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Vice Pres. Al Gore Unveils Economic Plan

Aired September 6, 2000 - 10:02 a.m. ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Live from Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland State University, Vice President Al Gore now set to unveil his 10 economic goals for America stretching out over the next 10 years.

We will listen now as the vice president now speaking there in Cleveland.




Third, let's also take specific steps that will raise real family incomes by one-third, so families can not only save more, but also earn more. And let's lift millions out of poverty, so that within the next four years...


Here is the specific goal: Within the next four years, fewer than one in 10 Americans will live in poverty. Isn't that a worthy goal? Let's reach the lowest level of poverty in recorded history, during the next four years.


Fifth, let's cut the wage gap between men and women. In fact, let's cut it in half.


And then let's keep going until we achieve the idea of an equal day's pay for an equal day's work.


Sixth, let's enable seven out of 10 Americans to own their own homes, a new record high. Let's raise employment levels by adding 10 million new high-tech, high-skilled jobs across every sector of our economy, while making the new investments that also protect our environment.

Eighth, let's fight for and win targeted tax cuts for middle class families, so that within two years...


... a typical family, within two years, will have the lowest tax burden in half a century.

Let's open the doors to college wider than ever before with a specific goal that three-quarters of all high school graduates will be attending college and half will go on to graduate from college.


As we do these things, let's reduce the national debt year after year, every single year, until it is completely eliminated by the year 2012.


In fact, I am proposing to go even further than a balanced budget that pays down our national debt each year.

The other side believes it's OK to spend more than the entire surplus and then hope that the economy does far better than anyone expects so the numbers will somehow add up. Well, Joe Lieberman and I have a different approach. Today I am announcing that we will under- spend the surplus rather than over-promise our way into a economic hole.

Our approach is simple common sense. Our national government should do what so many families have done for years, namely, set aside some money for a rainy day to be absolutely certain that we never spend money that we don't have.


Again, let me be specific. I propose to take one out of every $6 of the budget surplus and put it aside so that it will not be used for new spending, it will not be used for new tax cuts, it will not be spent on promises or proposals of any kind. So if today's economic forecast falls short, this new reserve fund will guarantee that even if they do fall short, we will not have to cut education or health care.


And unlike the promises made on the other side, we will not be running deficits or endangering America's prosperity. If you entrust me with the presidency, I will make sure the resources are there to invest in our families and build a more prosperous future.

Today I'm putting our detailed plan for prosperity for America's families on the Internet. Any one can get a copy at our campaign web site,


I'm glad we have a web site fan here.


Just for you, I will repeat the web site address.




And if you click on that, you'll get all of the highlights that you're interested in.


Let me share here, in specific form, some of the highlights, and then you can read al the details for yourselves.

I'll secure the future of Social Security and Medicare by putting them in an ironclad lockbox with a sign that says, "Politicians: Hands off."


I'll make sure that every penny is used for what it was intended to be used for. I'll make sure that all of the Social Security and Medicare funds are used for what they are intended to be used for, and that our fiscal responsibility serves us well in reducing the debt, to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and to add a real prescription drug benefit for all our seniors under the Medicare program.


By making the right choices today, we will do right by our parents tomorrow.

Next, we will double the number of families with savings over $50,000 with a new tax-free way to save for retirement. Now, I'm talking about something extra that you can save and invest for yourself, something that will supplement Social Security, not be subtracted from it.

And I will not go along with any proposal to divert 16 percent of the money intended for the Social Security trust fund in an effort to privatize the Social Security that you're counting on.


That is Social Security minus, our plan is Social Security plus.


Now, we will also raise family incomes by one-third, by keeping our economy growing, investing in job creating research and technology, and making sure everyone has the tools and skills to fill the higher wage jobs of the future. We will invest in middle class tax cuts, so working families can pay less out of their own pockets for health care, child care, college tuition and life-long learning. And we will invest more in our inner cities, in our rural communities and in all who are left out of today's prosperity. Let's make sure that a growing economy with rising incomes leaves no one behind.


All should share in this prosperity. It should enrich not just the few but all our families.


In the last eight years, poverty has fallen to its lowest level in a generation, in large measure because of our strong economy, also because of the expanded earned income tax credit and other changes. But we can do better.

I share the ideal, so eloquently set out during the primaries by Senator Bill Bradley, that we should all fight to reduce child poverty. And I am committed to taking concrete steps to see to it that fewer than one in 10 Americans, children and adults, will live in poverty by the end of this next presidential term.


Let us be the generation that makes great strides against poverty. Let's do it now.


And we can.


Let's match our will to the unprecedented possibilities of this extraordinary time. Let's raise the minimum wage and the earned income tax credit...


... so that work always pays more than welfare. Let's move more and more families from welfare to work. Let's help more working parents pay for child care, which can make all the difference in getting and keeping a good full-time job.


Let's make reductions in poverty among the elderly, for the people who cared for us and raised us, who should never have to struggle to take care of themselves. We owe it to them.


It's the right thing to do.

And as I have described, I'm fighting for a full range of targeted tax cuts for middle class families, to help you save for college and retirement; to pay for health insurance and child care; to reform the estate state, so people can pass on a small business or a family farm; and to end the marriage penalty the right way, the fair way, because we should not force couples to pay more in income taxes just because they are married.


Now, taken together, these middle class tax cuts will bring the typical family's tax burden to its lowest level in 50 years.

But let me say it plainly: I will not go along with a huge tax cut for the wealthy, at the expense of everyone else, that wrecks our good economy in the process.


I will not. It would not be good for our country.


