Al Gore on Budget & Economy

Prosperity itself is on the ballot; keep “new-economy”

Gore rallied union workers and new-economy voters alike today, warning that the progress of the last eight years could “slip through our hands” if the country adopts the agenda offered by Bush. He argued that the technology-driven growth of the 1990s could be stopped in its tracks by a return to the policies of the 1980s.

Arguing that “prosperity itself is on the ballot,” Gore focused on the new economy and what government should-and should not-do to ensure that the remarkable innovations in the technology sector seen in recent years continue. “We face a big choice. Will we make the right decisions, the responsible decisions, to unlock the full potential of this new Internet economy and make it work for all our people?”

Responding to Bush’s charge that he favors bigger government, Gore said, “government should never be a barrier” to the new economy, and he promised to preside over “a smaller, smarter government that knows when to get out of the way and isn’t a drag on economic growth.”

Source: Dan Balz, Washington Post, p. A10 Oct 28, 2000

Paying down debt reduces government intrusion

GORE: The third biggest spending item in our budget is interest on the national debt. We get nothing for it. I will pay down the debt every single year, until it is eliminated early in the next decade. That gets rid of the third biggest intrusion of the federal government in our economy. Now, because the governor has all this money for a tax cut, mostly to the wealthy, there is no money left over.

BUSH: What I’ve done is set priorities and funded them, and there’s extra money.

Source: St. Louis debate Oct 17, 2000

After 8 years of prosperity, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

[The current era of prosperity] started for me-in the last eight years-when I had the honor of casting the tie-breaking vote to end the old economic plan and put into place a new economic plan that has helped us to make some progress--22 million new jobs and the greatest prosperity ever. But it’s not good enough. And my attitude is, you ain’t seen nothing yet. We need to do more and better. Too many people have been left behind. And the key is job training and investments in [social programs].
Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Prosperity results from current policy plus entrepreneurship

BUSH (to Gore): I think the economy has meant more for the Gore and Clinton folks than the Gore and Clinton folks has meant for the economy. I think most of the economic growth that has taken place is a result of ingenuity and hard work and entrepreneurship. And that’s the role of government, is to encourage that.

GORE: I think that the American people deserve credit for the great economy that we have. And it’s their ingenuity. I agree with that. But they were working pretty hard eight years ago, and they had ingenuity eight years ago. The difference is, we’ve got a new policy. Look, we have gone from the biggest deficits to the biggest surpluses; we’ve gone from a triple dip recession during the previous 12 years to a tripling of the stock market. Instead of high unemployment, we’ve got the lowest African-American and lowest Latino unemployment rates ever in history, and 22 million new jobs.

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Make hard choices to keep prosperity rolling

Gore is using the nation’s roaring economy to sell himself as the man who will keep things humming along. “We cannot let this opportunity slip through our hands.” Gore said that as president he would use much of the projected federal surplus to reduce the national debt rather than spend the money on “massive tax cuts for the few,” as he contends Bush would do. “We have to ask the hard questions about what is right for our economy and our families. We have come a long way these last eight years but I am not satisfied. There are big choices at stake in this election. At the heart of all these choices is a single, fundamental question: Will we use our prosperity and record surpluses to prepare for the future?“ Gore said he would pay $2 of projected surpluses toward debt reduction for every $1 he would devote to tax cuts or investments. ”The biggest threat to the economy & the continued prosperity would be a giant tax cut mainly for the wealthy that would put us back into deficits again,“ Gore said.
Source: AP Story, NY Times Sep 28, 2000

Helping middle-class is goal of economic plan

“The Gore-Lieberman economic plan,” he said, “has one guiding purpose: to help the middle-class families who have always been America’s purpose and pride, the people who pay the taxes, bear the burdens and live the American dream.”
Source: Katherine Q. Seelye, NY Times Sep 7, 2000

