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Presidential candidates' economic policies share common goal

Published: Monday, November 5, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 02:11

The economic policies of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney were guaranteed discussions in the presidential debates and have proven to be a pressing issue in the presidential race.

In response to the need to increase jobs, Obama supports an insourcing policy that would provide incentives in America by eliminating tax breaks for companies outsourcing jobs to other countries, according to his campaign website.

Romney stresses retraining American workers to help them obtain skills needed for job opportunities in the modern economy and attracting the best and the brightest workforce from around the world, according to his campaign website.

Lori Taylor, associate professor at the Bush School with a doctorate in economics, said Obama and Romney line up in regard to boosting manufacturing and increasing jobs.

She said Romney is in favor of cutting taxes and regulations to encourage business growth and that his plan seeks to increase trade, energy production, human capital and labor flexibility.

Obama supported bailouts of automobile companies back in 2009. Romney took a different stance by proposing that those companies go through a managed bankruptcy to avoid costs incurred by labor contracts with the United Auto Workers Union. According to his website, Romney is against stimulus spending by the federal government because he believes it adds to the federal debt.

Taylor said bailouts might not work in the long run for the economy.

“The assistance provided to auto manufacturers was instrumental in helping them to avoid bankruptcy, but was also problematic because it changed the incentives for businesses in the future,” Taylor said. “Firms — particularly firms with large unions — may now take on more risk because they expect the government to bail them out in the future. If firms believe that they are too big to fail, either banking or manufacturing companies, then they are prone to bad decision-making. Bailing them out may be attractive in the short run, but it can lead to bigger problems in the long run.”

Clean and Green Energy
Obama has backed clean energy projects by providing tax credits to companies that support clean energy manufacturing. Romney wants to empower the states to control on-shore energy development on the land within their borders and also recommends opening more offshore areas for energy development.

Romney endorses an open-market strategy, creating a level playing field for free trade which works in favor of the country. He says minimizing barriers in cross-border commerce will increase economic growth and that this strategy will open up markets for American goods and services and create jobs.

Obama’s plan is to assist American workers and businesses in the global marketplace by attacking unfair trade practices to create a level playing field.

“Most economists agree that free trade is good for the economy, but not necessarily because it creates jobs,” Taylor said. “Free trade is good because it allows domestic consumers to pay lower prices for imported goods and allows domestic firms to access new customers overseas. Free trade can lead to job losses in some domestic industries, but the gains to consumers more than offset the losses to the firms.”

Adam Myers, senior lecturer at Mays Business School, said the predominant motivation of people who chose to come to America was to pursue enough wealth to attain "happiness." The Declaration of Independence does not state happiness as a right. It states that the “pursuit of happiness” is a fundamental and "unalienable" right.

“Some politicians believe the role of government is to facilitate the pursuit of happiness by protecting and helping citizens who engage in such pursuit. This concept is codified in the state law governing corporations, which declares the paramount purpose of a corporation is to increase the wealth of its owners,” Myers said. “Some politicians also believe this concept is best implemented by government policies promoting competition resulting in survival of the fittest.”

Clay Martin, junior biology major, said he would like to see the candidate with the more effective policy for creating more jobs win the election.

“The economic policy should benefit the common men and should not only appeal to the wealthy,” Martin said. “[The] unemployment rate needs to be cut back in the long run for better job prospects for students.”


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