Republicans argue that Gore economic blueprint is the 'risky' plan
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore unveiled an economic plan Wednesday long on ambitious and expensive promises.
"Let's lift millions out of poverty," Gore said, as he unveiled his campaign's 191-page budget plan. "We will also raise family incomes by one-third," he pledged.
Gore says his economic plan would balance the budget, reduce the national
debt and keep interest rates low while creating new opportunities for middle-class savings and employment
The Gore budget blueprint includes promises to balance the budget, reduce the national debt and keep interest rates low while creating new opportunities for middle-class savings and employment -- all with lots of money left over.
Republicans say Gore can't possibly pay for it all.
"His proposals are expansive, expensive and risky. Vice President Gore's numerous spending proposals would devour, as we figure it, every dime of the federal budget surplus," said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
Gore figures his proposals would fit within the currently projected budget surplus over the next ten years, with $300 billion left over as a "surplus reserve" fund.
But Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee figure that Gore's proposals would consume the entire budget surplus and more -- leaving a deficit of anywhere from $27 billion to more than $900 billion.
And some outside budget experts say Gore's promises cost more than he's letting on -- as much as half a trillion more.
"The vice president accuses Governor Bush of understating the cost of his tax cut. Why should it surprise you that the vice president's camp, at least in my view, understates the cost of their spending proposals? It's human nature," said former GOP Senate aide Carol Cox Wait, an analyst with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Gore's numbers are also being questioned by Wall Street Journal reporters, who recently detailed how the vice president scaled back some of his high-sounding promises. They said that "Mr. Gore's advisors used a magic shop of budgetary tricks" to hold down the potentially huge costs of his Retirement Saving Plus proposals.
They say Gore's tax-subsidized savings accounts actually would not be available for 36 million persons -- those making under $5,000 a year, full-time students, and those who are retired. The plan would also be phased in gradually -- not fully effective until 2010.
But Gore keeps promising great things from that proposal.
"We will double the number of families with savings over $50,000," Gore said Wednesday.
So, do Gore's number really add up? It's hard to say.
"Without knowing the specifics of the policies, which won't be available until legislative language is written. It's impossible to know whether these programs bust the budget that Gore has set out, or can be fit into that," said Robert Reischauer, president of the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
While the broad outlines of what Gore hopes to accomplish are clear, predicting whether he would be able to pay for it all requires a crystal ball.