Sen. Bob Dole will frame his differences with President Clinton in the November election by laying down a "dramatic" package to simplify and reduce taxes, former Republican candidate Steve Forbes said Sunday.
"He is now convinced that the only way to get this country moving is with a dramatic tax change and tax cut," Forbes, a leading advocate of a flat tax, said on NBC's "Meet the Press."Forbes, who last week met with his former rival for the GOP presidential nomination, said Dole "has already endorsed the principle of radical simplification. I think it is a very good sign."
Dole, speaking to reporters after that meeting, wouldn't say what the tax package will finally look like, but said that everything from Forbes' single-rate tax to a national sales tax is on the table.
The Dole campaign is also considering a 15 percent across-the-board cut in income tax. A team of six economists is currently putting together a list of recommendations for ways to lighten the tax burdens on Americans.
Dan Mitchell, an economist with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that is advising Dole, said last week that Dole, who criticized Forbes' flat tax idea during the primaries, was more likely to go with the across-the-board income tax reduction.
Forbes, who during the primaries ran political ads pointing out Dole's past votes for raising taxes, urged the presumptive GOP nominee to go beyond the 15 percent income tax cut and roll back both the tax increases of President Bush in 1990 and Clinton in 1993.
Forbes and other supply-side believers say that the economic growth resulting from lower taxes would offset the loss in federal revenues.
But Democratic Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey, appearing on NBC with Forbes, warned against "playing politics with tax cuts" and said that rolling back the Bush and Clinton tax increases would force Congress to find an additional $100 billion in spending cuts every year.
"You can cut the tax rate, that's an easy thing to do, but the hard thing to do is not increase the budget deficit," he said.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer, R-Texas, also said last week that an across-the-board tax cut was unlikely because it would require additional spending cuts of around $100 billion a year.
The Washington Times reported Sunday that Dole was close to announcing an across-the-board income tax cut as a first step in a long-term plan to simplify the tax code.