Lays out 10 goals in Prosperity for America’s Families plan

    Gore’s 191-page “Prosperity for America’s Families” plan lays out ten ambitious goals within a balanced budget. Their goals include:
  1. Make America Debt Free by 2012.
  2. Protect Social Security and Medicare Surpluses via a “lockbox.”
  3. Double the Number of Families with Savings in Excess of $50,000 via new, 401(k)-style, Retirement Savings Plus accounts.
  4. Reduce Income Taxes on the Typical Family to the Lowest Level in 50 Years with $480 billion in targeted tax cuts.
  5. Raise Family Incomes by One Third over the Next Decade
  6. Enable 7 in 10 Families to Own a Home -- a new record
  7. Lift College Attendance and Graduation Rates to New Records via tuition tax credits
  8. Reduce Poverty to Below 10% for the First Time Ever by raising the minimum wage and other reforms.
  9. Cut the Gap Between What Men and Women Earn by 50% Over the Next Decade
  10. Create 10 Million New High Tech, High Skill Jobs
Source: Press Release, “Prosperity for America’s Families” Sep 6, 2000

Safeguard prosperity to reduce poverty

Realization of the goals that Gore laid out, like reducing the poverty level to below 10% for the first time in history, and increasing the college graduation rate to 75% of high school graduates, depend on continued prosperity. So does his plan to set aside $300 billion as a cushion against shortfalls in projections by the CBO, which estimates a federal budget surplus of $1.8 trillion over the next decade. The sum of Gore’s spending initiatives, as presented by his campaign, is about $1.4 trillion.
Source: Katherine Q. Seeyle, NY Times Sep 6, 2000

Enable more families to save, own homes, and pay less tax

His centerpiece is to eliminate the debt by 2012. One goal of the plan is to double the number of families, to 65 million from 32 million, that have at least $50,000 in savings. Other goals include lowering the income tax burden on the typical family to the lowest level in 50 years, raising the number of families who own homes to more than 70 percent, reducing the gap between what men and women earn by 50 percent and creating 10 million high-technology jobs.
Source: Katherine Q. Seeyle, NY Times Sep 6, 2000

Encourage “Retirement Savings Plus” accounts

By 2010, double the number of families with savings in excess of $50,000. Gore proposes “Retirement Savings Plus” accounts. If a middle-class family saves one dollar, the government will match this with one dollar of savings. For poorer families, the government will contribute three dollars to a savings account for every dollar contributed. The maximum annual account contribution is $2,000 a person.
Source: 191-page economic plan, “Prosperity for American Families” Sep 6, 2000

Confidence in markets & policy is basis for solid economy

My proposed economic strategy depends not just on spending or tax policy but on their interaction with financial markets & monetary policy. What links them is an intangible factor called confidence. If we allow our credibility to be called into question, with ever-increasing deficits & debt, if we shake the confidence that we have worked so hard to rebuild, then that could lead to higher interest rates, draining far more investment from our economy than deficit spending could ever put back into it.
Source: Speech to the Association for a Better New York Apr 25, 2000

Economic slowdown would prompt Reinvention push

On how an economic slowdown might change his budget priorities: I’m a veteran of the Reinventing Government push, one who believes that eliminating waste doesn’t have to be a meaningless mantra. That kind of fiscal challenge -- which I hope doesn’t occur -- could serve as an opportunity to push much more dramatic re-engineering of the way the government operates.
Source: Interview in Business Week, p. 42-43 Dec 20, 1999

Clinton-Gore budget concepts broke cycle of recession

On Goreonomics: I’m not trying to take credit for [the Clinton boom]. I played a role, along with other members of the Clinton-Gore team. The concepts we put in place made a difference. I cast the tie-breaking vote for [the ‘93 Clinton budget], a plan that passed on a straight party-line vote. Prior to that, we had a series of intermittent dips into recession. We broke that cycle.
Source: Interview in Business Week, p. 42-43 Dec 20, 1999

Low interest rates are a key to strong economy

If the entire surplus is spent [on one proposal], then there is no money left over for new initiatives. The numbers have to add up. One of the reasons we have a strong economy now is because we’ve been able to keep interest rates low, balancing the budget and better by having fiscal responsibility. So spending more than the entire surplus and then piling on top of that proposals that may sound great but for which there is no money is something that ought to be looked at very carefully.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 28, 1999

Al Gore on Budget Surplus

Surest way to bust economy is Bush’s tax cuts

BUSH [to Gore]: The surest way to bust this economy is to increase the role and the size of the federal government. The Senate Budget Committee did a study of Gore’s expenditures: it could conceivably bust the budget by $900 billion. That means he’s either going to have to raise your taxes by $900 billion or go into the Social Security surplus for $900 billion.

