A guide to the 2012 Presidential Election: on Economy/Jobs

We’re only five days from the second primary of the year; this one in South Carolina. As Republicans across the country prepare to cast a vote for their favorite choice, it’s time we learn a little about the candidates and their individual platforms.

When candidates run, they generally run on a platform of issues (Bush 2000: social security reform, Obama 2008: Hope and Change, etc.). The single greatest issue facing Americans in 2012 is the economy and the unemployment rate affecting middle and lower income households. As a corollary, tax rates, federal debt and many other issues are related and critical, but do not register as deeply in the consciousness of Americans struggling to pay bills.

So, what do the candidates for President have to say about growing the economy or encouraging job growth?

(NOTE: When I wrote and posted this at 7:15 on Sunday evening, Jon Hunstman was still in the race. He is speculated to be dropping out Monday morning at 10am EST).

Well, here you go:

  • Gingrich: Newt has 9 (YES, NINE) points for repairing our economy. Of his many points the flat tax and balancing of the federal budget should be easy for American voters to read and comprehend. Some others are more obtuse (including Obamacare – wrong place to include this), but he gets his point across: We can do many things, and President Obama won’t do most of these, though he does support massive energy reforms.
  • Hunstman: Huntsman lays out four areas of interest on his website (Tax and Regulatory reform, energy independence, trade {really?}). These are good areas of discussion, but the average American doesn’t understand how changes in these areas will impact them individually. I totally support Tax & Regulatory reforms, but he needs to explain as quickly as possible HOW that helps Americans.
  • Paul: Paul is easily the most well-read on economics and his points for repair prove that: no unbalanced budgets, no debt-hikes, auditing the Fed, sound monetary policy, etc. Paulians (his most devout following) love him, but his inability to reach into the GOP base and explain why his goals will help them absolutely kills his chances in a primary with at least three more likable candidates.
  • Perry: Perry’s plan on his website is weak. It lists his successes in Texas and links to his Cut, Balance and Grow plan. That link digs deeper into issues he wants to address: fixing the tax code (kudos on including infographics Perry camp), passing a flat tax plan (which I support fully), allowing choice on tax plans (see, I can be pro-choice too), and much more on taxes, regulation. It may be a plan for growth, but even I didn’t read it all in one sitting.
  • Romney: Romney’s site is best of all. It shows seven categories (tax, regulation, trade, energy, labor, human capital, spending) with links to his individual plans for managing each in a continued economic downturn. It offers a PDF of his plan as well for reading on iPad, iPhone, Kindle, etc.
  • Santorum: Santorum is weak on Jobs/Economy in my opinion. His site is way more dedicated to family issues, and that is NOT a good plan for developing support for any “plan” he might possibly have to spur job growth and the economy.

So what does this mean? Well, each candidate has a “plan” for helping to repair our economy, although there is an enormous amount of distrust for the GOP when it comes to managing an economic turnaround (unless your name is Reagan and it is 30 years later). Between the 2008 financial meltdown or the mortgage crisis, faith in the GOP to effectively govern a crisis is low. However, many of the companies that were complicit in economic failures have C-level executives serving in President Obama’s administration. So, it’s a question of this: do you trust the party of Reagan (which is now very different than it was in 1980) or the sitting President?

So, that’s a small bit of information for you as we head into the SC Primary. Good luck to your candidates. I’ll post on that as we get closer.

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