Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Who Wants a GOP Tax Cut?

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The Republicans are finally ready to go to war over taxes. With a multi-trillion-dollar budget surplus on the line this summer, the GOP’s leading money wonks have officially submitted their big idea for America’s perusal: a refund. And it even comes in two flavors. In the House, Texas representative Bill Archer is keeping it simple: a 10 percent reduction in everyone’s income tax over the next 10 years, the centerpiece of an $850 billion tax-relief package. "Republicans are determined to protect taxpayers, who ultimately get stuck with the bills," Archer said. In the Senate, Delaware GOPer William Roth (of the Roth IRA) has a tax cut of his own that goes straight to the middle class by cutting the 15 percent tax bracket to 14 percent by 2001. Cost: $792 billion over 10 years. The party is looking to cobble together a compromise version by early next month. But if they’re looking to get it by President Clinton, says TIME White House correspondent Jay Branegan, the words "across the board" may be the first thing to go.

"Democrats and the White House have been successful in staving off broad cuts like this by claiming that most of it goes to the rich, and that the money would be better spent on Medicare and education," he says, "and the polls have shown that most people agree. Republicans have to find a way to sell a tax cut when times are good, and most people don’t seem to need the money that badly." Roth’s approach, by that measure, may be more effective because it leaves the upper classes off Santa’s list. But as the President begins to soften on "targeted" tax cuts, many Republicans figure "10 percent for everyone" is so irresistibly simple –- and so darn Republican –- that it’s the only way to keep Clinton from taking the credit once the 2000 budget is signed. It also may be the only tax cut Clinton will definitely veto if he thinks he can afford to politically. America? Your move.