Taxpayer Group Rates Presidential Tickets

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - The National Taxpayers Union (NTU), a non-partisan taxpayer group, says both George W. Bush and Al Gore have chosen running mates that look like their "fiscal twins."

"Several of Joe Lieberman's stances on high profile issues, such as capital gains taxation and welfare reform, have led to a popular image of him as a political moderate, but the details of his voting record show that he is a card-carrying tax-and-spend liberal," said NTU President John Berthoud.

As examples, Berthoud said that "In 1999, Lieberman posted a pro-taxpayer score of just 8 percent on NTU's annual Rating of Congress, which includes every roll call vote affecting taxes, spending, debt and regulation - a total of 144 Senate votes in 1999.

From 1992 through 1999, Lieberman voted against lower taxes and spending -- and for higher taxes and spending -- 76 percent of the time, earning him the title "Big Spender" in six out of his eight years in the Senate.

Vice President Al Gore's fiscal voting record, according to NTU, was actually worse than Lieberman's during Gore's 14-year tenure in the House and Senate.

On average, Gore scored in the bottom 8 percent of NTU's "fiscal responsibility" rating. He received the lowest score in the House or Senate three times, and he was the only Senator to score dead last in two consecutive years."

"Fiscally, the difference between Gore and Lieberman is not like night and day, it's more like dusk and darkness," said Berthoud.

"In contrast, Dick Cheney's voting record shows that he was consistently one of the most fiscally responsible Members of Congress during his tenure in the House of Representatives," Berthoud said.

"During his tenure in the House, Dick Cheney was a reliable supporter of tax rate reduction as well as balanced-budget and tax-limitation amendments. As Secretary of Defense under the elder George Bush, Cheney presided over the closure and consolidation of obsolete or unnecessary military bases, saving the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars," according to NTU.

For his efforts in Congress, Cheney earned NTU's "Taxpayers' Friend" award eight times.

NTU acknowledged that Governor Bush has no comparable legislative record, because he never served in Congress. But the group gathered information from "outside sources" that it believes will give voters an idea of how "President Bush" will handle fiscal matters.

"During Governor Bush's first four years in office, he ranked third in the nation among all Governors in overall fiscal responsibility, and first in keeping state government spending under control.

"As Governor of Texas, Bush has consistently supported several tax cuts, including a $1 billion property tax cut and reforms that have cut legal costs in the state," according to NTU.