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I for one was relieved that the debate was about the issues. People are so tired of the third grade campaigning that has plagued and defined the American politcal arena for so many years. Having to sit through all of the finger pointing while the financial markets are melting has been terrible. No wonder people are worried...our leaders can't even get together to come up with a solution without adding 'sweetner' (earmarks) to the bailout bill.
Senator Obama certainly seemed to be in his element in the 'town hall' setting. I noticed that Senator McCain & Cindy departed quickly while Senator Obama and Michelle stayed and interacted with the crowd.
For me this elections choices are like choosing what to take a ride on, the Hindenburg, or Titanic. None of them impress me. Warren
While both candidates promise to help entrepreneurs with friendly tax policies, they differ sharply on how much of the tab for employees' health insurance and other benefits they expect fledgling businesses to pick up.
· Allow small businesses first-year expensing of new equipment and technology purchases.
· Make R&D tax credit permanent, but change formula.
· Issue tax credits to allow individuals to purchase personal, portable health insurance that can move with them from job to job.
· Reduce the corporate income tax rate to 25% from 35%.
· Cut estate tax rate to 15% and increase exemption to $5 million.
"...I will pursue tax reform that supports the wage-earners and job creators who make this economy run, and help them to succeed in a global economy." -- McCain*
· Exempt investors from the capital gains tax on their investments in small businesses and startups if they made their investment when a small company was valued below a certain threshold. That threshold has yet to be defined.
· Increase the minimum wage and index the rate to inflation to ensure that it rises every year.
· Offer a 50% refundable credit for employee health insurance premiums paid by the employer.
· Require all employers to automatically enroll workers in 401(k)s or IRAs that they can pay into through payroll deductions.
· Freeze estate tax rate at 45% and increase exemption to $3.5 million.
"We'll work, at every juncture, to remove bureaucratic barriers for small and startup businesses." -- Obama**
What a presidential candidate promises -- and what actually happens during his administration -- have always been two different things. Almost all of the elements of the plans outlined in iventures' post above require the passage of legislation.
Both candidates talk about change, and I believe they both mean it sincerely. But of the 435 seats in Congress that are up for election, 392 are incumbents who are effectively running uncontested -- and of the 100 seats in the Senate, only 35 are up for election, and it is predicted that no more than 11 of those will be closely contested races. So, if 90 percent or more of the lawmakers, staffers, interests, lobbyists, etc. in Washington remain exactly the same, how much can things really change?
On many issues, the real question is not how "good" the candidate's plan or solution is, but will he be able to get legislators to support it?
In studying party platforms in presidential elections from 1944 to 1976, Presidents converted about 70 percent of their party's promises into policy. He said that track record is "pretty good," considering that about half of U.S. marriages end in divorce--a broken vow. The next president's ability to create change will also be determined in part by his personality and staff, but the most significant factor may be one that isn't yet known. Many of the notorious presidential reversals resulted from unforeseen circumstances.
When asked whether he expected the economy to get worse before it gets better, Obama said, "No, I am confident about the American economy. But we're going to have to have some leadership from Washington that ... sets out much better regulations for the financial system."