August 18, 1992 PRESIDENT BUSH'S DOMESTIC AGENDA: PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES President Bush's
August 18, 1992
PRESIDENT BUSH'S DOMESTIC AGENDA:
PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES
President Bush's domestic initiatives are built on his commitment
o Promote individuals' choices through decentralization.
o Put market forces to work to attain domestic goals, instead of
monopoly and government mandates.
o Design government policies to ensure family security -- both
economic security through growth and investment, and physical
security through new initiatives to fight crime.
o Combine market incentives and choices to promote traditional
Promoting individuals' choices:
o Child Care: In 1990, the President fought for and won a child
care act that preserved parents' ability to choose their
child's care. Democrats, on the other hand, pushed a bill
that would have subjected so-called informal care arrangements
-- care offered by friends, relatives, and religious
organizations -- to federal licensing requirements. The
President also provided economic help in the form of tax
credits to low- and middle-income Americans to make choice in
child care affordable.
o Education: The President is fighting to give parents the
power to choose their child's school -- public, private, or
religious. Parental choice creates competition among schools,
which forces schools to invest in excellence. In keeping with
the principle of decentralization, choice also directs the
pressure for school reform at the level that matters most:
parents and teachers working together in individual schools.
-- Again, the President provided the economic support needed
to make choice real: his GI Bill for Children will
provide $1,000 scholarships directly to parents to cover
school costs. The President's proposal will also reward
public schools chosen by parents, letting them keep
scholarship money from children to invest in better
resources and instruction.
Putting Market Forces to Work
o Clean Air Act: The President insisted on a Clean Air Act that
provided innovative tradable emission credits. Instead of
mandating emission limits for individual factories, the Act
sets overall emission reduction requirements and leaves it up
to each firm to, among other things, trade pollution
-- This measure will give industry strong incentives to
invest in better environmental protection equipment and
to close older, costly, more polluting plants.
-- The Act also achieves the same goal -- an overall
reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions -- as would happen
using mandates, without creating unnecessary costs and
second-guessing by Washington bureaucrats that penalize
o Another example of market incentives at work is the
President's "Cash for Clunkers" program which encourages
industry to purchase old, inefficient cars and destroy them.
Companies are allowed to add to their emissions allowances the
amount of sulfur dioxide that otherwise would be released by
-- This market-based approach contrasts sharply with Clinton
and Gore's advocacy of a steep and costly increase in
auto efficiency standards. Their approach would impair
the American auto industry and cost in the near term, the
jobs of at least 150,000 auto workers. The President's
approach achieves the same goal -- a cleaner environment
-- while actually increasing demand for automobiles: as
old "clunkers" are retired, more modern, efficient cars
will be purchased.
Ensuring Family Security
o Economic Security: President Bush's initiatives will
strengthen the family by easing the cost of raising a child,
making real the dream of home ownership, and making it easier
for families to invest and save for their future. The
President has proposed to:
-- increase the per child personal exemption by $500 to ease
the cost of raising a child;
-- enact a $5,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers to
help hundreds of American families achieve the dream of
home ownership -- and create at least 272,000 jobs in the
real estate and construction sectors;
-- create Flexible IRA Accounts that allow penalty-free
withdrawals for first-time homebuyers, and to pay
educational and medical expenses;
-- permit the deduction of interest on student loans, to
help parents afford their children's college education or
recent graduates to pay off their debts without
defaulting on loans;
o Child Support Enforcement: The President is ensuring that
absent parents meet their financial responsibilities,
expanding the Federal efforts to collect child support
payments. The President has increased child support
collections through mandatory wage withholding, and
establishing paternity in a range of cases.
-- In 1986, child support orders recovered by the Federal
government totalled just $3.2 billion. Last year,
recoveries had more than doubled to $6.9 billion.
o Health Care: The President's reforms address the two major
problems facing the U.S. health care system -- the increasing
cost of health care coverage and the inadequate access of
working Americans to quality care. The President's reforms
make quality care accessible by making it affordable.
