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Duane Ewing, like many investors, thinks taxes are too high. "Our overall tax burden is out of control," says the Houston-based personal financial adviser. "The reduction of the capital-gains tax was a good start, but more needs to be done."

Talk like that is music to the ears of White House political guru Karl Rove because Ewing is an African American voter. Polls show that black investors -- many of whom, like Ewing, have moved to the suburbs in search of better schools and safer streets -- are more open to Republicans than African Americans who don't own a piece of the American Dream.

Ewing, 44, considers himself a Democratic-leaning independent. And while he likes the President personally, he says: "Although [Bush] initially campaigned as a compassionate conservative, he has turned out to be more conservative than compassionate."

Ewing, who has an economics degree from Oberlin and a master's in management from Carnegie Mellon, thinks John Kerry "would try to do more for the middle class," but notes that "the Bush tax cuts were good for me." He worries that Kerry would raise his taxes and is "somewhat disappointed with both choices."

Since he, his wife, Sylvia, and two kids moved to suburban Katy in 2001, they have seen their home increase in value by $80,000 even though their portfolio of stocks and mutual funds has had its ups and downs. "At best I'm even" during the Bush years, Ewing says, "definitely not better off."


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