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In Time of Crisis, Candidates Present Economic Plans

McCain and Obama offer new proposals for tax breaks, changes in rules for retirement savings. Also, the Treasury moves to recapitalize banks. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

This week, the two major presidential candidates gave new details of their plans to help Americans deal with the economic crisis.

On Monday, Democrat Barack Obama offered proposals totaling sixty billion dollars over two years. The next day, Republican John McCain announced proposals totaling about fifty-three billion dollars.

Both plans call for new tax breaks.

Senator Obama proposes to suspend the capital gains tax on small businesses. He also wants to give businesses a three thousand dollar tax credit for each new employee they hire in the United States over the next two years.

Senator McCain proposes to cut the fifteen percent tax on long-term capital gains in half for two years. And he would let investors reduce their taxable income by up to fifteen thousand dollars for stock losses, five times the current limit.

Both candidates want to temporarily suspend taxes on unemployment aid. Senator Obama would also extend the payments.

To deal with the housing crisis, he proposes a ninety-day ban on some home repossessions by banks. And he says he would provide twenty-five billion dollars in aid to states, along with assistance in restructuring troubled mortgages.

Senator McCain recently proposed to have the federal government buy troubled mortgages. These would be replaced with government-guaranteed loans at a lower cost. The plan would cost three hundred billion dollars. The money would come from the rescue measure passed by Congress to bail out the financial services industry.

To help older Americans, both candidates want to temporarily suspend withdrawal requirements for retirement savings accounts. That would give investments more time to recover lost value. Senator McCain also wants to reduce taxes to the lowest rate, ten percent, for two years on withdrawals up to fifty thousand dollars.

With the Obama plan, workers could withdraw up to ten thousand dollars in retirement savings without an early withdrawal charge. That policy would also be in effect for two years.

In other news this week, the Treasury Department said it will inject up to two hundred fifty billion dollars in banks. The government will gain partial ownership in return but not have voting rights. America's nine largest banks agreed to the plan under pressure from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. He warned them not to hold on to this new capital "but to deploy it."

And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. I'm Steve Ember.