Much of the reporting on the presidential election of 2008 will be on minutiae: is Obama too black or not black enough? Will McCain die of old age before he finishes his term? and other nonsense. Here at The Waterglass, we will focus on the issues as presented by the candidates themselves. This is the first part of an irregularly scheduled series on Election 2008.
Today, the economy. What does McCain want to do?
John McCain Believes We Should Institute A Summer Gas Tax Holiday. Hard-working American families are suffering from higher gasoline prices. John McCain calls on Congress to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
John McCain Will Stop Filling The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) To Reduce Demand. International demand for oil is bolstered by federal purchases for the SPR. There is no reason to fill it when oil is so expensive; the overall SPR is of adequate size, and when it places further upward pressure on prices.
John McCain Will End Policies That Contribute To Higher Transportation And Food Costs. Ethanol subsidies, tariff barriers and sugar quotas drive up food prices and hurt Americans. However, we cannot take the wrong direction and cut off trade for American goods.
What does Obama want to do? I can’t find a parallel plan for rising gas prices, so here’s his plan for labor unions (McCain doesn’t have a section on labor unions):
Obama will strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions. He will fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Obama will ensure that his labor appointees support workers’ rights and will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers. Obama will also increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation to ensure it rises every year.
- Ensure Freedom to Unionize: Obama believes that workers should have the freedom to choose whether to join a union without harassment or intimidation from their employers. Obama cosponsored and is strong advocate for the Employee Free Choice Act, a bipartisan effort to assure that workers can exercise their right to organize. He will continue to fight for EFCA’s passage and sign it into law.
- Fight Attacks on Workers’ Right to Organize: Obama has fought the Bush National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) efforts to strip workers of their right to organize. He is a cosponsor of legislation to overturn the NLRB’s “Kentucky River” decisions classifying hundreds of thousands of nurses, construction, and professional workers as “supervisors” who are not protected by federal labor laws.
- Protect Striking Workers: Obama supports the right of workers to bargain collectively and strike if necessary. He will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers, so workers can stand up for themselves without worrying about losing their livelihoods.
- Raise the Minimum Wage: Barack Obama will raise the minimum wage, index it to inflation and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to make sure that full-time workers earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs.