What Americans want

November 12, 1991|By Charlotte (N.C.) Observer

WITH THE election a year away, President Bush's political antennae are beginning to quiver at the criticism that he has no domestic policy and no interest in the nation's increasingly obvious and ominous domestic problems -- and with good reason.

Middle-class Americans are beginning to realize that they were largely left behind by the economic boom of the '80s and have no prospect of catching up with the nation in a prolonged recession. Polls show their dissatisfaction is seriously eroding the unprecedented popular support Bush enjoyed just a few months ago.

Reports from inside the White House indicate the president is getting conflicting advice from his Cabinet and key Republicans in Congress. Some say hunker down and hope the economy will rebound before the election. Others say come up with some bold new policy initiative. But so far, all the administration has come up with is another call for a cut in the capital gains tax -- a proposal that, whatever its theoretical merits, is an insulting joke to average Americans who have no capital gains to tax.

What most Americans surely want, and have a right to expect, are fair and reasonable taxation, a solvent government that can afford to meet its obligations, an opportunity to compete for a fair share of the benefits of a sound and growing economy, the assurance that they won't be denied medical care because they can't afford it, renewed confidence that promised pensions and Social Security benefits will be there when they need them, and the reasonable expectation that their children, if they're willing to work, will be able to carve out a good life in the years ahead.

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