So...election time is soon to be upon us. I've had a lot of people asking me who I plan on voting for...the honest to goodness truth is that I am still undecided because I'm not exactly loving either candidate. With the state that the country is in right now, I kind of view it as picking the lesser of two evils.
I don't claim to be a Republican or a Democrat...being Mormon, I take the church's standpoint- I don't endorse anything political unless it is something that goes extremely against my beliefs...I guess you could call me a Republicrat....there are certain issues I agree wholeheartedly with each party about and certain issues that make me want to take one party and throw it out the window...I make it a point with every election to do my research and vote for the candidate that I feel has the best plan to lead our country- I don't allow myself to be swayed just because so and so is a Republican or a Democrat.
I also HATE smear campaigns. If I get any emails that closely resemble what could be an attempt to belittle an opponent I delete them without even reading them. I think that people should focus on the issues and the plans...not statements taken out of context or stories that have been hyperbolized so much that they have become a "tall tale."
So, in the spirit of fair and unbiased voting, I have been doing my research and I thought that I would share with you all the knowledge that I have gleaned from looking into the platforms of both presidential candidates. It is my hope that as you read this information, you won't blindly walk into a voting booth prepared to make a decision based on propaganda...it is my hope that you will be making an informed decision based on who you think has the best plan for what our country needs right now. For more information on either candidate or their platforms, I strongly suggest you take 20 minutes and peruse their websites: barackobama.com and johnmccain.com. In many cases, I just cut and pasted directly from them.(notes: once at the Obama website click on the link in the bottom right hand corner that says "continue to website" I clicked above for like 5 minutes not getting anywhere until I figured this out, once inside the website, it is very easy to navigate. I found McCain's website difficult to navigate and a bit tedious at times...good luck my little Republicrats! I'm proud of you for getting informed!)
SO....here we go- here are the big ticket issues and how each candidate says they plan to tackle them:
On the Economy:
Both candidates agree that the economy has some major fixing to do...obama's website notes that McCain says he doesn't understand the economy, but in the interest of fairness I would like to point out that he has hired people that do understand it, just like Obama did...so children lets stop fighting and see how you each plan to fix what is wrong! Both candidates want to encourage trade and making American workers more marketable to foreign employers who may want to build a factory or a company here in the states. Both candidates also want to encourage more flexibility in the workplace, allowing for parents to be more involved in the lives of their children. Obama's plan is described in more detail than McCain's but both have the same end product.
McCain: Starts immediately with the idea of helping with the soaring cost of gasoline and food. His gas plan makes me a little nervous, I'm not going to lie...he says that we are going to "tell" the overseas oil companies that our reliance on them is going to end...actions speak louder than words in my opinion. However, he does have a few actions listed to back this up- actions such as finding our own sources of oil (this would add jobs to the economy and lower prices once refineries can be built to process the oil) He also plans to increase the value of the dollar (he doesn't say how though...I thought you had to have something to back up an increase in the value of your money but I could be wrong.) He also plans to give a summer gas tax holiday, suspending the federal tax on gas from memorial to labor day, to decrease the tax on imported sugar based ethanol (ethanol is a substance mixed with gasoline to make it go further...like adding water to soup so to speak) this would lower the gas prices by making a bigger supply. He also plans to roll back the mandates on corn based ethanol, which are causing higher food prices (don't ask me how, he doesn't say...however, I'm sure his team of experts knows what they are talking about.) As far as the housing crisis is concerned, McCain doesn't believe that tax payer dollars should go to bailing out the banks who either a)took advantage of people overselling the idea of a subprime loan or b) didn't do enough credit checking to verify that people could pay the cost of such mortgages over time if the rates increased. He believes the help should go to the homeowners themselves. In the case of his help plan, people who bought a home on a subprime loan from 2005 and after and still live in the house as a primary residence will be eligible to refinance with a government HOME loan. He plans also to lower the corporate tax rate in hopes that businesses will be more willing to work here in the states, and give a tax credit of 10% to companies who work within the states.
Obama: Obama also tackles oil, food, and taxes. Under his plan, the government will enact a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits to give American families an immediate $1,000 emergency energy rebate to help families pay rising bills. This relief would be a down payment on the Obama-Biden long-term plan to provide middle-class families with at least $1,000 per year in permanent tax relief. Instead of looking for more oil sources, Obama plans to invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial scale renewable energy, invest in low emissions coal plants, and begin transition to a new digital electricity grid. This plan also creates jobs for millions of American workers. He has several other plans that would create jobs for people in many different sectors, you can look at his website for those, but I felt that this was the biggest.
