Presidential Campaign Websites

 

John Kerry 2004 On The Issues - A Stronger Economy

John Kerry 2004 On The Issues

A Stronger Economy

 

The measure of a strong economy is a growing middle-class where every American has a chance to work and an opportunity to succeed.


In America, a rising tide is supposed to lift all boats. But today, Americans are working harder, earning less, and paying more for health care, college, and taxes. Corporate profits are soaring, the government keeps expanding, but the opportunities for our middle-class are shrinking.

It's time to bring those opportunities back. John Kerry and John Edwards know that we're stronger when we create good-paying jobs here, not ship them overseas. They want to reward hardworking middle-class families with tax breaks, not larger bills. They want to expand the reach of opportunity, not the size of government. And they want to lead an America where we work together to invest in the jobs of tomorrow.

John Kerry and John Edwards have seen the faces and heard the voices of struggling middle-class families. But they've come away convinced more than ever that we're a country of optimists - a country that can do better and think bigger about the challenges we face. We can grow our economy by strengthening our middle-class. And we can make America richer by giving everyone a chance to build a better life for their families.

John Kerry and John Edwards' plan to build a stronger economy will:

Create Good-Paying Jobs
As president, John Kerry will cut taxes for businesses that create jobs here in America instead of moving them overseas. John Kerry and John Edwards will also stand up for workers by enforcing our trade agreements.

Cut Middle-Class Taxes To Raise Middle-Class Incomes
When John Kerry is president, middle-class taxes will go down. Ninety-eight percent of all Americans and 99 percent of American businesses will get a tax cut under the Kerry-Edwards plan.

Make Washington Live Within A Budget
John Kerry will cut the deficit in half during his first four years in office. He will end corporate welfare as we know it, roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and impose a real cap to keep spending in check. And when John Kerry puts forward a new idea, he'll tell you how he's going to pay for it.

Invest In The Jobs Of Tomorrow
Today, businesses are harnessing new technology to manufacture energy-efficient cars, high-grade steel, advanced plastics and other new products. And this requires a bigger, skilled labor force to make them. John Kerry and John Edwards believe we should invest in these jobs and invest in the people who will fill them.

 

A Plan To Strengthen The Middle Class


In America, anyone who works hard, lives responsibly, and does right by their family and their country - anyone who does the best with what they've got - should be rewarded with the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families. That principle is what has made the American middle class the greatest engine of economic strength the world has ever known - and it's the heart of John Kerry and John Edwards' vision for a stronger America.

Today, American families - pinched by sagging wages and rising costs - are feeling the middle class squeeze. Today, the cost of raising a middle-class child until age 18 in America exceeds $200,000 - and that doesn't include the cost of college. Families with children are especially hard hit by rising costs in everything from health insurance premiums, college tuition, and energy use. At the same time, median family income has dropped by nearly $1,500 since 2000.

John Kerry and John Edwards will work to expand and strengthen America's middle class like never before. They will (1) cut middle class taxes, (2) cuts costs in everything from health care to education to gas, (3) close the pay gap between men and women, (4) raise the minimum wage, and (5) help all Americans balance the competing demands of work and family.

Cut Middle-Class Taxes to Raise Middle-Class Incomes


John Kerry Will Cut Taxes for 98 Percent of American Families and 99 Percent of Businesses. In addition, he will:

Propose At Least $250 Billion In Tax Cuts For Health Care, Child Care, and Education - Without Increasing the Deficit By One Dime. As president, John Kerry will close corporate tax loopholes and use some of the money gained from repealing Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans - families making over $200,000 a year - to pay for tax credits without increasing the deficit by one dime. The Kerry-Edwards tax cuts include:

  • A tax credit on up to $4,000 of college tuition

  • A tax credit to help small businesses and vulnerable workers pay for health care and buy into John Kerry's new Congressional Health Plan.

  • A tax credit on $5,000 of child care expenses


Create a New Jobs Tax Credit. Research has demonstrated that new jobs tax credits increase employment. The Kerry-Edwards New Jobs Tax Credit will cover an employer's share of payroll taxes for net new jobs created in manufacturing, other businesses affected by outsourcing, and small businesses. The credit will be available in 2005 and 2006. For example: a medium-sized manufacturing company employs 1,000 workers. If this company hires an additional 100 employees at $40,000 each - bringing the total number of employees to 1,100 - it would receive a tax cut of 3,060 per worker, or $306,000 total. This would roughly offset the additional cost of health care premiums, which have risen about $2,700 under President Bush.

Cut Costs for Middle-Class Families


John Kerry and John Edwards will:

Cut Health Care Premiums By Up To $1,000. Under the Kerry-Edwards plan, employers will benefit from offering their employees quality care with choices. By helping out with certain high-cost cases, the Kerry-Edwards plan will cut premiums by up to $1,000 per year for America's families.

Lower Energy Prices. By investing in new energy sources and technologies, John Kerry and John Edwards will help America move toward energy independence while lowering costs, spurring job growth, and protecting our environment.

Cut Tuition Costs. Average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges increased by 35 percent over the last four years. Because of tuition increases, an estimated 220,000 young people could not afford to enroll in four-year public universities last year. As president, John Kerry will offer a fully refundable College Opportunity Tax Credit on $4,000 of tuition for every year of college and offer $10 billion in fiscal relief to states that restrain tuition growth. And he will launch a new National Service Plan that will allow young people to pay for college by serving their country.

