Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Campaign Promises and Tax Truths

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Campaign Promises and Tax Truths

Article excerpt

WHEN congressional Democrats went home during the Easter recess they heard the same message from constituents that was being given to their Republican colleagues: Yes, we still want change - but we don't want to pay too much for it.

Meanwhile, George Bush, his spirits probably still dragging, remains quiet on the sidelines.

Mr. Bush has had his day; he's had his say. Indeed, ex-presidents should stay quiet. Yet if Bush were inclined to speak up, he could well say: "I warned you. Bill Clinton will be a tax-and-spend president."

Most Americans, it seems, still like all those good things that Mr. Clinton promised during the campaign. They want economic stimulus, jobs programs, highway construction, childhood immunization for all youngsters, community development, waste water treatment facilities, student financial aid, and so on, capped by a health plan that will cover everyone.

But what Americans now are having trouble swallowing is the administration's piecemeal disclosure that the price tag on all these programs is going to be extremely high and that just about all of us, except the poor, will have to dig deeply into our pockets to pay for it.

The Clinton campaign promise, which also included a pledge to trim the deficit decisively, was to spare those in the middle-income brackets from new or increased taxes. The "wealthy" would pick up the bill, said Clinton.

But now it becomes clear that those in the "middle" will have to come up with most of the revenue for the president's ambitious initiatives.

The president brands the resistance to his programs from the Senate Republicans, led by Minority Leader Bob Dole, as "gridlock," asserting that this is precisely the kind of opposition to change that he had promised to stop and which the voters had told him they wanted to have him stop.

And with a strong majority of Democrats in both the House and Senate, Clinton should - and probably expected to - push aside any kind of Republican roadblocks. These Democrats do express loyalty to the president, particularly since he is a new president. …

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