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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Blue MauMau) - With 54 days left until the general election, this journal takes an initial look at Republican and Democratic presidential candidates and what policies each advocates to benefit small business owners, a category that most of the nation's franchised establishments fall under.
Pictured with his vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, Republican presidential candidate John McCain says in his Website that he wants government to:
Lower Energy Costs. Think "drill, baby, drill". McCain supports increased domestic exploration and drilling of oil and natural gas to increase energy supply and reduce crippling energy costs for small businesses. The McCain / Palin team wants to build 45 nuclear power plants by 2030 to create cheap electricity. $2 billion will be used annually to research the clean use of coal. Think "scrub, baby, scrub."
Hand Out Health Care Money: McCain wants the government to provide $5,000 for health insurance to every American family to help small businesses afford to offer health insurance to employees. However, he opposes costly mandates or "pay or play" requirements (referring to Obama's plan below) that he says will raise the financial burden on small business and cut an owner's ability to hire.
Cut Corporate Tax Rate From 35 To 25 Percent: As international "trade partners lowered their rates, America failed to keep pace. American workers deserve the chance to make fine products here and sell them around the globe."
Allow First-Year Deduction, or "Expensing," of Equipment and Technology Investments: American workers need the finest technologies to compete. To expense equipment and technology "will provide an immediate boost to capital expenditures and reward investments in cutting-edge technologies."
Reduce Estate Tax: McCain wants to reduce the estate tax to 15 percent and allow a $10 million exemption to allow families to better retain their businesses.
Prosecute “Bad-Actor” Employers of Illegal Immigrants: McCain will implement a secure, accurate and reliable electronic employment verification system to ensure that individuals are screened for work eligibility in a real-time fashion. Targeted auditing by the Department of Labor will be instituted in order to weed out abusive employers. McCain wants to implement a usable, market-based system for low-skilled workers to enter the United States in an orderly fashion while providing adequate worker protection to guard against employer abuses of temporary workers.
Expand Free Trade Agreements: "The U.S. should engage in multilateral, regional and bilateral efforts to reduce barriers to trade, level the global playing field and build effective enforcement of global trading rules. Export growth is the strongest part of our sluggish economy, and we should be encouraging the growth of even more jobs in this sector through more free trade agreements which give American firms more access to sell our goods and services abroad."
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has a different vision of how the federal government can support small business owners. Gleaned from his website, the bullet points below spell out that the Barack Obama and Joe Biden team wants to:
Introduce a Small Business Health Tax Credit and Small Business Access to Low-cost National Health Exchange: Barack Obama will offer a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide quality health care to their employees. The Obama Small Business Health Tax Credit will provide a refundable credit of up to 50 percent on premiums paid by small businesses on behalf of their employees.
Eliminate Capital Gains Tax for Small Businesses and Start-Up Companies: Barack Obama will eliminate all capital gains taxes on start-up and small businesses to encourage innovation and job creation. Obama will also support small business owners by providing a $500 “Making Work Pay” tax credit to almost every worker in America. Self-employed small business owners pay both the employee and the employer side of the payroll tax, and this measure will reduce the burdens of this double taxation.
Increase Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Access to Capital: Obama will implement the Women Owned Business contracting program that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, but has yet to be implemented by the Bush Administration. Barack Obama will strengthen Small Business Administration programs that provide capital to minority-owned businesses, support outreach programs that help minority business owners apply for loans, and work to encourage the growth and capacity of minority firms.
Reduce Taxes for Rural Small Businesses through a 20% Tax Credit: Barack Obama will support entrepreneurship and spur job growth by establishing a small business and micro-enterprise initiative for rural America. The program will provide training and technical assistance for rural small businesses, and provide a 20 percent tax credit on up to $50,000 of investment in small owner-operated businesses.
Create a National Network of Public-Private Business Incubators: Obama will support entrepreneurship and spur job growth by creating a national network of public-private business incubators. Business incubators facilitate the critical work of entrepreneurs in creating start-up companies. Obama will invest $250 million per year to increase the number and size of incubators in disadvantaged communities throughout the country.
Crack Down on Illegal Immigrant Employers: Remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. The U.S. needs to do more to promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration.
Raise the Minimum Wage: 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 needs.
See Barack Obama's Plan for Small Business (pdf).
Photos courtesy of candidates' websites.