Gore's Promises And The Money To Pay For Them
September 5, 2000
Political observers are noting that presidential candidate Al Gore has been promising voters big new programs -- and then trying to reconcile the costs with his announced budget restraints.
For example, Gore has budgeted only $20 billion a year for his Retirement Savings Plus proposal. Analysts say, however, that it would cost $160 billion a year. Without altering his campaign rhetoric, Gore has been forced to scale back eligibility for the program.
- He promises tax-exempt savings accounts of up to $2,000 a year, with federal matching contributions for lower income taxpayers.
- But he now excludes low income tax filers earning less than $5,000 a year, retirees and full-time students, in order to lower the cost.
- That is because the cost, if all 144 million taxpayers participated, would soar to the $160 billion -- so he has declared 36 million taxpayers ineligible, assumes only half those eligible will participate, and delays the full tax break until 2010.
- But if all the remaining 108 million taxpayers used the credit fully, the cost would still be $106 billion annually -- far above Gore's $20 billion a year budgetary promise.
Similarly, Gore's Internet site touts his "tax relief for stay-at-home parents." But that credit applies only to parents whose child is under one year of age.
Then there is his promise to make pre-school available "on a universal basis." But he fails to mention that to hold costs down, he has long since disqualified three-year-olds from his program.
Source: Bob Davis and John D. McKinnon, "Campaign Math: Promise High, Budget Low," Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2000.
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