Not Clearly Pro or Con

A different economic approach vs. McCain's 4 more years

Q. The GOP is arguing already that you want to increase capital gains taxes on investments and stocks: A lot of middle-class people have those kinds of accounts.

A: "If they have a 401(k), then they are going to see those taxes deferred, and they're going to pay ordinary income when they finally cash out. So, that's a phony argument. You know, as I travel around the country, what I'm absolutely convinced of is that people recognize that if only 1% of the population is doing well, when we've got wage and incomes for the average worker actually going down during a period of economic expansion, much less economic recession, that something's being mismanaged. And they want a different approach. And that's what we're going to be offering them. John McCain is essentially offering four more years of the same policies that got us into this rut that we're in now.”


Can't do anything at home with $12 billion a month on Iraq

“The fact that we're spending $12 billion every month in Iraq means that we can't engage in the kind of infrastructure improvements that are going to make us more competitive, we can't deliver on the kinds of health care reforms that Hilary Clinton and I are looking for. McCain is willing to have these troops over there for 100 years. The notion that we would sustain that kind of effort and neglect not only making us more secure here at home, more competitive here at home, allow our economy to sink.”


Protect consumers with Credit Card Bill of Rights

  • Create a Credit Card Rating System to Improve Disclosure: Provide consumers an easily identifiable 1-star to 5-star ranking of credit cards, based on the card's features. Credit card companies will be required to display the rating on all application and contract materials.

  • Establish a Credit Card Bill of Rights to Protect Consumers: Obama will create a Credit Card Bill of Rights to protect consumers. The Obama plan will:

    • Ban Unilateral Changes

    • Apply Interest Rate Increases Only to Future Debt

    • Prohibit Interest on Fees

    • Prohibit "Universal Defaults"

    • Require Prompt and Fair Crediting of Cardholder Payments

  • Cap Outlandish Interest Rates on Payday Loans and Improve Disclosure: Obama supports extending a 36% interest cap to all Americans. Obama will require lenders to provide clear and simplified information about loan fees, payments and penalties, and he'll require them to provide this information during the application process.


"Is outsourcing jobs to other countries good for America?"

"The No. 1 priority is jobs and job loss and that is something that is hitting communities downstate as well as here in Chicago. Everywhere I go people are out of work or they are insecure with the jobs that they have. The whole issue of outsourcing is enormously important. Not only are blue collar jobs being exported now, but you have got white collar jobs going to India and Singapore, and so people feel enormous economic insecurity and that has to be priority No. 1."

Public Affairs with Cliff Kelly, interview on WVON, 1450 AM, Chicago, IL, Feb. 27, 2004


More accountability in subprime mortgages

  • Ensure More Accountability in the Subprime Mortgage Industry: Obama introduced comprehensive legislation over a year ago to protect consumers against abusive lending practices. Obama's STOP FRAUD Act provides the first federal definition of mortgage fraud, increases funding for law enforcement, and creates new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud.

  • Create a Universal Mortgage Credit: Obama will create a 10% universal mortgage credit to provide tax relief to homeowners who do not itemize. This credit will provide an average of $500 to 10 million homeowners, the majority of whom earn less than $50,000 per year.

  • Mandate Accurate Loan Disclosure: Obama will create a Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit (HOME) score, which will provide potential borrowers with a simplified, standardized borrower metric (similar to APR) for home mortgages. The HOME score will allow individuals to easily compare various mortgage products and understand the full cost of the loan.

Source: Campaign booklet, "Blueprint for Change", p. 10-15 Feb 2, 2008


Bush stimulus plan leaves out seniors & unemployed

We heard the President say he has a stimulus plan to boost our economy, but we know his plan leaves out seniors and fails to expand unemployment insurance, and we know it was George Bush's Washington that let the banks and financial institutions run amok, and take our economy down this dangerous road. What we need to do now is put more money in the pockets of workers and seniors, and expand unemployment insurance for more people and more time. And I have a plan that to do just that.

Source: Response to 2008 State of the Union address Jan 28, 2008


Lack of an energy policy is a financial burden

Part of the reason that Kuwait and others are able to come in and purchase, or at least bail out, some of our financial institutions is because we don't have an energy policy. We are sending close to a billion dollars a day. A realistic plan is going to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and to invest in solar & wind & biodiesel. That would make a substantial difference in our balance of payments, and that would make a substantial difference in terms of their capacity to purchase our assets.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 15, 2008


Release people in bankruptcy due to health care problems

We have to release people who are in bankruptcy as a consequence of health care. We've got to give them a break.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 15, 2008


Save $150 billion in tax cuts for people who don't need them

Every proposal I've put forward during this campaign we have paid for, and we have specified where that money is going to come from. Let's just look at our tax code because it's a great example of how we could provide relief to ordinary citizens who are struggling to get by. Right now we've got a whole host of corporate loopholes and tax havens. There's a building in the Cayman Islands that houses supposedly 12,000 US-based corporations. That's either the biggest building in the world or the biggest tax scam in the world, and we know which one it is. If we close some of those loopholes, we've put forward tax relief plans, that will not only restore fairness to our tax code, but it also puts money into the pockets of hard-working Americans who need it right now, who will spend it, and will actually improve our economic growth over time, particularly at a time when we're seeing a credit crunch. But it requires leadership from the White House that restores that sense that we're all in this together.

Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate Dec 13, 2007


Supports federal programs to protect rural economy

Our rural communities are the backbone of Illinois. Yet, factories have closed, jobs have disappeared, and homes and farms have been foreclosed upon. Effective federal programs are necessary to protect the rural economy.

Source: Campaign website, ObamaForIllinois.com, ?On The Issues? May 2, 2004




Pro/Con/Not Clear

Can't pass trillions of dollars of debt to our children

Government has grown by 60 percent in the last eight years, because the Congress and this administration have failed to meet their responsibilities. Next year, total federal expenditures are predicted to reach over $3 trillion. That is an awful lot for us to be spending when this nation is already more than $9 trillion in debt--or more than $30,000 in debt for every citizen. That's a debt our government plans to leave for your children and mine to bear. That is a failure not only of financial foresight, but of moral obligation. It won't be today's politicians who suffer the consequences. It will be American workers and their children who are left with worthless promises and trillion-dollar debts. We cannot let that happen. I'll order a top-to-bottom review of every federal program, department, and agency. We're going to demand accountability. We're going to make sure failed programs are not rewarded and that discretionary spending is going to essential priorities.

Source: McCain-Obama speeches at 99th NAACP Convention Jul 12, 2008


"Is outsourcing jobs to other countries good for America?"

Pro: "Globalization is here to stay. That is not something to fear. It is an opportunity to be seized. But globalization will not automatically benefit every American.

Change is hard, and while most of us gain, some industries, companies and workers are forced to struggle with very difficult choices. It wasn't government's job to spend millions to save buggy whip factories and haberdashers when cars replaced carriages and men stopped wearing hats. But it is government's job to help workers get the education and training they need for the new jobs that will be created by new businesses in this new century...

Older workers can use their experience and work ethic to adapt to the challenges of the next job, but often the starting pay of the next job doesn't measure up. We should give these displaced workers who move to a new job a few years of supplement to their earnings so that the impact of their economic dislocation is not so severe. They will be less resistant to taking a lower paying job and we will all benefit from having their experience back on the job.

I have always believed that before I can win someone's vote, I have to win their respect. And to do that I have to be honest with you. So here's a little straight talk I know the people of Michigan will understand. Some jobs that have left Michigan are not coming back. And the answer to that isn't to raise false hopes that somehow we can bring back lost jobs but to create new ones."

"Remarks To Americans For Prosperity Michigan Summit," John McCain's official campaign website, Jan. 12, 2008


Key is to not to bail out homeowners who speculated

Q: You gave a speech recently in which you said, "It's not the duty of government to bail out & reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they're big banks or small borrowers." What would you do to help the thousands of Americans who right now are in the process of losing their homes? Or do you feel, as you said in your speech, that's not the duty of government?

A: Look, Americans are hurting right now. They don't know if they have to get another job. The challenges are enormous right now. The key to it is not to bail out people who speculated or people who engaged in unsavory practices. The key to it is get the lender and the borrower together. We know how hard that is because of identifying the lender, but there's ways to do it. Of course there's a role for government, but it's not to reward greedy speculators. It is not to reward people who misbehave. And it certainly isn't a huge expenditure of taxpayers' dollars which, in the long run, could exacerbate the problems that exist

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2008 "Choosing the President" interviews Apr 6, 2008


I'm well-versed in economics; I was at the Reagan Revolution

Q: Is it a problem for your campaign that the economy is now the most important issue, one that, by your own acknowledgement, you are not well versed on?

A: Actually, I don't know where you got that quote from. I'm very well versed in economics. I was there at the Reagan Revolution. I was there just after we enacted the first tax cuts and the restraints on spending. I was chairman of the Commerce Committee in the Senate, which addresses virtually every major economic issue that affects the US. I'm very well versed on economics. That's why I have a strong team around me that respect my views and my vision. And that's why The Wall Street Journal, in a survey of economists recently, that the majority of economists thought that I could handle the nation's economy best. And I have been a consistent fighter to restrain spending and to cut taxes. And my credentials & my experience & my knowledge of these economic issues, I think, are extensive. And I would match them against anybody who's running.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008



Will be able to reduce war costs & have a stable Middle East

Q: You would leave troops in Iraq for an indefinite period. How will you do this, both militarily & economically?

A: I know of no military leader, including Gen. Petraeus, who says we can't sustain our effort in Iraq. So you're wrong. The fact is, we are succeeding in Iraq. We're going back down to previous levels, and we will be able to withdraw troops over time if we succeed. We have American troops all over the world today & nobody complains about it because we're defending freedom That's one of the obligations of being the world's superpower. I'm proud to adopt the strategy that is succeeding, and that's happened. I'm the only one that said that. It is succeeding. We will be able to reduce our costs, and we will be able to have a stable Middle East, where our vital national interests, national security interests are at stake. I'm so proud of the job that the men and women in the military are doing there, and they don't want us to raise the white flag of surrender.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008


Republicans have forgotten how to control spending

Q: Have Republicans forgotten how to control spending?

A: Absolutely. We let spending lurch completely out of control. As President of the United States, I'd take an old veto pen that Ronald Reagan gave me, and I'd veto every single pork barrel bill that comes across my desk. And we've got to stop it and stop it now. I look forward to it.

Source: 2007 GOP YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida Nov 28, 2007