Fair Economy Guide to Presidential Candidates 2008

Engaging in electoral politics remains an important way to influence the economy. The leaders we vote for will help change or reinforce the rules that govern the economy – from tax laws and trade agreements to regulating corporations.

To help voters who care about economic justice make an informed choice, we offer the following information. Undecided voters can consider the principles that we propose and then evaluate which candidate seems more likely to work effectively towards those principles. (Click on the candidate's name to go to that section of their website.)

 Tax Policy

UFE supports progressive taxes that use an-ability-to-pay principle, with lower-and middle-income people paying proportionally less than the wealthy. UFE also supports taxing investment income at the same rate as income from work.   In addition, it is important that taxes raise enough revenue to maintain the public structures, services and programs that create our quality of life. UFE has always supported preserving a robust estate tax.   Learn more.  

 John McCain
 Barack Obama
McCain's tax policy would make permanent most of the Bush tax cuts, increase deductions for taxpayers with dependents, and lower corporate tax rates from 35% to 25%. He proposes an estate tax with a $5 million exemption per spouse and 15% tax rate.
Obama would make the Bush tax cuts permanent for people earning under $250,000, and increase taxes on people making over $250,000. He would enact new and expanded tax cuts for workers, retirees, homeowners, savers, students, and new farmers. He proposes an estate tax with a $3.5 million exemption per spouse and 45% tax rate.  
Ralph Nader
McKinney wants to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% of income earners, close all corporate tax loopholes and deny federal subsidies to those that relocate jobs overseas.
Nader wants a fundamental reappraisal of tax laws working from the principle that taxes be applied first to behavior and conditions we favor least and pinch basic necessities last.   He also wants to retain the estate tax and wants earned income (such as wages) to not be taxed more than unearned income (dividends, interest, capital gains).


 Racial Wealth Divide

UFE supports policies that seek to end racial economic disparities. UFE recognizes that building wealth and assets is key to economic prosperity, and we support policies that increase such opportunities for people of color, who have been historically blocked from these opportunities. Learn more.

 John McCain
 Barack Obama
McCain makes very few references to race in speeches and on his website.
While Obama has spoken strongly on the topic of race, he doesn't mention race explicitly in policy proposals.
Ralph Nader
McKinney supports public policies specifically designed to resolve racial economic disparities. For example she supports establishing new mortgage lending practices to end predatory and discriminatory practices, and full funding for initiatives that eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in home ownership.
Nader wants affirmative action for people of color to offset enduring historic wrongs and present-day inequalities. Cases of racial discrimination should be prosecuted. He supports the enforcement of Executive Order 11246, which forbids any organization from receiving federal money if they practice discrimination.


 Labor Policy

UFE supports increasing the minimum wage to make it a living wage, progressive taxes to help working people, and government investment in asset-building to help families move into the middle class. We also support legislation that allows unions to form more easily and negotiate more effectively.   Labor unions can reduce economic inequality by protecting the welfare of workers, and reducing corporate control over wages, benefits, and working conditions. Learn more.

 John McCain
 Barack Obama
McCain plans to implement temporary worker programs intended to address the labor needs of the United States in both the high-tech and low-skilled sectors. He opposes the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow unions to form more easily and negotiate more effectively.   McCain has voted more than a dozen times over 20 years against increasing the minimum wage.
Obama plans to raise the minimum wage and index it for inflation. He supports the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow unions to form more easily and negotiate more effectively.
Cynthia McKinney
Ralph Nader
McKinney wants to implement an economic policy that provides an opportunity for every family to have gainful employment at a guaranteed income. She supports massive infrastructure investments and a greening of our economy, as well as a complete overhaul of the country's labor laws.
Nader wants to enhance workers' rights by developing an Employee Bill of Rights, including the right to organize unions and earn a living wage for full-time workers. He also wants to increase the minimum wage to $8 per hour, from its current $5.25 per hour, and to $10 per hour two years after that increase.  


Immigration and Trade Policy

UFE supports trade policies that help eliminate economic inequality among the populations of all trading partners with comprehensive and enforceable social, economic, cultural and environmental rules that protect the rights of the most vulnerable.

UFE supports immigration policies that advance the human rights of immigrants and that recognize and legalize this population's contribution to our society. Comprehensive immigration policy must address and help correct the root economic causes of emigration, with special attention paid to the impact of US trade and foreign policies.
Learn more.

 John McCain
 Barack Obama
McCain wants to increase security along US borders, impose more punishments on employers who hire undocumented immigrants, and also supports creating paths for undocumented workers to change their status. He believes the US should engage in multilateral, regional and bilateral efforts to reduce barriers to trade, and wants to build effective enforcement of global trading rules.
Obama wants to increase security along US borders, impose more punishments on employers who hire undocumented immigrants, create paths for undocumented workers to change their status, and work with Mexico to develop their economy more. He also wants to open up foreign markets, reform NAFTA and other trade agreements by including labor and environmental standards, end tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs overseas, and reward companies that support American workers.
 Ralph Nader

McKinney wants to repeal NAFTA, CAFTA, the Caribbean FTA, and the US-Peru FTA. She also wants to end the current guest-worker program, and supports immigration reform that includes amnesty and a path to documentation.
Nader wants to increase control of immigration and borders, but supports immigrant workers, even undocumented, being given all fair-labor standards, rights and benefits through a reformed limited duration admissions program.