Presidential Candidate’s Policy Proposal Analysis

Policy Proposal Analysis

As the nomination for each party’s presidential elect approaches, candidates hope to stand out by their policy regarding domestic affairs. The eight remaining potential nominees released their respective proposals concerning national issues via internet on November 7, 2013.

Proposals reviled consistency along party agendas on both the conservative and liberal sides alike, as conservatives emphasized traditional family structure, liberals underlying a progressive government and everyone stressing the importance of an improved economy. In fact, the political rhetoric framed the economy within almost every issue raised, not so surprising as polls consistently site the state of the economy as the major concern for older U.S. citizens—the bracket that has the highest rate of voting.

Discussion of social and economic inequality remained a major theme of most proposals. The legacy of the Occupy Movement lives on as many candidates addressed the widening wage gap between the 99% and the 1% – a discussion that many attribute to the mass political protests in the early 2010s. However, ways of addressing it differed greatly. With the liberal candidates—Hillary Clinton, Deval Patrick, Martin O’Malley, and Elizabeth Warren—all offering a more progressive tax on the rich and corporations as a way to fund welfare programs while conservative candidates—Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, and Rick Santorum—all proposing more tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations as incentives to boost spending in the economy and hire new employees, respectively.

Often overlooked are the widening social and economic gaps between races and gender within the 99% and 1%. Clinton most commonly attributed to raising the issue of race and gender discrimination within the workplace was not the only candidate to outline this ongoing problem. The Warren campaign emphasized the importance of breaking down the hegemonic discourse and practices surrounding race, gender, and class in order to achieve a more equal society.

Critiques of big government echoed across the conservative proposals with Sarah Palin leading the chant of crony capitalism and calls for a more free market economic system. On the other side of the binary, liberals called for greater assistance from government – often citing the role of government is to take care of it’s citizens. Often connected, the issue of welfare remains polarized in our virtual two-party system as conservatives site the failing nuclear family structure and laziness as reasons for welfare and liberals draw on the failing education structures of poor neighborhoods as well as social barriers that prevent mobility.

All eight potential candidates raised the issue of education. While agreeing there is room for reform, each candidate took a unique route of fixing primary and secondary public education. For example, O’Malley proposed universal pre-kindergarten and Santorum called for “bringing back god into our schools”.

Like the Occupy Movement, Barack Obama has left a legacy in which all candidates have addressed. Perhaps not all candidates mentioned the Affordable Care Act by name, parts of the measure still leaked into their proposals. From eliminating discrimination on people with pre-existing conditions, to the illusive gender rating system which insurance companies profited off of, all the candidates spoke about an evolving healthcare system. Just eight years ago, the healthcare system remained a primarily private institution thought too powerful for politicians to touch it.

The proposed solutions to domestic issues ranged greatly from party lines to inner-party propositions. Remaining consistent to party principles of traditional for conservatives to progressive for liberals, no candidates strayed too far from what has been seen and discussed within the Obama era.


Discussion of Proposals

An Abstract on the Various GOP Narratives on Social and Cultural Welfare Initiatives

Rick Santorum engages a policy dialogue that is filled with exclusionary religious rhetoric and vague conservative idealism.  The proposal is filled with poorly defined social groups like the “youngest citizens” who are promised government support.  Who are these citizens?  How old are they?  What demographic defines the “youngest”?  There is kind of “Focus on the Family” approach that leans heavily on Christian evangelical dogma–a stream of thinking which has politically propelled the religious right to places of great power in Washington.

Santorum uses religious conservatism as a foundational spring-board for discussions about education reform and domestic labor, but these secular issues somehow lead to comments about “bringing God back into our schools in order to spread our faith throughout the nation” and having “local church organizations” head up welfare campaigns.  It is difficult to stomach the evangelical tinge that every policy seems to be seasoned with.  A good example is the very first initiative proposed: The Purity Pact.  The main emphasis is on abstinence, which on the surface is an initiative worth promoting, but the undercurrent of the measure seems to justify a defunding of government programs like Planned Parenthood.  Positive reinforcement through education about abstinence seems to be Santorum’s silver bullet solution for pregnancies out-of-wedlock, but he fails to include or even acknowledge other forms of contraception.

