Economic Policy: Obama vs. McCain

August 25, 2008by CaraTan


Denver, 25 Aug. The tightly-contested presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain may ultimately boil down to one issue: Economic policy. The subprime mortgage crisis and the increasing cost of gasoline have contributed to the widespread escalating economic worry and fears of recession. How does each candidate address the most pressing economic issues?

Each candidate is approaching the economy differently. Obama made a strong entry into the race largely due to his Iraq policy, and is only now gathering steam with economic issues. On 22 August, 2008, CNN reported that Obama needed to become an “economic populist” if he wanted to win the race. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but with McCain trailing by only one point, Obama will have to do something to garner more support.

McCain’s entry to the race was also based on overseas policy – but now with domestic concerns on the rise, he is being forced to address economics at home. “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should,” the Arizona senator once admitted.

It’s no secret that McCain is uncomfortable discussing the economy – he’s more adept at defending his war or immigration policy. So if Obama continues to embrace an economic agenda, he may well overshadow McCain as the candidate that can best create change for the country.

Below are each candidate’s views on economic policy:

Economic Policy



Tax increases for those earning more than $250,000 per year

End employee tax-exemption for the cost to cover employees

Tax cuts for those earning less than $150,000 per year

Corporate tax cuts from 35% to 25%

Increase in unemployment benefits

Overhaul unemployment insurance policy

$50 billion economic stimulus package

Institute a summer gas (petrol) tax holiday

Relief for homeowners facing foreclosure

Increased offshore oil drilling

Higher Social Security payments from the wealthy

Medicare cuts

Against privatization of social security

No defense cuts

Against raising the retirement age

Workplace flexibility policies for families

Higher taxes on some investment income

Retain the Bush tax cuts

Savings from reduction of troops in Iraq

Spend $100 billion and $150 billion per year in war (continue indefinitely)

Against predatory credit card practices

Tax breaks for oil companies


Economic Advisors





Warren Buffett

Investor and richest man in the world

Carly Fiorina

Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard

Paul O’Neill

Former Secretary of the Treasury

Meg Whitman

Former President and CEO of eBay

Larry Summers

Former Secretary of the Treasury

John Taylor

Professor, Stanford University

Robert Ruben

Former Secretary of the Treasury

Martin Feldstein

President of National Bureau of Economic Research; Professor, Harvard University

Eric Schmidt

Chairman and CEO of Google

Doug Holtz-Eakin


Robert Reich

Former Secretary of Labor


In summary, Obama wants to spread the wealth more and focus on domestic issues, while McCain’s policy seeks to reduce domestic spending which will help pay for the war and tax cuts.

Vladimir Gonzales,


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