Democrats Vs. Republicans and Differing Viewpoints
The Democrats continue to support the Head Start Program, and assist states with funding for education. President Obama enacted the Recovery Act, which offered money to help public schools, special education, teachers, and college students. Republicans would rather give block grants to states so that local administrations can make choices for their school systems. Additionally, they would like to implement programs that focus on post-secondary schools. Ideally, these programs would fund technical schools, community colleges, and work-based learning, in order to better connect education to job opportunities. Democrats support federal funding for student loans, while Republicans disagree.
War in Afghanistan
Obama’s efforts to phase out military forces from Afghanistan have been supported by the Democratic party. They state that Afghanistan’s needs have been met, and it is now time to gradually withdraw the troops. Republicans disagree, stating that President Obama is not following the advice of the nation’s top military commanders. They argue that the war on terror should include a continuous military presence in Afghanistan. Also, they believe that the country is unable to control terrorism.
Iraq, Terrorism, and Military Spending
Republicans strongly oppose the Democratic plan for the reduction of defense spending, calling it disastrous. In his article on foreign policies, Laurenti explains that Republicans argue that "only our capability to wield overwhelming military power can truly deter the enemies of the United States." The Iraqi government has received international support, and their security forces are cooperating with the US military. Republicans enforce the war on terrorism, while President Obama is trying to redirect defensive funding back into the US economy.
The Republican viewpoint on federal criminal law is that it should only focus on federal employees or crimes committed on federal property. Democrats support an act that was passed in 1994, which established The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The COPS resulted from a provision in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which provides funding for state law enforcement. The Democrats also stand by the Violence Against Women Act, which was debated earlier this year. Republicans disagreed with additions to the Act which intend to protect same sex couples and illegal immigrants. The Republican stance on punishment for crimes is strict, including mandatory prison time for assaulting a police officer, gang crimes, rape, and murder. They also feel that offenders of these crimes do not deserve parole, but Democrats would rather encourage rehabilitation and prison-to-work programs.
Republicans would like to make changes to environmental spending, many of which involve searching for natural gas and oil. They would like to explore the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and utilize federal land for harvesting. Democrats believe that these national landscapes are irreplaceable, and they intend to protect them. Both parties place importance on climate change, and agree that pollution needs to be reduced.
In order to achieve economic prosperity, the Republicans want to raise employment rates and create jobs through free market policies. They want to discourage companies from moving production overseas, and support Obama’s Export Council, so that profits earned and taxed abroad may be collected for job-creating investment here at home. Democrats stand by the American Jobs Act, supporting unemployed, educators, and auto workers with more job opportunities.
Republicans intend to reform tax codes for small businesses, and carry on Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax relief program. This would prevent taxes from rising on income, dividends and capital gains. Republicans would also immediately reduce federal spending, in order to prepare for future fiscal control. Mr. Obama’s goal is to reduce spending by $4 trillion over the next decade, and to increase taxes on America’s wealthy. His plan would increase manufacturing jobs, and reduce the national deficit.
President Obama’s plan for energy would focus on reducing oil imports, and generating 80 percent of our energy use by clean energy sources by 2035. The use of natural gas will be promoted, cut tax incentives for Big Oil, and promote and protect workers in the clean energy fields. Instead of offering incentives for companies to lower their pollution rates, Republicans would be placed a cap on these amounts. Although both parties would like to continue developing the Keystone Pipeline System, they are currently debating its environmental impact on sensitive ecosystems.
Reform of immigration policies is more important than ever, and both parties must come to an agreement because they have differing views on their rights. Too many people are undocumented, and Obama would like to encourage them to learn English, pay taxes and achieve legal citizenship. Republicans have a stricter plan for immigrants, with programs intended to verify workers’ status, and they oppose amnesty. Unfinished border fencing must be complete, say Republicans and federal funding would be cut to any university that provides in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants.