WMU News

It's not about the economy, stupid

Sept. 7, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- It may have been Bill Clinton's mantra during his campaigns, but the current economic good times means politicians will need to focus on something besides the economy, says Dr. J. Kevin Corder, associate professor of political science at Western Michigan University.

"When the economy is poor," Corder says, "it's easy to campaign promising policies to improve it. However, when the economy is good, like it is right now, it's difficult to make it a central issue of the campaign."

As a result, political hopefuls will be looking to quality of life issues such as the environment, education, crime and welfare.

"It'll be important for them to find issues that are in voters' backyards," Corder predicts.

One of those has already been approached, that of cutting taxes. Corder says the timing of the proposal to eliminate the marriage tax penalty passed by both the Senate and House in July was designed to bring attention to the differing tax policies of the Republicans and Democrats.

"They designed that proposal to come right at the end of Clinton's term in an effort to reinforce that fact that Republicans want to cut taxes, but the Democrats are reluctant to do so. Democrats will be on the defensive about taxes since Clinton vetoed the bill," he says.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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