Sunday, September 5, 2004

Apples and Oranges: A Public Service

Fight.Boredom is attempting to bring something that we feel is missing from the upcoming November election: clarity. What follows are the candidates’ stances on those issues we feel are most important and are most clearly stated in their respected platforms. Policy positions we cite have been gathered from George Bush and John Kerry’s campaign websites.

Fight.Boredom does not endorse either presidential candidate. fb


George Bush

Making the Tax Relief Permanent

Many of the tax cuts - including the new, low 10 percent tax bracket, the reduction in the marriage penalty, the doubling of the child tax credit, the phase-out of the death tax, and the increase in small business expensing - are set to expire. This tax relief must be made permanent so families and businesses can plan for the future with confidence.

Making the Tax Code Fairer, Simpler, and Pro-Growth

President Bush will work with Congress to make the tax code simpler for taxpayers, encourage saving and investment, and improve the economy's ability to create jobs and raise wages.

Promote Association Health Plans and Other Means to Reduce the Cost of Health Care

Small businesses will be able to band together to provide more affordable health care for their employees. Health Savings Accounts allow small business employees to save and pay for their health care needs.

Make the Death Tax Repeal and Rate Cuts for Small Businesses Permanent
For decades, family farmers and business people have advocated repealing the death tax. In 2001, President Bush proposed and Congress enacted a temporary repeal of this onerous tax. And more than ninety percent of America's small businesses pay their business taxes at the individual rates. The across-the-board rate reduction proposed by President Bush and passed by Congress allows these small businesses to keep more of what they earn. President Bush is committed to keeping this tax relief intact by making permanent the tax relief enacted in the past three years, including the across-the-board rate relief and the repeal of the death tax.

John Kerry

Create Good-Paying Jobs

As president, John Kerry will cut taxes for businesses that create jobs here in America instead of moving them overseas. John Kerry and John Edwards will also stand up for workers by enforcing our trade agreements.

Cut Middle-Class Taxes To Raise Middle-Class Incomes
When John Kerry is president, middle-class taxes will go down. Ninety-eight percent of all Americans and 99 percent of American businesses will get a tax cut under the Kerry-Edwards plan.

Make Washington Live Within A Budget
John Kerry will cut the deficit in half during his first four years in office. He will end corporate welfare as we know it, roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and impose a real cap to keep spending in check. And when John Kerry puts forward a new idea, he'll tell you how he's going to pay for it.

Invest In The Jobs Of Tomorrow
Today, businesses are harnessing new technology to manufacture energy-efficient cars, high-grade steel, advanced plastics and other new products. And this requires a bigger, skilled labor force to make them. John Kerry and John Edwards believe we should invest in these jobs and invest in the people who will fill them.

Pay For College And Service By Letting The Market Set Rates For Loans

Today's student loan program effectively guarantees billions in profits to banks at the expense of American taxpayers. John Kerry and John Edwards will introduce market forces to overhaul guaranteed student loans, saving taxpayers billions without charging students a penny more. Their plan will reward lenders with low costs and high-quality service – not political clout.


George Bush

Improve High School Assessments

President Bush proposes extending state assessments in grades three through eleven in reading and math. More than $250 million in annual funding will be provided to help states design and administer these assessments, which would require states to add two tests in high school over the next several years.

Support Early Intervention

President Bush proposed the establishment of a $200 million fund for states to encourage schools, with the input of parents, to use 8th grade test data to develop performance plans for entering high school students and to use assessments to monitor progress.

Expand the Mathematics and Science Partnership
The President will increase funding to $269 million for a partnership to improve high school math achievement by providing professional development for teachers.

Improve Advanced Placement
The President's 2005 budget provides a $28 million increase, bringing total spending for advanced placement courses for low-income students to nearly $52 million.

Increase Student Financial Aid to Help More Students Afford College
More than 10.3 million students will be able to afford college through President Bush's record $73 billion in financial aid assistance – an increase of $25.9 billion, or 55 percent, over 2001. The President's plan will provide a record $12.9 billion investment in Pell Grants, a 47 percent increase over 2001, to help an additional one million students afford college.

