Cato White Papers and Miscellaneous Reports

February 27, 2001

A Summary of the Policy Initiatives Made by President Bush in the State of the Union Address

In 1999, former President Clinton proposed 95 new or expanded government initiatives. Last year, he surpassed that total with 104 new or expanded government regulations or spending programs in 89 minutes. In his address to Congress earlier tonight, President Bush proposed 38 new or expanded policy initiatives in a 49-minute speech.

Here is a list of the initiatives proposed by President Bush:

Education

1. Reading
"Reading is the foundation of all learning, so during the next 5 years, we triple spending, adding another $5 billion to help every child in America learn to read."

2. Character
"Values are important, so we have tripled funding for character education to teach our children not only reading and writing, but right from wrong."

3. Teacher Recruitment
"We have increased funding to train and recruit teachers,"

4. Streamline Federal Education Programs
"So we must streamline the dozens of federal education programs into five"

5. Local Control of Federal Education Money
"and let the states spend money in those categories as they see fit."

6. National Testing
"Children should be tested on basic reading and math skills every year"

7. Vouchers
"Yet if they do not, if they continue to fail, we must give parents and students different options."

8. Accountability Standards
"So we must tie funding to higher standards and accountability for results."

Health Care

9. Double Medicare Budget
"To meet the health care needs of all America's seniors, we double the Medicare budget over the next 10 years."

10. New Prescription Drug Benefit
"My budget dedicates $238 billion to Medicare next year alone, enough to fund all current programs and to begin a new prescription drug benefit for low-income seniors."

11. Refundable Health Tax Credits
"Many working Americans do not have health care coverage. We will help them buy their own insurance with refundable tax credits."

12. Community Health Care Centers
"And to provide quality care in low-income neighborhoods, over the next 5 years we will double the number of people served at community health care centers."

13. Patients' Bill of Rights
"Together, this Congress and this president will find common ground to make sure doctors make medical decisions and patients get the health care they deserve with a Patients' Bill of Rights."

14. Health Care Independent Review
"let us put in place a strong independent review so we promote quality health care, not frivolous lawsuits."

15. More Health Coverage for Those Already Covered
"And we will address the concerns of those who have health coverage yet worry their insurance company does not care and will not pay."

16. Medical Research
"My budget also increases funding for medical research . . . to have the Congress finish the job of doubling the budget for the National Institutes of Health."

17. New Freedom Initiative
"My New Freedom Initiative for Americans with Disabilities funds new technologies, expands opportunities to work, and makes our society more welcoming."

Military Spending

18. Military Pay
"I am requesting $5.7 billion in increased military pay and benefits, and health care and housing."

19. Health Care for Military
"I will honor our commitment to them with a billion dollar increase to ensure better access to quality care and faster decisions on benefit claims."

20. Military R&D
"My budget makes a downpayment on the research and development that will be required."

Environment

21. Cleanup
"My budget will improve our environment by accelerating the cleanup of toxic Brownfields."

22. Conservation
"And I propose we make a major investment in conservation by fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund."

23. National Parks
" . . . so I propose providing $4.9 billion in resources over 5 years for the upkeep of these national treasures."

Charities

24. Deductions
"We must encourage and support the work of charities and faith-based and community groups that offer help and love one person at a time. So I propose allowing all taxpayers, whether they itemize or not, to deduct their charitable contributions."

25. Federal Compassion Capital Fund
"Our budget provides more than $700 million over the next 10 years for a Federal Compassion Capital Fund with a focused and noble mission."

Christmas In February

26. $1,000,000,000,000
"And so my budget sets aside almost a trillion dollars over 10 years for additional needs"

Taxes

27. Simplify the Tax Code
"We simplified the tax code by reducing the number of tax rates from the current five rates to four lower ones."

28. Lower Tax Rates
"A tax rate of 15 percent is too high for those who earn low wages, so we lowered the rate to 10 percent. No one should pay more than a third of the money they earn in Federal income taxes, so we lowered the top rate to 33 percent."

29. Marriage Penalty
"Our government should not tax and, thereby, discourage marriage, so we reduced the marriage penalty."

30. Child Credit
"I want to help families rear and support their children, so we doubled the child credit to $1,000 per child."

31. Death Tax
"It is unfair to tax the same earnings twice--once when you earn them, and again when you die, so we must repeal the death tax."

International Trade

32. Presidential Trade Authority
"Tonight, I ask you to give me the strong hand of presidential trade promotion authority and to do so quickly."

Energy Policy

33. Construction of Energy Sources
"I have asked Federal agencies to work with California officials to help speed construction of new energy sources."

34. National Energy Policy
"And I have directed Vice President Cheney, Commerce Secretary Evans, Energy Secretary Abraham, and other senior members of my Administration to recommend a national energy policy."

Social Security

35. Save Social Security
"To save the system, we must increase that [rate of return] by allowing younger workers to make safe, sound investments at a higher rate of return."

36. Campaign Finance
"And we can add to that trust by enacting fair and balanced election and campaign reforms."

37. Racial Profiling
"Earlier today I asked Attorney General Ashcroft to develop specific recommendations to end racial profiling."

38. Pay Down Debt
"My budget proposal lays down an unprecedented amount of public debt."

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