National: Jobs and the economy

November 4, 2012 

ECONOMY

Obama: His presidency has been marked by high unemployment, a deep recession that began in the previous administration – but officially ended within six months – and slow recovery with jobless rates of more than 8 percent. Businesses have added jobs for more than two years while public-sector jobs have lagged. The Democrat responded to the recession with a roughly $800 billion stimulus plan, expanded the auto industry bailout begun under Republican President George W. Bush, and inherited and carried forward the Wall Street bailout.

Romney: The former Massachusetts governor advocates lower taxes, less regulation, a balanced federal budget and more trade deals to spur growth. He would replace jobless benefits with unemployment savings accounts and proposes replacing certain provisions of the law toughening financial-industry regulations after the meltdown in that sector. The GOP nominee also proposes changing the law tightening corporate accounting regulations to ease requirements for mid-sized companies.

JOBS

Obama: The Democrat has tried to convince Americans that current policies are working, while admitting progress has been slow. He says there is evidence that America is on the right track and points to 5 million private-sector jobs created in the past 2-plus years, the survival of the auto sector and the resilience of manufacturing. Obama also has vowed to tackle inequality “not seen since the Great Depression” and bolster the middle class by extending tax cuts. In addition, he has emphasized the need to retrain workers.

Romney: The Republican has promised to sweep away Obama’s policies and put in place a five-point plan that he says will create 12 million jobs. The centerpiece would be cutting taxes, and simplifying and modernizing regulations for small business. He has said he will forge new trade agreements and punish countries for breaking trade rules. The Romney camp says the 12 million figure is based on economists’ assumptions that “the current recovery will align with the average gains of similar past recoveries.” Several independent economists project the economy will add 12 million jobs over the next four years – no matter who is elected president.

TAXES

Obama: The Democrat wants to raise taxes on the wealthy, ensuring they pay 30 percent of their income at minimum. He supports extending Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making under $200,000 or a couple making under $250,000. He wants to let the top two tax rates go back up 3 to 4 percentage points to 39.6 percent and 36 percent, and to raise rates on capital gains and dividends for the wealthy. His health-care law also taxes the highest-value health insurance plans. With Congress, built a record of tax cuts, some temporary such as cutting the Social Security tax.

Romney: The former Massachusetts governor would keep Bush-era tax cuts for all incomes and drop all tax rates further, by 20 percent, bringing the top rate down to 28 percent. He would limit deductions, credits and exemptions for the wealthiest, end the Alternative Minimum Tax for individuals, eliminate capital gains tax for families making below $200,000 and cut the corporate tax to 25 percent from 35 percent. Does not specify which tax breaks or programs he would curtail to help cover costs.

The Associated Press

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