Bob Dole on Tax Reform

Former Republican Senator (KS)


1995: 15% across-the-board tax cut to stimulate economy

In 1995, we helped Dole craft a supply-side economic message with input from some of the leading economic experts in the country, including Milton Friedman and Steve Forbes. The Dole proposal had as its centerpiece a 15% across-the-board tax cut for the American people. He argued that by letting people keep more of their own money, they could better stimulate the economy than the federal government could. Still, with the country seeming to be at peace & reasonably prosperous, Dole lagged behind Clinton.
Source: Known and Unknown, by Donald Rumsfeld, p.269 , Feb 8, 2011

1988: Refused to sign "Taxpayer Protection Pledge"

An adviser told Dole that they had to face the fact that any privately drafted Dole anti-tax pledge would be suspect. It would become the issue and might be torn to shreds. Frankly, Dole didn't have a lot of credibility on the tax issue. Dole had to go with a tried and trusted anti-tax pledge. Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, had a "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" that had been used for years by candidates, the one that Dole had refused to sign in 1988. The pledge merely promised to oppose any increase in the income tax rates and any reduction or elimination of tax deductions or credits unless matched dollar for dollar with cuts in income tax rates.

In 1995 Dole would sign the pledge quietly but keep it under wraps until the announcement in NH. Norquist himself would witness Dole's signature, giving it a seal of approval.

Source: The Choice, by Bob Woodward, p.160 , Nov 1, 2005

As Senate leader, became more conservative on taxes

In early 1993, Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole told Clinton at the White House that the Republicans probably wouldn't give him any votes on his economic plan. Clinton would be raising taxes, and if the tax hike didn't work, Dole said forthrightly, that would permit the Republicans to blame Clinton. Clinton appreciated at least the candor. Dole wasn't going to let him have a honeymoon. It was funny and sad, Clinton felt. He had viewed Dole as one Republican who had been willing to stand up to Reagan and Bush on taxes and adopt what Clinton thought was a more balanced and realistic approach. Now, Clinton concluded, Dole had become one of them, securing his position as leader with the many conservative, anti-tax Republicans in the Senate. Part of Dole's motivation might also have been his own political ambitions. Clinton realized he wasn't the only one who was operating as if the 1996 presidential campaign began the day he became president.
Source: The Agenda, by Bob Woodward, p.104-105 , Jun 6, 1994

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Page last updated: Oct 26, 2021