PRESIDENTIAL DEBATEOctober 6, 1996
JIM LEHRER: Senator Dole, speaking of your tax plan, do you still think that's a good idea, the 15-percent across-the-board tax cut?
MR. DOLE: Oh, yes, and you'll be eligible. And so will --
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Me, too?
MR. DOLE: So will the former president, yes.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: That's good. I need it!
MR. DOLE: Well, the people need it, that's the point. This is not a Wall Street tax cut, this is a family tax cut. This is a Main Street tax cut. Fifteen percent across -- let's take a family making $30,000 a year. That's $1,261. Now, maybe to some in this Bushnell Memorial that's not a lot of money, but people watching tonight with a couple of kids, a working family, that's four or five months of day care, maybe a personal computer, it may be three or four months of mortgage payments.
This economic package is about families. But it's a six-point package. First of all, it's a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which President Clinton defeated. He twisted arms and got six Democrats to vote the other way. We lost by one vote. It's balancing the budget by the year 2002.
It's a tax cut, cutting capital gains 50 percent so you can go out and create more jobs and more opportunities. It's estate tax relief. It's a $500 per child tax credit. It's about litigation reform. Now that the president gets millions of dollars from the trial lawyers, he probably doesn't like this provision. In fact, when I fell off that podium in Chico, before I lit the ground -- hit the ground, I had a call on my cell phone from a trial lawyer saying ``I think we've got a case here.'' So -- and it's also regulatory reform.
So it's a good package, Mr. President. And we'd like to have your support.
JIM LEHRER: Mr. President.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, here's the problem with it: It sounds very good, but there's a reason that 500 economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners, and business periodicals like Business Week and even Senator Dole's friends, Senator Warren Rudman, former Republican senator from New Hampshire, says that it's not a practical program. It's a $550,000 billion tax scheme that will cause a big hole in the deficit, which will raise interest rates and slow down the economy and cause people to pay more for home mortgages, car payments, credit card payments, college loans and small business loans. It's not good to raise the deficit; we've worked too hard to lower it.
It'll actually raise taxes on nine million people, and, in addition to that, it will force bigger cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, education and the than the ones that he and Mr. Gingrich passed that I vetoed last year.
So it sound great, but our targeted tax cut for education, child rearing, health care and home buying, which is paid for in my balanced budget plan, something that he has not done, certified by the Congressional Budget Office, that's the right way to go.
JIM LEHRER: Senator Dole.
MR. DOLE: The president wants to increase spending 20 percent over the next six years. I want to increase spending 14 percent. That' how simple it is. I want the government to pinch pennies for a change instead of the American families. We're talking about 6 percentage points over six years, and with that money, you give it back to the working people.
You also provide opportunity scholarships so low-income parents will have the same choice that others had in sending their children to better schools. And we'll -- it will work, and when it does work, Mr. President, I know you'll congratulate me.