A primer on the presidential election

Shaefer Bagwell breaks down the presidential candidates’ policies and positions.

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John Buchanan/THE CHIMES

Shaefer Bagwell, Writer

Disclaimer for the reader: This is not meant to take a biased position on either side. This piece is meant to be a place where you can look for a synthesized distillation of either candidate’s positions and policies. As such, the policies described below are taken from the campaign websites. The catchphrases and sound-bites are taken word for word.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

The Economy: Under the economic leadership of the president, the United States economy has seen 31 consecutive months of job growth, with a cumulative 5.2 million private sector jobs created. The president led the bailout for the auto industry, saving more than 1 million jobs. In addition, the president has a plan for removing the tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

Taxes and Spending: The president would not raise taxes on the middle class. He advocates for the “Buffet Rule,” which would raise taxes on those households making more than 1 million dollars a year. In addition, he cut taxes in his first term, saving the average American household $3,600. Finally, the president has a plan, involving spending cuts and revenue increases, which would cut the deficit by more than 4 trillion dollars over the next decade.

Foreign Policy: The president, over the course of his first term, has effectively ended the war in Iraq. He is drawing down our troop numbers in Afghanistan, and is on track to end the war there by 2014. He has initiated several nuclear agreements, and announced an international effort to secure all unaccounted for nuclear weapons.

Social Issues: The president supported and signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which mandates equal pay for men and women doing the same work. He has worked to end discrimination in health care and expand women’s access to birth control. He is pro-choice, advocating for a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. He is also in favor of legalizing gay marriage.

GOV. MITT ROMNEY

The Economy: Gov. Mitt Romney has a five-point plan to fix the economy. He would eliminate the regulations destroying the coal industry, and approve the Keystone pipeline, which would increase America’s energy independence. He would focus on education, increasing the availability of higher education that aligns with opportunity. He would eliminate our unfair trade relationships with nations like China, and make stronger ties to South America. His plan to decrease the deficit is explained in detail below. Finally, he would champion small business, reducing tax rates on job creators.

Taxes and Spending: Romney would begin his plan to fix the U.S. tax code by making a permanent, across-the-board cut to marginal tax rates. He would cut taxes on those making less than $200,000 a year, and eliminate the Death Tax. He would also cut the corporate tax rate by 10 percent. He would also set a cap on the deficit, mandating that it would not rise above 20 percent of GDP. He would also, on day one of the Romney presidency, send a bill to Congress that would cut non-security discretionary spending by 5 percent across the board. He would also work to pass the Republican budget plan, which would reduce spending to pre-2008 levels.

Foreign Policy: Romney’s foreign policy focuses on fostering what he calls an “American Century”. He would strengthen our relationship with Israel, one of our key allies in the Middle East. He would strengthen our military, in line with his view that the U.S. is the last best hope of earth. He would maintain a friendly relationship with China, while being cognizant of the danger that nation presents.

Social Issues: Romney is opposed to discrimination in health care. He is opposed to abortion, with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. He is in favor of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. 

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