believe that America's free market has been the engine of America's great
progress. It's created a prosperity that is the envy of the world. It's led to a
standard of living unmatched in history. And it has provided great rewards to
the innovators and risk-takers who have made America a beacon for science, and
technology, and discovery…We are all in this together. From CEOs to
shareholders, from financiers to factory workers, we all have a stake in each
other's success because the more Americans prosper, the more America prospers.”
— Barack Obama,
New York, NY, September 17, 2007
Wages are Stagnant as Prices Rise:
While wages remain flat, the costs of basic necessities are increasing. The cost
of in-state college tuition has grown 35 percent over the past five years.
Health care costs have risen four times faster than wages over the past six
years. And the personal savings rate is now the lowest it's been since the Great
Tax Cuts for Wealthy Instead of Middle Class:
The Bush tax cuts give those who earn over $1 million dollars a tax cut nearly
160 times greater than that received by middle-income Americans. At the same
time, this administration has refused to tackle health care, education and
housing in a manner that benefits the middle class.
Barack Obama's Plan
Provide Middle Class Americans Tax Relief
Obama will cut income taxes by $1,000 for working families to offset the payroll
tax they pay.
Tax Cut for Working Families:
Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers
the tax relief they need. Obama will create a new "Making Work Pay" tax
credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. The "Making
Work Pay" tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million
Tax Filings for Middle Class Americans:
Obama will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans
will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes. Obama will ensure
that the IRS uses the information it already gets from banks and employers
to give taxpayers the option of pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and
return. Experts estimate that the Obama proposal will save Americans up to
200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax
Obama believes that trade with foreign nations should strengthen the American
economy and create more American jobs. He will stand firm against agreements
that undermine our economic security.
Obama will fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support
good American jobs. He will use trade agreements to spread good labor and
environmental standards around the world and stand firm against agreements
like the Central American Free Trade Agreement that fail to live up to those
important benchmarks. Obama will also pressure the World Trade Organization
to enforce trade agreements and stop countries from continuing unfair
government subsidies to foreign exporters and nontariff barriers on U.S.
North American Free Trade Agreement:
Obama believes that NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American
people. Obama will work with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to fix NAFTA
so that it works for American workers.
To help all workers adapt to a rapidly changing economy, Obama would update
the existing system of Trade Adjustment Assistance by extending it to
service industries, creating flexible education accounts to help workers
retrain, and providing retraining assistance for workers in sectors of the
economy vulnerable to dislocation before they lose their jobs.
Technology, Innovation and Creating Jobs
Obama will encourage the deployment of the most modern communications
infrastructure to reduce the costs of health care, help solve our energy crisis,
create new jobs, and fuel our economic growth.
Barack Obama believes we need to double federal funding for basic research
and make the research and development tax credit permanent to help create
high-paying, secure jobs. Obama will also make long-term investments in
education, training, and workforce development so that Americans can
leverage our strengths - our ingenuity and entrepreneurialism - to create
new high-wage jobs and prosper in a world economy.
The Obama comprehensive energy independence and climate change plan will
invest in America's highly-skilled manufacturing workforce and manufacturing
centers to ensure that American workers have the skills and tools they need
to pioneer the first wave of green technologies that will be in high demand
throughout the world. Obama will also provide assistance to the domestic
auto industry to ensure that new fuel-efficient vehicles are built by
New Job Training Programs for Clean Technologies:
The Obama plan will increase funding for federal workforce training programs
and direct these programs to incorporate green technologies training, such
as advanced manufacturing and weatherization training, into their efforts to
help Americans find and retain stable, high-paying jobs. Obama will also
create an energy-focused youth jobs program to invest in disconnected and
Renewable Energy Sector and Create New Jobs:
The Obama plan will create new federal policies, and expand existing ones,
that have been proven to create new American jobs. Obama will create a
federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that will require 25 percent of
American electricity be derived from renewable sources by 2025, which has
the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs on its own. Obama
will also extend the Production Tax Credit, a credit used successfully by
American farmers and investors to increase renewable energy production and
create new local jobs.
Obama believes we can get broadband to every community in America through a
combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the
nation's wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities,
technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives.
the Openness of the Internet:
Obama supports the basic principle that network providers should not be
allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or applications of some web
sites and Internet applications over others. This principle will ensure that
the new competitors, especially small or nonprofit speakers, have the same
opportunity as big companies to innovate and reach large audiences.
Obama will invest in rural small businesses and fight to expand high-speed
Internet access. He will improve rural schools and attract more doctors to
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Protect Homeownership and Crack Down on Mortgage Fraud
Obama will crack down on fraudulent brokers and lenders. He will also make sure
homebuyers have honest and complete information about their mortgage options,
and he will give a tax credit to all middle-class homeowners.
Universal Mortgage Credit:
Obama will create a 10 percent universal mortgage credit to provide
homeowners who do not itemize tax relief. This credit will provide an
average of $500 to 10 million homeowners, the majority of whom earn less
than $50,000 per year.
More Accountability in the Subprime Mortgage Industry:
Obama has been closely monitoring the subprime mortgage situation for years,
and introduced comprehensive legislation over a year ago to fight mortgage
fraud and protect consumers against abusive lending practices. Obama's STOP
FRAUD Act provides the first federal definition of mortgage fraud, increases
funding for federal and state law enforcement programs, creates new criminal
penalties for mortgage professionals found guilty of fraud, and requires
industry insiders to report suspicious activity.
