Update as of 1500 Eastern Time:
Bottom Line Up Front:
1. Presidential Candidate Economic Plans
2. World Health Organization Report
From Fox News (Economic Plans):
McCain Economic Proposals
-- John McCain proposes that withdrawals from tax-preferred accounts -- IRAs And 401(k)s -- should be taxed at the lowest rate -- 10 percent -- in 2008 And 2009. This policy will apply to the first $50,000 withdrawn from these accounts each year and will affect the accounts of nearly nine million Americans over the age of 60, permitting them to devote more of their income to retirement needs.
-- John McCain will not penalize those forced to sell off in today's tough markets. John McCain believes that we should increase the amount of capital losses which can be used in tax years 2008 and 2009 to offset ordinary income from $3,000 to $15,000.
-- John McCain will strengthen incentives to save, invest, and restore the liquidity of markets. John McCain proposes a reduction in the maximum tax rate on long term capital gains to 7.5 percent in 2009 and 2010.
-- John McCain will provide a tax cut for Americans who have lost a job by exempting unemployment benefits from taxation. According to the latest statistics, over 3.6 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment benefits. John McCain recognizes that at a time when families are hurting, and the prospects of future job losses increase -- we should stop taxing unemployment insurance benefits for 2008 and 2009.
Obama Economic Proposals
-- A new American jobs tax credit. Obama is calling for a temporary tax credit for firms that create new jobs in the United States over the next two years.
-- Penalty-free withdrawals from IRAs and 401(k)s in 2008 and 2009. Obama is calling for new legislation to allow families to withdraw 15 percent of their retirement savings - up to a maximum of $10,000 - without facing a tax-penalty this year (including retroactively) and next year.
-- 90-day foreclosure moratorium for homeowners that are acting in good faith. Financial institutions that participate in the Treasury's financial rescue plan should be required to adhere to a homeowners code of conduct, including a 90-day foreclosure moratorium for any homeowners living in their homes that are making good faith efforts pay their mortgages.
-- A lending facility to address the credit crisis for states and localities. Obama is calling on the Federal Reserve and the Treasury to work to establish a facility to lend to state and municipal governments, similar to the steps the Fed recently took to provide liquidity to the commercial paper market.
-- Obama's plan also calls for temporarily eliminating taxes on unemployment insurance benefits; keeping all options on the table to help our automakers weather the financial crisis; having the Fed and Treasury prepare for guaranteeing a broader range of liabilities of the banking system; and instructing Treasury to help unfreeze markets for individual mortgages, student loans, car loans, loans for multi-family dwellings and credit card loans.
From CNN (WHO Report):
In a Nairobi slum, more than one in four children under 5 will die, but in a wealthier part of the Kenyan capital, the mortality rate is one in almost 67, according to a World Health Organization report released Tuesday.
The World Health Report 2008 aims to spotlight disparities in health care across the globe, and as the Nairobi example illustrates, the differences exist not only between the First and Third Worlds -- they can occur just across town.
WHO roundly criticizes the organization, finance and delivery of health care and calls advances in the field "deeply and unacceptably unequal, with many disadvantaged populations increasingly lagging behind or even losing ground."
The report says that a citizen of a wealthy nation can live up to 40 years longer than someone in a poor country, and of the 136 million women who will give birth this year, about 58 million (43 percent) will receive no medical assistance during childbirth or the postpartum period.
UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman said the sharp inequities in the cost and access to health care often speak to larger societal ills.
"High maternal, infant and under-five mortality often indicates lack of access to basic services such as clean water and sanitation, immunizations and proper nutrition," she said in a statement.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan insists the dilemma is not just a matter of haves versus have-nots.
"A world that is greatly out of balance in matters of health is neither stable nor secure," she said in a statement from Almaty, Kazakhstan, where the report was released.
From NY Times (Afghanistan):
American military successes in Iraq have prompted growing numbers of well-trained “foreign fighters” to join the insurgency in Afghanistan instead, the Afghan defense minister said on Tuesday.
The minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, told a news conference that the increased flow of insurgents from outside Afghanistan had contributed to the increased intensity of the fighting here this year, which he described as the “worst” since the toppling of the Taliban government by American-led forces in 2001. American commanders have said that overall violence here has increased by 30 per cent in the past year and have called for more troops.
The general said that “the success of coalition forces in Iraq” had combined with developments in countries neighboring Afghanistan to cause “a major increase in the number of foreign fighters” coming to Afghanistan. In addition, he said: “There is no doubt that they are better equipped than before. They are well trained, more sophisticated, and their coordination is much better.”
His reference to neighboring countries appeared to point to Pakistan, where Islamic militants with bases in tribal areas along the border have intensified their operations, both inside Pakistan and in support of the insurgency in Afghanistan. American commanders have said that most of the foreign fighters operating in Afghanistan are Pakistanis, Arabs, or from Muslim countries and communities in Central Asia and the Caucasus, including Chechens. But the great majority of the insurgents here are Afghans.
American commanders have noted that some militant Islamic Web sites have been encouraging fighters to go to Afghanistan rather than Iraq, where insurgent operations have been sharply reduced in the last 18 months. In recent weeks, postings to some of the sites have celebrated the rising tempo of the insurgency here, and noted the appeals for more soldiers and growing concerns among NATO nations that contribute troops. There are currently 33,000 American troops here, along with more than 23,000 from about 40 other NATO countries.
More to follow:
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