Follow-Up: Progress’ 2000 Bush Endorsement

To follow up on dsewell’s “ask” question last week, here’s the text of The Daily Progress’ November 5, 2000 endorsement of George Bush. Since folks are so eager to discuss political matters, let’s make it local: has President Bush met the expectations of the Progress’ editorial board? If so (or if not), should the Progress endorse Bush anew, or would Kerry be a better choice for Central Virginia? Discuss amongst yourselves. (Note that the editorial is reprinted without permission, please don’t sue me, educational use, some restrictions may apply, God save the queen, etc.)


November 5, 2000

After eight years of Clinton-Gore scandals, it’s time for a fresh start.

George W. Bush offers that fresh start. In both substance and style, he promises superior leadership to that of Al Gore. It is a leadership that will help America retain its heritage of individual freedom with individual responsibility.

A keystone to that philosophy in action is Mr. Bush’s proposal to partially privatize Social Security. He pledges to sustain promised benefits and would not change the program for those at or near retirement. But for younger workers, he would offer the option of using a portion of their Social Security taxes for individual investment. But several realities weigh against that risk:

  • Federally managed Social Security funds have a far longer history of dismal return on investment, barely keeping up with inflation. Even if market conditions resume the slower growth we once knew, private investors have an excellent chance to better Social Security’s rate of return.
  • The Bush alternative would be voluntary. If workers don’t feel comfortable with private investment, they may leave their Social Security money with the government until retirement.
  • To stay solvent, the fund will need a boost from additional revenue sources � or a cut in future benefits � and this pending crisis calls for some sort of reform.

Mr. Bush also promises to take the current Social Security surplus and sequester it for Social Security use. Previously, Congress has raided this and other trust funds to pay for current programs, leaving IOUs instead. This practice must stop, and a “lock box” for Social Security is a good start.

Mr. Bush also would promote policies that encourage personal freedom in education, giving parents and local school districts more control; in senior citizen health care, by offering elders the option to choose Medicare or their own health plan, and in many other areas.

His policies would boost business, entrepreneurship and research and development investment, creating jobs for Americans.

One downside: Although Mr. Bush has said he would push for more R&D support for alternative energy, he has also said he would open up the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. Not only for environmental reasons should this be avoided. This country recently experienced an energy scare, but not an energy crisis. If a true crisis develops we will need these reserves; in the meanwhile we should retain them in the same way most of us keep a savings account for emergencies.

In style, George W. Bush is less like his father than like the previous Republican president, Ronald Reagan. He is described as a decision-maker who briskly sets policy directions and expects his staff to implement them. This style will work as long as he lives up to his pledge to surround himself with an experienced support group; his selection of the extremely knowledgeable Dick Cheney as vice presidential running mate and his hope of recruiting Colin Powell as secretary of state show � along with other astute personnel choices � that he is capable of wise decisions.

Mr. Bush also has a reputation in Texas politics for inclusion and working well across party lines. He promises to do the same in Washington, easing the sometimes vicious partisanship of recent years.

For these reasons and more, we endorse George W. Bush.

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