GORE: What he’s quoting is not the Senate Budget Committee, it is a partisan press release by the Republicans. And as for the surest way to threaten our prosperity, having a $1.9 trillion tax cut, almost half of which goes to the wealthy, and a $1 trillion Social Security privatization proposal, is the surest way to put our budget into deficit, raise interest rates and put our prosperity at risk.

BUSH: I can’t let the man continue with fuzzy math. It’s $1.3 trillion, Mr. Vice President. And it’s going to go to everybody who pays taxes. I’m not going to be a pick-and-chooser. What is fair is everybody who pays taxes ought to get relief.

Source: (X-ref Bush) Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Set aside $300B as a “Surplus Reserve Fund”

Gore and Lieberman’s plan, Prosperity for America’s Families, was released today as a nearly 200-page book. Significantly, Gore and Lieberman do not spend the entire surplus, but rather propose setting aside $300 billion in a reserve fund that could not be used for new spending or tax cuts. This Surplus Reserve Fund would allow for further debt reduction or provide a cushion to help cover unexpected costs in the future.
Source: Press Release, “Prosperity for America’s Families” Sep 6, 2000

$4.56 trillion spending plan for 10 years’ budget surplus

    The Gore-Lieberman plan backs up [their 10-point list of economic goals in their “Prosperity for America’s Families” plan] with a detailed summary of how they would allocate the $4.56 trillion budget surplus projected for the next decade. The major elements of the Gore-Lieberman Plan, include the following, (under CBO scoring, in billions):
  1. Social Security and debt reduction lockbox $2,388
  2. Medicare and debt reduction lockbox $ 360
  3. Medicare Interest Solvency Transfers $ 75
  4. Medicare Prescription Drugs and other Medicare Policies $ 340
  5. Targeted Tax Cuts $ 480
  6. Investments in Education and Learning $ 115
  7. Improving and Expanding Quality Health Care $ 120
  8. Environment and Energy Security $ 120
  9. National Security $ 100
  10. Interest and Other, Net of Offsets $ 153
  11. Surplus Reserve Fund $ 300
  12. Unallocated $ 10
Source: Press Release, “Prosperity for America’s Families” Sep 6, 2000

Set aside one-sixth of surplus in case rosy estimates fail

It is hard to quantify the economic potential of the American people. But we can - and we are - setting concrete economic goals for the country, goals that reflect our values and honor our commitment to the future.

We are proposing - as a hedge against overspending based on “rosy estimates” - that before Congress spends money under its more optimistic projections, it set aside one-sixth of the non-Social Security, non-Medicare surplus.

Source: 191-page economic plan, “Prosperity for American Families” Sep 6, 2000

Free America from debt by paying down $3 trillion

Source: 191-page economic plan, “Prosperity for American Families” Sep 6, 2000

Use surplus to strengthen Social Security, Medicare

If we have the discipline and foresight to save the surplus, to pay off the debt and help Social Security and Medicare, we can go a long way toward saving Social Security and Medicare for the future. If we squander the surplus on expensive tax cuts, we will likely force unnecessary and painful solutions - or even worse, we will pass these difficult choices to our children.
Source: 191-page economic plan, “Prosperity for American Families” Sep 6, 2000

Spend $164B surplus on Medicare, tax cuts, & debt

Budget surplus:Bush proposalsGore proposals
Estimate for 2002-2006$586 billion$164 billion
Estimate for 2001-2010No estimate made $746 billion
Economic assumptionsUses lower estimates of Congressional spending & 2.7% annual growthAssumes spending will grow at the rate of inflation; 2.6% annual growth
How surplus would be used
For fiscal years2002-20062001-2010
Tax cuts$483 billion; total $1.3 trillion by 2010$250 billion, includes some of Clinton’s FY2000 proposals
Some major spending proposals
  • $46 billion for health care
  • $13 billion for education
  • $25 billion for defense
  • $64 billion to pay down the national debt
  • $432 billion for Medicare
  • $146 billion for health insurance
  • Source: NY Times, p. 22 Apr 30, 2000