Affordable Housing. John Kerry has a long history of working to make housing more affordable and increase homeownership for all Americans. As president, he will continue to fight for affordable housing.

Ensure Equal Pay for Men and Women


On average, women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. John Kerry and John Edwards believe that we must make equal pay for equal work a reality, not a slogan. They will ensure greater transparency and fairness by improving enforcement and disclosure about companies' payment practices.

Raise the Minimum Wage


Today, the minimum wage is currently worth only 33 percent of average American wages - its lowest level since 1949. John Kerry and John Edwards understand that today's eroded wage no longer meet the needs of American families. As president, John Kerry will increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.00 by 2007. That will give 7 million Americans a raise, and help millions of families pay for basic needs like education, food and health care. With this increase, parents working full-time will not have to raise their children in poverty.

Help All Americans Balance Work and Family


Today, more parents are working longer hours and fewer parents are at home full-time than ever before. Yet today, high-quality child care costs more than tuition at a public university. John Kerry and John Edwards will put the government on the side of families that work hard to get ahead. They will increase the child care tax credit and make it partially refundable to moderate-income families for the first time ever, while also expanding after-school programs to serve 3.5 million children and keep schools open until

A Plan to Stand Up For American Workers


This election is about a new direction for our country and a new direction for our economy - one where we restore fiscal responsibility, help our workers become competitive, and bring back jobs. Over the course of the campaign, John Kerry has traveled this nation talking to people who are the backbone of our economy - from computer programmers to auto workers, from nurses to firefighters and police officers, from teachers to small business owners.

John Kerry and John Edwards will wake up every morning ready to fight for American jobs and stand up for American workers. They have a plan to ensure that American workers are treated fairly - and that their government never puts their interests second to special interests.

Raise The Minimum Wage. As president, John Kerry will raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.00 by 2007. An increase in the federal minimum wage is well overdue. It has fallen further and further behind the cost of living, and the impact of the last increase has been entirely eroded by inflation. Today, the minimum wage is worth only 33 percent of the average American wage, its lowest level since 1949. John Kerry's plan for an increase will impact nearly 15 million American workers, helping families move another step towards the American Dream by ensuring that no parents working full time will have to raise their children in poverty.

Protect Wages And Workplace Rights -- Including Overtime Pay. As president, John Kerry will reverse recent changes made by the Bush administration that will deny overtime pay to six million workers, and oppose efforts that allow employers to create company organized and controlled employee organizations aimed at replacing unions under the TEAM Act.

Enforce Equal Pay For Women. Women make 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. John Kerry believes there shouldn't be two pay scales in America for the same honest day's work. Because working women are treated unfairly, there is less take home pay for almost every working family in America. As president, John Kerry will support pay equity legislation to remedy this economic injustice.

Extend And Improve Unemployment Insurance. Unemployment insurance is the nation's principal safety net for people who lose their jobs, but the program has lagged behind economic changes. Half of all unemployed workers received benefits in the 1950s, but only about one-third do today. John Kerry believes that unemployment insurance should be reformed to cover more people, to provide sufficient benefits to people between jobs, and help laid-off workers gain the workforce training skills that they need to get working again and get ahead. John Kerry supports reforms that help workers and has consistently supported efforts to extend benefits to unemployed workers during recessions. In addition, the Kerry-Edwards health plan will help ensure that workers between jobs have access to affordable, high-quality health insurance.

Protect Worker Safety. Ergonomics injuries - the nation's biggest job safety problem - are caused by heavy lifting and repetitive work and affect more than 1.8 million American workers each year. John Kerry strongly supports implementation of a mandatory ergonomics safeguards to improve workplace safety. As a senator, he opposed legislative efforts to block these safeguards.

Ensure Strong Whistleblower Protection. As a senator, John Kerry wrote and led the fight to pass a law that prohibits airlines from firing or otherwise discriminating against employees who provide information to the federal government about possible airline safety violations. As president, John Kerry will enforce and strengthen whistle blower protections to ensure that no American is ever unfairly persecuted for speaking truth to power.

Protect Workers' Right To Organize A Union. John Kerry believes that the card check and neutrality system is the fairest and most equitable way for employees to establish their desire to form a union and for employers to recognize the union and begin negotiations. As a senator, John Kerry strongly supported the right to organize for many Massachusetts workers. John Kerry supported SEIU Local 254 in their efforts to organize janitors in the Boston area, UFCW Local 791 in their efforts to organize the Star Market employees in the 43 stores in Massachusetts, UFCW Local 1445 in their efforts to organize the employees of Kayem Foods in Chelsea, and CWA Local 1365 in their efforts to organize the employees of Lucent Technology. John Kerry also worked with Polaroid retirees to recover benefits that were lost as a result of the Polaroid bankruptcy filing. John Kerry is supporting UAW workers at the Sainte Gobaine plant in Worcester who have not been able to get their first contract due to the union busting tactics of the company. As president, John Kerry will continue to forcefully protect workers' right to organize a union.

