October 24, 2004


Behind Candidates' Domestic Plans, an Ideological Gulf (DAVID E. ROSENBAUM and ROBIN TONER, 10/24/04, NY Times)

On social and economic policy, President Bush and Senator John Kerry present a philosophical contrast that is one of the starkest in modern presidential campaigns.

Mr. Bush would, in important ways, break with the underpinnings of the New Deal and the Great Society that have directed the government's domestic policies for generations.

He wants, for example, to allow workers to open private investment accounts with part of their Social Security taxes, so the retirement program would no longer be run entirely by the government.

He proposes giving commercial insurance companies a larger role in Medicare, the government health insurance program for the elderly and disabled.

He favors spending federal elementary and secondary education money, used almost entirely for the benefit of public school students for 40 years, on vouchers to help parents pay tuition at private and parochial schools.

Mr. Bush calls all this an "ownership society" that would rein in the government and give individuals more control over and responsibility for their financial lives, their health care, their children's education and their retirement.

Mr. Kerry promises to sustain and strengthen the government programs enacted under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, and to use government resources to ease the strain on retirees and middle class families caused by the changing economy and the soaring costs of health care and education.

But Mr. Kerry envisions no substantial overhaul of these programs.

That's the divide between the parties in a nutshell: do you support the failed socialist policies of the past that gave us the 1970's or do you want to move ahead into a sustainable future that provides the economic security people demand but by using the free market methods that are more compatible with our national traditions and actually work?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 24, 2004 10:28 AM

Since the parents of children in private, parochial, and home schools pay property, state, and Federal taxes, letting them use designated educational funds to educate their children in their preferred manner seems an entirely unobjectionable idea.

To the extent that the idea is opposed, it's a naked grab for money and power.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 24, 2004 11:12 AM