The race for the White House

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Each week between now and the November election, the Blount County League of Women Voters and Blount Today will offer a comparison of the views of the two presidential candidates on issues of importance to Blount County. The LOWV has researched and compiled the platform analysis, and Blount Today is happy to provide editorial space in order to encourage people to vote in November and to be an informed electorate.

Issue: The Economy

Why should we care about the economy? Because we are affected by the slumping housing market, the rising rate of foreclosures, the skyrocketing prices of food and fuel, the weak U.S. dollar, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and job layoffs as corporations take their work to other countries.

Senator Obama

• Favors pay-as-you-go budgeting

• Did not favor a gas tax holiday

• Advocates closure of tax loopholes for companies that relocate abroad

• Advocates removing tax loopholes for the wealthy and providing tax relief to seniors

• Favored raising the minimum wage

• Would pay for economic program by drawing down troops in Iraq war, cutting certain corporate loopholes and raising taxes for the wealthy

• Would reduce spending on earmarks

• Favors workforce development and creation of high-wage jobs geared to new technology; also favors creating jobs by developing environmentally friendly energy sources

• Would reward companies for creating full-time jobs and increasing number of workers in U.S. relative to number overseas

• Advocates a windfall profit tax on the excessive oil profits to finance $1000 emergency rebates to help families

• Favors rebuilding and maintaining public infrastructure

• Supports noninterference with unionization

• Would invest in the sciences and basic research

Senator McCain

• Balance the budget by 2013

• Favored a gas tax holiday

• Advocates closure of corporate tax loopholes and a lower corporate tax rate in order to create U.S. jobs

• Objects to removal of tax breaks for the wealthy; says the economy would be hurt

• Considers outsourcing of jobs to other countries to be good for America

• Favors leaving the minimum wage unchanged

• Would pay for economic program by vetoing especially costly bills and cutting the federal budget while continuing the Iraq War

• Would pay for tax cuts by creating new jobs in the clean energy sector and developing new automotive technologies to boost economic growth

• Would reduce spending on earmarks

• Advocates national job training programs for displaced workers

• Advocates a one-year discretionary spending pause, except for defense and veterans programs, to review the effectiveness of federal programs

• Is not a strong advocate for unionization

Sources and further information:

http://www.johnmccain.com/Issues/jobsforamerica/

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/issues/

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/economy/

http://www.issue2008.com/

http://www.procon.org/

http://2008electionprocon.org/

The Issue: The War in Iraq

Why should we care about Iraq? There have been more than 4,000 U.S. deaths in the Iraq war so far, plus millions of deaths of Iraqi people and displacement of others; thousands of U.S. soldiers have returned with serious physical and mental problems; there has been an expenditure of billions of U.S. dollars, resulting in cutbacks in funding of education at all levels, as well as Medicare, welfare and other social programs.

Senator Obama

• Opposed the use of military force against Iraq

• Opposed troop surge in 2007

• Voted for a war spending bill that would have withdrawn most U.S. troops by March 2008

• Advocates a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops; no longer indicates a specific duration but hopes combat troops will be out by spring of 2010

• Would leave only the troops needed for protection of our embassy, U.S. bases and civilians

• Voted for investigation of contract awards in Iraq and Afghanistan.

• Would launch an effort to include Iraq's neighbors in bringing stability to Iraq.

Senator McCain

• Voted for the use of force against Iraq

• Supported troop surge in 2007; considers the commitment of troops to be necessary for completion of the mission

• Supported Bush veto of a war spending bill that would have withdrawn most U.S. troops by March 2008

• Would withdraw troops gradually as Iraqi forces are trained and equipped; is against a timetable for withdrawal

• Believes the US could be in Iraq many years but predicts that combat troops will be out by 2013

• Voted against investigation of contract awards in Iraq and Afghanistan

• Believes strategy in Iraq should involve limiting the influence of Iran, in addition to assuring freedom and stability in Iraq.

Sources and further information:

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/issues/issues.iraq.html

http://www.issue2008.com/campaign/issues/war-on-terror-iraq-issues/

http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/iraq/

http://www.procon.org/

http://www.issue2008.com/

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