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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rick Santorum: Campaign Issues

 Where he stands
 Source: US Government Info Please (


  • If elected President, Santorum vows to repeal Obama's healthcare law and replace it with patient-centered healthcare.
  • Santorum believes every American should have access to high-quality, affordable health care, but that decisions should be made by patients and their physicians, not the government.
  • He plans to strengthen patient-driven health coverage options like Health Savings Accounts and high deductible insurance plans as well as reduce medical costs through competition and the use of electronic records. He wants to promote health care literacy to empower patients and their doctors with information and options.
  • He wants to allow people to purchase their own health care coverage with pre-tax dollars.


  • If elected, Santorum pledges to cut $5 trillion in federal spending over 5 years.
  • He plans to freeze spending for 5 years on defense as well as on social programs like Medicaid, Housing, Education, Job Training, and Food Stamps.
  • He wants to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which would cap government spending at 18% of GDP. This would force the President and Congress to balance the budget like Governors do.
  • Santorum believes in a return to the Reagan era pro-growth tax rate. He wants to simplify personal income taxes by cutting the number of tax rates to just two, 10% and 28%.
  • He plans to simplify the tax code, reduce overall taxes by eliminating the Estate Tax, and cut middle income taxes by eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax.
  • He wants to reduce taxes for families by tripling the personal deduction for each child and by eliminating marriage tax penalties.
  • He has pledged to cut the corporate income tax rate in half, from 33.5% to 17.5%.


  • Santorum supports a fence along the southern U.S. border. As a senator, he voted yes on the Secure Fence Act. In the Sept. 12, 2011 CNN Republican debate, he said, "I believe that we need to secure the border using technology and more personnel."
  • Also while senator, Santorum voted no on the following: allowing illegal immigrants to participate in Social Security, giving benefits to illegal immigrants, and giving guest workers paths to citizenship. He also opposed the Dream Act, which would have provided a way for children of illegal immigrants to gain conditional permanent residency.
  • He favors making English the official language of the United States.


  • Santorum pledges to cut Environment Protection Agency resources because their regulations have killed jobs. He wants to return the focus to common sense conservation.
  • He favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and scaling back regulations which hinder drilling elsewhere.
  • He plans to eliminate energy subsidies in four years.

Foreign Policy

  • Santorum voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act.
  • He supports airport screeners employing profiling, the continued use of Guantanamo Bay for suspected terrorists as well as waterboarding, which he says has proved effective.
  • He pledges to work with Israel to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat immediately, taking military action if needed. He also plans to increase pressure on Hezbollah and Syrian, eliminating the post of U.S. Ambassador to Syria.
  • He believes the U.S. needs to change its information operations abroad to promote the nation's core values of freedom, equality, and democracy.

Same-sex marriage

  • Santorum supports a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, not leaving the decision to states. He believes that marriage cannot be defined differently from one state to another. As a senator, he was a strong supporter of the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004.
Source: Rick Santorum Official Website

In Today's Economy, How Far Can A GED Take You?

 In Cleveland, 2010 GED graduates from the Get On Track program parade down the aisle during their commencement. In today's economy, some experts say, the GED may not be enough to provide "gainful employment."
In Cleveland, 2010 GED graduates from the Get On Track program parade down the aisle during their commencement. In today's economy, some experts say, the GED may not be enough to provide "gainful employment."

Every year, roughly 750,000 high school dropouts try to improve their educational and employment prospects by taking the General Educational Development test, or GED, long considered to be the equivalent of a high school diploma.

The latest research, however, shows that people with GEDs are, in fact, no better off than dropouts when it comes to their chances of getting a good job.

This is raising lots of questions, especially in school districts with high dropout rates and rising GED enrollments.

A Second Chance, But Is It Enough?
The GED was created in 1942 for the U.S. military to test World War II veterans in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. It was in lieu of a high school diploma so that returning soldiers could apply for a job or enroll in college.

The GED is a credential. Is it adequate for gainful employment and a living wage in the United States of America today? I do not think so.
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'Made In The USA' Not Enough For Campaign Trail

An employee welds a stainless steel tank at JV Northwest in Camby, Ore. U.S. factories have boosted output, and busier factories are helping drive the U.S. economy.
An employee welds a stainless steel tank at JV Northwest in Camby, Ore. U.S. factories have boosted output, and busier factories are helping drive the U.S. economy.
 Motors will soon be getting profit-sharing checks of up to $7,000 each after the automaker reported record earnings this week. President Obama may also get a political dividend, two and a half years after a government-engineered turnaround. 
Obama reminded a group of United Auto Worker members this week that, back in 2009, his rescue of GM and Chrysler had plenty of critics.

Opponents of the auto rescue included Republican White House hopefuls Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, who were both campaigning in Michigan this week. Santorum told the Detroit Economic Club the right way to deal with the automakers' problems in 2009 was to let the free market work.

