WASHINGTON — The presumptive presidential nominees, Sens. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) and John McCain (R., Ariz.), have unveiled economic policy plans in recent weeks. The following is a snapshot of some of their policies.
Obama’s Economic Plan
• A second round of tax rebate checks to help families offset rising food and gasoline prices. The plan would provide $500 for an individual and $1,000 for a married couple. It would be funded by a new “windfall profits tax” on oil companies.
• A separate $50 billion stimulus package, $25 billion of which would be dedicated to a “Jobs and Growth Fund” to boost the highway trust fund, prevent cutbacks in road and bridge maintenance, and preserve one million jobs.
• Eliminate President Bush’s tax cuts for those with incomes above $250,000.
• Require most employers to provide health care to workers or pay into a national health care plan.
• Increase the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011 and index it to inflation. The minimum wage already is set to increase to $7.25 on July 24, 2009.
• Scrutinize existing trade deals, require stronger enforcement against countries’ illegal trade practices, including currency manipulation — a charge levied largely at China — and reassess the North American Free Trade Agreement. Oppose pending free trade deals with Colombia and South Korea. Support an expansion and reform of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program that gives aid to workers who lose their jobs because of international trade.
McCain’s Economic Plan
• Make permanent Bush’s tax cuts that expire in 2010.
• Major cuts in federal spending programs. Would have a one-year spending pause — freeze non-defense, non-veteran discretionary spending for a year and use those savings for deficit reduction.
• Reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent to “encourage companies not to go overseas.”
• Allow first-year deduction or “expensing” of equipment and technology investments.
• Establish permanent tax credit to 10 percent of wages spent on research and development.
• Reduce the estate tax to 15 percent and permit a $10 million exemption.
• Provide refundable tax credits of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families if they buy health insurance.
• Promote an aggressive free trade agenda. Support pending trade deals with Colombia and South Korea and oppose barriers to imports in the U.S. market. Support an expansion and overhaul of the federal program aiding workers who lose their jobs because of trade.