Obama also plans to create a new "Making Work Pay" tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. The "Making Work Pay" tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans. Corporations get tax breaks if they send their business and factories to overseas locations, Obama plans to end those tax breaks and implement a rewards system for companies who stay in the states and who create better working conditions for their employees (i.e. retirement plans, health insurance, etc.) Obama also plans to eliminate all capital gains taxes on start-up and small businesses to encourage innovation and job creation. He also plans to increase minimum wage to help people living at or below the poverty line. With the price of food and gas being so high, many people are barely able to make ends meat. His plan will raise minimum wage to $9.45 an hour.
Both: Unfortunately, McCain took this opportunity not to play nice and instead of stating all the facts about his health care plan he took it as an opportunity to smear Obama's ideas and deny Obama's accusations, which means somewhere in this wide world Obama decided to do a little smearing of his own....It really cheeses me off...can't we all just get along? Seriously, what do you have planned to fix the fact that currently more than half of Americans CAN'T AFFORD health insurance? Oh well....c'est la vie. I'll tell you what I could glean... Both candidates hope to reform Medicare by cracking down on fraud and making prescriptions more affordable.
McCain: plans to give a refundable tax credit to people who elect to have insurance through their employer of up to $2500. The families will not only decide where the tax credit should be directed for their coverage needs, (i.e. you can pick your own insurer) but any additional money left over after purchasing coverage will be controlled by the family in a portable health savings account(translation: leftover money goes to pay premiums for the next year) He is promoting Medicaid reform that encourages ending Medicaid/Medicare fraud. He also plans to promote research for chronic care conditions and reward prevention wellness (I have no clue what that means...I'm sure someone does...) McCain also plans to reduce drug costs by encouraging use of generics. McCain also plans to develop a model to help some people get over the pre-existing condition hump, meaning some pre-existing conditions will no longer stop you from being able to get health care. His olan will also make it beneficial to stay under employer coverage because you will be left with more money in your portable account.
Obama: Unlike the propoganda states, Obama is NOT going to require healthcare, but he does want to make it more affordable (atleast that is what I'm reading...) Like McCain, he plans to tackle the preexisting condition problem, but he plans to require insurance companies to cover ALL of them, opening up the idea of health coverage to millions of people. Obama also plans to Create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide affordable health insurance to their employees. He, like McCain also plans to give a need based tax credit for those who choose to buy health insurance. Obama also plans to Create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide affordable health insurance to their employees, lower costs for businesses by covering a portion of the catastrophic health costs they pay in return for lower premiums for employees, prevent insurers from overcharging doctors for their malpractice insurance and invest in proven strategies to reduce preventable medical errors, he also wants to make it more difficult to sue for malpractice if, through hospital records, it can be proven that the doctors exhausted all the resources available to them to solve the problem. Obama also wants to make employer contributions more fair by requiring large employers that do not offer coverage, or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees, to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of their employees health care.(in other words, they need to give a "medical stipend" as part of a paycheck to offset the costs that the employee must deal with because they don't have access to insurance.) He would also like to establish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options, as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage.
He also will help seniors by lowering the costs of prescription drugs by making alternative available, such as imports from safe countries where the drugs people need are cheaper.
(Okay...so I'm not trying to sound biased, I'm still not sure who I will vote for...I am trying to give fair play to each candidate, but Obama's website has a lot more information...there isn't just the "what" he plans to do...its "how" he plans to do it and he gives background to explain his decisions...I'm just saying, I feel like I'm being a little more informed about his policies than McCain's...however, both of them still have good ideas, its just in the implementation of the ideas that I feel like I am lacking information from McCain.)
Both: Feel that everyone has equal rights to good education. Both candidates feel that the parents shoud be a big part of the decisions surrounding their child's growth and development.
Both candidates want to simplify the Higher Education tax benefits and the current method for application for financial aid. Obama wishes to make the financial aid application a check box on your tax forms that automatically will apply you for the many different forms of federal aid, and McCain wants to consolidate the programs so that you only have to apply one place for all forms of financial aid.
