NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Candidates' Taxing And Spending Plans

August 22, 2000

George Bush and Al Gore have very different views on how to use the forecast budget surplus. Basically, Gore sees the surplus as the government's property; Bush favors returning the money to the taxpayers who earned it.

  • The National Taxpayers Union estimates that Gore's spending initiatives add up to more than $2 trillion over 10 years -- enough to take up the entire non-Social Security surplus without anything left over for tax cuts, even though he promises to devote $500 billion to lowering taxes.
  • Bush proposes a $1.6 trillion tax cut.
  • Any tax cuts under a Gore administration would likely be targeted at specific taxpaying groups, in order to influence behavior -- whereas Bush would reduce rates for all taxpayers, across the board, allowing individuals to make their own decisions as to whether to save or spend their money.
  • Since the economic stimulus from tax rate reductions is greater than that from new spending or targeted tax cuts, the net budgetary cost from Bush's proposals would likely be considerably less than the gross figure Gore alludes to.

Experts say the impact of new regulations to achieve Gore's objectives -- in the areas of global warming and health maintenance organizations, for example -- shouldn't be overlooked. They will doubtless impose substantial new costs on the private sector.

Source: Bruce Bartlett (National Center for Policy Analysis), "Tallying Up the Gore Spending Plans," New York Times, August 22, 2000.


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues