Where the candidates stand on the issues

Democratic and Republican candidates on the major issues of Campaign 2000.

By , John Dillin, Neil Irwin, and Warren Richey.

Bill Bradley (D) Former New Jersey senator

Taxes

Would end special-interest tax loopholes, including what he terms "corporate welfare," to bring about lower rates for individuals. In the Senate, helped pass the 1986 reform that consolidated 15 income-tax rates into two, and cut top rates from 50 percent to 28 percent.

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Health Care

New health-care benefits are centerpiece of his agenda. Favors government insuring the poor; his estimated cost: $55 billion to $65 billion per year. He would also let everyone join the federal employee health plan, in which individuals choose their own insurer.

Education

(For more on the candidates' education policies, see page 15.)

Proposes $115 billion increase over 10 years in federal education spending - the largest ever. New federal funds would focus on universal preschool, teacher training, smaller class size, and after-school programs. Opposes all voucher programs.

Campaign Finance

Favors reducing the role of big money in politics. Would make free TV time available to candidates, ban unlimited donations to political parties, provide public financing in races for Congress, and require advocacy groups to disclose their spending.

Social Issues

Favors abortion rights. Supports civil rights legislation for homosexuals, including the right to serve in the military openly. Opposes same-sex marriage, but also opposes legislative efforts to disallow it.

Foreign Policy

Wants the United Nations and other international bodies to assume a larger role. Would encourage allies to bear more of the West's defense costs. Would give greater priority to labor, human rights, and environmental factors in world trade.

Supreme Court

Promises appointments to the US Supreme Court in the mold of liberal stalwarts such as former justices Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan (both supporters of abortion rights). His nominees could slow the court's shift of more authority toward the states.

Al Gore (D) Vice President

Taxes

Preferring more limited tax cuts than Republicans, he would expand tax-free educational savings accounts, raise the standard deduction to reduce the "marriage penalty," expand the earned-income tax credit, and make the tax credit for corporate R&D permanent.

Health Care

Favors a more incremental approach to reform than Bradley. Wants to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program. Also advocates adding prescription-drug benefits to Medicare. He estimates the cost of his plan to be $146 billion over 10 years.

Education

(For more on the candidates' education policies, see page 15.)

Proposes recruiting 600,000 new teachers over 10 years for poor and rural schools at cost of $1.3 billion. Favors $1 billion investment in community centers for after-school programs. Despite Senate votes for limited voucher programs, now opposes vouchers.

Campaign Finance

Would ban unregulated contributions to political parties, offer free and discounted TV and radio time to candidates, and limit contributions by individuals and political action committees. He would also expand disclosure of political expenditures by independent groups.

Social Issues

Favors abortion rights, while being "deeply committed to making abortion safe, legal, and rare." Supports civil rights for homosexuals, including the right to serve in the military openly. Opposes same-sex marriage.

Foreign Policy

Has supported American intervention in world hotspots and supports working through the UN to achieve policy goals. A consistent supporter of international trade, he has been a leader on trade pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Supreme Court

Vows not to rely on a political litmus test on abortion or other issues when selecting Supreme Court justices. Says judges should interpret the Constitution broadly as a document that can adapt to current times, including an abortion-rights perspective.

Gary Bauer (R) Former Reagan administration aide

Taxes

Favors a 16 percent flat tax, eliminating itemized deductions except for mortgage interest and charitable giving. Also advocates eliminating the marriage penalty and inheritance tax, and proposes a 20 percent cut in Social Security payroll taxes.

Health Care

Seeks a less-restrictive and more-affordable insurance system with less bureaucracy. Favors tax breaks for self-employed individuals' insurance, a tax credit for family members who provide a relative with long-term care, and tax-favored medical savings accounts.

Education

(For more on the candidates' education policies, see page 15.)

Would disburse all federal education dollars to states and localities via block grants. Favors voluntary prayer in schools and teaching of creationism. Backs state-funded vouchers to let parents choose public, private, or parochial schools, or use the money for home schooling.

Campaign Finance

Would increase the amount that individuals can contribute to candidates, and would require unions to get permission from members before supporting candidates. Favors a ban on unregulated money to political parties, and would strengthen rules on disclosure.

Social Issues

Opposes abortion except when the woman's life is at risk. Opposes the gay-rights movement's political agenda, including same-sex marriages and "special rights" legislation.

Foreign Policy

Advocates an idealistic foreign policy. Would focus on human rights - at the expense of normal trading relationship with China. Would try to abolish the International Monetary Fund, which he suggests does more harm than good.

Supreme Court

Promises to appoint only anti-abortion justices who are opposed to the Supreme Court's decisions that permit legalized abortion.

George W. Bush (R) Texas Governor

Taxes

Tax cuts totaling $483 billion over five years are among his top priorities. Would lower and simplify individual tax rates, expand the charitable deduction, eliminate inheritance taxes, and veto any increase in personal or corporate tax rates.

Health Care

Favors modest tweaks of the system, guided by a consumer-choice philosophy. He wants flexibility in Medicare and tax-favored medical savings accounts. Also, availability of prescription-drug benefits, more health insurance for children, and increased rights for HMO patients.

Education

(For more on the candidates' education policies, see page 15.)

Wants states and localities to have more authority, while giving Washington a new oversight role. If schools fail to improve student achievement after three years, federal funds would revert to parents to be used for tutoring or for vouchers at public, private, or parochial schools.

Campaign Finance

Supports a ban on unregulated "soft money" contributions from labor unions and corporations to political parties. Would increase the limits for contributions by individuals to federal candidates, and would require instant disclosure of contributions.

Social Issues

Opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the woman's life. Says the US Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision usurped the rights of state legislatures. Opposes same-sex marriage.

Foreign Policy

Favors a stronger military, but less interventionist foreign policy. Favors trade with China, including China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Would boost financial help to Russia to dismantle nuclear weapons. Opposes the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Supreme Court

Promises to appoint conservative justices such as Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas who will adhere closely to the intent of the Founding Fathers when interpreting the Constitution. Such judges generally do not find a fundamental right to abortion in the Constitution.

Steve Forbes (R) Magazine Publisher

Taxes

Favors obliterating the tax code as it exists now and replacing it with a flat 17 percent rate with generous personal exemptions ($36,000 for a family of four). There would be deductions. He would eliminate taxes on inheritance, savings, pensions, and capital gains.

Health Care

Supports market-based solutions to expanding coverage and controlling costs. Favors tax-free medical savings accounts that would let individuals control their own health spending. Wants fewer regulations and price controls, which he says drive up the cost of insurance.

Education

(For more on the candidates' education policies, see page 15.)

Favors tax-free educational savings accounts, tuition tax credits, and vouchers for public, private, and parochial schools. Has called for a "new frontier" of faith-based schools, including public charter schools. Urges greater parental control and religion in the classroom.

Campaign Finance

Would largely throw out current system by removing limits on campaign donations. Would require full disclosure of donations. Would eliminate all public funding of political campaigns. Skeptical of various proposals for free TV time for candidates due to potential government meddling.

Social Issues

Opposes abortion except when the woman's life is at risk. Opposes civil rights legislation for homosexuals, as well as same-sex marriage.

Foreign Policy

Promoting American values abroad is the cornerstone of his policy. Is skeptical of the UN and sees too much waste in foreign aid, singling out for criticism the International Monetary Fund.

Supreme Court

Pledges to appoint abortion opponents to the Supreme Court who will overturn the landmark pro-abortion case, Roe v. Wade. Such judges would also likely line up on the conservative side of issues like affirmative action, school vouchers, and the federal/state power balance.

Alan Keyes (R) Former US ambassador

Taxes

Wants to replace the income tax with a national sales tax of about 23 percent. In his view, this would put the nation's tax system in line with the original intent of the framers of the Constitution (who didn't provide for an income tax) and limit Congress's ability to spend.

Health Care

Favors market-based solutions. Wants tax-free medical savings accounts, through which individuals could manage their own health spending. Hopes to privatize large portions of government health-care programs.

Education

(For more on the candidates' education policies, see page 15.)

Would eliminate the US Department of Education and all federal funding to education. Wants prayer to play a larger role in the classroom. Favors vouchers for public, private, and parochial schools, and would emphasize parents' control of educational choices for their children.

Campaign Finance

Favors change under the principle that only those who can vote in a race should be able to contribute. Would also require that disclosure of donors be immediate and comprehensive. He would ban "soft money" to political parties and remove contribution limits on individuals.

Social Issues

Would ban all abortions except to save the life of the woman. Opposes homosexuals serving in the military, and is opposed to the "gay agenda" on civil rights and same-sex marriage.

Foreign Policy

Skeptical of US entanglements abroad, he would turn away from the UN and be more reluctant to use military force. He opposes normal trade relations with China, citing that nation's human rights record.

Supreme Court

Promises to appoint only anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court as a means to overturn the court's earlier decisions upholding legalized abortion.

John McCain (R) Arizona Senator

Taxes

Favors a $240 billion tax cut to put more Americans into the lowest, 15 percent tax bracket, including couples earning up to $70,000. The tax cut would also reduce the marriage penalty, inheritance taxes, and taxes on investment income and would ban Internet taxes permanently.

Health Care

Prefers tweaking the system rather than a major overhaul. Would use the tax code to give employers and individuals incentives to insure more people, among other steps. Has strongly supported making it easier for HMO customers to sue their providers.

Education

(For more on the candidates' education policies, see page 15.)

Sees local control as the key to improving schools. Favors more flexibility in use of federal funds. Has proposed a $5.4 billion federal "test voucher program" in every state to be used at public, private, or parochial schools. Urges expanding the number of public charter schools.

Campaign Finance

Would ban unregulated "soft money" donations to political parties and provide free television time to candidates. He would require that unions get permission from their members before making donations, and would eliminate federal matching funds in presidential races.

Social Issues

Opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the woman's life. Views President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward homosexuals in the military as workable. Opposes same-sex marriages.

Foreign Policy

Would boost military spending and get tough on rogue nations like North Korea and Iraq. Backs normal trade ties with China, but criticizes Clinton White House for security lapses involving China. Favors trade pacts such as NAFTA. Criticizes billions in US aid wasted by Russia.

Supreme Court

Pledges to appoint only justices who strictly interpret the Constitution, rather than judges who legislate from the bench. Says he admires conservative Justices Scalia and Thomas, but also names as a favorite Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a supporter of abortion rights.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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