How The Candidates Would Fix The Economy

February 23, 1992


JERRY BROWN: Key to his growth plan is tax reform: replacing the current tax structure with a 13 percent flat tax on all incomes and a value-added tax on business. In the short run, speed up spending on public works projects. To balance trade, rebate the value-added business tax on exported U.S. goods and impose it on imported foreign goods.

BILL CLINTON: Cut the capital gains tax on long-term investments in new businesses and provide an investment tax credit for small and medium-size firms. Short-term, accelerate highway spending, raise the FHA mortgage loan ceiling to encourage home buying and boost consumer confidence with a middle-class income tax cut. He supports a free-trade agreement with Mexico.

TOM HARKIN: Enact an investment tax credit to help industry and invest $240 billion in long-term military savings on infrastructure, training, education, R&D and health care. Short run, spend $35 billion for public works, education and job training. He opposes a free-trade agreement with Mexico and would demand open markets abroad and discourage imports made by prison and child labor.

BOB KERREY: Streamline the federal bureaucracy, offer a tax credit for new investments in plant and equipment, create a civilian R&D agency, foster a national health care plan to keep workers productive and mobile and invest in transportation and communications systems. Short run, cut middle-class income taxes and accelerate planned public works spending. Abroad, fight unfair trade practices and promote U.S. products in former communist nations.

PAUL E. TSONGAS: Cut capital gains taxes on long-term investments in businesses that create jobs and products, award federal contracts to companies that invest in R&D, don't pay executives excessively and use defense savings to reduce the deficit. Short run, freeze the budget, provide a one-year, 10 percent tax credit for business investment and accelerate transportation spending. On trade, insist on open markets, prevent dumping of foreign products and support a free trade agreement with Mexico.


GEORGE BUSH: Cut the capital gains tax and provide an investment tax credit to help businesses modernize. Short run, he has changed tax withholding to increase take-home pay and wants to give first-time home buyers tax credits up to $5,000 and penalty-free use of their IRAs. He has urged Japan to open its markets and is pursuing a free-trade agreement with Mexico that organized labor opposes.

PATRICK J. BUCHANAN: Cut the capital gains tax, provide an investment tax credit for business and impose a two-year moratorium on new federal regulations. Short run, freeze federal spending, hiring and salaries. He favors cutting the middle class's taxes. He opposes free trade agreements with foreign nations.

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