Two very troubling Santorum initiatives that might as well be combined are the “Restoring America” and “Santorum Healthcare Plan.”  The restoration plan seeks to repeal every Obama policy/regulation and do essentially what the Santorum healthcare plan seeks to do which is repeal Obamacare.  The only question here is after 48 failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (A.C.A.) in Congress and a Supreme Court Ruling that made the act the law, why would this conversation about repealing health care LAW continue on into the 2016 campaign?

Sarah Palin has a policy proposal that in many ways mirrors Santorum.  Palin is, however, more overt in her attack on federally funded programs like Planned Parenthood whereas Santorum has policies with underlying detrimental impacts for those programs (which he quietly avoids).  There are a number of statistics that get thrown around that are questionable, like “Government dependency under Obama has gone up twenty-six percent” or “seven in ten Americans believe our country is headed in the wrong direction.”  Really?  Who exactly is being polled and how far reaching (geographically) is this poll?  These numbers are meant to justify the attack quickly mounted against big government and President Obama specifically.  She wastes no time claiming that government oppression extends as far light bulb choices or what one gets in gas mileage.

The main justification Palin seems to have for deconstructing “crony capitalism”–the impenetrable bond between government authorities (or as she put it the “permanent political class and leaders of multinational corporations–is that apparently if the founding fathers were to assess the current economic and political climate they would not approve.  This is far too large an assumption to justify government downsizing at the scale at which she is talking.  It would not be too large an assumption to think that the laissez-faire economic strategy Palin seeks to enact comes straight from the pages of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.

It seems like Palin believes any form of fiscal assistance leads to de-incentivizing and dependence, but at least she is willing to uphold assistance even if it is on some minimized level.

In O’Malley’s policy proposal, he addressed the issues of job reform, education reform, healthcare, social welfare, public assistance, civil Rights, Public Safety and Crime, Public Housing Program, sickness Insurance, Budget and Economy. O’Malley hopes on saving jobs that are already in place and creating new jobs for job reform. O’Malley plans to add programs to help with job skill training, creating aid programs and new jobs for the unemployed. These plans are admirable and would have potential positive outcomes, but there is unstable backing of how this will happen. The funding for such projects is questionable  Education Reform was centralized around creating more preschools with more structured curriculums and credited teachers. Summer school programs to enhance learning and help students get ahead. Teachers will receive culture diversity training, and have appropriate training for their subject. High schools will emphasize science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for advanced learning. In order to also further prepare students for college and occupations, O’Malley intends to further programs to guide students through applications, SATs, and informational programs. The O’Malley campaign is heavily weighted towards the nuclear family. Their policies neglect to identify social issues beyond the comfort level of the nuclear family. Essential issues are neglected and devalued.

Patrick desires to help children in poverty by establishing programs for single parent households under the poverty line. One program he intends to use is the National Childcare Initiative (NCI) which funds after school programs for elementary students. Patrick also intends to implement the Federal Aid in Work Attainment (FAWA) program which gives motivates businesses to hire single parents and the government pays a portion of the wage. He takes a unique standpoint on class, as he focuses largely on the lower income bracket, while most other candidates address middle and upper class issues. While this is admirable that he fights for the working poor, his strength becomes his weakness because he fails to address primary concerns regarding the affordable care act, social security in relation to the growing population of retired baby boomers, or even trivial things such as foreign policy. Patrick discusses the issues of education and standardized testing. Schools struggling with standardized testing scores are getting little funding. These are primarily inner city schools. In order to lessen the educational gap, Deval Patrick hopes to incorporate the Educational Equilibrium Fund to balance the endowment of schools, not basing it on income or neighborhood. Patrick’s desire to educate the nation, spreads to his policy proposal, by making us read the entirety of it. He fails to speak to the camera, and uses powerpoint slides to get his message across.

