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A Candidate Worth Choosing?

Where do the leading candidates for President stand
on the issues important to UE members and our families?
Here's a look at the candidates and their positions ...

GEORGE W. BUSH, Republican Governor of Texas, is the son of former President George Bush. Before his election, Bush started several oil and gas exploration companies that all eventually failed. Aided by family friends, Bush gained a stake in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise; thanks to a taxpayer-financed subsidy of a new stadium, he enjoyed a windfall of nearly $14 million. His tenure as Texas Governor has been without either major accomplishment or controversy. AL GORE, Democratic Vice President since 1992, is a former U.S. Senator and Representative from Tennessee. The son of the late Sen. Albert Gore, he worked as a newspaper reporter prior to winning his House seat. Gore was an early member of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a group of pro-business Democrats. As Vice President, Gore kept a low profile during the Clinton scandals. His leadership of federal government "Reinvention" programs led to the loss of more than 300,000 federal jobs. RALPH NADER, the Green Party candidate for President, is a well-known advocate for consumer and citizens’ rights. The Harvard-trained lawyer gained prominence in the 1960s by taking on the giant General Motors Corp. His success led to the creation of an array of Nader-inspired organizations promoting the interests of consumers and ordinary citizens. Nader was a founding delegate to the Labor Party convention in 1996. He is not accepting corporate donations to his campaign. PAT BUCHANAN, a political commentator and journalist by profession, was one of the Nixon loyalists who worked for the beleaguered President until his 1974 resignation. He returned to the White House in 1985 as part of the Reagan Administration. Buchanan entered the Republican presidential primaries in both 1992 and 1996, winning some significant support. His inability to capture the Republican nomination led him to seek the Reform Party nomination during the current election cycle.
BUSH supports a weak "bill of rights" for those fortunate enough to already have insurance, and medical savings accounts. GORE supports a variety of very limited schemes such as a bill of rights for those already insured, health care for poor children, and prescription coverage for seniors. NADER supports the creation of a national, universal health care system. BUCHANAN has little to say about health care, supports medical savings accounts.
BUSH backs NAFTA, the recent China trade deal and presidential "fast track" negotiating authority. GORE supports NAFTA, the recent China trade deal, and other trade agreements; supports limited training and job-loss benefits for those who lose jobs due to free trade. NADER actively opposed trade deals, including NAFTA and the China agreement. Nader and his Public Citizen Trade Watch organization were responsible for exposing the secret Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) scheme, posting it word-for-word on their website. BUCHANAN opposes free trade but fails to support working people around the world who are victims of globalization.
Governor of a "right-to-work" state, BUSH has no objection to the anti-union law. Opposes granting Texas public sector workers full collective bargaining rights. As U.S. Representative and Senator, GORE supported the 1977 labor law reform bill and "Strikers’ Rights" bill of 1992; as Vice President supported President Clinton’s decision to veto the so-called "Teamwork" Act. Has yet to endorse far-reaching labor law reform. NADER supports full labor law reform that restore the ability to organize and calls for repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act. In 1996 BUCHANAN opposed increasing the minimum wage. His campaign refuses to accept "union" money, and he has indicated in as many words that he supports making it illegal for unions to use dues money to conduct any kind of political education or action.
BUSH supports a plan to privatize a significant portion of Social Security. He would consider raising the Social Security retirement age higher than 67. He has not come out against any benefit reductions. GORE defends Social Security from cuts or privatization, but has considered various kinds of personal accounts. NADER exposed and denounced the corporate forces who support the privatization of Social Security assets. Some comments indicate support for the basic concept of Social Security, but BUCHANAN frequently blasts "FDR’s New Deal," referring to the social safety net that includes Social Security.
As Texas Governor, BUSH attempted to fire thousands of state employees through privatization. In the wake of welfare "reform," he opposed paying even minimum wages to benefit recipients who were working in the public sector. GORE directed the elimination of more than 300,000 federal jobs through "Reinvention." Agencies such as OSHA are so short of staff that they are unable to perform their assigned duties. NADER champions the role of public sector workers, opposes privatization. BUCHANAN opposes "big government," plans to abolish entire federal agencies if elected.
BUSH supports the undermining of public schools by providing taxpayer funding of private school vouchers. As Texas Governor he slashed $400 million from the state teacher retirement system, further indicating that he views the school workforce as the problem. GORE compiled a record supportive of our public education system; recently campaigned for a substantial investment in the physical plant and technology of our public schools. NADER supports public education, calling for increased funding at all levels. BUCHANAN supports "parental choice," meaning he supports public funding of private schools as the real "parental choice." Would abolish the Department of Education.

This page originally appeared in the UE News (July, 2000)
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