Views on National Issues
I. War in Iraq
* The Problem: Since the surge began, more than 1,000 American troops have died, and despite the improved security situation, the Iraqi government has not stepped forward to lead the Iraqi people and to reach the genuine political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.
The Iraq war has lasted longer than World WarI, World War II, and the Civil War. More than 4,000 Americans have died. More than 60,000 have been injured and wounded. The United States may spend $2.7 trillion on this war and its aftermath, yet we are less safe around the globe and more divided at home. With determined ingenuity and at great personal cost, American troops have found the right tactics to contain the violence in Iraq, but westill have the wrong strategy to press Iraqis to take responsibility at home, and restore America’s security and standing in the world.
* The Solution: Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: ending the war.The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government.
II. Seniors and Social Security
* The Problem: Retirement savings are near a historic low and 75 million working Americans lack employer-based retirement plans. Too many companies have dumped their pension obligations, leaving workersin the cold. With skyrocketing health care, energy and housing costs, and the risk of being defrauded by insurance companies, too many seniors do not have the resources to live comfortably.
* The Solution: Current bankruptcy laws protect banks before workers. Obama and Biden will protect pensions by putting promises to workers higher on the list of debts that companies cannot shed; ensuringthat the bankruptcy courts do not demand more sacrifice from workers than executives; telling companies that they cannot issue executive bonuses while cutting worker pensions; increasing the amount of unpaid wages and benefits workers can claim in court; and limiting the circumstances under which retiree benefits can be reduced. Obama and Biden will fight job discrimination for aging employees bystrengthening the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and empowering the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to prevent all forms of discrimination. Obama and Biden will increase funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which helps low-income citizens — many of them seniors — pay their winter heating and summer cooling bills.
III. Civil Rights
* The Problem:For every $1.00 earned by a man, the average woman receives only 77 cents, while African American women only get 67 cents and Latinas receive only 57 cents.
A recent study discovered numerous organized efforts to intimidate, mislead and suppress minority voters.
* The Solution: Obama and Biden will work to overturn the Supreme Court's recent ruling that curtails racial minorities' andwomen's ability to challenge pay discrimination. They will also pass the Fair Pay Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
Obama will sign into law his legislation that establishes harsh penalties for those who have engaged in voter fraud and providesvoters who have been misinformed with accurate and full information so they can vote.
* The Problem: While wages remain flat, the costs of basic necessities are increasing. The cost of in-state college tuition has grown 35 percent over the past five years. Health care costs have risen four times faster than wages over the past six years. And the personal savings rate is now...