John Kerry

Meet Our Responsibilities To Our Schools
John Kerry and John Edwards will establish a National Education Trust Fund to ensure that schools always get the funding they need. They will also ensure that No Child Left Behind works for schools, states, and teachers by rewarding those who meet higher standards and rewarding schools that turn around and improve.

Offer 3.5 Million After-School Opportunities Through "School's Open 'Til Six"
John Kerry and John Edwards are strong supporters of after-school programs. They give students extra help, keep them out of trouble, and offer peace of mind to working parents. The Kerry-Edwards ""School's Open 'Til 'Six"" initiative will offer after-school opportunities to 3.5 million children, through programs that are open until 6 p.m. and offer safe transportation for children.

Make College Affordable For All And Expand Lifelong Learning

As president, John Kerry will offer a fully refundable College Opportunity Tax credit on up to $4,000 of tuition for every year of college and offer aid to states that keep tuitions down. And he will launch a new effort to ensure that all of our workers can get the technical skills and advanced training they need.


George Bush

Initiate Environmentally Safe Exploration

President Bush will seek to promote environmentally sound domestic oil production in just one percent of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which could provide up to 1 million barrels of oil a day for nearly 20 years.

Promote Natural Gas Production

President Bush will provide incentives to develop natural gas production from deep formations in shallow waters in the Gulf of Mexico, but not off the coast of Florida.

Build an Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline
President Bush will work to ensure construction of an Alaska natural gas pipeline to increase domestic natural gas supplies.

Utilize Nuclear Power
President Bush will ensure a future for nuclear power as a viable and emissions free energy source.

Support Energy Technologies
The President's plan will provide $4 billion in tax incentives to spur the use of energy technologies.

Help in the Construction of Energy-Efficient Homes
President Bush will fulfill his commitment to provide $1.4 billion over ten years to make homes more energy-efficient.

Improve Vehicle Fuel Economy
President Bush will advance a broad strategy to foster development of new technologies, provide a $4,000 tax credit to purchase hybrid gasoline-electric and other highly fuel efficient vehicles, and improve the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program to increase fuel economy in a way that saves lives and American jobs.

John Kerry

Explore And Develop New Energy Sources

Tomorrow's energy economy will be fueled by new energy sources. The Kerry-Edwards plan will invest in the research and exploration needed to turn ideas into fuel and develop renewable energy sources.

Develop Tomorrow's Technology Today
Under the Kerry-Edwards plan, America will take the lead in developing the new technology and production methods needed to ensure that resources such as coal and natural gas are used more efficiently and cleanly, and fully integrated into the New Energy Economy.

Make America Energy Independent Of Middle East Oil
Our security in the war on terror demands an end to our dependence on Middle East oil. Under the Kerry-Edwards plan, we will strengthen our national security while growing our economy and protecting our environment.


George Bush

Clear Skies Initiative
President Bush will work to secure passage of the Clear Skies Initiative to reduce power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury by 70 percent and help the states meet tougher new air quality standards.

Clean Air Interstate Rule
President Bush will complete the Clean Air Interstate Rule, which will require the steepest emissions cuts in over a decade.

President Bush has changed U.S. policy from one that only promised no net loss of wetlands to a pledge to create, improve, and protect at least 3 million acres of wetlands over the next five years.

Climate Change
President Bush will further his commitment to reduce America's greenhouse gas intensity by 18 percent by 2012; advance the science of climate change, including through the development of a Global Earth observation system; develop and deploy transformational technologies to avoid and reduce emissions, promote cost effective opportunities for near-term emissions reductions; and build on the international climate change partnerships this Administration has forged with countries responsible for more than 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

John Kerry

Create Cleaner, Greener Communities

Together, we can improve the environment in backyards and communities across America. John Kerry and John Edwards will revitalize contaminated industrial sites, get toxins out of communities, guarantee our children access to clean, safe parks and baseball fields, and take on traffic congestion and sprawl.

Enact A Conservation Covenant With America
John Kerry and John Edwards believe that Americans are united in our respect for the land. They will enact a Conservation Covenant with America to ensure balanced protection for our public lands and adequate resources to enhance our national parks.

