IN THE NEWS #451 - Bush's Platform

By Nancy Steinbach

This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS.

Americans elect a new president on November seventh. This week and next, we present some of the positions of the two leading candidates. We begin with Texas Governor George Walker Bush, the candidate of the Republican Party.

One of the most important issues this year is education. Mr. Bush says he would reform and improve the nation's publicly funded schools. He says parents should have greater choices about which schools their children attend.

He says parents who are not happy with their local public schools should be able to get state help to pay for private education. Democrat Al Gore says this would take money away from public schools, which most American children attend. In any case, Mr. Bush proposes to spend five-thousand-million-dollars on a program to teach reading.

Another important issue is how the government uses its tax money. Mr. Bush says everyone who pay taxes should get back some of the government surplus. He proposes more than one-million-million dollars in tax cuts. He says most of the reductions would go to Americans who have the lowest earnings. Not everyone agrees. Mr. Gore says the wealthiest Americans would get the biggest gains.

Another area of disagreement involves the Social Security program for older Americans. Mr. Bush wants to continue to pay for Social Security with tax money. But he wants to change the system for younger people who will not retire for twenty or thirty more years. His plan would permit them to privately invest some of the money they pay into Social Security. He says the government should trust people to make the right decisions with their retirement money.

Mr. Bush also proposes to change Medicare, the government health program for older people. Currently it does not pay for prescription drugs. Mr. Bush would provide money to help pay for medicines and other costs, especially for low-income senior citizens. He also says older people should be able to choose their own modern health plan.

In addition, Mr. Bush proposes tax credits to help poor working families buy health insurance. And he proposes to make it easier for small businesses to provide lower-cost medical insurance to their workers.

In the area of foreign relations, Mr. Bush says the United States should be careful about deploying troops in other countries. He supports building a missile defense system. He also supports free trade. That is one issue where both candidates agree. They also agree that the United States should work to improve trade relations with China.

It is a very close presidential race. Listen next week, when we examine some of Al Gore's positions on major issues.

This VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS, was written by Nancy Steinbach. This is Steve Ember.

Voice of America Special English