Point/Counterpoint: Debating Obama and McCain on economics

This article has been corrected. You may view this article’s correction here.

Obama

By Ben Lazarus

A week from Tuesday, Americans have a choice. It’s not between tax cuts or tax increases. It’s not between Wall Street and Main Street. The choice is between the past and the future.

For eight years it has been ideology, not common sense, that has ruled. The dogma of tax cuts has superseded any consideration of the facts. You can’t cut taxes, increase spending, fight two wars and be fiscally conservative. You can’t assume that skyrocketing CEO compensation will magically trickle down. As a nation, we are facing a very serious financial crisis. We have to solve it, not wish it away. Forget the rest for a moment. That is the fundamental reason why we need to elect Barack Obama.

The middle class drives the American economy. It is both the workforce and the consumer market. We have to invest in the middle class to get our financial situation back on track. But investment means more than tax cuts. The tax burden of Americans making less than $250,000 a year should not increase. But that’s just the start.

If we want a competitive workforce for the next century, it needs to be educated. Sen. Obama will give Americans sending their children to college a tax credit. John McCain’s plan is to “simplify existing benefits,” claiming that tuition rates are going up simply because Americans are not claiming the benefits already offered to them. In other words, do nothing.

If we want to create jobs, we need to develop new industries. Sen. Obama will invest in green technologies and set goals such as having 10 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources by 2012. We know that setting goals and investing to meet them spurs the American economy, just as the space program of the 1960s did. John McCain is still wedded to the tired, “Drill baby, drill.” We cannot drill our way to energy independence, and, even if we could, it would not create new jobs or industries.

If we want to stop getting gauged at the pump while oil companies walk away with record-setting profits, we need to institute a windfall profits tax. With that money, American families will get a $1,000 energy rebate, and it will create an incentive for companies to invest in making more affordable energy, not paying off their executives. John McCain will be the oil CEOs’ best friend since Dick Cheney.

Finally, if we want the middle class to get back on track, we need to have universal health care. We can insure the more than 45 million uninsured, and we can introduce lower healthcare costs for American small businesses that have to choose between insuring their workers and making a profit. John McCain will, for the first time ever, tax health benefits as income.

Sen. Obama believes that if we invest in our future, we can make it brighter. These policies are common-sense solutions to the problems we face. Sen. McCain looks at eight years of policy that has dug us into the hole and tells us, his friends, to keep digging.

Ben Lazarus is a junior in Berkeley College.


McCain

By Brad Galiette

The financial ­— and, indeed, economic — challenges facing our country can only be addressed by a president with the kind of experience, vision and resilience offered by Senator John McCain to lead our country out of these troubled times and toward long-term economic prosperity.

Senator McCain’s plan for the economy seeks to maintain and create good jobs at home. With companies facing decreased demand for their products and services, many firms are considering reducing their workforces in order to stay in business. John McCain realizes that the best way to prevent these potential losses is to make it more affordable for businesses to maintain domestic jobs. By reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, McCain’s plan would provide businesses of all sizes with more resources to hire and maintain workers. McCain also intends to offer American companies a 10 percent tax credit on salaries paid to employees performing research and development, a credit that would incentivize the creation of new technologies that are key to providing America with new, well-paying jobs in the 21st century. While these jobs will certainly help our economy down the road, McCain also has a framework to reduce foreclosures in our country today; his “HOME Plan” initiative seeks to help mortgage borrowers stay in their homes by working with lenders to provide affordable alternatives to at-risk homeowners.

In addition to investing at home, we also need to make sure that our government is acting with fiscal responsibly. By performing a thorough review of federal programs and annual spending, McCain has a plan to bring the U.S. budget into balance by 2013 by eliminating wasteful spending and corrupt pork-barrel projects. These efforts — along with entitlement program reform — will provide our country with a solid economic future by making sure that many trillions of dollars in additional debt are not unfairly and unwisely placed on the shoulders of today’s young people.

Much of Barack Obama’s platform will saddle future generations with enormous amounts of new debt at a time when such spending is unwise. Many of these new government programs that Obama has proposed — though very well-intended — are not likely to create sustainable, private-sector jobs in this country, all while imposing new levels of taxation that will make it more challenging for countless small businesses to achieve the level of growth that has driven our country’s economy for years.

Senator John McCain has a plan that embraces our country’s current economic realities both to effectively address the current difficulties in our financial markets and to give us the framework necessary to lead our country toward continued and increased prosperity.

Brad Galiette is a senior in Jonathan Edwards College.

Comments