RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — Dan Tufford does not like the country’s $1.1 trillion-a-year budget deficit but says reducing it should not be the country’s top priority.
That is why Tufford said he is voting for President Barack Obama, who Tufford, a 60-year-old professor at USC who lives in Forest Acres, says has a balanced approach to reducing the deficit.
“His focusing more on jobs and trying to get the economy moving a little faster is a better approach than (just) trying to rein in spending in the short term,” Tufford said. “Obama – once again, under very difficult circumstances working with a Republican Party focused on one thing and that is reducing the deficit – is trying to strike a balance where we do try to make some progress on the deficit but, at the same time, try to put some additional juice into the economy.”
This is the fourth year in a row that the federal deficit has surpassed $1 trillion, a deficit that Democrat Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney say they have plans to reduce.
Romney says he opposes raising taxes to lower the deficit. Instead, he has said he wants to lower tax rates, and eliminate some unspecified tax deductions and credits.
Obama’s plan includes allowing former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts to expire for taxpayers with taxable income of more than $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. That would add $1.5 trillion in the government’s revenues over 10 years, according to an analysis by The New York Times. Obama says he would use the money to cut the deficit.
Obama’s re-election also could see the S.C. Legislature decide whether to expand Medicaid, the federal insurance program for the poor and disabled, as part of the Affordable Care Act.
If elected, Romney has promised to issue a waiver to South Carolina, saying it does not have to expand Medicaid, a costly federal entitlement program that faces insolvency. Romney has said he wants to convert Medicaid into a block-grant program, giving states a set amount of money and letting them manage health care for their poor and needy. While block grants could cost less, critics predict they will result in less money for states and fewer services for the needy.
Tufford said he supports Obama’s Affordable Care Act, adding it has “more positives than it does negatives.”
“The solution is to implement it and fix what we think needs to be fixed, rather than just toss it out and start all over,” he said. “This idea that Republicans are promoting, that we need to get rid of Obamacare and start over ... they have no intention of starting over. They’ve had opportunity after opportunity to do it. So why would they do it now?”