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The Democrat has made the right promises

October 24, 2008 12:16 am

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In July, Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama addressed the League of United Latino American Citizens in Washington. Recently, he has offered a plan for tax cuts.

THE PERSON chosen to be the next pres- ident will face extremely difficult challenges over the next few years.

The choices the president makes will undoubtedly upset many Americans in both parties, if our out-of-control economy is to be brought back into balance after eight years of rampant spending under an administration that has done little to provide leadership on economic issues. Now more than ever, true leadership and courage is needed to affect the change in policies we so very much need to change course, and to heal the economic woes faced by so many Americans throughout our great nation.

As a Virginia small-business owner, veteran, and Latino, I'm voting for Sen. Barack Obama for the same reasons as millions of other Americans: because I believe this country desperately needs change. Obama will change our economic policies to help middle-class families, promote the growth of small businesses, and increase funding for veterans' affairs, so no member of our armed services goes without the medical treatment he or she needs and deserves.

As a 26-year veteran of the United States Navy, I have had the opportunity to serve this country under the leadership of Democrats and Republicans alike. I served at the highest levels in both Democratic and Republican administrations. In the ruins of 9/11, I commanded the construction and operation of the Navy's newest and most capable warship. I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to lead some of America's bravest men and women, and the privilege to serve my country.

After eight years of the Bush administration, however, I have never seen our military so overstretched and poorly managed.

And it is a disgrace when America's soldiers risk their lives for their country, and that country fails to provide them adequate medical care upon their return home. This includes treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder--one of the hallmark injuries of the Iraq war. It is a discredit to this nation that we let Walter Reed Hospital fall into disrepair and provided substandard medical care to those who have served our country.

MILITARY SUPPORT

Unfortunately, Sen. McCain has voted against increases for veterans' health care. He even opposed bipartisan legislation to update the GI Bill because he thought it was "too generous." In addition, he voted against providing automatic cost-of-living adjustments for members of our armed forces.

By contrast, as a state and U.S. senator, Barack Obama has fought consistently for our interests. He was an early sponsor of the very GI Bill McCain initially opposed. As president, Obama will fully fund the VA, and he'll have a zero-tolerance policy for homelessness among our vets.

As disturbing as McCain's record on veterans is, it's even more disturbing that he wants to continue the Bush administration's policies of trickle-down economics. We don't need any more tax giveaways to oil companies or to the very wealthy. They're doing OK. It's the middle class that's getting killed with rising prices and stagnating wages.

Make no mistake: John McCain and George Bush's tax policies are a statement of their values. Contrast them with Barack Obama's plan to give a tax break to 95 percent of working Americans. His plan provides middle-class families three times the tax cut they would receive under John McCain's plan. That's because Obama believes the health of our economy depends upon the health of our middle class.

To further stimulate our economy, Obama has proposed a new temporary $3,000 refundable tax credit to businesses for each additional full-time employee hired in the United States. He has also proposed an emergency tax rebate worth $500 per individual and $1,000 for families, which would be fully paid for by five years of a windfall-profits tax on record oil- company profits.

Sen. Obama understands that small businesses are the engine of our economy. That is why he will eliminate all capital-gains taxes on Virginia's 643,000 small businesses while McCain will continue to tax capital gains for small-business investments at 15 percent. Obama will also provide a 50 percent health tax credit to small businesses, giving owners a strong incentive to offer high-quality health care to their workers. And he has proposed allowing the Small Business Administration to lend directly to small businesses through its disaster loan program, as it did after Hurricane Katrina.

Despite the tremendous respect I have for Sen. McCain as a veteran and prisoner of war, John McCain has allied himself with George Bush and policies that haven't worked for Hispanics and other working Americans. He says he is for change, but he's promising to continue the failed policies of the last eight years.

We cannot let the American Dream disappear with four more years of the same misplaced priorities as the last eight. That is why I support Barack Obama and ask you to do the same.

Carlos Del Toro is a resident and small-business owner in Stafford County who serves on the boards of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Council and as a member of the local Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.





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