(CNSNews.com) - In a bipartisan trashing of his leading rivals, Vice President Al Gore suggested Monday that economic proposals from both Bill Bradley and George W. Bush would drive up interest rates and end the economy's unprecedented expansion," according to wire service reports. "In both cases, the economic future of the country is put at risk because of higher interest rates and ignoring the lessons of the last seven years,'' Gore said in a conference call with reporters.
Bush, who will provide details of his economic package later this week, already has called for broad tax cuts that Gore labeled "a scorched-earth policy'' leading inevitably to budget deficits. Bush has completed work on an economic plan that will feature reduced income tax and estate tax rates and a lower penalty to be paid by two-wage-earner married couples. In addition, the Texas governor is aiming cuts at people on the edge between welfare and work whose tax burdens nevertheless mount.
The first three components are Republican staples designed to appeal to conservative primary voters. The low- to middle-class tax cut is aimed at people making $12,000 to $30,000 a year, in keeping with Bush's promise to be a "compassionate conservative.'' The tax-cutting plan that GOP lawmakers failed to pass this year specified a one percentage point reduction in marginal income tax rates along with cuts in the so-called "marriage penalty,'' estate taxes and capital gains. A Bush adviser said the governor's plan would be closer to Congress' package than a broader, deeper cut proposed by 1996 GOP nominee Bob Dole.
Gore has routinely attacked GOP tax cut plans, but, during Monday's conference call, he placed Democrat presidential hopeful Bradley in the same group. He argued the former senator's economic package includes "a handful of timid proposals'' dwarfed by a giant health proposal. "He hasn't proposed any new investments in research and development,'' Gore said. "Under his plan, businesses would have a harder time borrowing, investing and creating jobs.''