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OBAMA AND MCCAIN: THE ISSUES

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Obama and McCain on Health Care
By: David Phillips
September 1, 2008

Presidential hopefuls Obama and McCain have both talked about health care while stumping across America. I will try and point out the central themes of both candidates on this issue so you can decide which one is better for you and your family. 

There are currently 47 million Americans who do not have any health care right now, and in 2007 according to our government, 89 million Americans went without health care for all or part of that year. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said that by 2012, 150 million Americans will no longer be able to afford the costs of health care.

Both candidates agree that rising health care costs must be reigned in, but how. The difference between Obama’s plan and McCain’s plan are like Night and Day, so which plan is best?

Obama wants to provide health care for every American citizen

Universal Health care is currently given in every western industrialized nation on earth, except one nation, the United States of America.

Senator Obama’s health plan will NOT require you, your family or anyone else to change the health plans that you currently have. In fact if you are happy with your plans nothing will change for you or your families.

Obama will make available a new national health plan to all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, to buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress.

Senator Obama’s plan will include:

Guaranteed eligibility: No American will be turned away from any insurance plan because of illness or pre-existing conditions.

Comprehensive benefits: The benefit package will be similar to that offered through Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the plan members of Congress have. The plan will cover all essential medical services, including preventive, maternity and mental health care.

Subsidies: Individuals and families who do not qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP but still need financial assistance will receive an income-related federal subsidy to buy into the new public plan or purchase a private health care plan.

Easy enrollment: The new public plan will be simple to enroll in and provide ready access to coverage.

Portability and choice: Participants in the new public plan and the National Health Insurance Exchange will be able to move from job to job without changing or jeopardizing their health care coverage.

Support for Small Businesses: Barack Obama will create a Small Business Health Tax Credit to provide small businesses with a refundable tax credit of up to 50 percent on premiums paid by small businesses on behalf of their employees. This new credit will provide a strong incentive to small businesses to offer high quality health care to their workers and help improve the competitiveness of America’s small businesses.

McCain wants the Free Market to control health care costs

McCain wants to keep the so-called free market in health care as it is an offer up a health care tax break for every American citizen. McCain says he will give a family of four up to a $5000.00 tax credit, and allow employees to shop for their own health care. McCain will remove employers cost of health care which will increase profits for business’s.

But, the average cost in 2008 to insure a family of four is approx. $15,000 dollars a year, which McCain says he will give back a $5000.00 dollar tax credit. This is a $10,000.00 dollar a year out of pocket increase, for a family of four.

McCain says that a free market will create competition and lower health care costs for everyone. But it is the current free market that runs health care, and it is the same free market that has driven up the costs of health care.

Senator McCain’s plan will include:

Cheaper Drugs: Lowering Drug Prices. John McCain will look to bring greater competition to our drug markets through safe re-importation of drugs and faster introduction of generic drugs.

Greater access and Convenience: Expanding Access to Health Care. Families place a high value on quickly getting simple care. Government should promote greater access through walk-in clinics in retail outlets.

Information Technology: Greater Use of Information Technology to Reduce Costs. We should promote the rapid deployment of 21st century information systems and technology that allows doctors to practice across state lines.

Both candidates have their health plans listed on their web sites, I urge everyone to read what each has to say.


David Phillips is a Vietnam Era Veteran, a Democratic Party Activist, and David is also the Publisher and Editor of the online political magazine YodasWorld.org

E-Mail Questions or Comments: oneyoda@aol.com


You can also read David’s weekly column in the Santa Ynez Valley Journal or you can go to their web site: www.Syvjournal.com

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Presidential Nominees Issue: Free Trade Agreements

By: David Phillips

July 21, 2008

 

Last week Mr. Sherline (my counterpart on the next page of the Santa Ynez Valley Journal) and I wrote about outsourcing and where the two presidential nominees stand on the subject.

 

We both felt that a follow up was needed about Free Trade Agreements.

 

What do Free Trade Agreements do for American manufactures?

 

Free trade agreements (FTAs) have proved to be one of the best ways to open up foreign markets to U.S. exporters. Today, the United States has FTAs with 14 countries. In 2006, six new FTAs were implemented: with Bahrain, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Morocco, Peru, and Nicaragua. Last year, trade with countries that the United States has FTAs was significantly greater than their relative share of the global economy. Although comprising 7.5 percent of global GDP (not including the United States), those FTA countries accounted for over 42 percent of U.S. exports. (Source: The United States International Trade Administration)

 

Many of the above trade agreements were made by President Bush without any Congressional oversight or approval. Last Year Congress passed legislation that requires any Trade Agreements worked out by President Bush must first be approved by our Congressional body before they can be enacted.

 

Trade agreements with S. Korea, Columbia and Panama are currently pending and waiting the approval of Congress.