In Elizabeth Warren’s policy proposal, she discusses her desire  for reform is  social security. She is strongly against cutting social security benefits, because it increases the gap between the rich and poor and she was to decrease the gap. Although this is seemingly beneficial, standing firm in not cutting these benefits could result in another Obama situation, with failing to follow through with promises. Warren also discusses the health insurance program in America. She states that America has a false sense of security because of their health insurance, but Warren believes there are more negatives than we think. The Warren campaign is proposing a universal healthcare system for all, making sure all citizens have full coverage. Warren could have done a more fulfilling job of addressing people’s concerns and counterarguments to the controversial issue of universal healthcare.

Clinton is proposing a policy for maternal and paternal leave. This is in the hopes of guaranteeing adequate support for Americans with children without fear of job loss. Regulations will be put in place such as proper documentation and work history reports. We as the New York Times see these regulations in a positive light to make sure there is fairness among all.

Clinton hopes to reform and introduce student parent programs in all four year Universities in America. The campaign for Senator Clinton has failed to address in a straightforward manner the problems facing affordable healthcare.  In an interview conducted earlier by one of our NYT news analysts the former Secretary of State is asked about fixing healthcare problems.  Instead of talking about the failure of the federal healthcare website or President Obama’s failed promise to keep people in their current plans, she (i.e. he) broadly discussed how healthcare coverage was moving in a positive direction.  There was little concrete discussion on how to streamline people getting coverage, website improvements, etc.

Proposed Funding

Rick Santorum’s campaign proposes to reduce federal spending in order to create jobs, empower the American family, and support business owners. First, Santorum plans to reduce the national debt by eliminating Obamacare, calculating that this strategy will save taxpayers 18 million dollars. Another way this campaign proposes to regulate the economy is by freezing federal spending on states’ social welfare programs and imposing stricter time limits, with the purpose of making citizens less dependable on the government. Instead they are choosing to provide the states with block grants, this way the states would have the power to allot their grant money to their programs as they please. With suggestions from the Government Accountability Office reports, they will also target areas in which the government is being wasteful, misspending, or duplicating spending. Santorum states that there is no need for tax cuts because he strongly believes that cutting spending will revitalize the American

This plan is quite extreme. Obamacare was a great stride for the health of our country, it should be given a chance to succeed. Another concerning topic is his plan to freeze federal spending on welfare programs. The freezing of welfare spending to make people independent from the government is very unfair and irresponsible on the government’s behalf. This would be detrimental and cause much stress upon the underprivileged people of the United States and we will not stand for it.

In general, Sarah Palin’s main goal is to reduce the government’s role in the citizens’ lives. The campaign proposes to wean the people from the government by gradually cutting spending to TANF, increasing and promoting the role of non-profit organizations, and creating incentives to work. She will provide tax break for all families (even wealthy families) and increase workers compensations. Although it is masked very nicely, there are several flaws in this plan. Cutting spending to TANF is a terrible idea because it helps families out of poverty. If the government doesn’t that the  responsibility to support its people, then who will?  Not only is this campaign ill-considered but it hurts the poor and benefits the wealthy. Palin’s Plan forgets about institutional inequality, and ignores the fact that some people have deeper disadvantages than others.

Paul Ryan’s policy proposal, although it seems very noble, it is just another plan to detach the people from the government. He states that creating more job opportunities would reignite the economy and restore the American middle class. He claims Americans need more jobs, training, and education. However he does not state how he will help the people achieve these goals. The proposal states that he wants to cut funding to welfare programs to force Americans to become independent. According to Ryan, welfare programs are very costly and the United States needs to cut this type of spending in order to get back on its feet. It is comprehensible that spending has to be considerably reduced in order to gain control of the economy; yet taking money away from the poor is not the right way. Defunding the poor in order to pay the U.S. debt seems very unethical, not to mention unjust. This proposal needs more considerations and specifications.

Rand Paul’s plan to increase federal revenue is to defend the welfare state and shifting the well being of constituents into individual state’s hands. He feels that by defunding the Department of Education, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would be beneficial for the nation’s economy. The campaign predicts that funding these programs is a waste because they do not directly help people out of poverty. They also think that citizens would be better off if the state is in charge of their welfare because state governments are more in tune with people’s need than the federal government. However, the campaign should target other programs to defund because these particular one are extremely important for society. Education provides people with opportunities, SNAP gives people life essentials like food and EITC provide people with incentive to actually work. Paul should definitely reconsider the defunding of these programs if he wants to see this nation succeed.

