The presidential campaign 2008 is accompanied by huge tension between the candidates, Barak Obama and John McCain. The presidential debate is heated by the financial crisis and economic recession which struck the USA and sharpened the existing controversies in the American society. In such a situation, the position of both candidates is very important because Americans will make a choice of the further development of the country. In such a context, differences in views of the candidates on vitally important issues, such as health, economy and taxes can be crucial for the ultimate success of either candidate. In fact, it is the debate over these issues that can define which candidate can win the presidential elections in 2008. At the same time, the candidates present two different ways of the development of the country which are worth considering because the presidential campaign 2008 can become a turning point in the history of the USA, taking into consideration the fact that John McCain often refers to his opponent as extremist in his economic views. In such a way, views of Obama and McCain on different issues leave Americans a choice between changes, which are the milestone of Obama’s campaign, and McCain’s conservatism.
On analyzing the presidential debate, it should be said that they are characterized by certain antagonism because the candidates offer quite different solutions of problems the USA is currently facing. In this respect, the economic problems are probably the most significant for all Americans in the situation when the financial crisis and economic recession affect all layers of American society, though the poorest suffer the most. In such a context, the position of Barak Obama can be very beneficial for him as a candidate because he openly declares that the existing socioeconomic system of the USA is unfair and many people are deprived of an opportunity to obtain their share of the national wealth (Baker, 2008). He stands on the ground of the increase of the role of the state in the national economy. In other words, Barak Obama insists on the necessity of introduction of changes in the national economy by means of the larger regulation of economic relations by means of legislative acts and norms, which can enhance the role of the state.
At this point, the criticism of Barak Obama from the part of John McCain seems to be quite logical, taking into consideration a traditional position of the Republicans in regard to the role of state and economic development of the country. John McCain insists that Barak Obama is an economic extremist, though he uses other less radical epithets, such as “the Redistributor”¯ (Baker, 2008). Instead, McCain argues that it is necessary to create new job places and, in such a way, increase the national wealth and the wealth of each American in particular. In this respect, his position is quite conservative and does not offer any new solutions to the existing socioeconomic problems, compared to those solutions which have been already implemented in the past and many of which do not really work now, when a profound crisis keeps progressing.
In such a context, the idea of Barak Obama “to spread wealth”¯ (Baker, 2008) can be supported by large masses of Americans, representing only marginalized groups and low-income families, but also many representatives of the middle class who have been affected by the current economic recession and financial crisis. However, John McCain severely criticizes this intention of Barak Obama to achieve “redistributive changes”¯ (Falcone, 2008).
Thus, John McCain stands on the conservative ground in his views on the economic development of the USA. At the same time, his economic doctrine tends to the right since the support of business and the concept of non-interference of state in the national economy still remain the main priorities in McCain’s views (Schecter, 1665). In all probability, McCain will continue the current economic policies of the Bush Administration, but the current assistance of the state to the largest banks and companies of the USA will more likely to be short-running and, as soon as the financial crisis ends, the McCain’s Administration will attempt to “get rid of”¯ all the assets the state has acquired during the crisis, in order to let the business develop on its own. In this regard, Barak Obama tends to the leftist views, to the extent, that it is even possible to speak about certain populism of his economic program (Borosage, 22). Obviously, he will be unable to avoid costs cuts that will affect the well-being of the middle and lower class. However, his administration is more likely to strengthen the control over or regulation of the national economy by the state.
At the same time, the difference in views of the candidates on the economic development of the country, to a significant extent, define their views on tax policies. In fact, the principle difference in the position of Barak Obama and John McCain lays in the target groups of tax payers. To put it more precisely, Barak Obama insists on the increase of taxes which are paid by rich Americans, representing the upper class of the American society. At the same time, the introduction or increase of taxes for rich should be accompanied by the ease of the tax pressure on the middle class (Baker, 2008). In such a way, the major goal of Barak Obama’s economic policy, the fair redistribution of wealth, is supposed to be achieved.
In contrast, John McCain suggests to ease the fiscal pressure on the American at large, in order to stimulate the creation of new jobs, the growth of production and economic progress at large. In other words, John McCain insists on the stimulation of the national economy by means of the les strict fiscal policies (Baker, 2008). In this respect, it is necessary to agree that the decrease of fiscal pressure can stimulate the economic development, but it also implies a considerable reduction of the state expenditures, which seems to be highly problematic, taking into account numerous social programs which are supported by the state in the USA at the moment. At this point, the position of Barak Obama seems to be more advantageous and his solutions seem to be more effective because they will not lead to a considerable reduction of revenues but to the redistribution of wealth between Americans, while the major social programs will be maintained.
As for the most important social programs, which are supported by the state, they have been growing steadily during the last few years. Basically, they were oriented on the solution of burning problems affecting millions of Americans, such as health and education. In fact, health issues become even more significant today, than they have ever been before, because the financial crisis leads to the growing costs of health care services and Americans cannot afford such expansive health care as it is at the moment.
The tax policies suggested by Obama are likely to lead to a considerable change in the fiscal pressure on different layers of American society. His desire to improve the life of poor through taking money from rich is a good, but a bit populist concept. At this point, it is necessary to take into consideration the efficiency of the redistribution of wealth since the state will be the main redistributor that means that the state expenditures will increase, while the efficiency of the work of state agencies is still under a question. Anyway, the growth of governmental expenditures in the time of crisis is unacceptable because it will have negative impact on the national economy. As for McCain, his ideas of tax credits and easing fiscal pressure need further consideration because such fiscal changes will lead to a considerable drop in the Federal budget revenues that can deteriorate the situation in the national economy dramatically, especially when the state expenditures and financial support of the national economy tends to grow.
Health issues represent another subject of debates between the candidates. Both candidates agree that the existing health care system is imperfect and needs substantial improvements, but the ways, by means of which the quality and accessibility of health care services will grow, differ consistently.
On the one hand, John McCain suggests changing the tax code in such a way that workers would have to pay income taxes on the value of their employer’s contribution to their health insurance. In return, uninsured Americans and those who cannot afford insurance anymore would receive a tax credit to buy health insurance, either through their employer or on the health market (The Candidates’ Health Plan, 2008).
On the other hand, Barak Obama has a different view on the solution of the problem of low quality of health care services and their inaccessibility to many Americans. In fact, he suggests extending health care insurance coverage though expanding the existing private and public programs with the help of federal subsidies and mandates (The Candidates’ Health Plan, 2008). In such a way, he suggests solving the problem by means of the increase of the state support.
However, both health care plans are imperfect, though either plan has its own strengths. For instance, John McCain’s health plan does not imply any dramatic changes in the system of health care insurance. To put it more precisely, he does not imply the increase of the expenditures of the Federal budget to support the national health care system. But, his plan does not actually facilitates the life of uninsured Americans who receive tax credits, which would exceeded the tax they would have to pay on their employer-provided insurance (The Candidates’ Health Plan, 2008). As for Obama’s health plan, it is obvious that the increase of the state support of health insurance programs will need additional funding from the Federal budget. The latter implies the increase of tax pressure since the Federal budget needs to increase revenues to cover new expenditures.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the presidential debate concern vitally important issues and views of both candidates vary consistently. At the same time, it is obvious that Barak Obama is mainly oriented on the increase of social programs and protection of the middle class and low income families by means of redistributive policies. As for John McCain, he stands on the conservative ground and suggests stimulating national economy to increase the national wealth and, in such a way, solve burning social problems.