Monday, November 03, 2008

Presidential Candidates on the Issues

In anticipation of General Election Day on Tuesday, November 4, 2008, The Wall Street Journal published an article, entitled "Obama vs. McCain: It's About Your Money" (10/26/08) by Shelly Banjo, who compared the positions of the two major party candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, on "money" issues, many of which are key concerns of seniors:

  • Short-Term Economic Relief
  • Income Taxes
  • Estate Taxes and AMT
  • Health Care
  • Investments
  • Retirement & Social Security
As to Estate Taxes and the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax), the article summarized the positions of the two senators seeking the Presidency:

Both candidates support extending the Alternative Minimum Tax's 2007 "patch" exemption levels and index for inflation, and changing the federal estate-tax law to make the $2 million per-person exemption ($3.5 million next year) portable or transferable from one spouse to another.

Sen. Obama wants to freeze the 2009 estate-tax structure, which taxes roughly 0.3% of estates -- those valued above $3.5 million per person -- at a top rate of 45%. According to Deloitte Tax, a $5 million estate would pay a tax of $675,000 under this plan.

Sen. McCain has proposed a 15% estate tax (down from the current 45%) on roughly 0.2% of estates, those valued at more than $5 million per person. A $5 million estate would pay nothing under this plan, Deloitte Tax notes. * * *

In "The Election Choice: Taxes" (10/25/08), also posted by the WSJ, it was noted that "[t]he difference between candidates is the widest it's been in over two decades."

"The Obama and McCain Tax Plans: How Do They Compare?" (10/15/08), by W. Beach, K. Campbell, R. Hederman, Jr. & G. Nell, posted by The Heritage Foundation, compared, in a general, summary fashion, the candidates' positions on federal taxation.

Far more detail on this topic was provided in "2008 Presidential Candidates' Tax Proposals," posted by the Tax Policy Center, of the Urban Institute and Brooks Institute, which offered the "latest analysis of the presidential candidates' tax plans (including effects on representative taxpayers and distributional tables)."

Here are some links provided by the TPC:

Your Money: McCain vs. Obama" (updated 10/29/08), posted by CNN/Money, provided a "detailed guide to the economic issues that matter most to voters in the 2008 presidential election," including:
"Obama, McCain on the issues" (08/28/08), posted by The International Herald Tribune, summarized the candidates' positions on a different listing of issues: Abortion, Afghanistan, Cuba, Death Penalty, Education, Energy, Gay Marriage, Global Warming, Gun Control, Health Care, Housing, Immigration, Iran, Iraq, Social Security, Stem Cell Research, Taxes, and Trade.

If you wish to view any of the candidates' positions, as stated on their own websites, on the issues developed during their campaigns, see:

Research their positions to your satisfaction, then vote. Certainly, vote.

Voting is a civic sacrament.

-- Theodore Hesburgh

(American Clergyman, University President)