Protect Our Health By Reducing Dangerous Air Emissions
As president, John Kerry will reverse the Bush-Cheney rollbacks to our Clean Air Act, plug loopholes in the law, take aggressive action to stop acid rain, and use innovative, job-creating programs to reduce mercury emissions and other emissions that contribute to global warming.

Restore America's Waters

Today, approximately 45 percent of our nation's waterways do not meet the ""drinkable, swimmable and fishable"" standard set out by the Clean Water Act 30 years ago. As president, John Kerry will implement a ""Restore America's Waters"" campaign, an integrated approach to protecting our precious, limited water resources. He will work with states on the toughest water quality challenges, restore damaged watersheds, protect wetlands, invest in our waterfronts and coastal communities, and protect our oceans.


George Bush

Zero-Down Payment Initiative

Nearly 150,000 Americans each year will be helped by allowing the Federal Government to insure mortgages for first-time homebuyers without a down payment.

Supporting Rural Homeownership
The Department of Agriculture is increasing homeownership with $2.7 billion in home loan guarantees for low- to moderate-income rural residents and $1.1 billion in direct loans for very low to low-income borrowers who are unable to secure a mortgage through a conventional lender. These USDA loans are expected to provide 42,800 homeownership opportunities to rural families across America.

Regulatory Reform

By reducing development costs by as much as 35 percent through the removal of affordable housing barriers, millions of American families will be able to buy or rent suitable housing that they otherwise could not afford.

John Kerry

End The Cop Crunch

Today, too many of America's police officers find themselves with more responsibilities but fewer resources, as the Bush administration has worked to slash funding for the Federal COPS program by 90 percent. John Kerry and John Edwards believe that today more than ever, we need cops on the beat. As a senator, John Kerry fought to create the COPS program that would put 100,000 police officers on the street. As president, he will restore funding to COPS so that we can fight crime and terrorism.

Protect Gun Rights And Stop Gun Violence
John Kerry is a gun owner and hunter, and both he and John Edwards support the Second Amendment right of law-abiding Americans to own guns. Like all of our rights, gun rights come with responsibilities, and John Kerry and John Edwards support mainstream measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists: enforcing the gun laws on the books, closing the gun show loophole, and standing with law enforcement officers to extend the assault weapons ban.

Use Proven Approaches To Reduce Gang Violence
The murder rate is rising under George Bush, and gang violence is a big part of the problem. Building on successes in several cities, John Kerry will reduce gang violence with a two-pronged approach: First, send a message of zero tolerance for gang violence backed by strong enforcement. Second, offer positive alternatives to help young people get on the right track.


George Bush

Promote Affordable Health Care for Children

The President will launch a nationwide, billion dollar Cover the Kids campaign to sign up more children for quality health care coverage. The Cover the Kids campaign will combine the resources of the Federal Government, states, and community organizations, including faith-based organizations, with the goal of covering all SCHIP-eligible children within the next two years.

Expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
President 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. Families will receive up to $2,000 for their premiums and $1,000 cash to put in their HSAs to help meet the deductible. Individuals will receive up to $700 for their premiums and $300 for their HSAs.

Allow Small Businesses to Establish Association Health Plans (AHPs)
While large businesses can use their purchasing power to get better deals from insurance companies, smaller firms often find that coverage is priced beyond their reach. To give small employers and their workers more purchasing power, the President has proposed allowing small businesses to band together and negotiate on behalf of their employees and their families.

Fighting for Medical Liability Reform
President Bush proposes commonsense liability reforms that will speed recovery of damages to patients, fairly compensate those who have been injured, and increase access to care. These reforms will help prevent skyrocketing medical liability premiums that force doctors to give up the practice of medicine, threaten access to needed care, and drive up health care costs for everyone.

Implementing Prescription Drug Benefit

Beginning in January 2006, all beneficiaries will be able to sign up for prescription drug coverage under Medicare. This new benefit will provide the greatest help to those in greatest need - seniors with low-incomes and those with high prescription drug bills - but will provide savings to all seniors who sign up.

