Reducing the Social Security Benefits Tax

Since 1993, middle- and upper-income Social Security recipients have been subject to income tax on up to 85 percent of their benefits. On July 27, the House of Representatives voted to repeal this provision, leaving up to 50 percent of benefits still subject to taxation. The tax reduction would total $117.4 billion over 10 years. The vote was 265-159, with 213 Republicans and 52 Democrats in favor – a margin not large enough to override a presidential veto. The Senate must now consider the bill.

Focus Point – The Voucher Showdown

Thanks to a growing number of tax-funded and privately-funded vouchers, more children, most of them racial minorities and many of them poor, will have a chance this fall to escape schools that can't teach them how to read, write and do arithmetic.

Touching the Angels Who Won't Touch Back

We just witnessed the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. If ever a political convention reflected the city's nickname, this had to be the event. Now, the Democratic National Convention begins in Los Angeles, the City of Angels. If Vice President Al Gore intends to become the next President of the United States, he will need more than a City of Angels to overcome the impressive 11-point post-convention bounce that Republican nominee George W. Bush received earlier this month.

Focus Point – Sprawl

City planners and environmentalists love to use so-called "smart growth" to control "sprawl," that is, stopping suburban development. Here's what happened when Richland County, South Carolina got "smart."

The Private Sector Is Closing the Digital Divide

As computers and the Internet revolutionize society, the need to have the latest and greatest technology is paramount. Since 1995 the U.S. Commerce Department has released three reports stating that certain segments of society have access to advanced technology, while others do not. This "digital divide" is said to be based on ethnicity, income and locale. President Clinton has proposed a $2 billion initiative to close this alleged digital divide. Vice President Gore has made similar proposals. Yet the digital divide that does exist is small and is being rapidly closed, thanks to private markets and charities.

Policy And Politics In The Gas Tax Debate

Presidential wannabe Al Gore doesn't want to take credit for current gas prices. Yet of the myriad things he has taken credit for – the Internet, love canal, Love Story and the economy – it's the one thing he genuinely has some responsibility for. After all, in "Earth in the Balance," Gore wrote that higher fossil fuel prices were desirable as a national energy policy and he cast the tie-breaking vote for 1993's gas tax increase.