Government Bytes


Common Proposals of Election 2012

by Dan Barrett / /

Throughout 2012, campaigns on both sides of the aisle have highlighted the differences between their respective candidates. Based on the commercials and most debates, one might think the choice between the frontrunners is a stark black-or-white choice. That might not be the case. Below, I compared all of the policy proposals NTUF studied over the last eight months from the Senate races in Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin (and unofficially in North Dakota) as well as the Presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. One way or another, there are a few policies that will likely be on the 113th Congress’ docket.

National Energy Strategy: Nine of 12 candidates studied would seek a form of comprehensive energy that would use multiple sources and technologies related to powering American homes, businesses, and vehicles. Of the most recurring proposals, expanding off and onshore oil and gas exploration and investing in alternatives like solar and wind are supported by candidates in both major political parties. Candidates who would change current policies (which would likely lead to a change in the budget) include: George Allen, Tammy Baldwin, Rick Berg, Scott Brown, Heidi Heitkamp, Tim Kaine, Tommy Thompson, and Elizabeth Warren.

In most cases (except for some of the offshore drilling legislation), NTUF wasn’t able to score the budgetary effects of changing the government’s energy policies. A few factors to consider. Many times, the government encourages alternative and traditional energy through tax credits. The credits are usually revenue-based and so would not change outlays (which is what BillTally measures). However, there are also dedicated programs and initiatives that subsidize targeted energy development. Often times, the government spends tax dollars on research and development activities for the sources that Congress and the President wish to expand, make more efficient, or encourage more competition.

Here are a few other proposal matchups between the candidates NTUF studied this year:

  • Employ More Veterans: Allen, Baldwin, Brown (MA), Brown (OH), Warren
  • Fight Health Care Waste/Fraud/Abuse: Berg, Kaine, Heitkamp, Warren
  • Pass the Violence Against Women Act: Baldwin, Brown (MA), Heitkamp
  • Provide Veterans with More Health Care: Baldwin, Brown (OH), Heitkamp, Warren
  • Reform Regulations or the Regulatory Process: Allen, Berg, Heitkamp, Mandel, Romney, Warren
  • Secure the Borders: Allen, Berg, Kaine, Romney
  • Support a Change to Current Immigration Policy: Berg, Brown (MA), Kaine, Obama, Warren

On a more partisan note, here are recurring policies supported by party:

Democratic Party:

  • Allow for Drug Price Negotiation: Baldwin, Heitkamp, Kaine, Warren
  • End the War in Afghanistan: Baldwin, Brown (OH), Warren
  • Fight Currency Manipulation: Baldwin, Brown (OH), Warren
  • Increase Infrastructure Funding: Baldwin, Brown (OH), Kaine, Obama, Warren
  • Pass the DREAM Act: Brown (OH), Kaine, Obama, Warren
  • Repeal or Limit Farm Subsidies: Baldwin, Brown (OH), Warren

Republican Party:

  • Allow Health Insurance Purchases Across State Lines: Allen, Berg, Brown (MA), Mandel, Romney, Thompson
  • Block-Grant Medicaid: Allen, Romney, Thompson
  • Reform the Tax System: Berg, Brown (MA), Mandel, Thompson
  • Repeal the Affordable Care Act: Allen, Berg, Mandel, Romney, Thompson
  • Support Medical Malpractice Reforms: Berg, Mandel, Romney, Thompson

To learn about each proposal (some have costs, others NTUF was not able to score), click on the candidate's state link (in the first paragraph) where you can see the candidates' full line-by-line spending agenda.