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Editorial: Obama Best Positioned To Lead Country

This story was written by Editorial Board, Central Florida Future
In the relatively short history of the United States, there have been few times when the future of our country was uncertain.During the Civil War, Americans killed one another for partisan issues that we still fight about today. During the Great Depression it looked like the country would never return from the economic collapse it suffered. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, we stood toe-to-toe with the second greatest superpower in the world, and at the brink of complete nuclear annihilation we risked it all.Those were times when Americans lived their lives day by day, because no one knew what the future held or if there would even be an America the following day.Fast forward to 2008, where we once again find ourselves in a similar situation where the long-term outlook of this once great nation is in jeopardy.Not only do we face one of the aforementioned crises, we unfortunately face all three. The U.S. is embroiled in a war that does not seem to have a favorable outcome. We are in the worst recession since the 1930s.And to top it off, America faces a potential nuclear threat from countries like North Korea and Iran. So in eight short years, we've managed to amass the equivalent of 100 years' worth of problems, with no foreseeable solutions in sight. We have to genuinely agree with Donald Trump when he said that George W. Bush has been the worst president in the history of the United States.Given the current state of affairs, the next president will face an unprecedented challenge in saving this country from its impending fate. He will have to put an end to an extremely unpopular war and pull not only the American economy, but also the global economy out of a crisis that has the potential to cause another Great Depression. He will also have to diplomatically negotiate a peace treaty with the leaders of hostile nations to ensure the continued security of the United States and its interests and allies.We have broken down the issues and presented both candidates' plans on each topic for a clear comparison between the two campaigns.The economyThe American financial market has succumbed to decades of Republican deregulatory policies, which have allowed corporations to run wild with risky lending and exorbitant pay packages.McCain recalls his Senatorial days in the 1980s by saying that he was a proud "foot soldier in the Reagan revolution."Unfortunately, that revolution only led us to a savings and loan crisis similar to the one we find ourselves in now, where the treasury had to once again bail out banks that had been allowed free rein on the American public.Sen. Barack Obama wants to fix the budget crisis by eliminating special-interest tax credits, closing corporate-tax loopholes, and restoring the PAYGO policy that prohibits increases in federal spending without the means to pay for it. This will ensure that the budget is balanced and that we do not continue to borrow money from foreign interests.Obama proposes extending tax cuts for low and middle-income families, while returning tax rates to their pre-Bush administration levels for individuals earning more than $200,000 or couples earning more than $250,000. According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, this plan would increase the national debt by $3.5 trillion over 10 years.McCain's solution to any and all economic questions is to "eliminate pork-barrel spending," which accounts for less than 1 percent of the $3 trillion overall budget.McCain believes that lower taxes will stimulate the economy and that the current deficit owes more to overspending than to tax cuts. McCain says he plans to balance the budget by the end of his first term, but how would that be possible without spending cuts? The across-the-board spending freeze that McCain has proposed will cripple growing programs like renewable energy research and early childhood education, and will not create a permanent solution to he mushrooming deficit. According to the Tax Policy Center, McCain's tax plans would increase the national debt by nearly $5 trillion in 10 years, a nearly 50 percent increase.EducationObama's American Opportunity Tax Credit promises to make college affordable to everyone who wants to attend.The universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free, and will cover 66 percent of the cost of tuition at the average public university and make community college tuition free for most students. In essence, it is similar to the Bright Futures program, except it is not merit based and will be implemented nationwide. The real benefit to the community is that recipients of the credit be required to perform 100 hours of community service.Both candidates intend to simplify the Federal Financial Aid system. Obama and Biden will streamline the financial aid process by eliminating the current federal financial aid application and enabling families to apply simply by checking a box on their tax form.McCain wants to consolidate the different programs, which will help simplify the administration of the programs overall. The two plans should undoubtedly help more students have a better understanding of their eligibility for financial aid.McCain has proposed an expansion of the lender-of-last resort capability of the