Make It Easier To Balance Work And Family. As a senator, John Kerry cosponsored the original Family and Medical Leave Act, which has given millions of American workers the chance to take time off for the birth of a child or to care for a sick child or family member. John Kerry believes that we should not only protect Family and Medical Leave but should expand it to help more Americans balance the needs between work and family.

Expand Trade Adjustment Assistance Programs. We need to expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs to provide immediate relief for manufacturers, workers, and communities hurt by manufacturing imports, and integrate these programs with other workforce training programs. John Kerry supports expanding TAA to service sector workers who lose their jobs because of outsourcing.

A Plan To Create Good-Paying Jobs At Home


John Kerry and John Edwards believe that a better, stronger America begins at home, with good jobs that support families and give all hard-working Americans a chance to build a better life. They believe in progress that brings prosperity for all, not just for those who are already successful. They believe that good jobs will help strengthen and expand America's middle-class - the strongest middle-class the world has ever known.

John Kerry and John Edwards believe that the private sector is the engine of economic growth and job creation, and that the government's responsibility is to create an environment that will promote private sector investment, foster vigorous competition, and strengthen the foundations of an innovative economy. And they believe companies can keep jobs in America without sacrificing competitiveness.

John Kerry and John Edwards will fight for American jobs - creating new ones and protecting existing ones by cutting taxes for companies that create jobs here at home and ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas; by cutting costs and taxes to make American businesses more competitive; and by investing in the good-paying jobs of tomorrow to make sure that people of every age learn the skills they need to be successful - today and in the future.


Enforce Trade Agreements and Close Outsourcing Loopholes to Revitalize Manufacturing and Create Jobs at Home

  • Strongly Enforce Existing Free Trade Agreements, Pry Open Markets Abroad, and End China's Illegal Currency Manipulation. As president, John Kerry will step up enforcement of existing agreements and laws to ensure that our trading partners play by the rules. Specifically, John Kerry will immediately investigate China's workers' rights abuses, increase funding for workers' rights and anti-abusive child labor efforts, increase resources for trade enforcement and action at the World Trade Organization and engage in more forceful efforts to stop illegal currency manipulation by China and other countries. In addition, John Kerry will ensure a level playing field for trade by only signing new agreements that include enforceable labor rights and environmental standards.

  • Close Loopholes In International Tax Law That Encourage Outsourcing. Today's tax law provides big breaks for companies that send American jobs overseas. Current "deferral" policies allow American companies to avoid paying American taxes on the income earned by their foreign subsidiaries and encourage them to keep their profits parked overseas, not reinvested in America. As president, John Kerry will end deferral that encourages outsourcing and will shut down other loopholes to make the tax code work for the American worker, not provide tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

  • One-Time Tax Holiday For Companies To Re-Invest Their Foreign Profits In America. At the end of 2002, American companies were keeping more than $639 billion in profits abroad. John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to bring those profits back home. For one year, they will provide companies with a special low tax rate of 10 percent on any foreign profits they re-invest in the United States for companies with a domestic re-investment plan. (This rate will apply only to repatriations in excess of average repatriations over a base period.) Combined with their plan to end future incentives for keeping foreign profits abroad, this plan will help jumpstart job growth and strengthen the American economy.

  • Establish Manufacturing Business Investment Corporations (MANBIC). The Kerry-Edwards MANBIC initiative is modeled on the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC), a program John Kerry has strongly supported in the past and will champion as president. SBIC provides venture capital and start-up financing to small businesses, many of which have grown into large corporations employing millions of Americans. Companies like Intel, America Online, Apple Computers, Staples, Federal Express, and Sun Microsystems all got their start with help from SBIC. MANBIC will create added incentives for venture-capital investment in medium-sized manufacturing firms, which are crucial in developing and sustaining new products, new production methods, and new markets.

 

Make America More Competitive

  • Create a New Jobs Tax Credit. Research has demonstrated that new jobs tax credits increase employment. The Kerry-Edwards New Jobs Tax Credit will cover an employer's share of payroll taxes for net new jobs created in manufacturing, other businesses affected by outsourcing, and small business. The credit will be available in 2005 and 2006.

  • Lower Corporate Tax Rates by 5 Percent. The Kerry-Edwards plan to close tax loopholes and end deferral will not increase the deficit by one dime - in fact, it will save an average of $12 billion a year. These profits will be used to:

    • Lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 33.25 - a 5 percent reduction.

    • Cut taxes for over 99 percent of tax-paying companies. The Kerry-Edwards international tax reform will increase hiring and investment in America by American companies. An analysis of IRS data shows that more than 99 percent of corporations paying corporate income taxes would see their taxes reduced under the Kerry-Edwards proposal.

  • Save Workers Up To $1,000 On Health Care Premiums. Organizations from the AFL-CIO to the NAM agree that rising health costs have impeded sustained jobs recovery, especially in the manufacturing sector. Total health care premiums have risen 41 percent under George Bush, making it harder for employers to hire new workers.

  • John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to make health care more affordable for America's families and for America's employers. Their plan includes tax credits to help small businesses pay for health insurance, and a swap in which the government will assume most of the cost of catastrophic healthcare (care costing above $50,000) if companies agree to extend high-quality health care to their employees. The Kerry-Edwards plan will cut premiums by up to $1,000.