    Pay off the national debt by 2013

    My economic plan begins with fiscal responsibility - a consistent, conservative fiscal policy that keeps interest rates low and helps create jobs. I’ll balance the budget & pay down the national debt every single year, barring a national emergency. I will put us on the road to completely eliminating the national debt by the year 2013. We have to make America debt-free before the Baby Boomers retire, so we can pay our obligations to them in the form of Social Security and Medicare. We have to make America debt-free now, because, in the new era of globalization, businesses have far better investment opportunities than ever before in history. In this new economy, maximum growth without inflation requires that we take that money out of sterile government bonds, and put it into enterprises that boost our productivity. And moving purposefully to a debt-free America will be one of the best ways to sustain and increase the confidence that is the foundation of our present and future prosperity.
    Source: Speech to the Association for a Better New York Apr 25, 2000

    Set aside 15-16% of budget surplus to fix Medicare

    We have to look ahead and save some of the budget surplus for Medicare. If we wipe out Medicaid and wipe out the chance to save Medicare, and wipe out the surplus, then you might get a few more people in the short run.. Medicare cannot be an afterthought. The only way to fix Medicare fairly is to set aside 15 to 16 percent of the surplus to do it now. Otherwise, you’re putting Medicare at risk.
    Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 28, 1999

    Balance or surplus except in crises.

    Maintain fiscal discipline to keep interest rates low and investment rates high. Barring an economic reversal, a national emergency, or a foreign crisis, Gore has called for a balanced budget -- or better -- not just this year, but every year.
    Source: 5/14/99 May 14, 1999

    Al Gore on Oil & Energy

    Renewable energy instead of nuclear power

    Q: Should the United States increase its use of nuclear power as part of a strategy to come closer to energy independence?

    A: I strongly believe we need to take measures to increase our nation’s energy security and decrease our dependence on unreliable foreign sources of oil. However, I do not support an increased reliance on nuclear power. In order to achieve sound economic and environmental goals, I believe that we must increase renewable energy sources and environmentally sound domestic energy production and develop new energy-saving technologies, while reducing our reliance on imported energy. Through the power of free markets and American ingenuity, my plan will dramatically reduce pollution and enhance our energy security - and create more jobs in the process.

    Source: Associated Press Oct 16, 2000

    Drilling ANWR too high a price for a few months of oil

    GORE: Governor Bush is proposing to open up some of our most precious environmental treasures, like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to the big oil companies to go in and start producing oil there. I think that is the wrong choice. It would only give us a few months worth of oil, and the oil wouldn’t start flowing for many years into the future. And I don’t think it’s a fair price to pay, to destroy precious parts of America’s environment.

    BUSH: We need an active exploration program in America. The only way to become less dependent on foreign sources of crude oil is to explore at home. And you bet I want to open up a small part of Alaska because when that field is online, it will produce a million barrels a day. Today we import a million barrels from Saddam Hussein. I would rather that a million come from our own hemisphere, our own country, as opposed from Saddam Hussein.

    Source: (X-ref Bush) Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

    Tax incentives for development of renewable energy

    Q: What is your energy policy?

    GORE [to Bush]: We have to free ourselves from big oil, from OPEC. We have to give new incentives for the development of resources, like deep gas in the western Gulf, but also renewable sources of energy and domestic sources that are cleaner and better. I’m proposing a plan that will give tax incentives for the rapid development of new kinds of cars, trucks, buses, factories, boilers, and furnaces that don’t have as much pollution.

    BUSH: I want to build pipelines to move natural gas. I want to develop coal resources. It’s an issue I know a lot about. I was a small oil person for a while. This is an administration that’s had no plan. And now, the results of having no plan have caught up with America. We’ve got abundant supplies of energy here, and we better start exploring it. There’s an interesting issue up in the Northwest, as well. And that is whether or not we remove dams that propose hydroelectric energy. I’m against removing dams in the Northwest.

    Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

    Release oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve

    This summer I called for a federal investigation of concentration, non-competitiveness and pricing practices in the oil industry, and we’re still awaiting the results of that inquiry. But this isn’t rocket science, even though gasoline right now seems to be priced a lot like rocket fuel. We know what is going on here, and we have to end it. And I promise you this - if I am president, I am going to stand up to big oil and demand fairer gasoline prices for families and an end to unfair profiteering.

    We also have to press OPEC and big oil to act responsibly and we also need aggressive national action right now. In the face of rising prices for gasoline and home-heating oil, I support oil releases from our national strategic petroleum reserve.

    These short-term measures are urgent and vital, but by themselves they are not enough. I’m proposing an energy security and environment trust, a commitment to a more prosperous economy powered by cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy for families.

    Source: Speech to employees at Burchoil in Hollywood, MD Sep 21, 2000

    $150B Energy Security and Environment Trust Fund

    Q: What would you do to promote the use of cleaner energy?

    A: Encouraging consumers and producers to use cleaner energy is critical to ensuring we have clean air and fighting the threat of global warming. That is why I have proposed a bold, unprecedented Energy Security and Environment Trust Fund - a $150 billion fund to help develop clean new technologies. This fund will provide tax credits and financial incentives to power producers who reduce pollutant emissions; consumers who purchase energy-efficient vehicles, homes and home appliances; and communities that build energy-saving forms of public transportation. These measures will stimulate economic growth, create new jobs, reduce our nation’s dependence on unreliable foreign sources of oil and clean up the nation’s air and water.

    Source: Associated Press Sep 12, 2000

    Tax breaks for fuel efficiency will fuel prosperity

    Gore would give families up to $6,000 to purchase more fuel-efficient cars and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), along with other tax breaks for the purchase of energy-efficient pick-up trucks, 18-wheelers, building equipment and homes. These fuel-efficient vehicles will further reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, helping consumers save money at the pump. Gore says, “We can have a next-stage prosperity where you don’t have to build your lives around a fuel source that is distant, uncertain and easily manipulated. We will demand and develop new technologies to free ourselves from gas-tank price-gouging, and we will sell those technologies to the world. We’ll build a new generation of fuel-efficient vehicles -- and then make it easy for families to afford them.“
    Source: Press Release, “New Gore Energy Policy” Jun 28, 2000

    New energy technology will lead to more prosperity

    Today, Gore unveiled portions of his new energy policy that would curtail brownouts, clean up aging power plants, and reduce the nation’s dependence on unreliable imported oil. “There can be a next stage of prosperity in which American creativity builds not just a better product, but also a better planet, a next stage of progress in which it is an every-day accomplishment for Americans to develop path-breaking technologies that create millions of high-wage jobs, clean up the environment and combat global warming at the same time,“ Gore said. ”A next stage of prosperity and progress in which we encourage and support the Edisons of tomorrow, and empower them to build a better, cleaner and more prosperous world.“
    Source: Press Release, “New Gore Energy Policy” Jun 27, 2000

    Energy policy: focus on future tech & incentives

    Gore’s energy policy includes:
  • More reliable electricity grid: provide tax breaks to encourage power plants at factories and residential complexes; extend economic incentives for natural gas exploration; and provide tax breaks for electricity produced from renewable energy sources such as wind & methane. This portion of the plan would cost $2 billion over 10 years.
  • Technologies for tomorrow challenge: develop market-based, enforceable and comprehensive standards to reduce pollution and increase efficiency. This portion of the plan would cost $68 billion over 10 years.
  • Private investment in new technology: increase the use of domestic energy & transportation technology that could help reduce pollution. The plan would expand investment in the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and the Advance Technology Program (ATP).,li>Measured performance standards: measure actual emission reductions achieved by projects supported through this initiative. Source: Press Release, “New Gore Energy Policy” Jun 27, 2000

    Other candidates on Budget & Economy: Al Gore on other issues:
    John Ashcroft
    Pat Buchanan
    George W. Bush
    Dick Cheney
    Bill Clinton
    Hillary Clinton (D,NY)
    Elizabeth Dole
    Steve Forbes
    Rudy Giuliani (R,NYC)
    Al Gore
    Alan Keyes
    John McCain (R,AZ)
    Ralph Nader
    Ross Perot
    Colin Powell
    Jesse Ventura (I,MN)

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