"Would the auto industry look different than it does today? Yes, it would be," Santorum said. "Would it still be alive and well? I think it would be alive and equally as well, if not better."

Santorum is running on a pro-manufacturing platform, stressing his roots in blue-collar Pennsylvania, as well as a tax plan that would make factories tax-free. While other candidates talk about training programs for would-be factory workers, Santorum complains that government handouts are discouraging industrial work.

"When you have 99 weeks of unemployment benefits and you have a variety of other social safety-net programs, people can make choices that they otherwise wouldn't make if the economy was not one that government dependency was the watchword," he said.

Romney, whose father once ran an auto company, says he's glad that GM and Chrysler have rebounded, but he continues to criticize President Obama's handling of the auto rescue. Romney calls it an example of crony capitalism, because the autoworkers' union that supported Obama emerged with a stake in the companies.

"When a president of the United States begins taking your money to give to his donors, that's a problem," Romney said.

While Romney regularly criticizes those he calls "union stooges," Obama stressed cooperation between labor and management when he visited a unionized Master Lock plant in Milwaukee this week. That cooperation has allowed CEO John Heppner to bring about 100 jobs back to the U.S. from China over the last year and a half.

"We figured out how to make this facility productive. It's about trust," Heppner said. "We care more about mutual success than our own."

Nationwide, factories have added more than 400,000 jobs over the last two years. Obama wants to encourage more hiring, but part of the success of these factories is their ability to do more with fewer workers.

Veteran tool-and-die maker Don Olson says the Master Lock plant employs only about a third as many people as when he started 25 years ago. Back then, much of the work was done by hand.
"It looked like something out of the '40s, but they really automated since then," Olson said. "That's the only way we're bringing these jobs back.

"We're well-paid and we have a good benefits package, and in order to maintain that, you've got to make a lot of locks per person," he says.

Master Lock makes more padlocks than anyone else in the world.

Heppner joked about all the locks that weren't being made at Master Lock during the hours of preparation for the president's visit. But soon after the president left, the Master Lock employees were back at those automated machines making more locks — faster than ever.

Week In News: Payroll Tax Cut, China VP Visit

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Max Baucus, left, reaches out to Representative Fred Upton, on Capitol Hill on Feb. 16, 2012, to celebrate as members of the bi-partisan House and Senate conferees on the payroll tax cut extension signed the compromise agreement.

Listen to the Story

In a victory for the White House, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed an extension of the payroll tax cut on Friday after weeks of refusal. Host Mary Louise Kelly speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about the political reasoning behind the vote.

Health Care 2012

John Glenn, A Hero Well Before Orbiting Earth

Fifty years ago, John Glenn was alone on top of a rocket waiting to blast into space and around the Earth. In these times, when people can become suddenly famous for doing so little, it may be good to recall the daring and imagination of that moment on Feb. 20, 1962.

 As a U.S. senator at age 77, Glenn also became the oldest person in space by orbiting Earth with six astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1998.

Two Russians, Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov, had already dauntlessly orbited the Earth. The Soviets kept their missions secret until they were under way, but John Glenn would fly with the eyes of the world watching every second.

Jay LaPrete/AP As a U.S. senator at age 77, Glenn also became the oldest person in space by orbiting Earth with six astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1998.
He was a hero before he ever pulled on a silver spacesuit. John Glenn was a small-town guy from the heart of America — New Concord, Ohio, population 2,651, and they're very proud — who left Muskingham College to enlist when he was just 20 and Pearl Harbor was bombed.

He became a U.S. Marine fighter pilot in the South Pacific — which is a long way from New Concord — flying 59 missions during World War II, and then 90 more in Korea, where his wingman was Ted Williams, a mere Hall of Fame baseball player.

John Glenn was a mild-drinking, clean-joking, fair-haired flyboy among fighter jocks, but his fellow pilots hailed him respectfully as Magnet Ass, for all the shrapnel his plane took.

He married his childhood sweetheart, Annie; they've been married almost 70 years. He became a celebrated test pilot. He was the oldest of the seven original astronauts and past 40 when he went into space.

So when John Glenn took off his helmet, Americans saw a sun-creased face under wispy, evaporating strands of red hair, and a crinkly, I-Like-Ike grin.

He circled the globe three times in his space capsule, Friendship 7. If you see it now in the Smithsonian, it almost makes you cringe to think of a man inside such a small, frail vessel, alone in the vast universe.

Days and nights flipped in 45 minutes. Excitement crackled in John Glenn's voice when he told the people of Perth, Australia, that he could look down from the dark of space and see the lights that they had left on for him. What a neighborly thing to do! It reminded us how people on opposite sides of an ocean shared the same world.

When an automated steering system jammed, millions of people watching held their breath. But John Glenn was a pilot, not a tourist. He took manual control of this brand-new machine and threaded it back into Earth's atmosphere. Fifty years ago, John Glenn's nervy maneuver was a timeless reminder that the most amazing and marvelous inventions won't work without human skill and a good man's daring.

From NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday