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Who is better for business, Barack Obama or John McCain?

Umeke Market owners Daryl and Michelle Yamaguchi

Brian Schatz
CHAIR, Hawaii Democratic Party

Barack Obama believes that, over the long run, Wall Street cannot do well without a thriving Main Street. If elected as U.S. president, he’ll implement policies to jumpstart our flagging national economy and build America’s capacity for innovation and growth.

Here are a few of his ideas that will help Hawaii the most:

1)  To shore up the housing market he will establish a $10 billion fund to prevent foreclosures and assist families with refinancing their mortgages. While Hawaii’s rate of foreclosures is among the lowest in the nation, the national credit crunch is hurting the local housing market by making loans harder to come by, and this fund will alleviate some of the pressure.

2)  He’ll push through the “Making Work Pay” tax credit designed to provide incentives for working families. This will help 150 million Americans, and completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million.

3) As Hawaii moves forward with an increasingly aggressive renewable energy policy, we need a supportive president to complement the efforts of our Congressional Delegation. Obama will launch a program that will invest $150 billion over 10 years in biofuels infrastructure and other clean-energy technologies. Hawaii has made great progress in renewables, with the Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii, Act 221, and the new solar roof state mandate. Obama’s efforts will accelerate this momentum.

For the last eight years we’ve had an appallingly simplistic national economic policy; despite record deficits, George Bush has argued that further tax cuts are the answer to America’s economic woes. While Senator Obama understands the useful role that targeted tax stimulus can play, his economic strategy demonstrates an understanding that balanced budgets, improved education, investment in new energy technologies, and a sound foreign policy will reap economic rewards for America and Hawaii.



Jerry Coffee
CHAIR, McCain Hawaii Campaign

It is axiomatic that lower taxes, cheaper quality healthcare, affordable, accessible energy and a stable economy within a secure America are “better for business” than higher taxes, higher employee healthcare costs, higher energy prices and an uncertain economy within a less secure America. As simplistic as that may sound, I could stop right there and you would have the answer to the operative question. John McCain’s policies would support the former and Barack Obama’s the latter.

More specific to Hawaii’s dependence on military spending and tourism, Obama favors discontinuing several military programs which would negatively impact spending and jobs locally. He even advocates abandoning the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the increasingly effective antiballistic missile program,
significant research and development for which is conducted at Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility, Hawaii. This would result in the loss of scores of jobs and income on Kauai, not to mention reduced defensive capability in an era of increasing Russian and Chinese belligerence.  McCain would not make these cuts and supports SDI.

Hawaii businesses and consumers have already been reeling from the effects of high gasoline prices, and now there is a second whammy, significantly reduced tourism, the state’s primary economic engine. As long as jet fuel prices — hence, air fares — remain high, tourism and related businesses will continue to languish. Obama and his fellow Democrats refuse to support immediate, safe exploitation of existing domestic oil
and gas deposits, even as a bridge to future renewable sources. McCain supports the immediate exploitation of existing resources, the commencement of which would likely have an immediate effect on the price of jet fuel and gasoline.

All the above is based upon the Obama positions as of this writing. By the time it goes to press he could stick his finger into the wind — again — and it could all be out the window — again!


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Hawaii Business,September