Through a series of civil rights laws, taxes, and social welfare reforms, Martin O’Malley hopes to update and improve the quality of lives for Americas. He plans on improving quality of lives by expanding civil rights laws, and creating social reforms. O’Malley states he will create funds to ensure the education of children in lower income neighborhoods, and that he will provide people with funds when crises strike.This campaign plans for a more progressive type of government, funds will be provided by accurately allocating funds and by eliminating ineffective spending. Theoretically this proposal is a good and noble plan of action; however we feel that it is missing specifications. What are some examples of what he considers to be unnecessary spending, and to which specific programs he would allocate more or less money to. There is nothing wrong with proposal, we just think that more details would strengthen his case.

Hillary Clinton hopes to restore the economy by rebuilding the middle class and helping local business. Clinton will help families by enforcing tax cuts for families with children, children in college, and with elderly people at home. She will also encourage small business owners by giving them tax breaks as well, and discourage foreign business operations. This is all good, but it does not specifically say how the government will be able to afford these tax breaks. This proposal has to expand on their ideas on recovery, and give specific examples on how they plan to get the American economy under control.

Elizabeth Warren will stabilize the economy taking from the rich and giving to the poor. This campaign plans to provide absolutely no tax breaks for the wealthy, in order to afford tax breaks for the needy. In fact, Warren’s strategy is to heighten taxes for the wealthy and using that money to reform the welfare state and help pay for health care. She has also come up with a single-payer system idea to help keep the cost of the new health reform act. The campaign also believes in education and will have the Federal Reserve make funds available to student loans to provide more opportunities of success. This proposal is a solid and fair campaign because it is logical to tax the rich instead of the poor. Also, making education more accessible is a great tactic to bring the American people out of the slump. The only potential flaw in this proposal is that they wealthy people of this country will never allow this campaign to pass. A suggestion would be to find a commonality that would benefit both the rich and the poor; include it in the campaign to increase Warren’s chances of winning. All in all, this proposal is great!

In short, Democrats candidates want to expand the government and help the poor. Republican candidates want to reduce the government and help only the people who are well of. Democrats will be attacked because their proposals usually include large amounts of spending which will probably not be beneficial to the growing national debt. Republicans will be attacked because by their proposals it seems that they do not want to help the poor at all. They think that all welfare spending is a waste of money. They want to become disengaged from the underprivileged people of the country, while thousands of people in the U.S. are truly experiencing tough times. Although Republican candidates have a clearer vision on how to get the U.S. out of debt than Democrats, Democratic campaigns demonstrate more humanitarian reforms that will provide relief for the the people in need.

Proposal Politics

Each candidate discusses a few of the political problems occurring in the United States and how they will fix the problem when elected as president. The democratic party such as Elizabeth Warren, Martin O’Malley, Hillary Clinton, and Deval Patrick have similar proposals dealing with the education system, HealthCare, and tax policies. The democrats priority are assisting those who are in desperate need of the government’s help in order to succeed. They envision in establishing new programs that will help the poor by obtaining a higher level education and reducing federal taxes. Within the education system, Warren plans to help the poor by lowering college loans in order for more people to be able to afford their education and settle for a good career. Funding public schools is also a main concern for the Patrick Campaign because they are willing to aide the non wealthy students who do not have the resources to strive for success due to the low funding non-wealthy schools receive. Funding the schools will open doors for new programs that will prepare the students for college and encourage the youth to pursue their education without confronting a barrier. HealthCare is another factor they all hope to improve by assuring everyone with an affordable health plan that will benefit the patient when he or she is ill and not having to spend extraordinary amount of money. Lastly, they intend to increase taxes to the wealthy since their earnings are sufficient to stand on their own. This will improve the country because new resources will be available to the citizens who need the help by the government as well as improving the country’s debt issue.