 

In the world that we now live in, Global Trading Agreements are part of this natural development, but these trade agreements that help to provide some cheap goods are not always equal trade agreements.

 

Not all Free Trade Agreements are equal. The trade agreement with China for example has the US imposing a two percent tariff on goods China exports to the United States, but China charges a twenty percent tariff on goods that they import from the United States. This is common in most of the trade agreements the United States has made, while the import-export tariffs may differ slightly when compared to our trade with China, they are all slanted against US manufacturers.

 

Last week I told you that since 2001, 40,000 US manufacturing companies have closed their doors and that 3.5 million Americans lost their jobs in the process.

 

And a majority of U.S. Democrats have opposed most bilateral free trade agreements in recent years, contending the deals negotiated by the Bush administration are weak in requiring trading partners to address such issues as child labor, workplace discrimination and environmental degradation.

 

The Free Trade Agreements the United States enter into are often good for consumers here because we get cheap good that line the shelves at places such as WalMart, but if you’re a manufacturer or an employee for a manufacturer here in the United States, then your company or job is often in jeopardy.

 

Many trade agreements such as the recent Peru agreement will help supply our country with cheap produce, but Peru has an unemployment rate of thirty eight percent so the goods that they import from the United States will not have a very large market except for items that relate heavily on farming.

 

Senator McCain has said many times that “I am the biggest free trader you’ll ever see.” This coming from a man who has also said on many occasions that “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.”

 

Senator McCain has said that NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is working well. I guess he thinks that jobs being shipped out of the US and manufacturing companies closing are a good thing.

 

Senator Obama has at least acknowledged that NAFTA has not worked out the way it was intended and has said that he would redress NAFTA and all other Free Trade Agreements so that they are more Equal Trade Agreements.

 

The economy of our country is in bad shape right now, and the last thing we need is someone like Senator McCain in the White House who admittedly acknowledges that he is weak on economics.

 

 

David Phillips is a Vietnam Era Veteran, a Democratic Party Activist, and David is also the Publisher and Editor of the online political magazine YodasWorld.org

 E-Mail Questions or Comments: oneyoda@aol.com

 

You can also read David’s weekly column in the Santa Ynez Valley Journal or you can go to their web site: www.Syvjournal.com 

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Presidential Nominees Issue: Outsourcing

By: David Phillips

July 14, 2008

 

What is outsourcing?

 

The outsourcing of U.S. jobs, often referred to as “offshoring”, while not new, has become prolific since the advent of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the Clinton Administration. The NAFTA agreement integrated Canada, the United States and Mexico.

 

Job outsourcing has moved from telemarketing jobs and manual labor jobs (The jobs Bush says Americans don’t want) to highly-skilled and managerial positions. Multinational Corporate America has been relocating the very jobs that NAFTA and the WTO announced would replace low-paying manufacturing jobs. The newest wave of job outsourcing is being exercised in accounting and financial services, computer and IT services along with telecommunications (more jobs Bush says Americans don’t want).

 

The outsourcing of jobs has affected salaries here in America by lowing wages and benefits. A 30 year old man today makes $5,000.00 dollars less (adjusted for inflation) than men made in the 1970’s.

 

From the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

 

         40,000 Manufacturing Plants Have Closed Since 2000

         One-Fifth of Manufacturing Jobs Lost Since 2000

         3.6 Million Manufacturing Jobs Lost Since January 2001

 

Senator John McCain said: "I know NAFTA was a good idea. It has created millions of jobs and it has helped the economies of all three of these nations. All you have to do is go to Detroit and see the trucks lined up every day or go to our southern border." (Des Moines Register 11/27/07)

 

At a White House press conference on 9/20/07 Bush said: "The fundamentals of our nation's economy are strong."

 

Senator John McCain said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on 4/17/08: "The fundamentals of America’s economy are strong."

 

There can be no doubt that these statements were made by men who are delusional and out of touch with the realities of American citizens.

 

One of the selling points for outsourcing American jobs to other countries besides the cheap labor is the fact that American corporations get a tax credit for each job that they take away from American citizens and recreate it in another country. 

 

Here’s how the tax credit works:

 

At issue is the U.S. tax code's treatment of profits earned by foreign subsidiaries of American corporations. Profits earned in the United States are subject to the 35% corporate tax. But multinational corporations can defer paying U.S. taxes on their overseas profits until they return them to the United States, these transfers of profits often don't happen for years or at all.

 

According to recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings; General Electric has $62 billion parked offshore, the Drug giant Pfizer $60 billion, and ExxonMobil has $56 billion.

 

Economist Jason Furman, director of The Hamilton Project in Washington, D.C."The problem is the company gets to deduct the cost of doing business right away, but they don't have to pay tax on the profits until they bring them back," says

 

So as long as the money stays out of the United States these corporations don’t have to pay one cent of tax on these earnings but get to deduct the costs immediately. So it pays to take American jobs out of the United States.

