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Posted by: Theo Francis on October 15
There’s little doubt that the economy will be the main event at tonight’s final presidential debate. That was true at last week’s face-off, too — the stock-market had plunged, Congress had just passed a financial rescue bill, and both Barack Obama and John McCain took pains to commiserate with the American Public.
But they didn’t say a lot about what they’d do to address the current crisis. Expect them to this time.
On Monday, Obama put forward a $60-billion four-point plan to encourage job creation, waive penalties for dipping into an IRA or 401(k), postpone some foreclosures and lend to strapped states and cities. McCain responded the next day with a five-point, $52.5 billion plan to cut capital-gains taxes, deduct more investment losses from income, ease taxes on unemployment benefits and up to $50,000 of retirement-account withdrawals, and guarantee all savings accounts. (A few days earlier, McCain had also proposed suspending rules requiring retirees to make minimum withdrawals from retirement accounts.)
Whether the debate gets feisty or remains staid, no doubt you’ll hear a lot about these proposals. Obama has already observed that the market rout has left few Americans with capital gains to tax; McCain has already branded as irresponsible Obama’s plan to waive early-withdrawal penalties for people with less than $200,000 in retirement accounts. Health care, too, is sure to take center stage.
Here are the highlights that caught our eye, from a national survey of 1,485 adults called Oct. 9-12 (with a 3% margin of error at a 95% confidence level for the full sample):
Washington Bureau Chief Jane Sasseen and other BusinessWeek writers cover the run-up to the Nov. 4 presidential election, paying close attention to how the candidates will handle issues such as housing, the economy, unemployment, and immigration.