Since the beginning of American politics, we have lived in a two party political system. These two parties play a very important role in our government, they are a source of ideas for public policy, and they legally oppose each other (class citation), forcing compromises of ideas which are beneficial to the people of the United States of America. Though these two parties generally always oppose each other on the issues, some people believe that there are not significant differences between the Democratic National Party and the Republican National Party. Despite similarities in views on foreign policy, the Democratic National Party and the Republican National Party are different based on their stands on domestic economic issues in the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections.
On the issue of tax relief, the Republicans called for more tax breaks than did the Democratic party. The Democrats called for “a research and development tax credit; a low income housing tax credit; [and] a long term capital gains proposal for new businesses and business expansions”(“First Presidential Debate, 1992”). The Republican party went much further. In the first presidential debate on October 11, 1992, Bush called for a capital gains cut, and investment allowance, and a tax break for first-time home buyers. Additionally, in the 1992 Republican national platform, the Republicans called for a removal of the marriage penalty in the current tax code, and $500 increase in the personal income tax exemption. The Republican platform also called for families to be allowed to use their IRA's for first time home purchases, medical emergencies, and paying for a college education. (“Party Stresses Family Values, Decentralized Authority” 2564).
Education was yet another issue which Democrats and Republicans differed on. Clinton called for “...an aggressive program of school reform.”(“Second Presidential Debate, 1992”). The Republicans called for the choice of a public, private, or religious school be given to the parent. They would do this with the G.I. Bill for children, giving middle to low income households $1000 to choose the private, public, or religious school of their choice (“Second Presidential Debate, 1992”).
The Democratic Party called for a balanced budget by the year 2002 in the 1996 presidential election, and proposed a method of balancing the budget that would secure Medicare, Medicaid, and protect Social Security (“Draft Democratic National Platform” 42).. Presidential candidate Bob Dole, on the other hand, proposed a constitutional amendment which would require the budget to be balanced (“Second 1996 Presidential Debate” ). This constitutional amendment, according to Dole in the second `96 debate, would allow a broad range of tax cuts for Americans.
Taxes were another issue on which the Democrats and Republicans differed. Dole stated in the first 1996 presidential debate that the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution would allow tax cuts for Americans. When describing his tax proposal, Dole said, “It's a tax cut, cutting capitol gains 50 percent so you can go out and create more jobs and opportunities. It's estate tax relief. It's a $500 per child tax credit...”(“Transcript of the First Presidential Debate” A08). In the second debate, Dole further described his projected tax cuts, saying “if you're taking care of an elderly parent, you get a $1000 deduction...”. Instead of having the public pay for reducing the deficit, Dole wanted the government to hold the burden. Clinton did not agree with this proposal at all, stating that the program was not practical, and would force cuts in government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and education. According to Clinton, Dole's $550 billion tax “scheme” would create a large hole in the deficit. Clinton's target tax cut only called for cuts for education, child rearing, health care, and home buying. Clinton said in the second `96 debate: “we can't have any tax cut that's not paid for. One of the biggest differences between Senator Dole and myself is that I told you how I'm going to pay for every penny of tax cuts...”(“Second 1996 Presidential Debate”).
On issues regarding education, the Republicans and Democrats differed just as they did in the 1992 presidential election. As in 1992, the Republican party insisted that parents should be allowed to choose whichever school they wanted for their children. This was stressed in the Republican national platform. Clinton, on the other hand, stated that he was for school choice, but he thought “...it's wrong to take money away from programs that are helping build basic skills for kids...[programs] that are helping to fund the other programs that are helping schools to improve their standards...”(“Transcript of the First Presidential Debate” A08). The Democratic platform echoes Clinton's statement, saying that the public school choice should be expanded, but tax dollars should not be taken away from public schools and given to private ones (“Draft Democratic National Platform” 42).
When these opposing views on domestic economic issues are assessed, the Republican party appears the be looking out for families, trying to help them and give them their own choices. Republican tax programs in 1996 and 1992 sought to lower taxes for Americans, turning towards government in their efforts to reduce the deficit. The Democratic party, on the other hand, seems to address these domestic issues with straight-up, logical policies that fix the problems for which they are created. With the deficit, the Democrats went for a proposal which would balance the budget in an effective manner. They went for the quick, simple, and obvious solution; not the numerous tax breaks which the republicans offered. These differences between the two political parties are not simply good for the country, they are essential. The American people are given a choice; they are allowed to elect officials which represent their beliefs, and our two party political system gives them that choice. This is what democracy is all about, a government which best represents the people for which it is created.
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