Last week George W. Bush campaigned with a genuine working family that would receive a $1,600 tax cut under Bush and no tax cut under Gore. The husband supports his wife and two children on a $40,000 salary as a high school teacher.
The Gore campaign responded by saying that the family might be able to cut its taxes even more under Gore's "targeted" tax-cut plan -- provided the family engaged in certain behaviors that would trigger Gore's tax cuts, such as putting the children in day care. The Gore campaign really said that.
Gore vowed in his convention speech to "fight for tax cuts that go to the right people." Surprisingly enough, the "right people" are the ones who make up the largest voting blocs. As commentator Joe Sobran says, it takes a lot of clout to be a victim. The "right people" this election cycle, it seems, are people with children, earning a governmentally approved low income -- and who are stupid enough to fall for the "rebate!" "money-back guarantee!" claims in Gore's tax plan.
This is one more step toward the government using the Internal Revenue Code not just to raise revenue, but also to influence lifestyle choices. Tax credits constitute pure wealth transfers from people who do not live according to the dictates of the federal government's lifestyle choices to those who do. (You can be sure that sending one's child to Bob Jones University will not merit a college tax credit.)
Assuming it is any of the government's business whether an American citizen wants to drop out and sell T-shirts at Phish concerts or move to the suburbs and raise 2.5 children (duly placed in government-licensed child-care centers), what other behaviors are to be encouraged? Recycling? Tolerance classes? Renting extra bedrooms to allegedly discriminated-against groups?
Even before the country got a bird's-eye view of Bill Clinton's lifestyle choices, it ought to have been obvious that politicians are the last people anyone should want making lifestyle choices for them. Look what they've done with their lives.