federal student loan system and will demand the highest standard of integrity for private lenders.The only problem with that is his strong support for deregulation would undermine the ability of students to be able to get unbiased and straightforward information because as we have seen in the past, banks often collude with school administrations which results in problematic marketing techniques such as "preferred lender lists."Obama realizes that the way to make the U.S. more competitive on a global scale is through education. He plans to have a 50 percent increase in students in or college-level classes nationwide by 2016.Energy and environmentEnergy independence and environmental protection are issues that tie in with many other issues such as economy and national security.While Sen. McCain continues to push for his infamous "drill, baby drill" stance on energy policy, Sen. Obama has come up with a new plan to free the United States from its addiction to foreign oil.Obama's plan is to spend $15 billion a year over the next 10 years to stimulate private research and development of clean energy alternatives. By 2015, Obama wants more than 1 million plug-in hybrid cars on the road, and he wants most of them to be made in America. He also wants to implement a nationwide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.McCain's plan is to commit $2 billion annually to clean coal technology. While this is not necessarily a step in the wrong direction, it is a step in an unnecessary direction because we have energy resources like solar and wind, which require no mining or environmental hazard of any kind. Although Obama also supports clean-coal technology, McCain's plan is to put coal and nuclear power at the forefront of his energy independence policy, while putting cleaner and safer technologies on the back burner as a low priority. These issues are too important to risk not investing the needed amount of time and money that will ensure our energy needs will be met in the future.The candidates themselvesContrary to previous elections, the supreme majority of the academic world supports the democratic ticket. According to the Chronicle for Higher Education, many donors and political scholars say Obama has become the heavy favorite among academe for two key reasons.First, many college faculty are bitter and frustrated with President Bush and the Republican administration's record on such issues as the war in Iraq, international relations, and government surveillance of private citizens. Their dissatisfaction contributes to a desire among many educators o put a new political party in the White House.The other reason is the issue that we are adamant about - intelligence. It's been far too long since we have had a true scholar in the Oval Office. President Bill Clinton was a "people person" and had the street smarts, but he never grasped the book smarts that are necessary to run a well oiled machine like this country.Obama worked his way up from nothing, from a poverty-stricken family, to be at the top of his class at Harvard Law School and the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was the first black man to ever hold that prestigious position.McCain, while a decorated war hero and an experienced politician, was second from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy. His reliance on aides, strategists and lobbyists for legislative information is perturbing.We believe Obama's decision-making has been nothing short of stellar. The first major decision for both candidates was the choice of a vice presidential running mate.Obama chose Joe Biden, a 35-year veteran of the Senate and an expert in areas like foreign policy and constitutional law.McCain's choice was Sarah Palin, a two-year veteran of the Alaska governorship. The choice of a running mate clearly showed which candidate has the better judgment.McCain chose the first highly conservative white woman he could find in a desperate attempt to capture some of Hillary Clinton's disillusioned supporters. McCain's decision was purely political in nature, and the only person who would benefit from Palin was himself and his campaign.Conversely, Obama could have all but closed the deal and strolled into the oval office with the "dream ticket" by choosing Hillary Clinton, but instead he chose the candidate who would best represent the American people. Joe Biden's significant experience put to rest any doubts about Obama's comparatively thin resume and let voters rest assured that Obama literally put his country first.Comedian Chris Rock was a guest on Larry King Live recently, and when asked about his views on the election, he expressed a profoundly logical argument for why he was going to vote for Barack Obama.Rock said, "I'm proud Barack Obama's running for president. If it was Flavor Flav would I be proud? No. I don't support Barack Obama because he's black. The choice is you got a guy that's worth $150 million with 12 houses against a guy who's worth a million dollars with one house. The guy with one house really cares about losing a house, because he is homeless. The other guy can lose five houses and still got a bunch of houses."We're supporting "that one," who only has one house, who actually worked his way to the top and experiences the same struggles and frustrations as the rest of us. We enthusiastically support Sen. Barack Obama for president of the United States of America.