The Rundown: Obama, Romney and the issues

By Hilary Ribons, Staff Writer
@hilaryalexisr

It’s almost election time. And with a few televised political debates under our belts, it’s time to start considering who we are going to vote for.

Though it’s truly entertaining to watch two politicians verbally duke it out, I was left at the end of the debates still seriously wondering what each candidate’s stance was on some key issues.

Even after watching the debate, it’s easy to be confused as to where both presidential candidates really stand. In an effort to fully understand the candidates, I looked up their stances on some key issues and put them side by side for an easy comparison. Most of the information below was pulled from their websites, which are obviously not objective, but still state their stances. The information that I got was my understanding of each candidate’s stance, and hopefully will help you on your way to looking over the policies that the candidates are endorsing.

Remember, we are voting into office the president who will be making decisions that shape the same country that we’re graduating into soon. Hopefully my preliminary research, complete with a few websites I found helpful, will inspire you to vote as a truly informed citizen.

Obama

Romney

Education 

- Placed a cap on federal student loan repayments at 10 percent of income
- Offer incentives to keep qualified, successful teachers in the classroom
- Allow the states to create their own plans for education reform, instead of abiding by No Child Left Behind
- Offer incentives to public schools by rewarding innovation and reform
- Reformed/expanded post-Sept. 11 G.I. Bill to include more G.I.’s eligible for education benefits.
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- Allow low income and special needs students to decide what school they would like to attend
- Provide incentives for states to increase choices and alternatives for parents
- Make charter and digital schools more effective
- Make report cards public as part of an effort to improve “No Child Left Behind”
- Offer teachers incentives through greater job flexibility and rewards and through cutting down on certification requirements.
- Strengthen and simplify Financial Aid System
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Energy

- Double fuel efficiency standards
- Increase natural gas production within the United States
- Open more land for development
-  Increase oil production, increase safety measures
- Increase wind and solar energy
- Invest government money in researching clean coal technology
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- Put control of energy within state lines (excluding those that are off-limits by law) into the hands of state government
- Open offshore areas within the United States for energy development and set minimum production targets for these areas
- Pursue a North American Energy partnership with Canada and Mexico
- Attempt to slightly strengthen environmental laws and regulations and “streamline” limitations on “red tape,” or oppositions, surrounding new developments
- Put money into private-sector research and development of new energy technologies
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Health Care

- Affordable Care Act:
- Prevents insurance companies from putting a cap on coverage, or dropping coverage when you become sick
- Provides those with Medicare free preventative services and lower costs on prescription drugs and monthly premiums
- Stop health insurance companies from charging women more than men for their coverage
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- Putting states in charge of medical insurance and caring for the poor, uninsured and chronically ill
- Promote competition in the healthcare system.
- Cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits
- Allow individuals/small businesses to form purchasing pools
- Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage
- Facilitate IT interoperability
- Allowing people to choose what kind of healthcare plan they want, giving them options and information
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Taxes

- Those who make more than $1 million a year will pay an equal or higher percentage of their income in taxes than middle- and lower-class citizens
- No plans to cut taxes: money will go to education, manufacturing, infrastructure
- Plans cut discretionary spending
- A plan of spending cuts and revenue increases over the next decade to reduce the national deficit of $4 trillion
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- Twenty percent cut in individual taxes for everyone
- Current tax rates on interest, dividends and capital gains stay the same
- Eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for those who make below $200,000 a year
- Eliminate the Death Tax
- Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax
- For corporate taxes: cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, strengthen and make permanent R&D tax credit, switch to territorial tax system, repeal the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax
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Jobs

- In short, Obama plans to cut unemployment through
- Looks to revive manufacturing
- Looks to eliminate tax breaks for companies that outsource their jobs overseas, create incentives to bring business back to America
- Looks to implement Wall Street reform, keeping Americans from paying to bail out large banks
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- In short, Romney plans to cut unemployment
- Supports free enterprise, hard work, innovation
- Looks to reduce taxes, spending, regulation and government programs
- Looks to increase trade, energy production, human capital and labor flexibility
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Gay Marriage

- In support
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- Against it
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National Defense

- Focus on ending wars and building national economy through more investments in industry
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- Put money into improving the military
- Maintain a presence in the Middle East
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Immigration

- In his first term, Obama upped deportations of undocumented immigrants
- Upped border patrols
- Passed DREAM act, which grants a path to citizenship of children of undocumented immigrants who attended college or served in the military. In 2012, he announced that the Department of Homeland Security would no longer seek to deport young illegal immigrants if they were brought to the U.S. by their parents before 16, and are currently under the age of thirty.
- Focuses on the deportation of criminals
- Proposes plans of a “start-up visa” that allows foreign investors to open businesses in the U.S.
- Backs AgJobs Act, which allows farms to legally hire foreign workers
- Supports reform of H1B visas, vaguely
- Supports path to legalization for estimated 10.8 million undocumented immigrants already in the country
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- Unclear on stance about the deportation of minors
- Does not agree with granting amnesty– wants to keep and enforce legal pathway to citizenship
- Permanent immigration reform by offering those who serve in the military the opportunity to become legal and permanent residents
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Abortion

- Does not believe abortion should be covered by Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan except in cases of incest, rape or where the life of the woman would be endangered
- Supports the decision of Roe v. Wade
- Disagrees with parental notification
- Supports Planned Parenthood
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- Looks to overturn Roe v. Wade, giving power to chose legality of abortion back to individual states
- Supports Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood
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