  • Cut Energy Costs and Move America Towards Energy Independence. John Kerry and John Edwards support a comprehensive agenda to advance the use of renewable energy sources and new energy technologies, and promote more energy-efficient cars and buildings - a forward-thinking plan that will reduce pressure on businesses over the long run.

  • Support Jobs In America Through "Buy American" Guidelines. John Kerry and John Edwards believe that whenever possible, federal contracts should be performed by American workers. John Kerry and John Edwards will support stronger "Buy American" guidelines for defense and homeland security, which will help retain and strengthen domestic manufacturing capabilities in strategic manufacturing industries.


Invest In the Jobs of Tomorrow

  • Enhance Training. George Bush has proposed more than $1 billion in cuts to worker training over the last three years. John Kerry and John Edwards will fight to expand training and lifelong learning by expanding training as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, supporting regional skills alliances, and protecting training conducted at community colleges.

  • Create Universal Access To Four Years Of College Through the College Opportunity Tax Credit. As president, John Kerry will propose a tax credit on up to $4,000 of tuition for four years of college, making college accessible for all Americans. This is a crucial step towards training the workforce of the future to secure and create the higher-paying jobs of tomorrow.

  • Double Funding For the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). America's 350,000 small manufacturers account for over half the total value of U.S. industrial production. They employ 1.1 million people in high-skill, high-wage jobs, with production employees earning 50 percent more than retail employees. In 2003, the MEP helped small manufacturers create or retain 35,000 jobs and $2.8 billion in sales. Yet George Bush has proposed slashing 90 percent of the MEP budget. As president, John Kerry will double the funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership based on its year 2000 level, speeding adoption of new technology by small and medium-sized manufacturers.

  • Improve America's K-12 Math And Science Education. America will only prosper in the global economy if we give every child a world-class education. Education in math and science is especially crucial in increasing America's national security and high-tech competitiveness. But today, more than half of America's high school students are being instructed in the physical sciences by teachers who don't have a college major in the subject they're teaching. In low-income urban schools, the situation is even worse. As president, John Kerry will give states and school districts the resources they need to help schools meet high standards for our children and retain high-quality teachers. He will also provide current teachers with the professional development they need to excel, and extend a new bargain to America's teachers that offers more but asks for more in return.

  • Establish a National Education Trust Fund. As president, John Kerry will establish a National Education Trust Fund of approximately $200 billion over ten years to fully fund No Child Left Behind, get schools on track to meet the Federal government's commitment to special education, provide tax credit bonds for school construction, and invest in everything from college preparedness to reducing class size and dropout rates.

  • Move Towards Universal Broadband Access. During the Bush administration, the United States has fallen from 4th to 10th in terms of adoption of broadband. Not only that, other countries such as South Korea and Japan are now deploying networks that are 20-50 times faster than what is available in the United States. At the same time, America has lost more than 1 million high-tech jobs. John Kerry and John Edwards will fight for a national broadband policy that will speed the deployment of this essential infrastructure, including a broadband deployment tax credit. The widespread adoption of broadband could add $500 billion to the U.S. economy, generate more than 1.2 million jobs, and transform the way we learn, work, and deliver digital opportunity throughout the country.

  • Restore Funding For the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). The Bush administration has proposed eliminating the ATP, the only federal program designed to promote civilian technological innovation whether or not it is linked to government missions such as defense. As president, John Kerry will reform the ATP so that it supports the growth of high-technology "clusters" that spring up around research institutions and funds the university-industry consortia that benefit broad sectors of our economy.

  • Expand Trade Adjustment Assistance Programs. We need to expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs to provide immediate relief for manufacturers, workers, and communities hurt by manufacturing imports, and integrate these programs with other workforce training programs. John Kerry supports expanding TAA to service sector workers who lose their jobs due to outsourcing.

  • Develop 21st Century Manufacturing Technologies At The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In the past, investments in defense research have helped America's armed forces achieve their current superiority. Investments resulted in innovations like stealth technology, precision-guided munitions, and night-vision goggles. This year, the Bush administration has proposed cutting the long-term portion of the defense research and development budget by 15 percent. John Kerry and John Edwards will increase investment in long-term, high-risk defense research through agencies like DARPA and the Office of Naval Research. Some of the increase will be targeted to advanced manufacturing technologies, such as flexible manufacturing, that can provide custom products in low volumes at competitive costs. This will benefit U.S. manufacturing as a whole, not just Defense Department suppliers.

A Plan To Restore Fiscal Responsibility


In the 1990s, fiscal responsibility created confidence in the economy, encouraged investment, and led to nearly 23 million new jobs. By sticking to common-sense budget rules like "Pay-As-You-Go" provisions, Republicans and Democrats helped limit spending to fit within existing constraints. Even as they battled over other issues, everyone from Bill Clinton to Newt Gingrich agreed that new initiatives should be funded by finding new ways to save.

Over the last three years, record surpluses have turned into record deficits, with more deficits stretching into our children's future. Today, we face unsustainable foreign borrowing, rising interest rates, and sinking consumer confidence.

