Eight years of President George W. Bush’s economic plan have destroyed our economy, which was the envy of the world, and laid waste to a budget surplus built up by President Bill Clinton. John McCain supported this plan every failing step of the way. Wages have remained flat while the price of fuel and other commodities have risen substantially. Over the past five years, the cost of attending an in-state college has increased, on average, by 35 percent. But while the middle class is squeezed tighter and tighter, McCain and the Republican Party have sought only to reduce the burden of the wealthiest among us. A government that once provided its citizens the tools for economic success has now abandoned the average American.

To correct these problems, it is essential that we create an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy or the well-connected. This is where Barack Obama’s promise — and plan — for economic change become vital.

The first step is middle-class tax relief. That will include a tax cut for more than 150 million workers and a tax increase on the wealthy so that they pay their fair share. But it’s not just about taxpayers: It’s about the corporations that ship jobs overseas and use loopholes to get out of paying American taxes. Obama supports ending tax breaks for all companies that outsource American jobs (transferring those tax credits to companies that create jobs at home) and enforcing our trade agreements to make sure other countries play by the same rules. It is unacceptable that workers who lose their jobs because of outsourcing aren’t receiving the help that they need to find another well-paying job.

While these plans will bring relief in the long run, most people need help now. This is why Obama is proposing a second economic stimulus package to help average Americans deal with the rising costs of food and gas. The package would be funded by a “windfall profits” tax on oil companies and would involve an immediate $1,000 check to every American family to deal with increased costs.

Obama would also invest in our national infrastructure to help state budgets and create the foundation for a post-carbon economy. This investment in solar technology would create “green jobs” in many fields, including heavy machinery, the auto industry and cutting-edge companies and interests. These jobs would replace our lost manufacturing jobs.

Obama also believes that government should provide workers with the tools necessary to compete in our new economy. This is why he believes health insurance should be affordable for all Americans and supports subsidies and regulation of the insurance market to cut costs and provide quality care for every American, making our industries more competitive on the world stage.

This new economy also demands an educated workforce, which is why Obama supports recruiting new teachers with better pay and offering students a $4,000 tax credit in exchange for community service to make college more affordable.

This election presents us with a clear choice. We can choose four more years of economic disaster, or we can choose an economy that will take on the challenges of the future and deal with the real issues that Americans face today. Barack Obama will provide the leadership to carry our country back to prosperity.

This viewpoint was written on behalf of the University’s chapter of College Democrats.

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