• Share
  • Read Later
In a nationally-televised speech at the midpoint of his presidency, President Clinton tonight set out to woo disenchanted swing voters with a hastily-assembled, $60 billion package of tax cuts and deductions aimed primarily at middle-income families with young children and education bills to pay. Clinton proposed a four-point "Middle Class Bill of Rights" for "hurt, frustrated" people strained by wages that haven't kept up with economic expansion. Under the plans first proposal, families earning up to $100,000 a year could deduct up to $10,000 a year in college and post-graduate tuition from their taxes. (Those making up to $120,000 could deduct smaller amounts). Second, Clinton offered a $500-per-child tax credit for all children under 13 in families that earn up to $60,000 a year, and reduced credits for families earning up to $75,000 annually. (That's more restrictive than House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt's $75,000 limit and the GOP's proposed $200,000 ceiling.) Third, Clinton would allow families earning $100,000 or less to place up to $2,000 a year in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) -- with the new provision that the money could be withdrawn for educational and other family-related purposes without paying taxes. Finally, he promised to rechannel some federal funds into direct grants for job-training.Payment for all this, as predicted, would come from steep budget cuts at the department of Energy, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (where, the president said, 60 programs will be streamlined into four). The result, Clinton said, would be "a leaner, not a meaner, government." And he reiterated his commitment to lobbying and campaign reform and called for a more upbeat national dialogue: "We have got to be a community again." The final promise, stump-style: "My rule for the next two years will be country first, and politics as usual dead last."