September 1, 2008


Where do the presidential candidates stand on issues affecting manufacturing?

In less than two months, American voters will select the 44th president of the United States. Forward has identified how Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama address issues of great importance to the manufacturing community.

TAXES Cut the corporate tax rate to 25% from 35%; reduce the estate tax to 15% (permitting a $10 million exemption); permit first-year deductions for equipment and technology investments; establish a permanent tax credit equal to 10% of wages spent on R&D Eliminate all capital gains taxes on start-up and small businesses; provide a tax credit to reduce the burden of double taxation on self-employed small-business owners; make the existing, temporary R&D tax credit permanent
ENVIRONMENT Regulate greenhouse gas emissions with cap-and-trade system; supports market-driven system for tradable allowances aimed at limiting emissions and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil; issue tax credit for purchasing zero-emissions cars; supports flex-fuel vehicles; enforce existing CAFE mileage standards Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 with cap-and-trade policy, requiring all pollution credits be auctioned with proceeds going to clean energy investments; ensure 1 million plug-in hybrid cars are on the road by 2015; issue tax credit to purchase advanced vehicles
ENERGY Lift federal restrictions on domestic oil exploration in the United States; commit $2 billion annually to advance clean coal technologies; construct 45 nuclear power plants by 2030; opposes windfall tax on oil companies Invest $150 billion during next 10 years in clean energy, including low-emission coal plants and next generation of biofuels; ensure 10% of U.S. electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025; enact windfall tax on oil companies; develop five clean coal plants through public/private partnership
TRADE Strongly supports NAFTA; advocates free-trade legislation, including pending free-trade acts with Colombia and South Korea; proposes reforms to unemployment insurance and worker retraining programs to account for trade-related job losses Supports amending NAFTA, calling it a “bad deal” as it stands; advocates free trade, but new trade agreements must include environment and labor protections; pass Patriot Employer Act, giving tax breaks to companies that create jobs in the United States versus shipping jobs overseas
IMMIGRATION Supports increased border security above all other measures (voted for Secure Fence Act of 2006); implement electronic employment verification system and prosecute employers who hire illegal immigrants; create temporary worker programs; ensure undocumented immigrants learn English, pay back taxes and fines, and pass a citizenship course Supports system that allows undocumented immigrants in good standing to pay a fine, learn English and “go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens”; increase number of legal immigrants to meet job demand; promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration
HEALTHCARE Provide $5,000 for health insurance to every American family, who would still have the option of employer-based coverage; expand Health Savings Accounts and work with governors to develop state-run guaranteed access plans so all Americans have access to coverage Guarantee eligibility for all individuals to national health plan; create National Health Insurance Exchange to aid those wanting to purchase private insurance; require employers that do not contribute sufficiently to health coverage to contribute percentage of payroll to national plan (small businesses would be exempt and receive a new Small Business Health Tax Credit).
CURRENCY REFORM Argues against focusing too much “in isolation” on undervalued Chinese currency; supports development of “transparent code of conduct” for China’s corporations in regard to product safety and currency valuation Supports Fair Currency Act, which would define currency manipulation and expand authority of International Trade Commission to impose countervailing duties; stay “clear and consistent” on issues including intellectual property rights, currency manipulation or human rights
LABOR Opposes Employee Free Choice Act, which would certify unions for representation solely on the basis of election authorization cards Promises to sign Employee Free Choice Act, which he co-sponsored, into law if it is approved by Congress