Environment / Energy
In 2003, Bush launched a five-year initiative to develop hydrogen technologies to power automobiles, homes, and businesses with virtually no pollution. He plans to continue this $1.7 billion dollar initiative. In addition, with respect to renewable energy he plans to expand use of Ethanol and Biodiesel, extend tax credit and research for production of electricity from wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower and biomass. He wants to change clean air laws to use a market-based approach that would impose the first national cap on industrial emission of mercury and reductions in smog-forming nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain. He also wants to cap power plant emissions to reduce pollution drifting across state lines. Bush is also advancing a tax credit of $4,000 to purchase hybrid gasoline-electric and other highly fuel efficient vehicles. he also wants to modernize our electricity grid, in order to prevent a repeat of last year’s blackout that affected 50 million people.
Bush defends the constitutionality of DOMA (Protect the Defense of Marriage Act), which was overwhelmingly passed in 1996, by both parties. He proposes a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Has continued Clinton’s policy allowing gays to serve in the military if they are not open about their homosexuality.
Home ownership is a high priority for Bush as it is the most important single investment most Americans will ever make. During Bush’s Presidency home ownership is at an all time high of 69.2%. Bush signed a $200 million-a-year American Dream Down Payment Act, which provides approximately 40,000 low-income families with funding assistance for down payment and closing costs. The government will help nearly 150,000 Americans who are first-time homebuyers without a down payment. Students could qualify under this plan as long as they are low income and have good credit.
Bush believes that Iraq is a central piece of the war on terror and that there were sufficient justifications to remove Saddam from power beyond WMD’s. Bush further believes that bringing democracy to Iraq will further create long-term stability in the Middle East.
Retirement & Social Security
Bush wants to give younger workers the option of putting part of their payroll tax into personal retirement accounts, giving them a chance to make a higher return on that investment in return for smaller Social Security benefits.
Bush supports more open trade and is pursuing a variety of bilateral trade deals as well as one for the Western Hemisphere. Under Bush in the spring of 2004, the U.S. successfully resolved seven pending trade disputes with China without resorting to lengthy WTO litigation. However, on issues that cannot be resolved through mediation, Bush supports using the WTO as it did by filing the first ever WTO action against China on its discriminatory practices against U.S. high tech exports. The Bush administration maintains that they put in place nearly as many anti-dumping orders against China as the previous Administration did in two terms.
Environment / Energy
Kerry wants to re-engage "in the development of an international climate change strategy to address global warning," but gives no explicit endorsement of The Kyoto treaty. He wants to forbid drilling in the Arctic refuge. He has supported tougher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. He wants to steer $20 billion from oil and gas royalties to development of cleaner energy. Kerry’s goal is independence from Middle East oil in 10 years including 20% of electricity generated from renewable or alternative sources by 2020. He also wants tougher standards for companies operating on public lands.
Kerry opposes gay marriage but also opposes constitutional amendment against it. Kerry supports civil unions. He wants to ban job discrimination against homosexuals, extend hate-crime protections to gays, and let gays serve openly in the military.
Kerry championed measures to extend homeownership opportunities to more families. He supported the section 8 housing HOPE VI and Low-income Housing tax credit.
Kerry voted for the war but now says it was a mistake. Kerry voted against the supplemental bill of $87 billion to support operations and the troops in Iraq. Kerry maintains that Bush did not garner or build enough of a coalition before going to war.
Retirement & Social Security
Kerry opposes partial privatization of Social Security. He would require companies switching to cheaper lump-sum pension plans to offer retiring workers the choice of staying with traditional company pensions.
Kerry has supported North American and world trade agreements. Kerry’s plan would place all such trade agreements under 120 day review to see if they are fair for America, taking unspecified "necessary steps" if they are not. Would require companies moving jobs to other countries to give the government and workers notice. Kerry says trade deals should have labor and environmental standards, but United States cannot insist that foreign standards rise to the level of America’s. He also wants a new tax credit for manufacturers that expand their U.S. work force, covering payroll taxes of new workers. Kerry maintains that under Bush, we have not filed enough complaints to the WTO, especially against China. Kerry plans to increase resources for trade enforcement and action at the WTO.