WIUM Tristates Public Radio

The Economic Policies of Obama and Romney

Oct 10, 2012

This week on Campaign Trails, panelists Tom Sadler and Bill Polley examine the economic policies of President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Sadler and Polley both teach in the Department of Economics and Decision Sciences at Western Illinois University. Both have studied the candidates’ policies closely and, in fact, Sadler spoke on behalf of President Obama and Polley spoke on behalf of Governor Romney during a mock debate at WIU on October 9.

Sadler said there are clear differences between the candidates on tax policy and the role of government in moving the country forward. He said President Obama has talked about increasing the income tax rate on the richest households to fund programs such as education, healthcare, and clean energy.

Tom Sadler
Credit Rich Egger

Polley said the unemployment picture won’t get much better until the economy starts to grow again. He said Romney believes this can be done by lowering the tax rate for just about everyone while also getting rid of some loopholes and deductions.

However, Polley said Romney has been unclear about which tax loopholes and deductions he would eliminate.

Polley said there remains uncertainty about what will happen with the Bush-era tax cuts and other measures. He said that uncertainty will remain until after the election, which means businesses will remain reluctant to invest.

Sadler said transparency is important – people want to know what they can expect in the coming years.

Sadler said the October 5 jobs report contained good news – but not great news – for Obama. Sadler said most voters want to see signs the economy is moving in the right direction. He said Obama will point to the jobs report as evidence that the economy is improving, while Romney will claim not enough is being done.

Bill Polley
Credit Rich Egger

Polley said the number of added jobs in recent months has barely kept up with population growth, and the latest report fell a bit behind that mark. He said the number of new jobs will need to be much higher in order for the economy to truly improve.

Campaign Trails will air every Wednesday during Afternoon Edition in the weeks leading up to the November 6 election.