Candidates focus on the economy

When Hillary Clinton spoke yesterday in Salinas, she outlined an economic package that sounded very familiar, maybe because I've also been listening to Barack Obama and john Edwards.

Whether you hear it from Hillary Clinton.

"We know the economy is beginning to slide into recession," said Senator Hillary Clinton (D) New York.

Or Barack Obama.

"What started as a crisis in the housing market has now spilled over to the rest of the economy," said Senator Barack Obama (D) Illinois.

The issue big issues revolve around money, the economy, housing crisis and helping families pay for necessities like winter heating.

"I called for immediate tax relief for working families and seniors they should wit another day they need our help right now," said Obama.

"I'd like to put $650 dollars into the hands of people having trouble paying energy bills," said Clinton.

Hillary Clinton is proposal a $70 billion dollar plan/ including $40 billion for heating assistance and $30 billion to help low income families hit by the mortgage crisis.

Barack Obama's plan: $75 billion, a $250 dollar bonus in social security checks, funds to help families hit by the mortgage crisis and money to extend unemployment insurance.

John Edwards would start with $25 billion but ad another $75 if the economy goes into recession, and spend it on investments in clean energy/ battling the mortgage crisis and reform unemployment insurance.

"The three major Democratic candidates are saying just about the same thing," said UC Berkeley Goldman School professor Robert Reich.

Economist Robert Reich is served as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. I asked him which of the candidate's economic plans he prefers.

"Overall I think Obama's economic plans seem to be more reasonable than any others but there is not a huge amount of difference between any of them," said Reich.

The biggest difference in dealing with the mortgage crisis is that Hillary Clinton is proposing a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and a five year freeze on interest payments and federal aid while Obama's plan calls for federal aid.

Clinton's plan looks more specific, but Reich warns it could have unintended consequences.

"New people who are coming into the market young people who want a loan may not be able to get it because banks would say wait it's too risky I can't foreclose if you don't pay so there's a little bit of a trade off here," said Reich.

The bulk of the money the candidates are talking about wouldn't go towards helping families with their mortgage problems.

The $300 billion a year or so from ending the war and rolling back tax breaks for the wealthy will mostly go towards the universal health care proposals that are put forward by each of the Democratic front runners.

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