John Kerry

Cut Your Premiums

John Kerry and John Edwards will cut family premiums by up to $1,000. That's $1,000 in real savings people can use to buy groceries, pay the bills, and save for their children's future. And that will mean more jobs and more competitive American businesses.

Cover All Americans With Quality Care
The Kerry-Edwards plan will give every American access to the range of high-quality, affordable plans available to members of Congress and extend coverage to 95 percent of Americans, including every American child. Their plan will also fight to erase the health disparities that persist along racial and economic lines, ensure that people with HIV and AIDS have the care they need, end discrimination against Americans with disabilities and mental illnesses, and ensure equal treatment for mental illness in our health system.

Cut the Cost of Prescription Drugs
The Kerry-Edwards plan will reduce prescription drug prices by allowing the re-importation of safe prescription drugs from Canada, overhauling the Medicare drug plan, ensuring low-cost drugs, and ending artificial barriers to generic drug competition.

Cut Waste And Inefficiency
Today, approximately 25 percent of health care costs are wasted on paperwork and administrative processing. The Kerry-Edwards plan harnesses American ingenuity to cut waste, save billions, and take new steps to ensure patient privacy.


George Bush

Provide Extra Incentives for Teachers

President Bush will provide an incentive fund for states and schools to reward effective teachers when students achieve a higher level of results.

Expand Loan Forgiveness for Teachers
President Bush would increase loan forgiveness from $5,000 to $17,500 for highly qualified math, science, and special education teachers who serve low-income communities.

Promote the Adjunct Teacher Corps
The $40 million Adjunct Teacher Corps initiative will bring experienced professionals into the classroom and allow them to teach one or more courses while on leave from their jobs, or teach online courses.

John Kerry

Engage 200,000 Americans A Year In "Service For College"

John Kerry and John Edwards will offer a simple deal to hundreds of thousands of America's young people: if you will serve for two years in one of America's toughest and most important jobs, we will cover four years of tuition at a typical public university.

Engage 300,000 College Students A Year In Helping Our Children Learn
John Kerry and John Edwards will call on America's college students to join a national crusade to help America's children succeed in school and get to college. In return for their service, our young people will receive up to $2,000 per year to pay for college.

Continue Reform And Put A Great Teacher In Every Classroom
Great teachers are the foundation of a great school. As president, John Kerry will enact a new bargain that offers teachers more, including better training and better pay in troubled schools, and asks for more in return, including fast, fair ways to make sure that teachers who don't belong in the classroom don't stay there.


George Bush

Create a National Intelligence Director
President Bush will work with Congress to create the position of a National Intelligence Director who will serve as the President's principal intelligence advisor and oversee the foreign and domestic activities of the intelligence community.

Establish a National Counterterrorism Center
A National Counterterrorism Center will build on the analytical work of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center and become our Government's knowledge bank for information about known and suspected terrorists.

Reform Congressional Oversight
President Bush will work with Congress to restructure and strengthen legislative oversight of intelligence and homeland security.

America Must Continue to Adapt to the Challenges of the 21st Century

President Bush will continue leading the transformation of our Nation's Armed Forces. America will develop a lighter, faster, more lethal force, with the best training for the new challenges of the new century.

American Forces Overseas Will Be Restructured to Use Existing Forces More Effectively and More Efficiently Support Servicemen, Servicewomen, and Their Families
After three years of extensive review and consultation with Congress and our allies around the world, President Bush has begun the most comprehensive restructuring of the U.S. military presence overseas since the end of the Korean War. His new initiative will bring home many Cold War-era forces while deploying more flexible and rapidly deployable capabilities in strategic locations around the world.

Continue to Strengthen Security at Every identified Vulnerability

President Bush will tighten border security by hiring additional border patrol agents, increasing unmanned aerial vehicle flights and remote video surveillance, and expanding biometric identification at the top fifty land ports of entry by the end of 2004.

Use Advanced Technology to Protect Against WMD Attacks

President Bush has already announced Project BioShield, which will fund cutting-edge countermeasures against a biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological attack.