 

How could anyone embrace a tax credit that is so slanted against American workers, and still say that they support American workers is incredible.

 

Senator Barack Obama has co-sponsored legislation that would give "Patriot Employers" a tax credit equal to 1% of their taxable income if they maintain or increase the ratio of their U.S. workforce to the number of workers abroad, keep their headquarters in the USA and meet other wage, health care and pension requirements. "We can end tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and give those breaks to companies that create good jobs with decent wages here in America."

 

John McCain has said that he supports NAFTA and the Tax credits that have created the problems Americans now face with jobs, and he recently said, “I’m the biggest free trader you’ll ever see”.

 

There is so much more that needs to be said, but I am limited to space, but I will end this by saying that Free Trade agreements should all be scraped and redressed as Equal Trade agreements.

 

David Phillips is a Vietnam Era Veteran, a Democratic Party Activist, and David is also the Publisher and Editor of the online political magazine YodasWorld.org

 E-Mail Questions or Comments: oneyoda@aol.com

 

You can also read David’s weekly column in the Santa Ynez Valley Journal or you can go to their web site: www.Syvjournal.com

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Presidential Nominees, Issue: Crime

By: David Phillips

July 7, 2008

 

Crime in America has seen a small decline according to the FBI preliminary crime stats for 2007.

 

 A short recap shows that, as a whole, law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation reported a decrease of 1.4 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention in 2007 when compared with figures reported for 2006. The violent crime category includes murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The number of property crimes in the United States from January to December of 2007 decreased 2.1 percent when compared with data from the same time period in 2006. Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Arson is also a property crime, but data for arson are not included in property crime totals. Figures for 2007 indicate that arson decreased 7.0 percent in 2007 when compared to 2006 figures. (Source: The FBI)

 

So where do the Presidential nominee’s stand on the issue of Crime?

 

Senator McCain talks the talk, but he certainly doesn’t walk the walk.

 

Senator McCain voted against the 1994 Crime Bill that provided funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program and interoperable communications equipment for first responders.

 

The 1994 Crime Bill still passed in both the Senate and the House and was signed by former President Bill Clinton.

 

The COPS program provided local law enforcement funding for: hiring and training law enforcement officers; procuring equipment and support systems paying officers to perform intelligence, anti-terror, or homeland security duties; and developing new technologies, including inter-operable communications, and forensic technology. The COPS program was meant to provide an additional 100,000 police officers on the streets of America. Since 1995, COPS has put more than 118,500 new law enforcement officers on the streets.

 

2007: McCain voted to support an amendment that eliminated $1 billion for the Commerce Departments interoperability grant program and transferred the funds to the Department of Homeland Security for an uncreated interoperability grant program; and eliminates a $100 million fund for strategic reserves of communications equipment designed for deployment in event of major disaster.

2005: McCain voted against providing $1 billion for the COPS program, offset by closing corporate tax loopholes.

 

2003: McCain voted against providing $500 million for local law enforcement grants that provided money to rural law enforcement agencies to fight violent and drug-related crime.

 

Senator Obama as a State Senator for Illinois helped pass more than 150 pieces of legislation to fight crime. Most notable of those, was his legislative battles against the death penalty and against the criminal justice system in Illinois. His legislation was brought about because there were a string of exonerations of innocent people who were on death row and whose confessions were garnered through the use of torture by Chicago police. His legislation required the video taping of police interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.

 

While Obama is opposed to the Death Penalty in most cases, he is on record saying that he does support the Death Penalty in certain circumstances such as when a Police officer is killed.

 

Senator Obama in the US Senate has also been a strong supporter of efforts to increase funding and support for local law enforcement. Obama supported the reauthorization of the COPS program in the 109th Congress and also supports efforts to increase COPS funding. The COPS program added 5,800 additional police officers and sheriff’s deputies in Illinois and over $45 million in crime fighting technology assistance.

 

Bush’s FY 2005 budget proposed cutting funding for the COPS program for the fourth consecutive year, including eliminating all funding for hiring. For FY 2007, Bush proposed cutting the COPS program by another 76 percent.

 

McCain’s actions speak louder than his words, he has voted against most of the crime bills put in front of him, where as Obama, thinks more police officers on the streets would better protect the citizens.

 

It’s obvious which of these two nominee’s is stronger on crime.

 

 

David Phillips is a Vietnam Era Veteran, a Democratic Party Activist, and David is also the Publisher and Editor of the online political magazine YodasWorld.org

 E-Mail Questions or Comments: oneyoda@aol.com

 

You can also read David’s weekly column in the Santa Ynez Valley Journal or you can go to their web site: www.Syvjournal.com

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