VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATEOctober 9, 1996
JIM LEHRER: What measurement do you use, Mr. Kemp, in saying the economy is not growing the way it should be?
MR. KEMP: Well, as I said earlier, Jim, it takes two bread winners to do what one bread winner could have done just a relatively few short years ago. As long as a woman or man wants to go to work, it ought to be their choice, but in America today, that woman or man must work in a family to - one, to pay the tax and the other to help the family.
That's not America. It doesn't leave enough time for the children. It doesn't leave enough time for people to enjoy their families. It doesn't allow people to save. The family is the most overtaxed institution in the United States of America.
When I was growing up in Los Angeles, a family that median - level of income might have sent 4 or 5 percent of their income to the federal government. Today it's close to 30 (percent), or at least 27 or 28 percent. That's just unacceptable. And for Al Gore to keep suggesting that we can't afford to reduce the tax rates across the board on the American people and on the formation of the capital necessary to create the new jobs for America is just totally at odds with the experience of both Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and other times in this century.
One other thing that's very, very important. To call it a risky scheme reminds me of the fact that this administration is suggesting that they're going to give you a tax cut if you'll do what they want you to do.
They want to cut the capital gain tax, but only for homeowners. How about the small businessmen and women of America that create 91 percent of all the new jobs? My daddy was a truck driver who bought the truck and started a company. We need more truck drivers becoming truck owners, and they can't do it if they don't have access to the capital and the seed corn for the next generation of trucks and jobs for America.
VICE PRESIDENT GORE: We've had the creation of more new small businesses in the last four years - in each of the last three years than in any other year in all of American history. We've seen the creation of 10-1/2 million new jobs. We have the lowest combined rate of inflation and unemployment in 30 years. Business Week magazine said these are the kind of results that you want: lower inflation, lower interest rates, more jobs, and more growth - all within the context of a balanced budget. We have reduced the budget deficit four years in a row. We've cut it down 60 percent after it went up by almost 300 percent during the previous two administrations.
Now, this is the kind of growth that we want more of. We think we can do much better still. That's why we're pushing these income tax cuts for middle-income families in the context of a balanced budget that protects important programs.
MR. KEMP: Four years too late. You told us that four years ago, and we still don't have it. How can we trust an administration that all of a sudden, four years into - or the last year of its four years, tells us that now they're going to follow through on the promise they made four years ago? This economy is not growing fast enough. The "haves" are doing well, but, Jim, the "have nots" are not doing well. There's people hurting. There are families that can't stay together. There's jobs that are not being created. And the unemployment rate in our nation's inner cities is somewhere between 16 and 25 percent. That's morally and socially unacceptable in a modern day economy.