Under the tax plan the other side has proposed, for every $10 that would go to the wealthiest 1 percent, middle class families get one dime and lower income families would get one penny. It gives the most to those who need it the least, and the least to those who need it the most, and that's just wrong. We are not going in the direction.


Instead, let's cut taxes for the people who have the hardest time paying taxes and saving for the future. And let's finally absorb and act upon the single most important lesson that the new economy teaches us about how to prepare for the 21st century: Learning is the key. And that means education must command more of our attention, more of our time.


We need more reforms, more ideas, more resources.

So together, let's open the doors of learning to all. Let's raise college attendance and college graduation rates to record levels, another specific goal that we'll reach by making most college tuition tax deductible. Let's help middle class families.


Let's help them save for college.


That'll work at Cleveland State. Let's help middle class families save for college, tax-free and inflation-free, with a national tuition savings program. And let's keep interest rates low with a sensible economic policy, so that student loans are more affordable.

You know, my economic plan is also based on the belief that America can only continue to have the strongest economy in the world if we continue to lead the world in high-tech, high-skilled jobs of the future.

To enable American business, the engine of our economic growth, to create 10 million more high-tech, high-skilled jobs in the next 10 years, we will cut taxes to encourage research and development and innovation, and we will double America's investment in the information technology that is revolutionizing our economy. And we will make the greatest commitment to job training and life-long learning since the GI bill for all of the men and women and families in America.


That's the key.

Now this week, I'm traveling all across the country. Later today I'll be in Detroit and then tonight in Scranton, Pennsylvania. And I'll be talking all week long about my economic plan and what it would mean for families.

My plan wasn't built on the cross-your-fingers economics that says we can give more to the people who already have the most and then just hope that the benefits trickle down to the middle class. The Gore-Lieberman economic plan 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...


... the people who create the jobs, drive our economy, and just need a little more opportunity to achieve what they want for their families. That's who I'm fighting for in this election, and that's who I'll work for each and every day if you elect me president of the United States of America.


You don't have to guess at what the specifics are; you can read my plan.


No blank checks, no deficit spending, tax cuts for the middle class instead of a tax give away for those who need it least. It is time to move on to a new prosperity for a new America.

This is the place, this is the time, the beginning of this new century. Let us build together a new prosperity. And let us be the generation that makes it possible for all Americans to open the door to the American dream.

Thank you and God bless you. And let's win this fight for the families of America. Thank you.


HEMMER: Al Gore, live from Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland State University there, saying that a new prosperity should be preserved for a new America. He outlined his economic plan that he says should carry over the next 10 year time, a 10-point plan including things like tax deductions for college tuition, a lockbox for Social Security and for Medicare, as long -- as well as a reserve fund of $300 billion in the event of what's called a "rainy day" fund in case the budget projections do not add up over time.

A whole lot more to talk about. Let's bring in Bill Schneider once again.

And, Bill, in plain talk here, what's the strategy for Al Gore in this speech today?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he's combining two things that rarely have gone together in the past. One is fiscal responsibility. That used to be the Republicans. He says, no deficit spending; we're going to put aside money for a rainy day; we're not going to spend more than we take in. Bush, he says, has a cross-your-fingers kind of budget, hoping the economy does well.

At the same time, he's promising a lot more government activism: a lot of targeted tax cuts to encourage, quote, "good behavior," research and development, job training, home ownership, all the activities that government wants to promote, a lot of new spending on a range of programs.

What enables him to do both at the same time? An enormous budget surplus and his willingness to say, we're not going to have the kind of big tax cut that George Bush is talking about. He's going to spend it and he's going to save it, and he's not going to provide the huge tax cut that Bush is proposing.

HEMMER: Want to talk just a bit more about that "rainy day" fund in a second, Bill, but what are you hearing from voters in the polling we've done and the research and stories we do? Do you find that people do give the Clinton-Gore administration credit for the technology boom and the economic boom we've seen, or do you find that credit is split with technology companies and Alan Greenspan, the stock market and that thing called Nasdaq? What do we find in that area?

What we find is that people give the Clinton administration some credit because they believe they were fiscally responsible, but they believe that what's driven the economic boom is essentially Americans themselves, the business sector, the entrepreneurs, American productivity and innovation. It's an odd economic recovery because it's not being driven by any of the things we've seen normally driving recoveries for 50 years, like a war or a big defense buildup or a huge tax cut or a big public works spending program.

So Americans are often puzzled as to what exactly Clinton and Gore did to make this recovery happen.

HEMMER: Bill, also, last night, an excellent panel on CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE." You were part of that. And the point you really made was the diverging viewpoints between the sexes. Men favor overwhelmingly for George Bush, women overwhelmingly favor Al Gore. And part of this "rainy day" slush fund that Al Gore's talking about provides a bit of economic security. Are we finding that voters out there, especially among women, like the fact that that "rainy day" fund will be there?

SCHNEIDER: Well, there is a pattern of difference between men and women, that women have historically been less likely to want to take risks. Men have been more risk takers than women have. So the result is that women like what they -- when they hear Gore talk about fiscal caution and restraint, a "rainy day" fund, and most of all, spending money to protect and preserve and extend the safety net, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and programs that really are safety net programs, women respond very positively.

Bush talks about reforming programs like Medicare, giving people more choice, allowing more private investment options that involve, of course, a great deal more risk. Men respond to that because they're willing to take more risks in the name of reform and less government. They're more willing to do that than women are.

So as a result, we have competing landslides in this country with men voting by a landslide for Bush and women voting by a landslide for Gore.

HEMMER: Interesting point.

Bill Schneider, live in Washington, as we watch Al Gore work the crowd there in Cleveland.



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