U.S. Senate hopefuls' positions reflect backgrounds

ATLANTA --- Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson and Democratic opponent Mike Thurmond come to the issue of jobs from different directions owing to their personal backgrounds.

Isakson calls for reduced government in terms of taxes and regulation. Thurmond wants to expand government, in terms of a program credited with getting thousands of Georgians into jobs.

Isakson came up through the ranks of his family's real-estate firm, measuring every economic policy by the way it might affect that small business. Thurmond grew up the son of a sharecropper who had to draw government benefits when times were hard.

One of Isakson's accomplishments in the Senate was passage of a tax credit for first-time homebuyers designed to rekindle the housing market after the collapse that triggered the recession.

"It worked to bring back the marketplace for entry-level housing in America, and it helped us to begin to stabilize," he said.

While the credit was in place, home sales across the country picked up, but the falloff when it expired was noticeable, too.

To move the economy forward, he recommends killing recent Democratic proposals.

"One of the reasons our business is down is because we have an uncertain climate in the United States of America," he said. "Business doesn't know what their tax rate is going to be. Business doesn't know what the mandated cost of health care for their employees is going to be. Business doesn't know what the regulatory authority of Clean Air is going to be.

Thurmond has a different perspective on how to foster economic recovery: Instead of merely paring back its impact, government should be helping the people hurt by the recession. As Georgia labor commissioner, he oversees the state's programs for the unemployed, such as distribution of weekly benefits and job training.

A program he initiated in 2003 called Georgia Work$ is already a model for other states, and he says as senator he can take put that kind of thinking to work for the whole country. So far, 63 percent of participants were offered jobs.

The program provides an average of $100 a week in funds for child care and transportation while employers offer each worker six weeks of unpaid, on-the-job training.

"Many employers are reluctant to hire because of the costs and risks associated with bringing on new employees," Thurmond said. "To help alleviate their concerns, we have expanded our Georgia Work$ training initiative. ... Now all jobless Georgians are eligible to receive six weeks of on-the-job training from Georgia employers."

When the economy was stronger, Thurmond supported a $1 billion moratorium on companies' unemployment premiums.

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dmcadam 10/25/10 - 06:31 am
This is a good piece. These

This is a good piece. These two candidates do have very different perspectives and motivations.

This helps explain why Isakson is so focused on helping people like himself. He thinks it is critical that Bush's tax cut to the wealthy does not expire. What Isakson doesn't take into account is that not all rich people are greedy. Some of our richest actually acknowledge that our economy is in crisis and they want to do their part by paying more. They don't want police, teachers and firefighters laid-off.

Thurmond's work program was/is a great idea and shows that he's concerned about people. We need a senator who is focused on getting people back to work.

Ga Values
Ga Values 10/25/10 - 07:19 am
The real conservativer in

The real conservativer in this race was left our, Chuck Donovan. Isakson is a big spending, big government RINO. Johnny voted for TARP, Wrote No Child Left Behind and 3 seperate $35 Billion housing bail out acts. Johnny needs to go vote for Donovan.

nerthus 10/25/10 - 07:53 am
Isakson is a rich Senator and

Isakson is a rich Senator and came up in a rich family. Nothing wrong with being rich but don't be rich on the backs of those who are working. Don't be against health insurance for everybody when you have health insurance and a way to pay your medical needs. Cut taxes for the rich but have a person making $20,000 a year pay 20-25% in taxes.
Nobody is giving President Obama a chance he came to office lest then two years ago and trying to dig this country out of a hole that Bush put us in after eight years in office. The United States is in sad shape and getting rid of the Isaksons will certainly help.

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