John Kerry and John Edwards know how to spend responsibly, and they believe that Americans deserve to expect more than record deficits and reckless spending. In their first term, they will cut the deficit in half and cut taxes for middle-class Americans and small businesses while funding better, more affordable health care for all Americans, improving our schools, and securing our country. The Kerry-Edwards plan will keep interest rates from rising, give America's businesses the confidence to start hiring, and avert the looming crisis posed by our ballooning deficit.

Cut the Deficit In Half While Investing In Health Care And Education

 

The Kerry-Edwards plan will cut the deficit in half while making health care more affordable and improving our schools. The four principles of the Kerry-Edwards approach are:

  • Middle Class Tax Cuts: The Kerry-Edwards plan will cut taxes for 98 percent of Americans and 99 percent of businesses while making health care and education more affordable.

  • Restore PAYGO: Roll Back Bush Tax Cuts for Wealthy to Pay for Health and Education: The Kerry-Edwards plan will make health care affordable and accessible for all Americans and invest in education by rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy, those making over $200,000 annually.

  • Restrain Discretionary Spending: The Kerry-Edwards plan will restore the discretionary spending caps of the 1990s to ensure that spending - outside of education and security - does not grow faster than inflation.

  • Cut Corporate Welfare to Reduce the Deficit: The Kerry-Edwards plan will push the McCain-Kerry Corporate Welfare Commission to eliminate unnecessary corporate welfare and use the savings to reduce the deficit.


John Kerry and John Edwards' plan will contribute to the following results in their first term:

  • 10 million new jobs

  • Cutting the deficit in half while paying for all proposals

  • More affordable health care for all Americans

  • Improved education, including universally accessible college

  • Moving America towards energy independence

Restore Fiscal Discipline To Washington

Pay For New Initiatives By Rolling Back The Bush Tax Cut For The Very Wealthy. As president, John Kerry will bring fiscal responsibility back to Washington by ensuring that new initiatives are paid for without increasing the deficit - something George Bush has never done with any policy he has ever passed or proposed. John Kerry will roll back only Bush's tax cuts for those making over $200,000 a year, and invest those resources in affordable health care and better schools. Specifically, the Kerry-Edwards plan will:

  • Provide an immediate tax break for small businesses and family farms by raising the estate tax exemption to $4 million per couple and $10 million per couple for a family-owned business or farm. The estate tax would be maintained for the largest estates.

  • Restore the top two tax brackets to their levels under President Clinton.

  • Restore the capital gains and dividend rates for families making over $200,000 on income earned above $200,000 to their levels under President Clinton.

  • Maintain the phase-out of personal exemptions and itemized deductions (PEP and PEASE)


Responsible Pay Plans For Discretionary Proposals. The Kerry-Edwards discretionary spending proposals will be paid for by freezing or cutting non-priority programs, which will save a substantial amount over the next ten years. In addition, the Kerry-Edwards plan will use offsets to fund proposals. Some examples:

  • Extend Superfund (saves $17 billion over ten years)

  • Collect royalties for mineral rights on Federal lands (saves $1 billion over ten years)

  • Cut electricity use by the Federal government by 20 percent in 10 years (saves $14 billion over ten years)

  • Cut subsidies to high-income corporate farmers

  • Freeze the Federal travel budget (saves $10 billion over ten years)

  • Reduce the number of contractors employed by the Federal government by 100,000 (saves $50 billion over ten years). The Federal government employed 5.6 million contractors in 1999 - more than three times the number of civil servants. The Kerry-Edwards plan will reduce the number of contractors by 100,000.


Restrain Spending Growth. John Kerry and John Edwards are committed to ensuring that domestic discretionary spending does not grow faster than inflation. (This excludes defense, homeland security, health, education, Medicare, Social Security, and other mandatory programs). As president, John Kerry will propose two new budget rules to help ensure that Congress works to solve tough problems and that spending does not grow on auto-pilot:

  • Constitutional Line-Item Veto Power. This will allow the president to sign a bill while singling out specific spending items and tax expenditures for disapproval. Those items would then return to Congress for an expedited up-or-down vote, forcing members of Congress to approve new pork-barrel spending on an individual basis.

  • Budget Caps to ensure that spending does not exceed inflation. As president, John Kerry will propose a budget that funds its priorities without allowing spending to grow faster than inflation. If Congress cannot agree on savings, John Kerry will be willing to sacrifice some of his priorities, if necessary, to control spending. Specifically, John Kerry will favor an automatic across-the-board cut of all domestic discretionary programs to ensure that spending does not grow faster than inflation. Again, such a cut would not apply to defense, homeland security, education, Social Security, Medicare, or other mandatory programs.

 

A New Era Of Opportunity For Small Business


Small businesses are the engine of the American economy. They create 75 percent of all new jobs and represent 99 percent of all employers. They also employ 53 percent of the private workforce and provide almost 70 percent of workers with their first jobs. And small businesses have often helped lead the way to an economic recovery - during the 1989-1993 Recession, small companies created about 3.8 million new jobs.

Today, small businesses are struggling in a business environment weakened by economic stewardship that puts big business ahead of the small American entrepreneur. Loans are down and access to capital has decreased while health care and energy costs have increased - and are still climbing today.