Accurate Loan Disclosure:
Obama will create a Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit (HOME) score, which
will provide potential borrowers with a simplified, standardized borrower
metric (similar to APR) for home mortgages. The HOME score will allow
individuals to easily compare various mortgage products and understand the
full cost of the loan.
Fund to Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosures:
Obama will create a fund to help people refinance their mortgages and
provide comprehensive supports to innocent homeowners. The fund will be
partially paid for by Obama's increased penalties on lenders who act
irresponsibly and commit fraud.
Bankruptcy Loophole for Mortgage Companies:
Obama will work to eliminate the provision that prevents bankruptcy courts
from modifying an individual's mortgage payments. Obama believes that the
subprime mortgage industry, which has engaged in dangerous and sometimes
unscrupulous business practices, should not be shielded by outdated federal
Address Predatory Credit Card Practices
Obama will establish a five-star rating system so that every consumer knows the
risk involved in every credit card. He also will establish a Credit Card Bill of
Rights to stop credit card companies from exploiting consumers with unfair
Credit Card Rating System to Improve Disclosure:
Obama will create a credit card rating system, modeled on five-star systems
used for other consumer products, to provide consumers an easily
identifiable ranking of credit cards, based on the card's features. Credit
card companies will be required to display the rating on all application and
contract materials, enabling consumers to quickly understand all of the
major provisions of a credit card without having to rely exclusively on fine
print in lengthy documents.
a Credit Card Bill of Rights to Protect Consumers:
Obama will create a Credit Card Bill of Rights to protect consumers. The
Obama plan will:
Interest Rate Increases Only to Future Debt
Interest on Fees
Prompt and Fair Crediting of Cardholder Payments
Reform Bankruptcy Laws
Obama will reform our bankruptcy laws to protect working people, ban executive
bonuses for bankrupt companies, and require disclosure of all pension
Outlandish Interest Rates on Payday Loans and Improve Disclosure:
Obama supports extending a 36 percent interest cap to all Americans. Obama
will require lenders to provide clear and simplified information about loan
fees, payments and penalties, which is why he'll require lenders to provide
this information during the application process.
Responsible Lending Institutions to Make Small Consumer Loans:
Obama will encourage banks, credit unions and Community Development
Financial Institutions to provide affordable short-term and small-dollar
loans and to drive unscrupulous lenders out of business.
Bankruptcy Laws to Protect Families Facing a Medical Crisis:
Obama will create an exemption in bankruptcy law for individuals who can
prove they filed for bankruptcy because of medical expenses. This exemption
will create a process that forgives the debt and lets the individuals get
back on their feet.
Obama will double funding for after-school programs, expand the Family Medical
Leave Act, provide low-income families with a refundable tax credit to help with
their child-care expenses, and encourage flexible work schedules.
the Family and Medical Leave Act:
The FMLA covers only certain employees of employers with 50 or more
employees. Obama will expand it to cover businesses with 25 or more
employees. He will expand the FMLA to cover more purposes as well, including
allowing workers to take leave for elder care needs; allowing parents up to
24 hours of leave each year to participate in their children's academic
activities; and expanding FMLA to cover leave for employees to address
States to Adopt Paid Leave:
As president, Obama will initiate a strategy to encourage all 50 states to
adopt paid-leave systems. Obama will provide a $1.5 billion fund to assist
states with start-up costs and to help states offset the costs for employees
High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities:
Obama will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool
programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve a million more
children. Obama will include measures to maximize performance and
effectiveness across grantees nationwide.
the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit:
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit provides too little relief to
families that struggle to afford child care expenses. Obama will reform the
Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable and allowing
low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for their child
Against Caregiver Discrimination:
Workers with family obligations often are discriminated against in the
workplace. Obama will enforce the recently-enacted Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission guidelines on caregiver discrimination.
Flexible Work Arrangements:
Obama will create a program to inform businesses about the benefits of
flexible work schedules; help businesses create flexible work opportunities;
and increase federal incentives for telecommuting. Obama will also make the
federal government a model employer in terms of adopting flexible work
schedules and permitting employees to request flexible arrangements.
Barack Obama's Record
In the U.S. Senate, Obama introduced the STOP FRAUD Act to increase
penalties for mortgage fraud and provide more protections for low-income
homebuyers, well before the current subprime crisis began.
In the Illinois State Senate, Obama called attention to predatory lending
issues. Obama sponsored legislation to combat predatory payday loans, and he
also was credited with lobbying the state to more closely regulate some of
the most egregious predatory lending practices.
Barack Obama introduced the Patriot Employer Act of 2007 to provide a tax
credit to companies that maintain or increase the number of full-time
workers in America relative to those outside the US; maintain their
corporate headquarters in America; pay decent wages; prepare workers for
retirement; provide health insurance; and support employees who serve in the
The above article is the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Vegas Community Online, its editors/publishers, and/or other Vegas Community Online columnists. VCO respects the right of each author to express their opinion. If you have an opposing viewpoint or would like to send feedback on any article, please send email to
email@example.com; state the title of the article and your comments. VCO reserves the right to add any submissions to its feedback page.