Tax breaks vs. the deficit
Do Republicans really want to balance the budget? Some observers here say that the GOP platform contains so many new tax breaks for Americans that if enacted, they would swell the deficit even more.
''The cost of these goodies could be $75 billion a year,'' says Sen. Robert Dole (R) of Kansas, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. ''Someone ought to ask how we'll pay for all that good stuff.''
Besides a general pledge to seek lower income-tax rates, the platform supports:
* Repeal of the windfall profits tax on domestically produced oil.
* Increasing the personal income-tax exemption from $1,000 to at least $2,000 .
* Tuition tax credits.
* Movement toward reducing taxes on interest income.
* Expanding the amount homemakers can contribute to individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and increasing and indexing the annual limits on IRA contributions.
* ''Family Education Accounts,'' allowing tax-deferred savings for education.
* A review of the concept of ''Family Housing Accounts,'' allowing tax-free savings for a family's first home.
* Eliminating double taxation of investment dividends.
* Lower capital-gains tax rates and indexation of asset values.
* Allowing farmers, ranchers, and others who are self-employed to deduct from gross income up to half the premiums of their personal hospitalization insurance.
Supply-side Republicans deny that these items would add to the deficit. Sen. Robert Kasten of Wisconsin, who chaired the platform subcommittee on economic progress, says: ''If the whole range of incentives were adopted, I think we would see more growth, not less, and more tax revenues, not fewer.''