Most of us know how we feel about the Iraq war, but what other factors will determine who we vote for? One issue many students don’t take into account is the economy. The plans by Sen. John Kerry and President George W. Bush are similar on the surface, yet have important differences.
This year’s federal budget deficit is $455 billion or 3.8 percent of our gross domestic product. Something obviously has to be done. If we do not choose correctly who will be the next president, we could be paying this debt back for decades to come. The best way to pay this debt off is to make sure our economy is strong.
Most importantly we should be wary of the industrial policies of each candidate. This covers business expansion programs and wages.
Even though you may be inclined to focus on an array of issues (and rightfully so), industrial policy is of extreme importance in this election. But it is unquestionably clear what students want: more money. Now we just have to look at the proposals of each candidate.
Stephen Friedman, Bush’s top economic adviser, explained the Bush administration’s position when he declared, “our focus is keeping America the most productive place in the world.” Bush’s plan is simple and straightforward: He wants to cut taxes on small business and minimize government regulations. He trusts the theory that when business grows the economy is burgeoning. Bottom line: Business growth equals economic growth. If you want more money in your pocket and a steady well-paying job, you have to let large corporations grow.
In contrast, Kerry has a more open-minded approach. He desires to raise the minimum wage and extend unemployment benefits in comparison to what they are today.
The plan to lower healthcare premiums is similar, but he offers no explanation about how this is going to spur economic growth. His plan seems great for students, but what happens after we graduate? Okay, so we all have healthcare, but what about a job? If the economy is stale and not growing because businesses can’t make any money, then they obviously won’t be hiring anyone. The business market has to be accelerating for it to have positive job growth; increasing taxes on small business is not going to spur any sort of growth. As a result, it will only cause the economy to step on its brakes. However simple and upfront Kerry’s plan might seem, it lacks one thing: economic growth.
So, who does our generation vote for in 2004? Well, it is quite simple. It is obvious that both Bush and Kerry would follow similar exit strategies in Iraq and that they would fight the war on terrorism in basically the same manner. No matter how they try to distinguish themselves on the topic, there is only one right way to fight terrorism and they both know that. However, we have to choose the candidate that will help the economy and our wallets the most.
There is one basic question and two different alternatives — who benefits?
Under Bush, anyone who pays taxes will benefit. Lowering taxes on small businesses and the individual will decrease unemployment and speed up our economy. This is obvious. Conversely, Kerry would assist people earning minimum wage by raising it to $7. Nevertheless, we have to remember two things. The raise in minimum wage and taxes would arguably cancel each other out for many. But, most importantly you have to speculate that if businesses are forced to pay more taxes and pressured to raise salaries, how is this country going to minimize unemployment?
The raise in tax and minimum wage will indefinitely cause the business market to struggle, resulting in a recession and a higher unemployment rate. George W. Bush has my vote.
Erik Raymond is a sophomore majoring in political science.