Obama, Romney to Square Off With an Eye on Domestic Policy

As Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama take to the podium tonight in the second presidential debate, American voters hope to hear some encouraging news about job growth and economic development.

With nearly 23 million Americans either underemployed, unemployed or out of the workforce, many are looking to the two candidates for a plan to fix the sputtering economy. However, if history is any indicator of what the two politicians will say, Americans may be out of luck. Since the campaigning started months ago, neither candidate has offered more than vague steps.

Unlike the previous presidential debate, however, voters may be more likely to have their concerns addressed. The town hall-style forum, which will take place at Hofstra University on Long Island, will allow voters to personally question the candidates. The Gallup polling organization selected participants to submit questions to the debate moderator, and individual voters will ask the questions at the forum.

What to Expect: Candidates’ Plans for the Economy

This debate is an important one for both candidates as they aim their final shots. But for Obama, a victory is particularly important as he comes off a shoddy performance in the October 3 debate.

Political pundits suggest that Obama will make last-ditch efforts to pitch his economic vision as the margin between the two candidates narrows. Obama’s plan includes middle-class tax breaks and tax increases for the wealthy. Romney said this plan would only add to the nation’s debt. Instead, Romney has called for across-the-board tax cuts.

Voters are most concerned with economic recovery, according to NBC News. Some want to know the specifics about helping the underemployed and unemployed; others are concerned with the high prices of gas, groceries and other household products; and others still are worried by entitlement programs including Social Security.

According to NBC, both Obama and Romney have outlined their plans to help the employment situation, albeit vaguely. Last summer, Obama proposed a new stimulus program that would use federal funds to prevent teacher layoffs and modernize public schools. He also proposed offering tax credits to companies that hire the unemployed. Romney has said he wants to simplify taxes, lower income tax rates and put a more effective job-training program in place.

With regard to the high prices of household goods, Romney did raise concern about the inflation during the first presidential debate earlier this month, pointing out that the cost of everything from gasoline to medical care has gone up during Obama’s tenure. For his part, Obama has not fully addressed inflation. Instead, he’s focused his speeches on improving public schools, developing American energy and closing corporate loopholes, among other goals.

Both candidates have addressed Social Security concerns. Obama said that Social Security must be “tweaked” and mentioned the idea of a tax increase and a reduction in future retirement benefits. Romney has rejected the idea of Social Security tax increases but said he wants to raise the retirement age as a way to grow benefits.

Bill “No Pay” Fay has lived a meager financial existence his entire life. He started writing/bragging about it seven years ago, helping birth Debt.org into existence as the site’s original “Frugal Man.” Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years covering college and professional sports, which are the fantasy worlds of finance. His work has been published by the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, among others. His interest in sports has waned some, but his interest in never reaching for his wallet is as passionate as ever. Bill can be reached at bfay@debt.org.

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    Sources:

    1. NBCnews.com. (2012, October 16). Readers weigh in on debate questions. Retrieved from http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/16/14463281-readers-weigh-in-on-debate-questions?lite