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Presidential candidates and your money

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We're just one week away from North Carolina's primary election; like every election we're hearing a lot of what the candidates will do if you give them your vote. But what will their election mean to your pocketbook?

Over the next few days we'll turn that question over to certified financial planner Ross Marino to give you a break-down of how each of the three major candidates want to spend your money.

Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton have all vowed to either balance or reform the nation's budget.

"With all the new spending proposals out, the question has to come up, which is, how are we going to pay for this? So fiscal discipline is really the first topic I think a lot of the candidates are talking about," Marino said. "With John McCain he tends to say he doesn't want any excessive spending and look at the areas that maybe aren't necessary. With Obama and Clinton, they're promising to have spending cuts to offset any tax gains that someone will have somewhere else."

Obama's web site lays out the Illinois senator's plan for restoring fiscal responsibility:

  • Reinstate pay-go rules which require new spending or tax changes to be paid for by cuts in other programs, or new revenue
  • Reverse Bush tax cuts for the wealthy
  • Cut pork barrel spending - Make government spending more accountable and efficient
  • End wasteful government spending

Hillary Clinton's web site states: "After six and a half year of President Bush's fiscal irresponsibility, Hillary wants America to regain control of its destiny. She will move back toward a balanced budget and surpluses. Hillary believes that we should develop a set of budget rules similar to those we had in the '90s which required us to fund new expenditures with new revenues or cuts in other areas."

Republican candidate John McCain's web site states he won't leave office without balancing the federal budget. It also outlines the Arizona senator's plan to control spending:

  • Eliminate broken government programs 
  • Reform our civil service system to promote accountability and good performance in our federal workforce - Eliminate earmarks, wasteful subsidies and pork-barrel spending 
  • Reform procurement programs and cut wasteful spending in defense and non-defense programs.

Marino said, "The concept we have to remember is the government has no money. The only way they get money is either to raise taxes or generate revenue some other way. So any time you see a new tax credit or tax cut for somebody, you have to understand somebody else is going to pay more taxes."

All three candidates vow to improve the nation's health care system.

"If you don't have health insurance paid for by an employer and that includes you if you're self-employed, you have to pay for it with after tax dollars. So what happens is the lowest income people out there who don't have health insurance provided for them, are actually paying the most for it when you consider the tax implications," Marino said.

Of course, even if elected, all three candidates would face the challenge of getting their proposals through congress.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at proposed tax cuts and how the candidates plan to lower the bite out of your paycheck.

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