The economy

How can the federal government best stimulate the economy?

Democrat

We must redouble our efforts - through tax incentives and eliminating bureaucratic red tape - to support small businesses, which will be the engines of the economic recovery.

Massachusetts firms are on the cutting edge of some of the most important industries of the future - medical technology, green energy, and advanced manufacturing. We must do all we can to keep those jobs here in the United States by eliminating tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

We must also continue to rebuild our infrastructure and improve our educational system so that we can compete in the 21st century economy.

Independent

Give people their money.

Eliminate the death tax, freeze the federal income tax for a minimum of one year, cut capital gains tax on American-owned, American-staffed companies by up to 50% over five years, eliminate capital gains tax on the first $20,000 of interest earned, dividends earned, and do not let current tax cuts expire.

Washington should create stability in the market by having clear and consistent regulatory and tax policies, which can be relied upon for a stable period of time.

As is occurring now, discussing the idea of a possible and small tax break that may or may not be in effect for a period of only six months is not helpful.

Republican

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Bush tax cuts

Will you vote to continue the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush for the top 3% of earners?

Democrat

No. We must get serious about getting our deficit and debt under control. I believe that the wealthy in this country did very well in the 1990s, and we should return to those tax rates.

Independent

Republican

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Federal deficit

If the bipartisan deficit commission says that both spending reductions and revenue increases, including tax hikes, are necessary to reduce the federal deficit to a sustainable level, would you support such a package?

Democrat

It certainly depends on the details, but I believe that everything should be on the table - spending and revenue.

We must look closely not just at domestic spending, but also at defense spending, the amount of money we are borrowing for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.

Independent

Package? People are tired of 2,000+ page bills, midnight votes, 'sweeping reform' and 'comprehensive overhauls'. These issues should be addressed in a more incremental, methodical fashion.

Politicians in Washington should show they are serious about reform and start by cutting spending.

Republican

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Health care law

What is your view of the national health care law?

Democrat

I support the new law.

We have finally ended insurance companies' ability to discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions.

We are closing the 'donut hole' in the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Young people can stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.

Small businesses will get tax relief for providing health care for their workers.

And the law will significantly curb health care spending and reduce the deficit in the decades to come.

Independent

I think it's another example of the government trying to help the minority by regulating, restricting, and taxing the majority.

The open display of political corruption in the process of passing the health care bill was astounding. Bribing states for votes, midnight votes, unread bills, and political contortionism to achieve what some politicians wanted over the majority of Americans is appalling.

Why are politicians so afraid to make clear, concrete steps toward fixing a problem, which then can be measured and modified as necessary?

Republican

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Illegal immigration

Do you agree with Arizona's new immigration law? If not, what should the country do about illegal immigration?

Democrat

I do not agree with the Arizona law. What the Arizona experience shows is that the federal government has failed to do its job on the issue of immigration.

I believe we need a comprehensive approach. We should increase border security. We should crack down on employers who recruit and exploit cheap illegal labor.

And we should develop a commonsense plan for people who are already here which requires them to come out of the shadows, learn English, pay their taxes, and then get in the back of the line for citizenship.

Independent

I agree the federal government has had a failing immigration policy for more than 40 years. I agree with what Arizona was forced to do by failing federal policy and lack of enforcement.

I am confused when politicians say we cannot trust the Arizona police because they 'might' profile people, yet those very same politicians say we should trust all police 100% when they want to eliminate gun ownership.

Hypocrisy in politicians is a clear demonstration they will legislate on self-interest and special interest over public interest.

Republican

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Trade

Do you support free trade or fair trade? Why?

Democrat

I support fair trade. US trade policy must focus not just on the bottom lines of big businesses. We must also consider workers' rights, environmental issues, and human rights.

Independent

Many current politicians think they, by way of expansion of government, have the ability to overcome life's axiom that life is not fair.

True free trade is always best, but not the false free trade promoted by an unchecked federal government. Once again, the answer is to have less government involvement.

By creating a fair and consistent playing field allowing for people to succeed and unfortunately, at times, fail, should be the goal.

The government's desire to protect all who may fail leads to an ever-expanding, less effective set of regulations, which have, over time, have become incomprehensible and too burdensome to be effective.

Republican

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Social security

What specific changes would you support to make Social Security and Medicare sustainable over the long term?

Democrat

We have already begun to take important steps to shore up Medicare with the new health care law. We must eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system, and we must continue to find ways to reduce costs. Technology, like electronic medical records, can be of tremendous help in reducing health care costs.

But the best way to ensure the long-term viability of both Social Security and Medicare is to focus on reducing the deficit and debt and returning our country to a path toward fiscal sustainability. I strongly oppose 'privatizing' Social Security, which would leave people's retirement security to the vagaries of the stock market.

Independent

First we need to guarantee people in the present system that what has been promised will be delivered.

I am a proponent of choice and believe any system that allows for personal choice is superior to one that does not.

I believe people entering into the system should have the ability to choose to partially privatize and take responsibility for their retirement.

Since private retirement investing is statistically superior, many people would choose this path with enough success to alleviate the total burden on the system.

Republican

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Responses gathered through e.thePeople