As the former Chairman and current Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, John Kerry has been a national leader in promoting small businesses growth. John Kerry owned his own small business, a cookie and muffin shop called Kilvert and Forbes that he opened in 1979 with a friend in Boston's Quincy Market, giving him first-hand experience with the obstacles faced by small business owners.

As president, John Kerry will bring to the White House both the lessons he learned from owning and working in a small business and his leadership in fighting to support small businesses in the Senate. Tapping into the ingenuity and inventiveness that drives American business, John Kerry and John Edwards will usher in a new era of opportunity for small business.

Put Government Back on the Side of Small Business


Create a "Small Business Opportunity Fund." Investing in small business is good bang for the buck. An additional $170 million investment could help make billions in long-term capital and equity available for small businesses. The Kerry-Edwards plan will ensure that small businesses have all the federal support that they need to grow and thrive by:

  • Helping Micro-Enterprises. Micro-enterprises are operations with five or fewer employees and revenues under $500,000. The Kerry-Edwards plan will expand loans and equity for these smallest businesses.

  • Accessing Capital. Venture capital funding has declined under the Bush administration, leaving many businesses without a source of equity financing. The Kerry-Edwards plan will bridge the gap between entrepreneurs' need for capital and traditional financing sources by increasing the federal government's venture capital investments.

  • Increasing Loans. Financing that is affordable and easy to obtain is often difficult for small businesses to find. George Bush has consistently shortchanged funding for loan programs. One of his proposals would have translated into the loss of almost 200,000 American small business jobs. The Kerry-Edwards plan will expand loan programs to help more small businesses get off the ground.

A Fair Share In Federal Contracting For Small Businesses. The federal government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world. Too often, small businesses are denied access to the federal marketplace through practices such as contract "bundling," which turns small contracts into big contracts that are harder for small businesses to compete for. Such practices have undermined small business's competitiveness for federal contracts. President Bush pledged to end contract bundling, but has not. In October, the Office of Management and Budget issued a report that showed that the number and size of bundled contracts has reached a 10-year high. The Kerry-Edwards plan will provide small businesses with more opportunities for government contracting and work with federal agencies - including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services - to reduce contract bundling.

Increase The Share of Federal Contracts For Small Businesses. Under President Bush, the small business share of federal contracts has decreased by 14 percent despite the fact that total federal contracts have increased by 7 percent. As president, John Kerry will increase the number of federal contracts that go to small business by increasing the government-wide goal for small business's share of federal contracts to 30 percent.

Tax Simplification For Small Businesses. America's small businesses are drowning in tax paperwork. The nation's employers are responsible for filing federal and state employment taxes and wage reports, as well as unemployment insurance reports. Just to keep up with these requirements, employers must maintain separate wage records for federal and state income tax withholding, FICA, FUTA, and SUI. In many cases, employers must report this information to government agencies at different times and in different forms. The burden is compounded when employers do business in more than one state, because many states have different legal or procedural requirements. The Kerry-Edwards plan will reduce this burden by simplifying tax filing for small businesses, including allowing the IRS and state agencies to combine - on one form - both State and Federal employment tax returns.

Tax Credits To Reduce Energy Costs. America's small businesses account for more than half of all energy consumption in North America. The growth and development of small businesses depends on an affordable and reliable energy supply. Increasing energy prices have hurt small businesses that are already struggling in this economy. To help small business owners reduce their utility bills, the Kerry-Edwards plan will provide a credit to purchase equipment that meets energy-efficiency standards for heating and cooling in new buildings and to retrofit existing ones. It also provides a 20 percent tax credit for the purchase of energy-efficient building equipment, including electric heat pumps, hot water heaters, and natural gas heat pumps.

Strengthen America's Base Of Small Manufacturers.
During the last three years, 2.7 million - or one in every seven - manufacturing jobs have been lost nationwide. Both large and small companies have been hurt. To help strengthen America's small manufacturers, the Kerry-Edwards plan will increase loan and investment limits, develop a three-tier manufacturing skills training program for current workers, college, and high school students, increase funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program, and create an Office of Manufacturing at the Small Business Administration

A Big Voice For Small Business. Over the past two years, the number of small businesses that have closed has been greater than the number founded - which is not surprising considering Bush's business agenda has largely benefited big corporations and cut programs that support small business. In a Kerry-Edwards administration, small business will have the support that it needs and deserves to grow and be strong. As president, John Kerry will give small business a cabinet level position, give small business a voice at the World Trade Organization to ensure that small businesses are considered in trade issues, and ensure that federal regulations are fair for small business

Help Small Businesses Support Their Employees


Cut Health Care Costs By Two-Thirds. Health care costs are rising about 15 percent this year on average for small businesses - and in some cases by as mush as 25 percent. Just 62 percent of businesses employing 10 to 49 people offered a health plan in 2002, whereas about 99 percent of large firms did. For small businesses, health care costs usually rise because of administrative costs and high premiums due to even one employee's high health care costs. As president, John Kerry will propose refundable tax credits for up to 50 percent of the cost of coverage to small businesses and their employees. He will also give small businesses access to the Congressional Health Plan to save them approximately 15 percent in health care costs on top of the tax credit - so health care will be two-thirds cheaper for small business employees than it is today.

