Abortion: Carter's Position:
He says he is personally opposed to abortion, but does not favor a constitutional amendment prohibiting the procedure. He says he is against government funding of abortions, and the administration generally has backed one or another version of the so-called Hyde Amendment, barring the use of federal funds for virtually all abortions. He says federal funds should be used to pay for abortions only when "the life of the woman is threatened" by the pregnancy and in case of rape or incest. Reagan's Position:
He has taken an unequivocal stand against abortion. He favors a constitutional amendment prohibiting abortions in all cases, even if paid for privately by the pregnant woman. He also wants to prohibit the use of federal money to pay for abortions, except to save the life of the mother. Busing: Carter's Position:
The Democratic platform views busing as a "tool of last resort" in intergrating schools. He has opposed a constitutional amendment to restrict courts from ordering the use of busing. Reagan's Postion:
He opposes the use of "forced busing" for purposes of integration, even if it is ordered by the courts. Instead, he favors "magnet" schools, vouchers, and other voluntary methods of intergrating schools. China: Carter's Position:
He inaugurated a new era in U.S.-China relations by negotiating full diplomatic ties in 1978. As part of the arrangement the United States broke official relations with Taiwan, while maintaining unofficial ties and trade. Especially in the past year, he has been moving toward a military relationship with China through exchanges of high-ranking military visitors and authorizing sales of U.S. military equipment (not arms) and dual-use technology of military value. Reagans Position:
He began his campaign saying that the United States should restore official ties with Taiwan, and caused controversy by repeating this position in mid-August. After a sharp reaction from China, however, he muted his position. He now calls for improving relations with China, without mentioning Taiwan. ERA: Carter Postion:
He favors the Equal Rights Amendment and has lobbied state legislators in states that have not yet ratified the constitutional amendment. Reagan's Position:
He opposes ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. He says, instead, that laws which discriminate against women should be repealed. Energy: Carter's Position:
He says the nation faces an energy crisis so severe that the battle to overcome it must become the "moral equivalent of war." He created the Department of Energy and has proposed a complex program of higher oil prices, largely voluntary energy conservation, and increased energy production to cut reliance on foreign oil and reduce energy consumption. He has signed into law a compromise version of the "windfall profits" tax to accompany the ending of price controls on domestically produced petroleum. He also signed a bill to subsidize the development of plants to produce fuels synthetically, and has sought a standby gas rationing plan. Reagan's Position:
He says the United States has "an abundance of energy" and that all that is needed to produce more by conventional means is to relax "unecessary" government regulations. He regards synthetic fuels and solar energy as "unproven methods" of energy production and opposes federal subsidies to spur commericial development of synfuels. He would abolish the Department of Energy, a Carter creation, saying it was a costly bureaucratic mistake. He opposes the "windfall profits" tax, saying it discourages domestic oil and gas production. He says the rise in coal production is slow "because of obstructionist actions by the administration" that involve "cumbersome and overly stringent Clean Air Act regulations." Environment:
He has pushed strong protective legislation for about 100 million acres of the Alaskan wilderness, but the bill is stalled in House-Senate disagreement. He favors a massive "Superfund" -- financed chiefly by the chemical industry -- to clean up toxic chemical dumps that are being discovered around the nation, but this is bogged down in the Senate. He has made an effort to cut down on allegedly wasteful and environmentally destructive water projects such as dams and navigation channels, and has worked to stiffen controls on surface mining. He has pushed to fund solar energy, but environmentalists oppose his continued support for nuclear power.
He says, "The federal government has lost its sense of balance in this [environmental] area." He endorses the so-called "Sagebrush Rebellion," the western states' rights movement that would turn over to the states some 750 million acres of federally owned public land. He has not taken a position on the Alaska lands bill, but has advocated opening more federal lands for energy exploration. He has taken no position on Carter's "Superfund" toxic chemical waste cleanup plan. He drew scorn from environmentalists for mixing up his facts when, asserting that money is being wasted on automobile pollution control, he said that "growing and decaying vegetation in this land is responsible for 93 percent of the oxides of nitrogen [that contribute to air pollution]." Gun Control:
He favors the registration of handguns and a ban on cheap handguns and reasonable licensing provisions, including a waiting period. As president, he made an unsuccessful effort to register "Saturday night specials." He said this fall that, "In the first place, I own rifles and pistols and have ever since I was a boy. I'm a fairly good pistol shot and also own a target pistol, and I would never support any legislation that would eliminate or reduce the right of Americans to have these kinds of firearms."
He says he "firmly opposes" any handgun registration proposals because "they would not reduce crime and could seriously restrict the freedom of law-abiding citizens." During the New Hampshire primary he saluted an audience in Concord as "fellow members of the Nra [National Rifle Association]." He says the kind of gun control he favors is the bill he signed in California, which adds an extra sentence for anyone who carries a gun during a crime. Health:
He favors national health insurance covering, eventually, everyone in the country. The first step -- already sent to Capitol Hill -- would extend Medicaid, the federal-state free medical program for the poor, to more people; in addition, it would require private employers to provide a basic minimum health insurance policy to their workers to protect against "catastrophic" costs of a long or serious illness. His hospital cost containment bill would put a government limit on how much hospitals could increase their revenues each year.
