Pols spar on economy at CU Presidential Forum - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Pols spar on economy at CU Presidential Forum

Lawton_Repairing the fragile economy was the centerpiece of a discussion at Cameron University Presidential Forum on Wednesday.  Democratic and Republican leaders made speeches and took questions from the crowd ranging from how the candidates would fix it, to whether any presidential promises would be left unfulfilled because of the crisis.                                                                                    

The local political leaders traded jabs on economic positions.  Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Gary Jones says that Senator McCain's proposed roadblock to runaway spending is the way to go.  "... to make sure we're  providing essential services to the public and not just going out there and wasting their tax dollars," he said.  Democrat Joshua Smith says that the Iraq war is weakening the economy, and says that Senator Obama has the better plan.  "He's promised to get us out of Iraq in 16-months - a responsible withdrawal.

That's a huge part of where our money's going," he said.

The candidates also differed on the best way to "spread the wealth."  "We hear this thing about only taxing people that make over $250,000, and that 95% of people will get a tax break - 40% of the people don't pay taxes," said Jones.  Smith questioned Jones' argument.  "I'm not sure.  I don't know if that's 95% of tax-paying Americans or 95% of total Americans - that's something I'm going to have to look into." 

The economic discussion eventually turned to talk about higher energy costs.  Jones says that nuclear plants could help America kick its dependence on foreign oil.  "[It would] keep about $700 billion worth of money that's flowing out of this country to provide jobs and get the economy back on track," he said.  Smith admitted that alternative energy cannot fix all of America's ills, and certainly not immediately.  "Maybe someday they'll be something that comes along that we can power airplanes and power cars," he said.

Both parties disagreed on who the government should tax.  "You're disproportionately gonna take those people that are small business owners and tax them to a higher level in order to give money to somebody else," said Jones of Obama's plan.  Smith disagreed on proportion.  "With a tax cut to 95% of Americans, I think that will be offset by the tax increase to those making more than $250,000 a year."

Both parties said they agreed on an "all of the above" approach to energy.

Early voting in Oklahoma begins Friday, October 31.

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