Jewish World Review June 14, 2000 /11 Sivan, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- WHILE MANY OF US have been focusing on Al Gore's remarkable similarity to Bill Clinton in matters pertaining to truth, we may be missing a more compelling reason to fear -- yes, I said fear -- his presidency.
Liberals get especially upset when they are likened to socialists, so I won't go there. Forget the labels. Instead, let me just ask whether you can remember any time when Gore or congressional Democrats opposed a fiscal policy initiative on the grounds that the federal government shouldn't be involved.
No doubt Democrats in some cases have been pressured into concessions aimed at decreasing government's role, such as with welfare reform. But it has been economic imperatives rather than concerns for freedom that finally forced their hands.
Now two policy issues are taking center stage that highlight the differences between the candidates and the parties: the bill to end estate taxes and Gore's new plan to boost the federal government's role in education.
Last week, Republicans, joined by a number of Democrats, succeeded in passing a measure to repeal the federal estate tax by 2010. Predictably, President Clinton has promised to veto the bill, preferring an alternative bill that would provide targeted relief to farms and small businesses affected by the estate tax.
Democratic opponents say that only 1.9 percent of estates pay estate taxes, so elimination of the tax would disproportionately benefit the rich. Well, I guess so! You would think that Democrats would skirt this fact instead of using it as ammunition. How can it possibly be fair that less than two percent of the people pay a tax? I guess it depends on what the meaning of "fair" is.
Clinton claims that repealing the bill would be fiscally irresponsible because it would result in a loss of too much revenue. But that's not his real reason. Estate taxes only generate about 1.4 percent of all federal revenue. Granted, that's not chump change but Clinton opposes the bill more for ideological reasons.
Al Hunt, in his Wall Street Journal column, reveals why he and other liberals oppose the bill. Hunt argues that "death taxes" originated as a means of reducing wealth inequality. "The tax has always been aimed at the accumulation of wealth by sons and daughters of the elite, never at middle or working class Americans." What an incredible admission! And it's true. My estate tax professor in law school agreed. "The estate tax," he said, "was not enacted to produce revenue, but to redistribute income."
George Bush has been quite vocal in advocating the elimination of estate taxes. Al Gore, on the other hand, thinks Bill Clinton is among the greatest presidents in history.
Gore's new education plan should also make freedom-lovers very nervous. The man who would be king recently declared, "I will ensure that there is a fully qualified, well-trained teacher in every single classroom, everywhere in this nation, by the end of the next four years." Notice he did not qualify his statement with such caveats as "to the extent we can afford it." Nor did he explain why this ambitious measure would not constitute "a risky education scheme." And he most certainly didn't feel the need to justify the federal government's expansive role under his plan.
Even the Washington Post acknowledges that Gore's plan "would plunge the federal government into areas of education where it has not gone before," including the recruiting, pay and licensing of teachers. This is scary stuff, folks.
Bush, by contrast, opposes a federal role in raising teacher salaries or setting professional standards for them. Bush has warned, "not to expect the federal government to be paying teachers more money. First of all, it's budgetarily impossible. Secondly, it flies in the face of the philosophy that I believe in."
Understand something, folks. There have always been people in this country that love government more than freedom. They believe that the government should equalize economic outcomes rather than provide a climate for equality of opportunity.
Even if by some stretch of logic you think it's appropriate in a free society for the federal government to determine how much money you can accumulate for your heirs, do you really want Big Brother dictating how your child is educated?
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