Reduce Medical Malpractice Premiums. As president, John Kerry will require that a qualified specialist certifies a medical malpractice case's merit before it is allowed to move forward. He will also work with states to ensure the availability of non-binding mediation in all malpractice claims before cases proceed to trial. John Kerry will make the system fairer for doctors and patients alike by preventing and punishing frivolous lawsuits. Lawyers who file frivolous cases would face tough, mandatory sanctions, including a "three strikes and you're out" provision that forbids lawyers who file three frivolous cases from bringing another suit for the next 10 years. John Kerry also opposes punitive damages - unless intentional misconduct, gross negligence, or reckless indifference to life can be established. Finally, John Kerry will work to eliminate the special privileges that allow insurance companies to fix prices and collude in ways that increase medic al malpractice premiums.

Eliminate Capital Gains Taxes For Long-Term Investments In Small Businesses. Small, entrepreneurial firms play a critical role in creating new jobs and commercializing new technologies. As new companies, they are less wedded to incremental improvements to existing products and services, but often have difficulty attracting capital because of the high degree of risk involved. As president, John Kerry will exempt investments held for five or more years in small businesses -- a proposal that would cost $6 billion over ten years.

Create a New Jobs Tax Credit For Small Businesses That Create Jobs. Research has demonstrated that new jobs tax credits increase employment. The Kerry-Edwards New Jobs Tax Credit will cover an employer's share of payroll expenses for net new jobs created by small businesses in 2005 and 2006.

Enact A New "Small Business Retirement Initiative" To Help Small Businesses Offer Retirement Plans. Start-up costs are the biggest impediment for small businesses in starting a pension plan. In fact, setting up a small business pension plan can cost as much as $20,000 or more. And as pensions become more complex, managing them saps precious resources. The Kerry-Edwards plan will use tax credits to help offset the start-up costs of pension plans for small businesses. John Kerry and John Edwards also support a pension pooling fund to help pool the administrative costs of setting up pensions and savings plans for small businesses.

Tax Credits For Called-Up Reservists. With so many reservists serving in Iraq, John Kerry and John Edwards believe that we need to provide support to small businesses whose reservists are called up for active duty. The Kerry-Edwards plan will provide small businesses that employ called-up reservists with thousands of dollars in tax breaks.

 

A Plan For Free And Fair Trade


If the increasingly globalized economy means anything, it means this: new jobs are increasingly tied to new exports. Today, one of every five American factory jobs depends on exports - and those jobs pay more than other jobs. Open markets spur innovation, speed the growth of new industries, and make our businesses more competitive. We need more free trade - but it must be more fair trade also.

When America competes on a level playing field, our workers, products, and innovation are second to none. But the Bush administration has defended tax breaks that encourage corporations to outsource American jobs while failing to ensure that our trading partners are playing by the rules. Over the last three years, American jobs have become threatened and America's global economic leadership has diminished - that's bad for America, and bad for American workers.

John Kerry and John Edwards will stand up for American workers and regain America's leadership in the global economy. The Kerry-Edwards plan will:

Enact A Six-Point Plan To Enforce Existing Trade Agreements And Laws. The Kerry-Edwards plan includes:

  • Push the administration to live up to its responsibility to enforce existing trade laws - like the Super 301 process - which is the least they can do for American workers struggling to stay competitive in a global economy

  • A 120-day review of all existing trade agreements

  • Immediate investigation into China's workers' rights abuses and increased funding for workers' rights and anti-abusive child labor efforts

  • Increased resources for trade enforcement and action at the World Trade Organization

  • Structural reforms to enhance small business competitiveness and high-tech trade enforcement capacity

  • More forceful efforts to stop illegal currency manipulation by China and other countries


Include Internationally Recognized Enforceable Labor Rights And Environmental Standards In New Free Trade Agreements. Over the last three years, we have moved backwards from the time when the United States ensured that labor provisions were included in the Jordan Agreement. As president, John Kerry will build upon and strengthen the progress made in the Jordan Agreement by including strong and enforceable labor rights and environmental standards in the core of new free trade agreements.

Break Down Barriers In Key Export Markets. The Bush administration has done little to open key export markets in countries like Japan and Korea. For example, auto exports to Japan are still essentially blocked by complicated rules. As president, John Kerry will use all the available tools to fight to open these markets.

Expand Trade Adjustment Assistance Programs. We need to expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs to provide immediate relief for manufacturers, workers, and communities hurt by manufacturing imports, and integrate these programs with other workforce training programs. John Kerry supports expanding TAA to service sector workers who lose their jobs because of outsourcing.

Support Jobs In America Through "Buy American" Guidelines. John Kerry and John Edwards believe that U.S. federal contracts where possible should be performed by American workers. They support stronger "Buy American" guidelines for defense and homeland security. John Kerry and John Edwards also support the consumer's "Right to Know" where call center calls they receive are originating from.

The Kerry-Edwards Plan To Honor Work And Family


Plan Will Offer $800 in Additional Tax Cuts for Child Care and Quality Afterschool Programs for 3.5 Million Children


With more parents working longer hours and fewer parents at home full-time than ever before, millions of families need high-quality child care and afterschool programs. But today, good child care costs more than a public university. Demand for afterschool far outstrips supply, and even when programs are available, they often close before the end of the workday or add complicated transportation requirements to already overstretched parents. John Kerry and John Edwards will offer a new plan to make it easier for parents to balance work and family. Their plan would increase the child care tax credit, make it partially refundable to help moderate-income families, and help stay-at-home parents with infants. The Kerry-Edwards plan will also expand afterschool programs to serve 3.5 million children and to keep schools open until 6 pm each night, with good transportation options for hard-working families.

