Oh, how the times have changed.
Last January, QSR took a closer look at the presidential frontrunners and their thoughts on key restaurant-industry issues. At the time, Senator Barack Obama was largely seen as a long shot while Senator John McCain’s candidacy appeared in ruin.
But the winds of change swirled and tossed around one of the most anticipated presidential elections in decades. Beginning with the Iowa caucuses, Obama surged and held off a Hillary Clinton charge while McCain resurrected his campaign and locked up the Republican nod in quick time.
With the rookie senator from Illinois and the veteran legislator from Arizona earning their respective parties’ presidential nominations, a heated contest commands the nation’s attention. As the race for the White House intensifies and voting day nears, we revisit Senator Obama and Senator McCain, taking closer looks at each man’s views on critical industry issues.
Under McCain’s “Pro-Growth” tax policy, the highest tax rate would remain at 35 percent. He also advocates keeping the current capital gains and dividends tax rate of 15 percent and phasing out the Alternative Minimum Tax, which adds certain tax preference items back into adjusted gross income. Perhaps most pertinent to foodservice, McCain proposes reducing corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent.
“The fact is that businesses in America today are paying the second highest tax rate of anywhere in the world,” McCain argued on October 15 during the last official presidential debate. “Where are companies going to go where they can create jobs and where they can do best in business? We need to cut the business tax rate in America. We need to encourage business.”
The Obama plan centers around cutting tax rates for 95 percent of American workers via a refundable “Making the Work Pay” cut which offers $500 for individuals or $1,000 for working couples as well as credits for savings, education, mortgage costs, and childcare. In addition, Obama intends to eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and offer tax credits to encourage companies to “invest and create jobs in the United States.”
“Not only do 98 percent of small businesses make less than $250,000, but I also want to give them additional tax breaks, because they are the drivers of the economy. They produce the most jobs,” said Obama during the same debate at Hofstra University.
Since his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Obama trumpeted his support for biofuels, citing Brazil as a nation that quickly escaped its complete reliance on crude oil from outside nations. Obama has been consistent in his message to find new energy sources and weaken the dependence on foreign oil. Even before the start of the primary season, he proposed a $150 billion fund to finance new biorefineries and stated his desire to see all new cars run on ethanol.
Today, Obama’s campaign Web site hosts this message: “Advances in biofuels … and other new technologies that produce synthetic petroleum from sustainable feedstocks offer tremendous potential to break our addiction to oil. Barack Obama will work to ensure that these clean alternative fuels are developed and incorporated into our national supply as soon as possible.”