Build on the USA PATRIOT Act to Strengthen Communication, Cooperation, and Coordination at Every Level of Intelligence and Law Enforcement

President Bush will work to renew the critical provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act so that law enforcement has the tools necessary to defend the country.

John Kerry

Track And Stop Terrorists

Many of the intelligence problems that allowed terrorists to slip into our country before 9/11 have not been addressed. John Kerry and John Edwards will improve our ability to gather, analyze, and share information so we can track down and stop terrorists before they cause harm.

Protect Our Borders And Shores
Today, our borders, our ports, and our airports are not as secure as they must be. John Kerry and John Edwards will make our airports, seaports, and borders more secure without intruding upon personal liberties.

Harden Vulnerable Targets
Chemical industry lobbying has kept the Bush administration from strengthening security at chemical plants, where an attack could endanger 1 million Americans. John Kerry and John Edwards will always put Americans' safety ahead of big business interests and take strong measures to harden likely targets-including nuclear plants, trains, and subways-against possible attack.

Improve Domestic Readiness

Our first defenders will respond to any attack with courage and heroism-but they also need the equipment and manpower to do the job. John Kerry and John Edwards will back up their words with resources and ensure that America's first responders have everything they need to protect their communities.

Guard Liberty
We must always remember that terrorists do not just target our lives - they target our way of life. John Kerry and John Edwards believe in an America that is safe and free, and they will protect our personal liberties as well as our personal security.

Launch And Lead A New Era Of Alliances

The threat of terrorism demands alliances on a global scale - to utilize every available resource to get the terrorists before they can strike at us. As president, John Kerry will lead a coalition of the able - because no force on earth is more able than the United States and its allies.

Modernize The World's Most Powerful Military To Meet New Threats
John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to transform the world's most powerful military to better address the modern threats of terrorism and proliferation, while ensuring that we have enough properly trained and equipped troops to meet our enduring strategic and regional missions.

Deploy All That Is In America's Arsenal
The war on terror cannot be won by military might alone. As president, John Kerry will deploy all the forces in America's arsenal - our diplomacy, our intelligence system, our economic power, and the appeal of our values and ideas - to make America more secure and prevent a new generation of terrorists from emerging.

Free America From Its Dangerous Dependence On Mideast Oil
To secure our full independence and freedom, we must free America from its dangerous dependence on Mideast oil. By tapping American ingenuity, we can achieve that goal while growing our economy and protecting our environment.


George Bush

Make the Research and Development Tax Credit Permanent

President Bush will push to make the R&D tax credit permanent and propose reforms to the credit to make it a more effective catalyst for private sector research.

Increase Federal R&D Funding

The President's 2005 Budget provides a record $132 billion for R&D - a 44 percent increase from 2001. The President completed the doubling of the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to over $28 billion and increased the National Science Foundation budget by 30 percent.

Increase Support for Basic Research

The President's 2005 budget requests an all-time high of $26.8 billion for basic research.

Make the Ban on Internet Access Taxes Permanent
The President has signed into law a two-year extension of the Internet Access Tax moratorium. In addition, he has called on Congress to pass legislation to expand the moratorium to cover broadband and make it permanent.

John Kerry

Strengthen Our Economy And Fuel High-Tech Job Growth

Venture capital-backed startups have created millions of American jobs. By eliminating capital gains taxes for long-term investments in small businesses, John Kerry and John Edwards will create a business environment that encourages investment in innovation and break down barriers to future job growth and economic expansion.

Bridge The Digital Divide
Today, America has slipped to 10th in the world in adapting broadband technology. John Kerry and John Edwards will wire every corner of America and provide first responders with a secure broadband network by 2006.

Invest In The Breakthroughs Of Tomorrow
Today, Americans are discovering new ways to improve the lives of their fellow citizens. John Kerry and John Edwards will invest more in the research likely to create the industries and jobs of the future and lead to discoveries that will help us improve millions of lives and better understand the world we live in.

Let Scientists Do Science Again

John Kerry and John Edwards will let scientific findings drive scientific decisions and make scientific reports public so all Americans can make informed decisions. To help the scientists of tomorrow, they will improve K-12 math and science education and expand America's scien

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