Remarks by Bob Dole
Republican Candidate for President of the United States
Satellite Broadcast to RNC Platform Committee
Tuesday, August 6, 1996
It's good to visit with you today. I'm proud of our party, and proud to be the Republican nominee. And I'm absolutely confident of victory on November fifth.
Yesterday in Chicago I outlined my economic growth plan to repeal the current tax code, to end the IRS as we know it and to get the American family's income moving up again.
Not surprisingly, the Clinton team denounced my growth plan even before they heard the details. Why? Because to them, specifics aren't important; they simply don't believe in cutting taxes. They believe in raising taxes. They don't want to control spending, they want to increase spending. The dividing line in this campaign is crystal clear: I believe Washington takes too much of your hard-earned money. Bill Clinton does not.
The Clinton team says my plan isn't realistic. But how can anyone in America believe Bill Clinton when it comes to taxes? After all, he ran for President promising middle-class tax relief, then as President hit the American people with the largest tax increase in history. Those are the facts. And as John Adams put it, "facts are stubborn things."
President Clinton suggested yesterday that my plan will cause the deficit to go up. I'm touched by his new-found concern for a balanced budget. But here again, the facts tell a different story. It was Bill Clinton, not Bob Dole, who pressured six Democrats to switch sides on the Balanced Budget Amendment, causing it to lose narrowly in the Senate. So here is my challenge to president Clinton: if you're truly worried about the deficit, sit down right now with two Democratic senators and persuade them to support the Balanced Budget Amendment. Then we can have another vote. Help us get the job done, Mr. President. Find two votes. Make the calls today. If you're so eager to balance the budget, then take this action. If you're not - if your concern is just a ploy - then the American people will know it quickly.
The issue of credibility in this campaign will come down to a contrast between words and actions -- President Clinton's words, and my actions. He'll use the rhetoric of reform. I've spent my entire career fighting to balance the budget, create more opportunities for people, and prevent government from growing beyond the consent of the governed. These will be the first principles and the legacy of my presidency. My administration won't be satisfied with second, third or fourth best. America will be Number One again.
We've had many debates in our party about which should come first - tax cuts, or a balanced budget. I say it's time to get to work on both. The fact is that the budget deficit and high taxes are two halves of the vise that is producing the Clinton middle-class squeeze. High taxes pick the American family's pocket directly. Incredibly, that family now spends more on taxes than on food, clothing and shelter combined. And the budget deficit is a "stealth tax" that pushes up interest rates.
There is no magic in fixing this problem. With today's pro-growth Republican Congress, cutting taxes and balancing the budget are just a matter of presidential will. If you have it, you can do it. I have it. I will do it. I will support and work for the Balanced Budget Amendment. I will reduce the size of the federal government. I will balance the budget by the year 2002.
And my tax plan, in a nutshell, is this: I intend to lower the federal income tax bill of a family of four making $35,000 a year by 56% - cutting it by more than half. We'll have a 15 percent tax cut, across the board, that will repeal the Clinton tax hike on the middle class. In fact, it will return total taxes to where they were when Ronald Reagan left office. That's a big, big step in the right direction.
We'll give every middle-income tax-paying family a $500 per child tax credit. We'll cut the top rate of the capital gains tax in half - because the capital gains tax hits smaller and growing businesses hardest, and they're the ones who will create most of our new jobs in the decade ahead. I want those businesses to use their growing value to give people better jobs, better opportunities and better incomes - not just to pay more taxes.
I will call for expansion of Individual Retirement Accounts so people can put more away for their old age. I'll also ask for a repeal of the 1993 Clinton tax hike on Social Security benefits. And I will call for a super-majority - a 60% vote of Congress -- before income tax rates can ever be raised again on the American people.
We're also going to change the IRS, which has grown to twice the size of the CIA and five times the size of the FBI. It takes the equivalent of nearly three-million people working full time - more people than serve in the U.S. Armed Forces - just to comply with our tax laws.
My plan will downsize the IRS and upsize the amount of money Americans get to keep. It will also end the Clinton Administration's exemption of the IRS from the Paperwork Reduction Act. We simply cannot put this economy back on the right track unless we change the bureaucratic culture of the IRS - and, for that matter, the rest of Washington. As President, I will insist that all regulations - both new and existing - be reviewed to determine what works, what doesn't, what's too expensive, and what's too oppressive.
We must also change the culture that has permitted a litigation explosion in this country. Our lawsuit system is out of control, it's a drag on growth, and it undermines our competitiveness. President Clinton vetoed lawsuit reform at the behest of his biggest campaign contributors, the trial lawyers. When I'm President, we'll do the right thing and fix the broken-down lawsuit system. We'll limit outrageous punitive awards. We'll promote early settlements. We'll revoke the trial lawyers' license to search for deep pockets, and ensure that most of the award money in the contingency fee system goes to those who were injured, instead of to lawyers. My administration will do the people's business, instead of doing the bidding of the trial lawyers.
No plan to strengthen the economy would be complete without education reform to make children and workers ready for the jobs of the future. The Clinton administration has placed our educational destiny in the hands of bureaucrats and the liberal ideologues of the national teachers' unions. I will do things differently. My program includes Opportunity Scholarships, to enable parents to choose the best school for their children. We'll allow low- and middle-income students and parents to deduct interest on student loans and set up tax-free "Education Investment Accounts." I will take education out of the hands of the unions and bureaucrats and put it back in the hands of parents - where it belongs.
As you can see, my plan is about much more than simply reducing taxes and balancing the budget. It's about a vision for a healthy, vigorous, growing economy where all Americans can participate, and where no one is left behind. It's about a whole range of policies that will help wage-earners, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and everyone else in America who dreams of a better life for themselves and for their children.
President Clinton is completely satisfied with the status quo. He inherited a fast-growing economy and turned it into a slow-growing economy. His own forecasters project growth through the end of this decade at an incredibly lackluster 2.3 percent. In their view, that's good enough. Well, I don't believe that. And I know you don't, either. There is so much more potential in this economy, if only we will turn loose the greatness of the American people.
So as of now, Bill Clinton and his party are the defenders of the status quo, and we are the party of change. We are the party of ideas; they are the party of excuses. And for the next three months, the debate will focus on our ideas, our growth plan, and our vision for America going into the next century.
This is the message of our campaign: we're going to lift up this country - lift up our economy, lift up our schools, lift up our families, lift up our values. We're going to make the American dream a reality for every generation that follows us here, in the greatest nation on the face of the earth.
We have some exciting days and weeks ahead of us. Thanks for listening, and thanks for all your hard work to deliver a strong, clear, confident message to the American people. God bless you all.
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