Michael Dukakis is promising to wage war on drugs, homelessness and poverty if elected president, but he isn't saying how he would do that and still mop up all that "Republican red ink in Washington."
Dukakis has leavened traditionally liberal stands on health insurance, education and Social Security with a commitment to business-like efficiency in managing the affairs of government.His bedrock campaign vow is to preside over an economy that provides "good jobs at good wages for every citizen," and he cites the turnabout in the Massachusetts economy over the past decade as evidence of his capacity to occupy the chief executive's mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
But this efficiency-minded governor has not provided voters a balance sheet explaining just how he proposes to fulfill these promises and balance the budget.
He extols partnerships with the private sector, like programs he launched in Massachusetts to build day care centers and subsidized housing.
Dukakis also points with pride to Massachusetts' recent enactment of the nation's first law requiring most employers to offer workers basic health insurance - a program that will cost the state $550 million through 1992.
He has attached dollar signs to only a few of his campaign pledges: a $500 million economic development fund to spur regional growth; $250 million on a "National Teaching Excellence Fund" to lure college students into the profession with scholarships; $3 billion in housing subsidies over three years for a "National Partnership for Affordable Housing" to help "end the shame, the disgrace of homelessness in America."
He promises to make a first-rate education a birthright for every child and to provide welfare mothers "real training for real jobs." His state has been a pacesetter in training programs to provide a pathway out of welfare.
Dukakis says of reducing the gaping federal deficits: "There are only four ways to do it: cut spending, increase revenue, improve economic performance, and reduce interest rates. We must do all four."
He promises to "wage a real war, not a phony war, against drugs" by appointing an anti-drug czar, cutting off foreign aid to countries that refuse to crack down on drugs, expanding drug treatment and education programs, and giving "the Coast Guard, Customs Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration the support they need."
He opposes such strategic weapons systems as the MX and Midgetman missiles, as well as the B1 bomber already in limited production. But he also vows to beef up conventional U.S. forces, promising to "insist on real defense for our dollars."