Democrats: Our workplaces must be revolutionized to make them more flexible and productive. We will reform the job safety laws to empower workers with greater rights and to hold employers accountable for dangers on the job. . . . We will honor the work ethic- by expanding the earned income tax credit so no one with children at home who works full-time is still in poverty, . . . by supporting the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively without fear of intimidation or permanent replacement during labor disputes.
Republicans: The engines of growth in a free economy are small businesses and jobs. . . . To create jobs and keep small businesses growing, the Republican Party supports increased access to capital for business expansion, exporting, long-term investment, opportunity capital for the disadvantaged, and capital to bring new products and new technologies to the market. . . . Unlike the Democrats, we believe the private sector, not the federal government, should set prevailing wage rates.
Democrats: All Americans should have universal access to quality, affordable health care-not as a privilege, but as a right. . . . We will enact a uniquely American reform of the health care system to . . . cover all Americans regardless of preexisting conditions . . . provide a safety net through support of public hospitals; provide for the full range of reproductive choice-education, counseling, access to contraceptives, and the right to a safe legal abortion
Republicans: Americans . . . have the best health care providers, the best hospitals, and the best medical technology. . . . Republicans believe government control of health care is irresponsible and ineffective. We believe health care choices should remain in the hands of the people, not government bureaucrats. . . .
Democrats: Welfare should be a second chance, not a way of life. We want to break the cycle of welfare by adhering to two simple principles: no one who is able to work can stay on welfare forever, and no one who works should live in poverty. We will continue to help those who cannot help themselves. . . . We'll invest in education and job training, and provide the child care and health care they need to go to work and achieve long-term self-sufficiency.
Republicans: Welfare is the enemy of opportunity and stable family life. . . . Today's welfare system is anti-work and anti- marriage. It taxes families to subsidize illegitimacy. It rewards unethical behavior and penalizes initiative. It cannot be merely tinkered with by Congress and legislators; it must be recreated by states and localities. . . . Welfare can no longer be a check in the mail with no responsibility. We believe fathers and mothers must be held responsible for their children.
Democrats: Governments don't raise children, people do. . . . We need a national crackdown on deadbeat parents, an effective system of child support enforcement nationwide, and a systematic effort to establish paternity for every child. We must also make it easier for parents to build strong families through pay equity.
Republicans: Republicans believe government should strengthen families not replace them. Today, more then ever, the traditional family is under assault. We welcome change that corrects the mistakes of the past, particularly those at war with the family. For more than three decades, the liberal philosophy has assaulted the family on every side. . . . Republicans trust parents and believe they, not courts and lawyers, know what is best for their children.
Democrats: Instead of a sweeping capital gains windfall to the wealthy and those who speculate, we will create an investment tax credit and a capital gains reduction for patient investors in emerging technologies and new businesses. . . . People should share in society's common costs according to their ability to pay.
Republicans: When state and local levies are included, the tax burden exceeds one-third of family income. The increase in the effective federal tax rate since 1950 has now swallowed up an ever- increasing share of a family's earnings. Instead of working to improve their family's standard of living, they must work to feed government's gluttonous appetite. This is a scandal.
Democrats: The pervasive fear of crime disfigures our public life and diminishes our freedom. . . . The simplest and most direct way to restore order in our cities is to put more police on the streets. . . . We will combat street violence and emphasize building trust and solving the problems that breed crime. . . . It is time to shut down the weapons bazaars. We support a reasonable waiting period to permit background checks for purchases of handguns, as well as assault weapons controls to ban the possession, sale, importation, and manufacture of the most deadly assault weapons. . . .
Republicans: Violent crime is the gravest domestic threat to our way of life. . . . It is the legacy of liberalism that elevates criminals' rights above victims' rights, that justifies soft- on-crime judges approving early-release prison programs, and that leaves law enforcement officers powerless to deter crime with the threat of certain punishment. [We should] restore the severest penalties for the most heinous crimes, to ensure swift and certain punishment, and to end the loopholes that let criminals go free. . . .
Democrats: Democrats will continue to lead the fight to ensure that no American suffers discrimination or deprivation of rights on the basis of race, gender, language, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or other characteristics irrelevant to ability. We support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment; affirmative action; stronger protection of voting rights for racial and ethnic minorities, including language access to voting; and continued resistance to English-only pressure groups.
Republicans: The protection of individual rights is the foundation for opportunity and security. . . . We declare that bigotry and prejudice have no place in American life. We denounce all who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, or religious intolerance. Promoting opportunity, we reject efforts to replace equal rights with quotas or preferential treatment.
Democrats: Education is a cooperative enterprise that can only succeed if everyone accepts and exercises personal responsibility. Students must stay in school and do their best; parents must get involved in their children's education; . . . government must end the inequalities that create educational ghettos among school districts and provide equal educational opportunity for all. . . .
Republicans: Parents have the right to choose the best school for their children. Parents are the first and most important teachers of their children. They should have the right not only to participate in their child's education, but to choose for their children among the broadest array of educational choices. . . . We also support the right of parents to provide quality education through home-based schools. . . . We believe that . . . quality is best encouraged by minimizing government regulation.
Democrats: For ourselves and future generations, we must protect our environment. We will protect our old-growth forests, preserve critical habitats, provide a genuine "no net loss" policy on wetlands. . . .
Republicans: We hold the resources of our country in stewardship. . . . Cleaning up America is a labor of love for family, neighborhood, and nation. . . . First, environmental progress is integrally related to economic advancement. Second, economic growth generates the capital to pay for environmental gains. Third, private ownership and economic freedom are the best security against environmental degradation.
Democrats: Democrats stand behind the right of every woman to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, regardless of ability to pay, and support a national law to protect that right. The goal of our nation must be to make abortion less necessary, not more difficult or more dangerous. We pledge to support contraceptive research, family planning, comprehensive family life education, and policies that support healthy childbearing and enable parents to care most effectively for their children.
Republicans: We believe the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We therefore reaffirm our support for a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children.
Comment: The similarity of policy messages in the Democratic and USCC documents is striking. Both stress egalitarianism, government action, and redistribution of resources. The Republican platform, in contrast, emphasizes the limits of government and the potential of nongovernment institutions-family, free market, and civil society-in meeting human needs.
Defenders of the USCC statement notwithstanding, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the statement provides a religious gloss on the policy directions advanced by secular Democrats, a gloss that is otherwise missing because of the secular interest groups the Democratic Party has served for decades. Whether the "political responsibility" of Catholic voters requires them to support the directions favored by the Democratic Party is, to say the least, open to challenge.