He opposes a comprehensive mandatory national health insurance system. Instead, he favors "tax incentives to expand coverage for catastrophic health insurance" and, for the poor, "a simple system to help those who cannot provide for their own medical care." He has emphasized a general fight against inflation in the economy as the best way to keep hospital costs down, hitting Carter's cost-containment proposals for "increased federal involvement in health-care decision-making and arbitrary and universal rules." Mideast:
He counts the Camp David accords as one of the major achievements of his presidency, and has said: "The same policy that led to Camp David and an uninterrupted supply of American economic and military aid to Israel will continue as long as I am president." The United States, he says, will not recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization until it recognizes Israel's right to exist. He has said, "Jerusalem should remain forever undivided, with free access to the holy places," and that the city's future should be settled "with the full concurrence of Israel." The "Carter Doctrine" says that the United States will repel any outside threat to the Persian Gulf and its flow of oil by whatever means necessary, including military force.
He says Israel is a reliable friend in a strategically important region. The PLO is a terrorist organization unfit to take part in the peace process. Jerusalem must continue to be one city, undivided, with continuing free access for all faiths to their holy places. Yes, he told Barbara Walters, he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Sovereign states should be able to declare a capital. He questions the "Carter Doctrine" in the Persian Gulf because "we haven't the military power" to make it effective. Military:
Originally against a pay raise for the military, he now supports the idea. But he believes the military retirement pay system should be changed. He favors draft registration. At the same time, however, he says he is against a peacetime draft. He believes we have enough troops under arms. He is studying the possibility of resuming the GI bill.
He is a strong supporter of a military pay raise, but believes that the retirement pay system should be kept as is. He is against the draft registration program and also opposes a peacetime draft. He believes the nation will need more troops under arms, and is for a resumption of the GI bill. Nuclear Power: Carter's Position:
He campaigned for office as an anti-nuclear candidate and gradually changed his views. By midyear 1980 he was saying "the role of nuclear power must be increased." Although he has said "safety . . . is my top priority," and stressed conservation and development of alternative sources of energy, he also has declared: "We do not have the luxury of abandoning nuclear power or imposing a lengthy moratorium on its future use." Reagan's Position:
While acknowledging that "it is imperative that nuclear plants be safely operated and that their wastes be disposed of safely," he opposes a moratorium on new nuclear plants until such problems are resolved. "We must avoid arbitrarily closing down existing nuclear plants and halting construction on new ones." The Republican platform calls for "accelerated use of nuclear energy through technologies that have been proven efficient and safe." Prayer: Carter's Position:
He feels that the school prayer issue was settled by the U.S. Supreme Court when it ruled in 1962 that school prayer violates the constitutional separation of church and state. He said in September, however: "I believe that there ought to be a place and a time in school for voluntary prayer. The thing that I'm against . . . is the government telling people that they have to worship at a certain time and in a certain way." Reagan's Position:
He says, "I would be absolutely opposed to state-mandated prayer, but I have always thought that a voluntary, non-sectarian prayer was perfectly proper, but I don't ever think we should have expelled God from the classroom." He has endorsed a constitutional amendment to restore voluntary school paryers. Salt: Carter's Position:
Under him, the United States negotiated and signed the strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT II) with the Soviet Union. In the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, he last January asked the Senate to put aside debate on ratification. He now plans to seek aproval of SALT II "at the earliest possible time" regardless of Afghanistan. He says the treaty is still in vital U.S. interest and its demise would add new fuel to the arms race. Reagan's Position:
He has consistently opposed SALT II and said he will withdraw it from the Senate consideration if elected. Instead, he has said he would "sit down and negotiate with the Russians for however long it takes" under the label of SALT III to obtain deeper cuts in nuclear arsenals. He says an unused "trump card" in such negotiations is the prospect of much larger U.S. military expenditures, which he advocates. Taxes: Carter's Position:
He has come out for a $27.6 billion income tax cut in 1981 to stimulate the economy. In a departure from Democratic tradition, more than half of this would go to business to stimulate investment, and less than half to individuals. The cut would not be enough to offset the Social Security tax increase scheduled Jan. 1, together with income tax increases that will occur automatically next year due to inflation. Reagan's Position:
He proposes a 30 percent tax cut over a three-year period. He is optimistic that tax cuts could be even greater, but says he will be "flexible" if revenues do not meet his estimates. He favors increased depreciation allowances for businesses, which he says would stimulate incentives and create jobs. His proposed 10 percent tax cut for 1981 would save taxpayers about $31.8 billion. This, however, is not enough to offset the effect of inflation pushing people into higher brackets, plus planned Social Security increases. Welfare: Carter's Position:
His welfare bill calls for more national uniformity in eligibility and minimum benefit standards in the federal-state welfare program for families with dependent children. Benefits would keep up with inflation because they would rise automatically with the poverty line (currently $7,410 for a family of four). He also favors creating about half a million new federally funded public service jobs for welfare clients, and requiring states to pay benefits to poor families with an unemployed father in the home. Reagan's Position:
He opposes Carter's welfare bill and is against a federal minimum benefit guarantee. He says he favors adequate benefits for the truly needy. He favors educational and vocational training for recipients and the requirement that they become involved in "useful community work projects." Instead of minimum federal standards, he proposes that welfare be returned to the jurisdiction of the states and local communities, which would receive block federal grants and could make their own rules on payment levels, work requirements and eligibility.