President Bush vs. Senator Kerry
Brian Gongol

Issue President George W. Bush
Senator John Kerry
Why It Matters
Balanced Budget Has failed to balance budget. Proposed nearly $8 billion per year in new spending at nomination speech. Proposes $226 billion per year in new spending Deficit spending is poor stewardship of taxpayers' resources. Even the usually-inept IMF acknowledges that U.S. debt threatens the global economy.
Free Trade Has signed free-trade agreements with Morocco, Australia, Singapore. Pursuing Free Trade Area of the Americas. His errant steel tariff decision has been reversed. Advocates restrictions on free trade, including "enforceable labor rights" and a 120-day review of all existing trade agreements. Says he would veto the FTAA and CAFTA over labor and environmental regulations. Free trade is a necessary condition for reducing poverty and improving the prospects for a peaceful future. The overwhelming consensus among economists is that trade restrictions hurt society.
Health Care Presided over massive expansion of Medicare drug benefit, creating massive future liabilities Promises major expansion of government-sponsored health care Prescription-drug benefit is expected to cost more than $40 billion in just two years
Medical Savings Accounts Promises expansion of medical savings accounts Criticizes medical savings accounts MSA's are a step in the right direction towards controlling costs
Social Security Advocates voluntary private accounts for younger workers to supplement Social Security Opposes "privatizing" Social Security Social Security's own trustees say the system needs change now
Economic Philosophy Keynesian (elsewhere confirmed) Keynesian Keynes was wrong
Economic Advisers N. Gregory Mankiw Robert Rubin, Warren Buffett Advisors influence policy
North Korea Named North Korea to the "axis of evil", though points deducted for not doing anything to address the increasing threat North Korea wants Sen. Kerry to win, since he prefers bilateral talks without Japan or China involved North Korea has missiles that could reach the U.S. and strategic allies
Voice of America Has presided over severe budget reductions at Voice of America Reportedly supports full funding for VOA and Radio Free Europe The VOA is one of our most efficient tools of international influence. The VOA and other affiliated services of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, like Radio Free Europe, have for years influenced reform and opposition movements in hostile nations.
Private-Sector Experience Worked in private business, both in energy and baseball Has never worked in the private sector Nothing beats on-the-job experience for understanding government's impact on business
Tort Reform Pushed tort reforms while Governor of Texas. Bush's record as President on Federal noninterference with state issues has been mixed. Likely to oppose tort reforms (including limits on punitive damages in civil trials), especially given Sen. Edwards's record on winning high-value damages. Tort reform is generally a state issue, but a Federal bias for or against it may influence the process. A CBO review of the literature found that "caps on damage awards reduced the number of lawsuits filed, the value of awards, and insurance costs", reducing the implicit burden of high-award lawsuits on consumers, investors, and professionals.