Scott: Tonight, Mitt Romney and President Obama face off in the second debate. It’s a town meeting format, so you know there will be questions about jobs. It’s also at the top of the list for our Team OneVote.
John DiGiacobbe: As a 17-year-old student, it took me a very long time to find a summer job or a part time job.
I believe that youth unemployment right now is at its highest since the early ‘70s. We need to make sure that the youth in America today are going to be able to prosper once they get out in the world and start to create lives for themselves.
Paul Sanchez: I have already found my job. I’ll be working with my uncle. I’ll be an intern for him. But a lot of kids aren’t as lucky as I am.
Scott: The unemployment rate – or those looking for a job – dropped to 7.8% in September, the lowest since Obama took office. Now, both candidates promised to get it under 6%. But how? Let’s see where the candidates stand.
The American economy was already in rough shape, in the middle of a major recession, when President Obama took office in 2009. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were being lost every month.
President Obama: After losing about 800,000 jobs a month when I took office, our businesses have now added 5.2 million new jobs over the past two-and-a-half years.
Scott: The president’s idea to stimulate the economy was to spend more than $800 billion on things like hiring more teachers and police, building bridges and highways, and investing in green energy projects. The stimulus measures also cut taxes for small businesses and for most working families.
The president believes the government should spend money to help create jobs, which will then give people more income to put back into the economy. And the congressional budget office estimated the stimulus plan helped bring down unemployment by almost 2%.
Paul: Republican or Democrat, we should all consider getting Obama back in office. I’m sure he can do a lot – a lot – more than he’s already done. And he’s done plenty.
Scott: But Mitt Romney says the stimulus didn’t provide the promised boost to the economy and he points out it added almost a trillion dollars to our national debt. Romney says it’s not the government’s role to spend tax dollars on businesses.
Mitt Romney: We’ve had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8%. If I am president, I will create – help create – 12 million new jobs in this country with rising incomes.
Scott: Romney says big government and regulations are hurting job growth because they are making doing business more expensive. And companies have to cut jobs to stay afloat. He believes we can improve our economy by allowing the free market system to work and getting rid of some regulations on businesses.
John: Mitt Romney enables the American entrepreneur and the American worker to have more flexibility within the market place, to hire more individuals and ultimately grow the economy, which would obviously lower the unemployment rate and create more jobs for the American people.
Scott: America has also lost millions of jobs to places like India and China. Outsourcing is when American companies open factories or hire people in other countries.
President Obama has proposed raising taxes on U.S. companies that produce goods outside the country. And he wants to cut taxes for companies that keep jobs here.
President Obama: We can keep giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and hire new workers and create new jobs right here in Virginia, right here in the United States of America.
Scott: Romney opposes raising taxes because he says it will make it more difficult for companies to compete in the world, and will mean businesses will have to cut jobs or move overseas.
Romney: We’re going to make more markets available for our manufacturers and for our service providers so we can go into other countries and sell goods around the world.
Scott: The candidates also disagree on bailouts, when the government gives money to businesses to save them from going under. After the Wall Street crash in 2008, President George W. Bush spent billions to bail out big banks and the U.S. automakers General Motors and Chrysler by providing them loans from the government. President Obama has continued some of those bank bailouts and he went even further with U.S. automakers, giving them billions more in loans. The president says both of those industries are too vital to the American economy to allow them to fail, and that the auto bailout ended up saving more than a million jobs.
Nyantan Bol: In 2008, I was only in eighth grade, and I didn’t really know much about what was going on in the economy. But I felt that President Obama took the necessary steps that he need to and he did everything necessary to bring the economy back to the place where it is now, which is a much better place.
Scott: Mitt Romney supports the Wall Street bank bailout but opposes the auto bailout. Romney says if the banks had failed, our economy would have crumbled. But he says the auto companies should have been allowed to go bankrupt, and that bailing them out only prolonged their turnaround.
Romney also points out automakers still owe the government billions and didn’t do enough to reform their unions.
Conner: You have to look at what essentially is the burden on the taxpayers with the bailouts and how effective they were. This is why I support Mitt Romney on this. When President Obama bailed out the auto companies, he didn’t make the unions give a lot of concessions.
Scott: The candidates disagree about unions, which are organized groups of workers who negotiate together for things like salaries. Mr. Obama supports unions. He believes they are necessary to protect the rights of workers. He has suggested some reforms for things like education unions. Mitt Romney says unions are driving up the costs and getting in the way of innovation. He supports big changes to how unions operate including a requirement that people have the choice whether or not to join a union. Both candidates support programs to retrain workers so that they have the skills to match the jobs of today’s economy.