Editor's note: In this series comparing the positions of both major party presidential candidates on a range of issues, each candidates platform will be described using information from the candidate's themselves, mostly from the candidate's websites. A candidate's description of their opponent's position will not be used. In describing the candidate's position, The Christian Post does not attest to the facts stated as part of the position.
With the nation still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis that led to the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, most Americans tell pollsters that the economy and jobs are the most important issues in this election. Here is a summary of both candidates' positions on those issues.
Obama says he wants to "grow the economy from the middle out." By this he means that public investments should be made in programs that he believes will mostly benefit the middle class, such as education, infrastructure and job training. During the first presidential debate, he also touted developing new sources of energy and lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent for manufacturing as ways to help the economy and create jobs.
On Obama's campaign website, there is a section titled "Jobs and the Economy," which describes his position. There are four sections, "rescuing the auto industry," "reviving U.S. manufacturing," "made in America," and "making sure everyone plays by the same rules." Each section has Obama's position in one or two sentences under the word "forward," and what is described as Romney's position under the word "backward."
The "forward" descriptions mostly describe Obama's previous accomplishments. Those accomplishments include saving one million jobs by rescuing the auto industry, adding 459,000 manufacturing jobs since Jan. 2010, and passing Wall Street Reform to make sure that America will never again have to bail out big banks. The only agenda item under "jobs and the economy" for his second term is to eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
In September 2011, Obama released a jobs plan which claimed to reduce future deficits by $4.4 trillion. A 53-page report detailing this plan is available on the White House website. His current campaign plan seems to be roughly based upon that plan. The part of his plan describing taxes and the federal budget was summarized in a previous Christian Post article, "Obama vs. Romney: Taxes, Deficits and the Federal Budget."
To lower unemployment, his 2011 jobs plan included more spending on infrastructure and aid to states. It would also extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, both of which expire at the end of this year. To pay for this without adding to the deficit, Obama's jobs bill asked the super committee created by the Budget Control Act to find $470 billion in deficit reduction in addition to the $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction it was already tasked with finding. The super committee failed to reach an agreement and no longer exists.
Romney has a 156-page report (including appendices and endnotes) detailing his economic plan. This plan was first announced in early September 2011. Romney's plan is divided into six sections: taxes, regulation, trade, labor, human capital and spending.
To boost the economy and lower unemployment, Romney has mostly talked about keeping tax rates low (not letting them go up), and tax reform. He wants to keep some current tax rates, reduce others, and simplify the tax code. This was described in more detail in the Christian Post article, "Obama vs. Romney: Taxes, Deficits and the Federal Budget."
On regulation, Romney would repeal the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," and the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, reduce a number of regulations passed during the Obama administration and place limits on new regulations that add to the costs of businesses.
On trade policy, Romney would implement pending free trade agreements and pursue new trade agreements, and confront China on unfair trade practices.
On energy policy, Romney would increase energy production by streamlining the approval process for the permits required to extract natural resources, issue more permits for oil and natural gas drilling, allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built, and invest in energy research.
On labor policy, Romney would propose congressional legislation requiring secret ballots in labor union elections, end the practice of labor unions using automatic payroll deductions to fund political activities, and appoint people to the National Labor Relations Board that do not favor labor union officials.
On "human capital," Romney proposes to consolidate federal programs designed to help the unemployed, give states more flexibility in how they spend money on these programs, create "personal reemployment accounts" for the unemployed to use for a variety of options, increase immigration for high skilled workers, and offer automatic permanent residency status to anyone who graduates with an advanced degree in the United States.