Economic Issues in the 2012 Election
by The Milton Measure on Friday, November 2nd, 2012With the election days away, presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have proposed two different plans for the future of the United States economy. Each vision has its supporters among the Milton community.
If elected, Governor Romney, the Republican nominee, intends to enact what he calls a five-point plan for stabilizing the economy. His five points are North American energy independence, increased trade with Latin America, work force retraining, restraint of reckless spending, and aid to small businesses.
When asked about Romney’s plan, a Class III girl said that “restraining reckless spending is a good idea because we’ve thrown away too much money in the past four years that had no real benefit to the economy, such as wasted stimulus packages given to companies which subsequently went bankrupt,” a reference to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Act, commonly known as the stimulus and signed into law by President Obama in 2009, has been controversial since its inception. Republicans believe that it has largely been a waste of money, citing its over $800 billion price tag. But Democrats say it righted the American economy at a crucial time, citing studies from organizations like the CBO that found that the stimulus created or saved about 1 million jobs. The Class III student also believes that “helping small businesses grow will be beneficial because they are the base of the economy and, if they thrive, then everything will be well off also.”
If reelected, President Obama plans to give tax cuts to the middle class and to make healthcare more affordable. During his first term, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also commonly known as health care reform or Obamacare. The goal of the Obamacare is to decrease the amount of uninsured Americans by mandating insurance coverage, prohibiting providers from refusing those with pre-existing conditions, and beginning to reduce the overall costs of health care.
In response to health reform, Hari Patel (III) said “the provisions within the Affordable Care Act are very admirable. I definitely agree with the combo of the mandate and the pre-existing conditions coverage. It is not a full fix but begins to solve some of the health care problems facing Americans. Also, the growth in the cost of health care has slowed to its lowest rate in at least fifty years, so there is some merit to it.”
Andrea Geyling, a teacher in the history department, believes that “addressing healthcare is critical for the economic and social health of the United States.” She cited the example of General Motors, saying that “in 2007…, [GM] paid more in health care for its workers than for the cost of steel.” In other words, “about $1,525 of the cost of every vehicle pays for healthcare.”
Another issue for both candidates is the continuation of the Bush-era tax cuts. Originally passed during the presidency of George W. Bush, these cuts were later extended in 2010 by President Obama. The President wishes to continue these tax cuts for middle class families, but eliminate them for high-income families. Governor Romney, on the contrary, wants to extend these tax cuts for all earners.
“The tax cuts should be extended because when people making money don’t have to give a large cut of it back to the government, they tend to spend it within our economy,” argued a Class III girl. “This act of putting money back into the system that supports our lifestyles boosts the currently weak economy and raises the standard of the country.”
Michael Lou of the history department reasons that “the rich have lots of money…and giving them more money means more hidden away, and not necessarily more for further investment back into the economy. But when the middle class no longer has the tax cuts, then it’s a real hit on their spending power for day to day living.”
Like the nation at-large, different people in the Milton community have contrasting views on the efficiency of each candidates economic plans.
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