B.E. reviews the platforms of this year's presidential candidates

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Affirmative action, access to capital, Social Security. The next president of the United States, whether Vice President Al Gore or Texas Governor George W. Bush, will have a significant amount of power over the fate of these and other issues. While the president is not the sole policy-maker of the government, he will set the mood for the nation and have a strong influence over its economic direction.

To help you make an educated decision, the black enterprise Board of Economists studied the platforms of each candidate and took a closer look at some of their proposals. Among other items, it reviewed the Bush tax plan to stimulate the economy, and Gore’s approach to continuing the programs that have been in place for the past eight years.

“If the lowest tax bracket is cut from 15% to 10% (as Bush proposes), the impact is likely to be substantially greater on blacks who fall more heavily into that lower income than . . . whites. That’s a positive thing,” says Dr. Andrew Brimmer, president of Brimmer and Co., an economic policy and research company based in Washington, D.C.

However, Dr. David Swinton, president of Benedict College, in Columbia, South Carolina, cautions that there is no such thing as a free good.

“If they cut taxes and they want to be fiscally responsible and they don’t want to build the deficit up again, they are going to have to cut programs or not expand programs,” says Swinton.

“Gore does not see tax policy as a major way to go about moving either the economy or a social agenda,” says Dr. Margaret Simms, vice president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Washington, D.C. “He’s proposing a fairly modest universal savings plan that would be subsidized; raising standard deductions; offering lifelong learning accounts-things more of that nature than any broad tax cuts.”

“One might argue that some of these might work to the benefit of African Americans because they are more likely to need these kinds of incentives in order to engage in savings behavior,” suggests Simms.

That’s the reason why be had its Washington correspondent interview the men who would be president: to review how their programs and policies will affect you. In candid discussions, the two presidential nominees reveal their platforms. Use it as a guide before you pull the lever in November.

BLACK ENTERPRISE: In what way do you think black businesses could benefit most from your tax cut?

George W. Bush: Well, for two reasons. One, when you reduce the taxes on people who have income, it gives them more money. And the more money somebody has the more likely it is that somebody is going to reinvest, if they’re a small business person, in their business. Secondly, a reduction in marginal rates provides more capital in the private sector, and the more capital there is in the private sector, the more likely there is going to be funding for entrepreneurship.

B.E.: black enterprise caters to black entrepreneurs. How would a Bush administration support the growth and development of

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