Observer endorses Al Gore in 2000
The Observer Editorial Board
The 2000 presidential election offers major candidates with slightly differing plans to reform similar issues. While neither front-running candidate, Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush, offers a perfect solution for America, The Observer urges its readers to elect Gore as the 43rd president of the United States.
In the long term, Gore's campaign promises will be better for America. Although Bush's broad tax cuts and government cut backs may improve America in the short term and help the economy today, Gore's smaller tax cut and plans to pay down the national debt will aid America more in the long run.
The spending of the government surplus is one of the most important issues in this campaign. Both candidates believe the surplus will exist for many years. Unfortunately, the only people certain of this surplus are the two candidates.
Bush proposes that most of the surplus be used for a broad tax cut. Gore plans to reduce the national debt with the surplus and still give Americans a small tax cut.
While Bush's tax cut will give America immediate benefits, paying down the debt will result in benefits in the future. The benefits of a broad tax cut today could haunt America down the road; good economic times will not last forever.
Gore's plan to reduce the national debt in times of plenty to guard against problems when the economy takes a downturn is the best plan for the future of America.
The interest accrued on the national debt drains Social Security which many Americans will turn to for retirement. Social Security, however, does not exist to provide Americans with a retirement fund. It is instead a safety net designed to protect seniors from abject poverty.
Gore's plan will continue the safety net of Social Security and encourage Americans to invest wisely for their retirement. Pulling money out of the Social Security system to be invested individually in particular higher yield investment plans, as proposed by Bush, only encourages Americans to rely on the government for their retirement and could threaten the safety net that Social Security can provide in the next 20 years.
While Gore's less risky approach to reforming Social Security is appropriate, his plans to improve public schools may not go far enough. Schools must be held accountable for poor performances, but Gore's plan does not implement specific standards or consequences for failing schools.
Schools must be evaluated on their ability to educate students and provide an effective learning environment. Neither standardized testing nor pulling money from the public schools to give to private schools will solve these problems. The failure of the public school system is a more complicated problem than either candidate is willing to admit. Only an effective partnership among the government, parents, teachers and students can improve the quality of American education.
The rising cost of higher education must be addressed by the next president. Gore will expand President Bill Clinton's plan and grant each family a $10,000 tax credit if they have students enrolled in college. Gore would be wise to adopt Bush's financial aid plan for lower income families as well. College should become more affordable for all families regardless of income.
While both Gore and Bush appear to be adamant supporters of campaign finance reform, the electorate should urge whoever is elected to pursue this promise vigorously. Neither Bush nor Gore have set forth clear plans for campgain finance reform.
Gore's record of campaign finance violations could lead voters to believe that he may not be serious about his desire to reform campaign finance. America's increasing support of third party candidate Ralph Nader is proof that Americans, particularly those in Generations X and Y, are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the corruption in American politics.
Establishing a bi-partisan plan to take the corruption out of Washington will be an issue that the 43rd president must address; campaign finance reform is the place to start. Gore would be well-advised to make this a priority entering his presidential term.
While a candidate's position on the issues is important, his ability to implement legislation and push for reform are equally important.
As a senator and vice president, he has a wealth of hands-on experience in dealing with policy issues and creating effective programs. Bush's limited experience as Texas governor has not prepared him to make the critical decisions necessary for the executive office.
Gore's experience, however, must be tempered with honesty. He should learn from the mistakes of his predecessor and understand that his propensity for exaggeration undermines the creditability essential for leadership.
The close nature of the presidential race shows that Americans believe both Republicans and Democrats have intelligent ideas for America. Gore should adopt a bi-partisan approach to politics to forge compromises and get things done with a likely Republican congress. By avoiding partisan gridlock, Gore can implement policies to ensure a strong future for America.
The Observer editorial board supports Al Gore for president by a 5-4 vote. The dissenting votes were split evenly between Bush and Nader.
All Viewpoint Stories for Wednesday, November 1, 2000