Researching candidates is key when deciding who you will vote for in the 2012 presidential election. However, deciphering fact from opinion about how they would lead the country on major issues can be overwhelming—especially for a first-time voter.
As I have mentioned in previous columns, our demographic (college-aged females) plays a pivotal role in this election. Our choice, come November, has the power to determine how much we owe after college, who we can marry, and how long we can stay on our parents’ insurance plan.
So what can the two major presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, offer us? Here are just a few key points in the election that concern our demographic.
“When President Obama took office, he both addressed the immediate economic crisis and laid the foundation for a U.S. economy that’s built to last.”
Obama is sticking with his guns, claiming that the last four years were the foundation for what’s to come. His economic highlights include: implementing the stimulus package early in his administration, his attempted revival of this country’s automobile industry, and his administration’s alleged creation of 4.5 million private-sector jobs.
“His plan seeks to reduce taxes, spending, regulation, and government programs. It seeks to increase trade, energy production, human capital, and labor flexibility. It relinquishes power to the states instead of claiming to have the solution to every problem.”
Much of—arguably most of—Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign focuses on the state of the nation’s pit of debt and how he can get us out of it. The debt calculator at the Republican National Convention, which hit $16 trillion at the event, said it all.
Some of his economic highlights: replacing Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) with a plan that places more power back into the hands of private insurers, as well as downsizing U.S. entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and overall government spending.
‘Obamacare’ vs. Romney’s proposed health plan:
The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), was implemented to guarantee that all Americans have health insurance by the year 2014—federal or otherwise. It allows for children up to the age of 26 to be covered by their parents’ insurance. It has been criticized for giving too much federal control over personal health decisions. Obamacare will also require that all U.S. citizens without health insurance by the year 2014 to be fined annually.
Romney has variously said he will repeal Obamacare and that he will keep some parts like insuring those with preexisting conditions. The Romney campaign criticizes Obamacare for being too “one size fits all” with healthcare. The GOP sees a competitive private insurance market as a way to allow a consumer to choose what they want covered.
Under Obamacare, women can receive free STD screenings, mammograms, and FDA-approved contraception as long as they don’t work in a faith-based organization that disapproves funding its employees’ birth control.
Obama also supported the Roe vs. Wade decision that declared “government should not intrude with family matters” and legalized abortion. However, if currently insured by Medicaid, abortion cannot be covered unless the state in which one lives decides to cover it in cases where the pregnancy was conceived during incest or rape.
Also, during his 2008 campaign, the President promised to support the Freedom of Choice Act, which states that it’s a woman’s fundamental right to choose to bear child—a promise he has not kept.
Under Romney’s healthcare plan, free cancer screenings and birth control will not be available. However, there has yet to be a definitive platform on invasive ultrasound by the Romney team.
Despite Todd Akin’s comments, the prospective Romney administration approves of abortion in the cases of the endangerment of the mother’s life, rape, or incest. The consensus of conservative GOP-ers is to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Clearly, there will be no federal coverage of abortion.
Democrats view federal student aid as a way to ‘invest in our country’s future’—thus, they’ve attempted to provide enough student aid for successful students. The Obama administration has also tried to make it easier for college students to pay off their debt, by simplifying payment plans.
But as mentioned before, the ‘investment’ doesn’t always pay off. There are many students who leave college with debt who cannot find a job, and therefore cannot pay off their loans.
Student debt also contributes to our national debt, both of which have increased exponentially over the past ten years.
The Romney camp is pushing for low-cost alternatives to be explored and promoted in order to limit government spending on student loans. Among the alternatives: extended community colleges and technical institutions, and online education.
If these alternative institutions are not improved, this may limit the educational possibilities for students who cannot finance their education to attend top-tier universities. This may in turn affect the intellectual capabilities of our future workforce.
Also, the GOP believes that the government “should not be in the business of originating student loans” and it will not boost Pell Grants.
The Obama administration provides all federal employees, gay or straight, with the same spousal benefits. His administration also repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
While civil unions and same sex marriage is approved in a handful of states, it is not recognized by the federal government.
Mitt Romney claims that he wants to “defend marriage, not redefine it.” He opposes gay marriage and civil unions.
I hope you use this information to your advantage this November—and no matter who you think should take office, get out and vote.
Only 55% of us Young Politicas voted last election. Let’s make 2012 our year.