Gore for Dartmouth

by Brian Stults | 11/7/00 6:00am

Contrary to what some may think, this year's presidential election is between two radically different candidates with very different visions for our nation. Hundreds of Dartmouth students watched the presidential debates from the Rockefeller Center or the comfort of their own rooms, and the differences on major issues such as Social Security and health care were clear. But, many Dartmouth students probably found themselves wondering how Vice President Al Gore and Governor George W. Bush differ on the issues that directly affect young people. Thankfully, these two candidates couldn't be more different.

Nearly every Dartmouth student feels the burden of the rising cost of tuition. Al Gore has a plan that would institute a tax credit for college tuition -- up to $10,000. So many students on this campus work long hours each week to pay for their education -- Gore's plan would be the first step toward helping these students pay their bills so they can make the most out of their college experiences.

George W. Bush has no such plan. In fact, in 1998, he stated that, "Higher education is not my priority." Gore supports hiring a million new teachers and raising teachers' salaries, while Bush is complacent with the current state of education. His own home state of Texas even ranks a dismal 48th in the nation in the percentage of high school students who enroll and graduate from college.

Another issue that college students take an interest in is campaign finance reform. Young people everywhere are disillusioned and disheartened with politics; they correctly see it as dominated by big money, corporate power and corruption. Gore has sworn that if elected, meaningful campaign finance reform would be the first piece of legislation that he would enact.

George W. Bush has no such plan, nor would you expect him to have a plan. Governor Bush's advertisements have amounted to a virtual blitzkrieg on the airwaves, and he has outspent the vice president by a ridiculous margin. So it's not too surprising that Bush doesn't support real campaign finance reform and that he doesn't think it should be a priority for our country.

From our first exposure to Dartmouth life on DOC trips, we all develop an appreciation for the beautiful scenery here in New Hampshire. Fortunately, Gore would preserve this wonderful resource, part of the reason that Time Magazine has hailed the Clinton-Gore administration as "the most pro-environment in a generation."

George W. Bush has no such plan. His environmental spending in Texas ranks 49th in the country while his state leads in air and water pollution. Bush supporters like to talk about the money being spent on the environment in Texas, but the truth of the matter is that Texas's legislation has been big on rhetoric but weak on action. We need a real environmental reformer in the White House to maintain clean air and clean water for America in the next century.

Finally, even the issue of Social Security is important for students. Retirement probably seems a long way off for most Dartmouth students, but only Gore is planning for our generation. His plan would not only pay down the national debt, but it would also establish tax-free savings accounts for retirement. This would help a working couple build a retirement fund of almost a half million dollars. Even more important, Gore's plan would keep Social Security afloat until at least the year 2054 -- well beyond the point when we Dartmouth students would retire.

Bush actually has a plan this time -- but it would be catastrophic. Bush has committed $1 trillion out of the projected surplus to Social Security, but he has promised this same money to two different groups of people: seniors for their benefits now and workers for private investment. Making matters worse, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has concluded that Bush's privatization plan could make Social Security go bankrupt by 2023. Only Vice President Gore's plan would cover our generation and protect Dartmouth students from now through their retirement.

This election isn't about candidates who are anything close to alike. This election is between one candidate who wants to fight for working families and another candidate who wants to fight for big business. This election is between one candidate who wants to protect our environment, and another candidate who wants to drill for oil in one of the world's largest national preserves. This election is between one candidate who wants to find real solutions to our problems, and one candidate who wants to spend millions in petty, partisan advertisements. The choice is clear: Al Gore and Joe Lieberman are right for Dartmouth and right for America.