Decoding Tax Proposals in Campaign 2000

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In the political campaign that’s suddenly about issues again, tax cuts are the core of it. The candidates will tell you that the tax debate this year is about the philosophies of Al Gore and George W. Bush. But this is cost/benefit politics: about who gets what and how? Funny thing: the popular tax cut fervor of previous years has died down.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)

Campaign 2000 might better be a fight over how to spend the budget surplus. Maybe it’s habit but the candidates still feel compelled to talk tax cuts, with telling differences. Al Gore, in the Clinton mode, advocates targeted tweaking of the tax code, for the educational benefits, say. George Bush says that cutting Federal income tax rates was his main motive for running in the first place.

Gore has also taken a perilous pledge to lift the last special burden on the super-rich, the estate tax that he calls the death tax. The tax debate may be the place to see just who wants to do what to whom.


Paul Krugman, professor of economics, Princeton and columnist for The New York Times

Robert Kuttner, editor-in-chief of American Prospect magazine

Gregory Mankiw, professor of economics at Harvard, and columnist for Fortune magazine.