Where Do You Stand on the Issues?


On Nov. 6, America is going to choose the next president. Do we really know their issues and their stance on everything?

Yeah sure we know President Obama is a Chicago White Sox Fan, we know Gov. Romney enjoys listening to Aerosmith. But does America know their economic, social and foreign issues? For the election, The Washington Post has all the issues for each candidate and it’s broken down into sections of Foreign Policy, Gun Control, Social Security, Taxes and even jobs. If someone is undecided and wants to know about the candidates, here are some of the highlights.

The Economy: Obama approved $55 billion for a second round of bailout funding for U.S. automakers GM and Chrysler in March 2009, adding to the $25 billion President George W. Bush signed off on before leaving office. He also appointed a “car czar” who oversaw the post-bankruptcy restructuring of those companies, resulting in management shake-ups, an overhaul of product lines, and large shares of both automakers going to a UAW pension fund.

Romney has produced an economic plan that calls for cutting the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, lowering tax rates on investments and savings and reducing regulations. He has also advocated a tougher stance on China that includes sanctions for currency manipulation and punishment for stealing intellectual property.

Immigration: In late 2011, the Obama administration curtailed deportations of illegal immigrants who don’t have criminal records, causing a significant drop in deportations. However, the administration has continued to focus on “criminal aliens,” and federal officials rounded up more than 3,000 suspected individuals during an operation in early April — the largest roundup of its kind to date.

During the primary, the former Massachusetts governor tried during the primary to connect with conservatives by adopting a harder-line stance on illegal immigration than some of his rivals, particularly by supporting the construction of an “impermeable border fence” along the southern front. Romney has criticized certain programs as “magnets,” opposing in-state tuition for illegal immigrant college students and promising to crack down aggressively on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

Taxes: Obama approved tax relief for roughly 95 percent of Americans with the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided tax breaks of $400 to $800 for individuals and families making less than $200,000 and $250,000 respectively. It also included a temporary $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers.

In December 2010, Obama approved an extension of the Bush tax cuts through 2012 and enacted a two percent reduction in payroll taxes — those that pay for Medicare and Social Security.

Romney has proposed lowering tax rates while broadening the tax base, something that helped him generate revenue for Massachusetts when he was governor. He also increased fees and closed corporate tax loopholes in the state to help close the state’s repeated deficits.

Romney’s plan, released in February, would slash individual income rates across the board by 20 percent, to lower the top tax rate to 28 percent from 35 percent, abolish estate taxes and the alternative minimum tax, and lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. He said he would eliminate taxes on capital gains and dividends only for people making $200,000 or less, and those making more than $200,000 will face limits on their deductions for items like charitable contributions.

Healthcare: The health-care law, which requires virtually all Americans to purchase health insurance, tries to reduce growth in Medicare costs by limiting payments to providers, prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions and requires insurers to pay for certain types of preventive care with no out-of-pocket charges for the insured.

The Obama administration sparked controversy in early 2012 by implementing a rule that requires all insurers to cover the cost of birth control with no co-pays or additional premiums for the insured. Faith-based institutions are exempt, but their affiliated organizations, such as religious schools and hospitals, must still comply when they self-insure.

Romney helped craft a health-care plan similar to Obama’s as governor of Massachusetts. He says it works well for his home state and that polls suggest the program is very popular there. But he insists that the federal government should never force such plans on the nation as a whole.

He has advocated tax breaks for those who buy insurance as opposed to fines for those who don’t, and allot each state taxpayer money to provide for the care of those who remain uninsured. He also wants insurance to be sold more freely across state lines. Romney has said he would guarantee that preexisting conditions are not a reason for coverage to be denied for people who have maintained continuous health insurance.

Foreign Policy: Obama said in May 2011 that “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.” Some observers said that statement represented a shift in U.S. policy toward Israel, and it prompted a sharp rebuke from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who rejected the president’s position.

Romney said during his July 2012 trip abroad that the U.S. should use “any and all measures” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but he has not explained specific policy differences with President Obama. The GOP candidate accused Obama of “throwing Israel under the bus” for saying that negotiations for a future Palestinian state “should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”

He wants to strengthen U.S. ties with Israel and help the Jewish state maintain its “strategic military edge,” according to his campaign Web site.

In July, Romney said the U.S. should directly arm Syrian rebels trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but he said the U.S. military should not get involved in the conflict.