-- President Bush's plan would make a transferable health
insurance credit or tax deduction (up to $3,750)
available to moderate and low income families to cover
health insurance costs. When fully implemented,
approximately 95 million citizens would receive this
-- If this plan were in effect today, a family of four
earning $30,000 would be able to deduct (or receive a
credit) up to $3,750 in health insurance costs -- fully
12% of taxable income. In 1990, for example, private
health insurance costs averaged $1,181 per capita. Thus,
with the President's deduction starting at $1,250,
virtually every American can be certain that their health
insurance costs will be covered by the President's
-- The President's plan will eliminate "job-lock" and limits
on coverage due to "preexisting conditions" -- problems
that keep workers from changing jobs for fear of losing
o Physical Security -- Fighting Crime: President Bush has been
fighting a war on crime and drugs that is achieving results:
-- Thanks to Reagan and Bush law and order prosecutors, the
number of criminals convicted of federal crimes jumped
63% from 1980 to 1990. Of those convicted, more than
twice as many were sentenced to prison in 1990 than were
sentenced in 1980. Tough Reagan and Bush judges
sentenced criminals to prison for 30% more time than
criminals sentenced in 1980.
-- Even more impressive progress has been made in getting
drug criminals off the streets. Under President Bush,
those convicted of federal drug crimes serve, on average,
40% more time in prison than criminals sentenced before
1989. Drug criminals now spend on average six and a half
years in prison.
-- In fiscal years 1990-91, federal law enforcement agencies
seized more than $5 billion in cash and assets from drug
dealers, money launderers and racketeers. Of this
amount, more than $500 million went to building new
prisons to hold other criminals.
-- The President has established "Weed and Seed" projects in
20 cities. Federal agents will help local police reclaim
crime-ravaged neighborhoods by "weeding" out drug
traffickers and gang leaders and then revitalizing the
communities by "seeding" them with new opportunity --
investment, jobs, and drug treatment.
-- The President has also doubled to 31 the number of cities
with Federal anti-gang task forces and reassigned 300 FBI
agents to work with local authorities in cracking down on
-- President Bush launched "Operation Triggerlock" to
prosecute career criminals for use of guns in felonies.
o Reforming Welfare: Welfare was originally intended as
temporary help for those in need, allowing them a chance to
get back on their feet. Unfortunately, for too many it has
become a way of life.
-- President Bush has established new objectives for welfare
to end the cycle of dependency. Requiring those on
welfare to work and behave responsibly will make
dependent recipients productive again, and will prevent
the current generation of children from becoming another
generation of welfare parents.
The President is accelerating welfare reform by removing
federal barriers that limit the extent of reform. Already the
President has approved waivers for pro-family, pro-
responsibility initiatives in Wisconsin, California, New
Jersey, Maryland, and Oregon.
The President is also promoting welfare reforms to ensure that
once off welfare, former dependents will stay off welfare for
good. The President has proposed to raise the maximum asset
limit to $10,000 for families already on AFDC, and to allow
families on AFDC to exclude some income from eligibility
calculations. These policies, if approved by the Congress,
would end anomalies in federal programs that discourage work.
Increasing Choice to Strengthen Traditional Family Values
o The President's housing reforms use choice and empowerment to
promote family values. His HOPE Initiative (Home Ownership
and Opportunity for People Everywhere) is helping low-income
Americans to achieve the dream of home ownership, giving them
a real stake in their own communities and its future. The net
result is a renewed ethic of self-reliance, and a beginning to
the end of dependency.
-- The President is also promoting tenant management
programs, that have cleaned up federal housing.
Residents sick and tired of drug dealers and urban blight
have been empowered to evict drug dealers, manage
property, and cooperate in community efforts.
o The President supports flexible workplace arrangements which
allow parents to spend more time with their children. Among
other options provided by the Bush Administration to federal
employees are job sharing, telecommuting, and flexible work
schedules. These initiatives also save parents money on child
o George and Barbara Bush are the proud grandparents of adopted
children. They energetically promote adoption, not just as an
alternative to abortion, but as a way of ennobling the lives
and enriching the futures of parents and children alike.
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