The republican candidates (Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum) have contrasting political themes from the Democratic Party. The Republican Party focuses more on taking the power away from the federal government and transmitting that power to each individual state. By giving the power back to the state, it will allow for the state to aide their own people since the State knows exactly where the people are failing and where they are succeeding as oppose to the federal government. Their way of thinking is not as a country, but rather as individuals and in order for the whole country to succeed and come out on top the state has to know where the people stand and improving themselves. Another major political proposal the republicans have is to uphold the traditional -1 man, 1 woman- family. By doing this, the children will be in a more secure environment that will allow their confidence to boost up and be more outspoken in their life decisions and also make them better leaders in society. Republicans feel that the Health Care in the United States as of now is preposterous because of the fact that it is making the citizens buy something at force without the citizen’s approval. By doing that, democracy is not represented and are against Obamacare. Raising taxes is another attribute they are against because Republicans would rather cut taxes since it is money they have earned and would rather use that money to benefit the people in society by making more business in the country, and hopefully getting the United States out of debt.

A program that will definitely be attacked on both ends of the parties deals with the Social Welfare Program. The main one that both the Republicans and Democrats mention include the poverty level of individuals residing in the United States and the aid they will provide in order to improve the situation. Republicans are for cutting taxes in order to create wealth for the people and to give to those who are working hard for their money and for America to be successful. As for the Democrats, cutting taxes is not going to cut it for them. They want to raise tax revenues to the 1% as well as to the wealthy and powerful companies in order to improve the United States as a whole. This kind of social welfare will be affecting the poor as well the unemployed because the Democrats will have programs available to them to better their situation such as raising minimum wage as proposed by Warren, in order to get more people out of poverty and more people to start working. Another democratic view relates to the Patrick Campaign which their goal is to close the gap between the rich and poor. Their strategy also deals with taxing the wealthy because they have a lot to offer to the government, unlike people who have nothing to contribute. The republican’s opponent may attack them by stating that cutting taxes will  not solve anything for the country because the federal government is still going to need help with funding in order to improve our country, thus it is going to leave States figuring out where they will be getting the money from as opposed to taxing the people, they do not have to worry about that issue because funds will be gathered to help out both the poor in the States. The opposing party does not believe that cutting taxes will benefit the country in a sense that the wealthy will not contribute enough to the people who are in need of the extra help from other citizens. This tax increment will be mandatory for everyone to give back of what they have earned to the United States since the country is the one giving them that money.

As you can see, the taxation aspects in the candidate’s proposals are either raising taxes or cutting taxes depending on the people’s income. Most of the democrats vision raising revenues for the wealthy and powerful because they do not need economic assistance in order to survive in society. The results of this is to help out the people who need financial assistance since they are not fortunate enough with wealth. The republicans on the other hand, would rather cut taxes because they will be able to provide more money to businesses and help the country come out of debt, instead of making programs that cost money and make the United States spend money it doesn’t have. Voters will respond to this as a way of either being on the same page with the candidate or being against what they are saying. This will influence the way they feel about them and if they want their actions and way of thinking to lead the citizens to a more safe and improving country.

 Some of the programs being proposed are somewhat visible because they are not stating how effective or defective the proposals will be to the citizens. They only state whether something might work, but some candidates like the republicans do not address which group will be harmed or affected by these proposals. Some democratic candidates do a well job at identifying the issue and who will be affected by it. They state what the problem is and how they are going to try and fix that. Besides their plan, they state who it will benefit and how it is a positive thing for the country as a whole. Most of the democrats proposals are to fund and support the non-wealthy group, thus funds will be benefiting them. On the contrary, the Republicans do not support the democrat’s decisions because as the non-wealthy are benefiting from this, the wealthy individuals are not since they will be losing money from these proposals. The republicans state that they will be helping out the states, thus making their vision visible due to the fact that they have a group they are focusing on as a whole instead of just certain individuals. By showing the visibility in their proposals will influence the support one gets because if the proposal benefits a certain group of people, then they will support the candidate and the cause. By having a strong visibility in the proposal affects the results because the people get to see what the president envisions in the future and what people he/she is targeting which can either be positively or negative, then make their own decisions during elections. This will then determine whether they support what they stand for, or oppose how they envision the United States of America.


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