THE CANDIDATES ON THE ISSUES: #5 HUMAN WELFARE; REAGAN
Workers' rights Reagan emphasizes that he does not wish to do away with the social security system. He adds that "no changes should be made to make the system voluntary." What he wants to do, he says, is reform the system so that "those depending on social security, and those looking forward to its protection in the years ahead, will continue to receive their payments and that payments will keep pace with the cost of living."
He also points out that he has "never opposed unemployment compensation. I criticized the management of the unemployment fund. . . . I want to guarantee the integrity of both the social security and unemployment insurance funds."
The GOP candidate also says he favors a change in the minimum-wage law that would permit employers to hire youths at lower than the current minimum wage.
Reagan once advocated repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires that wages on federal projects match prevailing union wages. He has pulled back from that position. Reagan also pledges not to seek passage of a national "right to work" law. He once said he thought perhaps unions should be subject to anti-trust laws, but has since reversed that position. Health care
Reagan is strongly opposed to a nationalized system of health care and to national health insurance. The party platform says: "Republicans unequivocally oppose socialized medicine, in whatever guise it is presented. . . . We reject the creation of a national health service and all proposals for compulsory national health insurance."
The Republicans say that voluntary steps by private institutions to control health-care costs have "been encouraging," though much remains to be done. The platform does say that "Americans should be protected against financial disaster brought on by medical expense. We recognize both the need to provide assistance in many cases and the responsibility of citizens to provide for their own needs."
Reagan says that he would "look very closely" at the possibility of disbanding OSHA, but says he recognizes that there are "some programs that may still have to go on. Some of the functions might have to be preserved." He has charged that OSHA, along with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department, has smothered companies in red tape and unncessarily hampered their operations and raised the cost of doing business. Education
Reagan pledges to eliminate the US Department of education, created in 1979. The Republican candidate says, "I believe it is naive to think that it is anything but a first step toward federalizing education in this land." Reagan says there is already "evidence that this national Department of Education has a plan afoot to eliminate voluntary accreditation of education institutions . . . and replace it with federal acceditation, which would in effect mean a federal licensing of educational institutions in our land."
Reagan advocates income tax credits for tuition paid by parents to send their children to private and parochial elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools (colleges). The Republican platform pledges that "a Republican White House will assist, not sabotage, congressional efforts to enact tuition tax relief into law." It also says: "We will halt the unconstitutional regulatory vendtta launched by Mr. Carter's IRS [Internal Revenue Service] commissioner against independent schools." Most of the schools affected are so-called "segregation academies" in the South.
The Republican candidate is opposed to busing for the purpose of school desegregation. Housing welfare
A major proposal by Ronald Reagan is the return to the states of responsibility for funding and administering public welfare programs. He says that "the first" federal program he would try to transfer back to the states is welfare. He says he would "advocate block grants of the federal share of the cost in that transfer, but use those as a transition to finally select a revenue source to transfer back to the states to finance welfare at that level." It has long been a Reagan contention that too much money is wasted in the process when Washington takes money out of the states in the form of taxes, then sends some of that money back in federal grants.
Reagan would not cancel the food-stamp program.
Reagan charges that the Carter administration has put the goal of decent housing for all Americans in jeopardy.He cites overregulation, inflation, and high interest rates as depressants on the housing market. He supports tax incentives to encourage construction, and expansion of "urban homesteading." As in welfare, he would seek to transfer back to the stages federal programs that can be more effectively managed locally, along with the revenue sources to pay for them. Civil rights
Reagan explains his switch on the ERA from support to opposition this way: Although he supports equal rights for women and when governor of California supported several laws prohibiting sex discrimination, he does not believe that the ERA would redress inequalities in rights. The GOP candidate fels that laws passed at the state and federal levels would best protect women's rights.
He has made a specific commitment to appoint a woman to one of the earliest vacancies that occurs on the US Supreme Court.
On the subject of racial equality, Reagan says he favors affirmative-action programs "to this extent: I recognize the need to offer opportunity to those people to whom opportunity has been denied for a long time. But I also lived in a time when we had quota systems that denied people equal opportunity. . . . I see affirmative action becoming a kind of quota system. And I just believe that when that happens you have established the precedent for a new discrimination to take place . . . a kind of reverse discrimination. But short of that, I think we must do everything in our power to make sure that we never return to bigotry and prejudice and the denial of people's rights." Civil liberties
Reagan supports the enactment of a constitutional amendment to restore protection of the unborn child's right to life. Further, he opposes use of federal tax money to pay for abortions except for cases in which the mother's life is endangered.
The 1980 Republican platform says: "We will work for the appointment of judges at all levels of the judiciary who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innoncent human life." Reagan says, "I don't think that's a bad idea. I think all of us he would be guided by broad considerations of qualification in selecting US Supreme Court and other judicial appointees, and that no selection would be made on the basis of a single issue.
Reagan says gun control is unrealistic and dangerous and that "we should fight crime through swifter law enforcement and stiffer, certain punishment for crimes, especially those committed with firearms."
Reagan advocates the restoration of a daily period of voluntary prayer in US public schools. The platform says: "We support Republican initiatives in the Congress to restore the right of individuals to participate in voluntary, nondenominational prayer in schools and other public facilities."