McCain: Wants to make choice of school, just that- a choice. No more worries about district lines, if the school won't change to meet the needs of the student then that student has the right to change schools. As far as early childhood education, McCain feels that the programs already in place are working. He wishes to make sure that their resources are devoted to the most needy children. McCain also wishes to keep working under the current ideas of No Child Left Behind. It is his hope that as the program builds, teachers will be able to use the grouped scores to show students that their individual efforts are appreciated or need to be raised. He wants to ensure that there are quality teachers available. McCain wishes to enact alternative methods of certification for people who are qualified in their field and are highly motivated to teach, current certification requirements bar many people who could be good teachers from teaching. He also wishes to give teachers that move to help underperforming schools bonuses. McCain also plans to expand online education opportunities. He also plans to reform how student loans are dispersed, making private lenders more responsible for letting the students understand the terms of the loans.
Obama: Obama wishes to create a public Early Childhood Education school, he will start first by increasing funding to programs that already exist to help parents enroll their children in preschool so that a larger section of the population would be eligible for aid. He hopes that these increases will encourage states to open public pre-schools so that EVERY student gets a head start advantage. He also plans to reform No Child Left Behind. Under the current plan, teachers are forced to teach "to the test" meaning, the creativity has left the classroom in some ways because teachers are under pressure to have their students fill in the answer bubbles correctly (I'm not going to lie, I like this idea. No Child Left Behind has irked me ever since it was enstated. It was a good idea, but I think they missed the mark when it came to delivering a finished product. Its a proven fact that some children just don't test well... I have a research paper that I did in high school to prove it, filled with resources....) Obama's reforms will make it more about the individual than the group and testing the children in ways other than a standardized test format. He also plans to give funding to underperforming schools to help them improve their programs rather than take it away and force them to slip further behind the pack because they can't afford to keep teachers. He also wants to give help to Charter schools that are performing well and find ways to close charter schools in which the children are not recieving an education equal to that of their peers (in other words he isn't going to CLOSE charter schools, he wants to help them, but if they won't change even with help he wants the children to have access to education at a better place.) In addition to his ideas for Federal Aid, he has some new ways to get funding for school. For example, students that have been serving their community in various ways for atleast a year before college (i.e. candystriper at the hospital, big brothers big sisters, etc.) will be eligible for up to $4000 in free financial aid via a tax credit. He also plans to give education benefits to those who are studying to be teachers, making sure that the people that want to become teachers remain motivated to do so and study hard.
Both: Both candidates agree that we can't just "cut and run."
McCain: McCain's strategy calls for much of the same tactics we are dealing with now; however, it seems like he is putting more emphasis on training Iraqi security forces to bring our boys home, and increased efforts to get rid of the Al Qaeda presence in Iraq. He also wants to encourage Iraqis to use their own money to create jobs for the vast number of unemployed people in the country in the private sector.
Obama: Obama has a plan that will have our occupation of Iraq over by 2010. He first plans to address the humanitarian crisis that we caused in entering Iraq by devoting $2 Billion to humanitarian sources for displaced Iraqi refugees and to increase stability for those who have become lost in the crowd and have been unable to find employment and take since the war began. After this, he plans on asking the Iraqis to devote their own money and resources to creating jobs in the private sector and to to building refineries of their own so that they may be able to create more jobs, stimulating their economy. Through this, they will be able to support themselves, thus drawing money back into our economy because we are no longer sending it overseas to pay for their economy. Obama also wants to increase diplomatic efforts so that Iraqis can build a government that everyone in the country can be proud of and so that the situation can be more stable. He hopes that as the pressure becomes greater on the Iraqi leaders to take responsibility for themselves and their people that as we withdraw troops, they will be able to remain strong and maintain order.
Okay....so I know that there are a ton more issues that I could cover, but this blog has already become a lot longer than I originally intended it to be. What it all boils down to is this, in many cases, the candidates agree on where something needs to be changed; however, the way they are choosing to change it is different. Voters need to make an informed decision. I call on all my fellow Republicrats to do your homework and make that informed decision when you vote. Don't listen to all the stupid propoganda (when they bash eachother, its usually something taken out of context and has been twisted so much there is maybe only 1 drop of truth left, if that...ie Palin is a CRAZY Conservative, Obama won't salute the flag, John McCain is a flipflopper, Joe Biden is...well you get the picture...) I hope this was helpful. I tried not be be biased or leave anything out (like I said, I still am sitting on the fence with this one...) However, I feel like I can make a decision when I go out on Nov. 4th to vote and that I won't feel guilty about it. Don't just choose to like a candidate because they are a republican or a democrat...choose to like them because their ideas for where our country needs to be match more closely with your own. Its okay to "break the political mold" that has been set up by your family...you may end up glad that you did... Fence sitters and people who like to stand in the middle of the political spectrum unite! Stand up for what you believe in personally and let your voice be heard!