Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Age 53Home state: California
Main theme: The country's policies across the board are misguided because the system is corrupt and policitians are greedy.
Taxes: Replace the existing tax system with a flat 13 percent tax on all income and a value-added tax, similar to a national sales tax, on business transactions. Deductions would be allowed only for mortgage interest, rent and charitable contributions. Provide temporary amnesty for tax evaders. Give business a tax cut for hiring workers from poor neighborhoods.
Military affairs: Cut the military budget in half over the next five years.
Health: Install a national health insurance system that bypasses private insurance companies. Emphasize preventive care, acupuncture, chiropractic and wellness programs.
Trade: Has not stressed the issue the way the other candidates have.
Gov. Bill Clinton
Home state: Arkansas
Main theme: The middle class has suffered most from the mistaken policies of the last 12 years, and that must be reversed.
Taxes: Cut income taxes of middle class by several hundred dollars a year, and offset the cost with tax increases of unspecified size on those with incomes above 200,000. Cut capital gains tax for investment held at least five years in new businesses. Give investment tax credit to small-and-medium-size business. Expand earned income tax credit. Prohibit businesses from writing off the cost of excessive salaries and bonuses for executives.
Military affairs: Cut military spending by one-third over the next five years. Stop production of the B-2 bomber and the Star Wars missile defense system.
Health: Require employees to provide insurance coverage for workers or pay an additional tax into a public fund to cover the uninsured. Establish a government board to regulate medical-care prices.
Trade: Says he is basically a free-trader. Blames the Japanese for about one-quarter of the United States' trade difficulty and says this country should retaliate if Japan does not change its ways. Otherwise, says businesses, workers and the government must work together to compete better in international commerce.
Sen. Tom Harkin
Home state: Iowa
Main theme: Old-fashioned liberalism is the wave of the future.
Taxes: Give no tax cut to the middle class or reduction in capital gains tax. Provide investment tax credit for specified industries.
Military affairs: Reduce military spending and the size of the armed forces by half over the next 10 years. Cancel B-2 bomber but continue to develop seapons that might simulate a useful commercial industry like the V-22-tilt-rotor aircraft. Rely more on National Guard and Reserves.
Health: Bring labor, business and government experts to a negotiating table to work out the best form of comprehensive national health insurance.
Trade: Supports tougher enforcement of existing trade laws and new forms of relaliation if necessary to force trading partners to open their markets to American goods. Voted against giving President Bush Bush authority to negotiate a free-trade agreement with Mexico.
Sen. Bob Kerrey
Home state: Nebraska
Main theme: The first step toward economic and social revival should be comprehensive national health insurance.
Taxes: Give two-year refundable tax credit worth 20 percent of Social Security and Medicare taxes, which would save a family earning $30,000 about $400 a year. Increase taxes by an unspecified amount on incomes above $200,000. Allow tax credit for investments in plants and machinery. Cut capital gains tax by not taxing the part of the profit attributable inflation. Impose a 4 percent payroll tax on employers and 1 percent on workers to pay for national medical insurance.
Military affairs: Reduce military spending more than President Bush wants but avoid a meat-ax approach and be careful that the military is large enough and well-equipped enough to meet any possible threat.
Health: Abolish Medicare, Medicaid and the existing employer-based insurance system. Pass revenue from new taxes to the states. Allow people to choose insurance from their state's plan or from private policies that meet minimum federal standards. Pay the private companies a fixed amount based on the number of people they enroll. Have doctor and hospital fees set by the state governments.
Trade: Favors whatever steps are needed to force other countries to open their markets. Voted to give the president authority to negotiate a free-trade agreement with Mexico.
Paul E. Tsongas
Home state: Massachusetts
Main theme: The government should work with business and not at cross- purposes.
Taxes: Do not cut income taxes. Tax capital gains on profits from stocks at progressively lower rates depending on how long the stock is held and impose an even lower rate on gains from investments in small businesses. Raise income taxes on the wealthy. Increase gasoline tax by 3 cents to 5 cents a gallon. Give temporary investment tax credit. Provide more favorable tax treatment of individual retirement accounts.
Military affairs: Reduce military spending by an unspecified amount. Cut overseas bases rather than those at home. Require economic rivals like Japan and Germany to bear a larger share of the cost of their own defense. Stop selling weapons to Third World countries and persuade allies to do the same.
Health: Enroll everyone in a group like the company where they work and provide a public plan for those who are not part of another group. Have private insurance companies and health maintenance organizations bid for contracts from the groups. Let sophisticated purchasing agents employed by the groups decide which plan is best for their members in terms of fees and services.
Trade: Says trade restrictions are counterproductive. Says the only way the United States can compete in international commerce is to improve the quality of its own products. Foreign companies should not be allowed to take over certain strategic industries in the United States.
Military affairs: Reduce military spending by an unspecified amount. Ta