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August 18, 1992 PRESIDENT BUSH'S DOMESTIC AGENDA: PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES President Bush's domestic initiatives are built on his commitment to: 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 family values. 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 allowances. -- 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 industrial productivity. 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 that car. -- 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 assistance. -- 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 deduction. -- 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 health coverage. 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 gang crimes. -- 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 care expenses. 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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