security
Clinton: Yes, by forming a bipartisan commission to say how to do it.
Dole: Yes, by forming a bipartisan commission to say how to do it.
Perot: Yes, by forming a nonpolitical commission of experts to say how to do it.
Improve Support for education
Clinton: Yes, by tax credits and tax deductions for college students, and permission for states or localities to give vouchers that would help parents transfer their children from one public school to another.
Dole: Yes, by lower tax burdens that will free up family funds for education, and by helping states provide vouchers that will let parents transfer their children from a public school to another public or private school.
Perot: Yes, by restoring control over schools to localities, which should create more small neighborhood schools, especially in the primary grades, and should honor teachers and involve parents.