It’s All About the Issues: First Installment

 True Tax Cuts for the Middle Class

According to independent tax analysis, individuals and families who earn less than $112,000 per year would get a bigger tax break under Obama than under McCain. Those who earn less than $66,000 would see a substantially significant break under Obama. Neither Obama nor McCain will raise taxes for individuals or families who earn less than $227,000.

Affordable Health Care for All

Obama’s health care plan first seeks to lower costs through marketplace efficiencies, then takes the coverage offered to members of congress and makes it available to every American at competitive prices. People who cannot afford it (based on their annual income) will qualify for discounted or free coverage. Americans may choose between their existing private insurance, or coverage provided by the federal government. Children are required to be covered, regardless of how or where. Obama’s health care plan will cost $40 to $50 billion dollars a year.

By contrast, McCain’s plan includes three main points: provide a tax credit of $2,500 to individuals and $5,000 to families to offset medical costs, use the power of marketplace competition to reduce costs, and work with the governor of each state to address its uninsured citizens.

Obama’s plan is better for three reasons. First, Obama offers coverage while McCain offers a tax credit. The federal government already pays $48 billion per year in uncompensated care to the uninsured who cannot be legally turned away from emergency room care, so giving away money in tax credits only adds to the amount of federal money spent on health care. Second, McCain pushes the problem of the nearly 50 million uninsured Americans to the states, and there’s no evidence that the states are prepared to offer a solution. Third, both campaigns offer dozens of small fixes that seek to reduce health care costs through market efficiencies and competition – but without comprehensive coverage, McCain fails to address the biggest federal expense: uncompensated care. If you don’t have insurance, lower health care costs are irrelevant.

Quality Public Education for Every Child – Not Just the Squeaky Wheels

McCain’s support of school choice will circumvent the problem by offering individual relief to “squeaky wheel parents” who apply for transfers. A better solution is to fix the entire school through the mandatory reforms established in No Child Left Behind – a federal law that has given schools a relatively short period of time to reform, but isn’t afraid to show its teeth once the period has elapsed. Our government cannot simultaneously support two national school systems: one failing and one flourishing. We must follow through on our promise that all children must attend successful schools.

An Energy Plan with Real Results

While McCain continues to suggest that he wants an “all of the above” approach to energy reform, he has invested an enormous amount of political capital into drilling as the cornerstone of his reform plan. Although politically popular (with two-thirds of all Americans supporting it), there is no evidence that lifting the ban will offer relief within the next two decades. Even the Department of Energy “projected last year that with the ban in place until 2012, new drilling would produce only 7% more oil in 2030, and the impact on oil prices would be “insignificant.”

To emphasize the minimal impact that offshore drilling would have, Obama made mention of an equally effective means of saving money at the pump: inflate your tires. While this backfired politically, it does illustrate how little offshore drilling would affect Americans. Estimates range from about 2 to 10 cents a gallon in approximately 7-10 years. By contrast, inflating your tires will save you the same amount of money immediately.

The mantra “drill, baby, drill” was a ubiquitous chant in nearly every major speech given at the RNC, and McCain uses offshore drilling as a rallying point to energize the masses on a daily basis.

I seriously question why the offshore drilling battle is so important to McCain.


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