federal education, job training, and housing funding.
Minimum Wage: Bush opposes a federally mandated minimum wage hike.
Education: Bush’s education policy will be centered on the No Child Left Behind Act passed by Congress in 2001. It calls for testing students at different stages in their elementary and secondary education to assess their academic progress. Schools where the test scores are low for a large portion of the student body are required to take remedial steps to improve the quality of education.
Healthcare: In addition to the prescription drug benefit that provides some savings for senior citizens and a $600 a year credit for low-income seniors, Bush advocates health savings accounts (HSAs). Bush will propose a tax credit for low-income families and individuals to purchase health insurance, or to purchase a low-premium, high-deductible health plan and an HSA. Bush also proposes HSA tax credits for small businesses and their employees. He would encourage small businesses to establish association health plans so they can collectively benefit from economies of scale in purchasing health insurance.
Name: John F. Kerry, Age: 60 (Born Dec. 11, 1943), Birthplace: Aurora, CO
Education: Bachelor’s, Yale University (1966); Boston College Law School (1976)
Military Background: Completed two tours in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy, rising to lieutenant. Received a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three Purple Hearts for his service in combat
Political Experience: Elected lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1982. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984.
Professional Experience: Worked as a top prosecutor in Middlesex County, MA
HIS POSITION ON THE ISSUES:
Civil Rights: Kerry has stated that he will “strongly enforce our nation’s civil rights laws, support affirmative action to reduce discrimination and expand opportunity, and strongly enforce equal justice for all victims of hate violence.” He will also back the Fairness Act to “reverse damage done to civil rights laws by right-wing judges.”
Federal Judges: Kerry has stated that he will only appoint judges to the federal bench with records of enforcing the nation’s civil rights and antidiscrimination laws.
Economic Stimulus: Kerry advocates broad tax cuts as an economic stimulant, especially for the middle class. Under his tax plan, 98% of all Americans and 99% of American businesses would get a tax cut. There would be a rollback of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to pay for healthcare and other social programs.
Jobs: Kerry says he would close loopholes such as “deferral” policies that allow American companies to avoid paying U.S. taxes on the income earned by their foreign subsidiaries, a practice that encourages them to keep their profits parked overseas. He would work to enact a new two-year jobs tax credit that would cover an employer’s share of payroll taxes for net new jobs created.
Minimum Wage: Kerry would press Congress for legislation to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7 by 2007. The basis for the raise is that the minimum wage today is only 33% of the value of the average American wage.
Education: To fully fund the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act,