Political Aptitude Test

August 22, 1996


See The Answer


How Dole Could Cut Taxes And Spending

By Bill Schneider/CNN

SAN DIEGO (Aug. 8) -- Likely GOP nominee Bob Dole said "I will reduce taxes while I am balancing the budget, it can and will be done."

Dole claims he can do what Ronald Reagan could not-- cut taxes and balance the budget at the same time. Now, what makes that possible?

Republican control of Congress?

Dole's experience?

Lower defense spending?

Faster economic growth?

Lower deficits?

And the answer is:
A. Republican control of Congress.

Republicans argue that the deficit went up in the 1980's because the Democrats kept control of the House and refused to cut spending. But there's a Republican Congress now. That solves a big problem for Bob Dole.

Congress has already begun to cut spending. With a Republican president, it could cut even more. Unlike the 1980's, spending cuts would keep pace with the tax cuts, and the deficit would not go up.

"With today's pro-growth, Republican Congress, cutting taxes and balancing the budget are just a matter of presidential will," Dole said Aug. 5 announcing his plan. "And if you have it you can do it -- and I have it and I will do it."

But would Dole have a Republican Congress? Almost certainly, if he wins.

There would be wall-to-wall Republican control of government -- the White House and both bodies of Congress -- for the first time since 1954. But that Republican Congress would also create a problem for Dole. Before 1994, Republicans could talk about cutting spending in the abstract -- then they took over Congress and many of the actual cuts that they proposed turned out to be highly controversial. So Dole is under pressure to spell out exactly what kind of government spending he would cut, beyond those that have already been proposed by the Congress.

Yes, wall to wall Republican government would make it easier to cut spending. But that's exactly why, after two years of a controversial Republican Congress, it may be hard to elect a wall-to-wall Republican government.

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