The Strains On Working Parents


Families Have Less Income. A two-parent family making $68,000 now spends three-quarters of their disposable income on health insurance, mortgage, cars, and taxes, up from about half their income three decades ago. [Warren & Tyagi, The Two-Income Trap, 2003]

Families Have Less Time. Since 1977, the number of hours worked by couples has increased on average 12 hours a week. That is 12 hours per week less to spend with children. [New America Foundation, 2003]

Child Care Costs Are Up By $2,000 - Twice the Rate of Inflation. In 2000, a family with two kids under age five in full-time daycare was spending $10,860 on child care. By 2004, that figure increased to approximately $12,910. This increase is more than double the rate of inflation over this period. [Census Bureau, Consumer Price Index, Analysis by Amelia Warren Tyagi]

Millions Need Afterschool Care. Today, about 1 in 3 middle school students care for themselves after school. Teen pregnancy, drug use, and alcohol use are more likely among kids without afterschool programs, and juvenile crime triples between the end of the school day and the end of the work day. George Bush proposed cutting afterschool programs by 40 percent, denying afterschool opportunities to more than 500,000 children. [Afterschool Alliance, 2004; Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2003; Westat, 1995; The After-School Corporation, 1999; YMCA, 2001]

The Kerry-Edwards Plan To Honor Work and Family


Increase The Child Care Tax Credit To Cover $5,000 Of Expenses And Make It Available For Moderate-Income Families And Stay-At-Home Parents. The childcare tax credit has not kept up with the growing cost of childcare. John Kerry will raise the credit to cover the first $5,000 of expenses per child (currently the limit is $3,000). In addition, John Kerry and John Edwards will ensure that the credit benefits moderate-income families by making it partially refundable. And John Kerry and John Edwards will allow stay-at-home parents of infants to receive support from the tax credit.

  • A couple earning $60,000 with two children will get an additional $800 tax cut under this plan. A middle-class family with two children paying average child care expenses would get a 20 percent tax credit on their $10,000 of child care expenses. That is a $2,000 tax credit - or $800 more than they are getting right now. The credit is available for child care expenses for children up to age 13, as well as care for a dependent with disabilities.


Create "School's Open 'Til 6" Afterschool For 3.5 Million Youths. At a time when parents are working longer hours than ever before, they need high-quality afterschool programs. Today, many parents don't have access to these programs, and the existing programs often don't stay open late enough or provide adequate transportation. John Kerry will increase federal support for afterschool from its present level of $1 billion to $2.5 billion in 2007, serving 3.5 million children each year, up by more than 2 million kids from today's level. At the same time, John Kerry and John Edwards will improve the existing federal program to be more effective at engaging parents, fostering values, and reforming education. John Kerry and John Edwards will establish objective performance measures for programs, including education and achievement, and will make continued funding contingent on programsí progress. Their initiative will be based on three principles:

  • Parent-Friendly. Under the Kerry-Edwards plan, afterschool programs will remain open until at least 6:00 in the evening, with school bus transportation coordinated so that students can get home safely.

  • Values-Based. John Kerry and John Edwards will support afterschool program models with proven records of success at helping children avoid drugs, crime, and trouble. One key element of such programs is mentoring by responsible adults who make a long-term commitment to children. A second key element is community service-students who take responsibility in their communities are more likely to take responsibility for themselves.

  • Education Oriented. Afterschool programs help schools achieve their core mission of teaching our children. They provide extra one-on-one help for students in academics, as well as enrichment in areas like the arts. The Kerry-Edwards initiative will include proven forms of help with school and homework, linked to curriculum taught during the school day. Programs will involve college students participating in the Kerry-Edwards Service for College initiative. Progress will be monitored: successful programs will be rewarded and failed programs shut down.


Every Penny Paid For. The Kerry-Edwards child care tax credit will be fully paid for by their proposals to close corporate tax shelters. Specifically to pay for the child care tax credit, John Kerry and John Edwards will codify the economic substance doctrine, which defines a tax shelter as any transaction that is conducted purely for tax reasons with no economic merit. In addition, John Kerry and John Edwards will close Enron-related tax shelters. Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that these specific proposals will raise $20 billion over ten years [Joint Committee on Taxation, 3/3/04, JCX-15-04], the amount needed to pay for the child care credit. Under the Kerry-Edwards proposal, raising the expense limit to $5,000 costs about $8 billion; the remaining funding will first ensure that the child care credit is partially refundable, and then will in addition provide a tax credit for stay-at-home parents of infants. The Kerry-Edwards expansion in afterschool is financed through their Education Trust Fund, paid for by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for families making more than $200,000 per year. Specifically, the Kerry-Edwards afterschool program offers full-funding for the afterschool authorization in No Child Left Behind.

 

Source: John Kerry for President 2004 Web Site

 

©2000-2010 by the 4President Corporation