Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Spotlight: Barack Obama (and America's Financial Future)

Hello everyone.
Tonight's post will spotlight Senator Barack Obama's economic policies. Last night, I wrote that I will definitely be voting for him in the 2008 Democratic primary election. But like I said last night, this is not a political blog. I'm just concerned with laying out the Democratic candidates' economic policies so that you can make your own informed decisions. I have no intentions of persuading you one way or the other.

Now, onto the policies. We all know that being a young professional, or aspiring professional, in a major city is tough financially. According to AM New York, the average studio apartment below 96th Street in Manhattan is $1,797 a month. Of course there are other places to live in New York besides the heart of Manhattan. But one would be hard-pressed to find a one bedroom apartment that costs less than $1,000 a month in New York or any other major city in the US. But Senator Obama, if elected, intends to create an affordable housing trust fund to eliminate this problem.

This trust fund would take a small percentage of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's profits and put it toward the construction of mixed-income housing. Not only would this policy make housing more affordable for low-income families and recent college graduates, but it would decrease the high-levels of class separatism in this country. The sons and daughters of firefighters, teachers, lawyers, and doctors alike would be able to attend the same schools because each of these professionals would live in the same neighborhoods.

Senator Obama, like Senator Edwards, also advocates cracking down on mortgage fraud and decreasing the number of Americans who enter into "high risk home loans". If eleected, he intends to implement and completely fund the STOP FRAUD act, which will increase penalties for deceptive mortgage professionals. I believe that this act would work in tandem with Sen. Obama's affordable housing trust. Being able to make rent payments comfortably certainly will allow you to save for your first home, allow you to sure up your credit score, and make you less likely to enter into a subprime loan.

In addition to this, Senator Obama will attempt to lessen the burden on middle-class workers by working with urban planners to make commuting to work less costly. According to Obama's website, low-income workers spend up to 36% of their income on commuting. And even people who are not low-income workers spend hefty portions of their income paying for gas. If more environmentally friendly and walkable or bikeable communities were created, this would translate into tremendous savings for the average Jane.

Lastly, Obama would like to strengthen small business - particularly minority- and women-owned businesses. Black and female-headed businesses have been receiving decreasing amounts of financing over the past decade and these businesses often have to pay higher rates for financing than their white, male counterparts. Senator Obama hopes to change this by implementing certain initiatives to increase funding at the Small Business Administration.

If you feel that I've left out some of Senator Obama's economic strong points, please feel free to comment and I'll include your thoughts as an addendum to this post. Thanks for reading and until next time...

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