Inside Politics

Polar opposites running for Specter's seat

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Democrat Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey are both running for Senator Arlen Specter's seat.

While they are polar opposites on the political spectrum, they do agree on what it will take to turn the economy around - helping small businesses create jobs.

However, they have very different ideas on how to do that.

Toomey says we have to clear away  bad policy threats from the government, make the 2003 tax cuts permanent, and reign in Washington spending.

"These $1.5 trillon annual deficits are not sustainable.  They're not affordable.  So, we've got to  get the fiscal house in order," Toomey said.

Sestak wants to encourage community based banks to make more capital available to small businesses.

He also favors a tax break for employers for every new worker hired.

"If we gave a 15% tax credit for every new job that was created by small business, we'd create 5 million in just two years," said Sestak.

Both candidates agree we need to compete better in the global economy.

But, again, they differ sharply on how to do it.

Toomey wants to scale back what he calls excessive regulation and lower the business tax rate. "I've argued we should lower it down from the 35% it's at today to 25%.  That would put it in line with most of our trading competitors and make our businesses better able to compete overseas," Toomey said.

Sestak says big corporations already get too much of a break, and too many incentives to take jobs overseas. He says keeping jobs here is the only way to compete.

"It's all about incentivizing job creation here so that we are able to export to the world," Sestak said.

Health care is the other big issue of the campaign. Toomey sees the recently enacted health care reform as a costly burden that disrupts exisitng care. He wants more help for individuals buying their own coverage.

"I'd want to give individuals the same tax cuts employers get when they have to go out and buy health insurance on their own.  That makes health care more affordable to them," Toomey said.

Sestak says the reform was a good first step, but it's not perfect.

"We still need to remove the anti-trust exemption insurance companies and health insurance companies have so they can collude together," Sestak said.

Different approaches, but one last point of agreement: Both candidates say individuals should be able to buy their coverage from companies anywhere in the country, not just their home states.

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pennsylvania, election, pat toomey, joe sestak, inside politics, david henry
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