What are Obama's and Romney's plans for the next four years?
President Obama and Mitt Romney have participated in three debates, held hundreds of campaign events and fundraisers and aired dozens of political ads, and through all of that, they have spoken thousands upon thousands of words over the course of the campaign. Sifting through attacks, platitudes and snappy slogans completely unrelated to their policy proposals turns up indications of what each has promised if elected on Nov. 6.
Below, we've pulled together, in their own words, their plans on six major issues facing the nation.
In a new "blueprint" released by the Obama campaign Tuesday, which is a compilation of the president's policies he has either said on the campaign trail or during the debates, he promised continued investment in education by hiring "100,000 math and science teachers." He prioritized investment in energy (explained below) and manufacturing, an industry where he promises to create 1 million jobs by creating "a new network of 15 to 20 manufacturing innovation institutes...to ensure the next generation of products are invented and manufactured here."
Obama mocks Romney for "sketchy" jobs plan, "binders full of women"
In addition, he promised "two million workers for good jobs that actually exist through partnerships between businesses and community colleges" and an increase in jobs by "taking on China's unfair trade practices through a new trade enforcement unit to level the playing field."
Finally, direct job creation would come from funds saved from ending the war in Afghanistan, which the Congressional Research Service estimated in 2011 would cost another $500 billion through 2021. He said he would put "Americans back to work rebuilding roads, bridges, runways and schools here in the United States."
Instead of federal job training programs, Romney would give federal funds to states to "fashion the programs to meet the needs of their own workers." Another element of his job training plan, as mentioned during a campaign speech in Bedford Heights, Ohio, on Sept. 26, is to create "re-employment accounts, where a person has an account they can use to get the training they feel they need for the job of their future."
Romney has repeatedly said he would create 12 million jobs over the next four years. Up to 4 million would be in the energy sector, according to his plan detailed in an Abingdon, Va., speech on Oct. 5. "It's been calculated that if we're really serious about energy, really take advantage of the energy resources we have, that you're going to create some 3.5 to 4 million jobs."
Romney offered a series of jobs-related executive orders he would implement "on day one" to spur job creation. One is to direct the Treasury Department to "list China as a currency manipulator." He also said in Wisconsin on March 31 that he would direct "all agencies to immediately initiate the elimination of Obama-era regulations...and then cap annual increase in regulations at zero dollars."
Taxes have been at the center of the debate as Mr. Obama charges Romney with wanting to raise taxes on the middle class and Romney charging the president with being interested only in raising taxes.
The president's position on taxes has been consistent. "I have said that for incomes over $250,000 a year, that we should go back to the rates that we had when Bill Clinton was president," Mr. Obama said during the first presidential debate on Oct. 3 in Denver. Tax rates during the Clinton administration tapped out for high-income earners at 39.6 percent, which was lowered to 35 percent with the Bush-era tax cuts passed in 2001 and extended in 2011. The president reiterated in his "Blueprint for America" that he would extend the middle-class tax cuts.
As a job creation measure to boost the manufacturing sector, Mr. Obama said he would cut "tax rates on domestic manufacturers" and end "tax deductions for companies shipping jobs overseas."
Romney has advocated tax reform that includes lowering rates across the board by 20 percent. In an Oct. 9 interview on CNN, Romney said he would make up for lost revenue of lowering rates "with additional growth and with putting a limit on deductions and exemptions, particularly for people at the high end."
Second presidential debate: Taxes
Until broad tax reform makes it way through Congress, Romney told Radio Iowa on July 10 that the current tax code should be extended "over a sufficiently long period for us to put in place a restructuring of our entire tax code." He was referring to an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts that are one component of the looming fiscal cliff economists warn about.
As for corporate taxes, the candidates' positions differ little. "Governor Romney and I both agree that our corporate tax rate is too high, so I want to lower it, particularly for manufacturing, taking it down to 25 percent," Mr. Obama said during the Oct. 3 debate in Denver. Romney did not object to that statement.
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