The Great Debate

Which presidential candidate is most in tune with the needs of logistics professionals?

George W. Bush ................60%

John Kerry ......................19%

Ralph Nader ......................1%

None of the above..............20%

As the 2004 Presidential election moves to the home stretch, it's time to set aside discussions of Swift Boat vets and forged National Guard documents and focus in on the issues that will have a profound effect on the nation for the next four years, and beyond. Where the candidates stand on port security, transportation and free trade are illustrative of how important they believe these key logistics issues are, and provide something of a voting guide for logistics professionals.

In a strictly informal and highly unscientific poll, Logistics Today readers overwhelmingly prefer George W. Bush, by a 3:1 margin (see chart below). President Bush's closest opponent, however, is not John Kerry but rather "none of the above." Kerry finished third, and Ralph Nader barely attracted 1%.

What follows is a Logistics Today summary of President Bush's and Senator Kerry's positions on several logistics-oriented issues, as furnished by their campaigns. Assuming you haven't already made up your mind on how to vote, their statements may help lend some clarity in the ballot booth (hanging chads notwithstanding). Election Day is November 2. See you at the polls.

On port security:
Kerry: At our ports, the Kerry-Edwards plan will improve loading facility security while improving the accuracy and timing of transmitted and shared data about contents, location and chain of control regarding a shipment. At our airports, the Kerry-Edwards plan will ensure adequate security for air cargo, tons of which goes uninspected today, and ensure that screenings at airports continue to become more effective.

At our borders, the Kerry-Edwards plan will use technology and work with Canada and Mexico to improve border security while speeding up legal and secure passages across our border.

Bush:
President Bush implemented Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in January 2001, a joint government-business initiative that works to improve cargo and shipping security-along the entire supply chain by developing model security measures for participating companies and then monitoring to ensure that are properly implemented. The program has morethan4,700participants,accountingfor more than 70% ofthe importcontainers that enter the U.S. The President has called for a $20 million increase in funding for C-TPAT in FY 2005.

President Bush implemented Operation Safe Commerce in February 2002 to improve security throughout the international and domestic supply chains. He has already allocated $58 million to pilot projects under this program to develop a comprehensive strategy at our nation's major ports to ensure the safe shipping of containerized cargo.

Customs & Border Protection (CBP) is working with C-TPAT importers to implement the CBP Smart Box initiative. As ofJanuary 2004, Phase 1 participants began adhering to new sealing standards and incorporating container security devices into their standardized security.

On outsourcing
Kerry: In George Bush's America, more competitive means more outsourcing. John Kerry and John Edwards know thatmakingour country more competitive means investing in more jobs higher wages, andending tax breaks that encourage companies tomove jobs overseas.

The Kerry-Edwards plan will cut taxes for 99% of corporations that keep jobs in America. The plan would end a special break that allows companies to defer paying taxes on income earned abroad and use the savings to cut the corporate tax rate by 5%. Their new jobs tax credit will provide a payroll tax holiday to encourage hiring by manufacturers, other businesses affected by outsourcing, and small businesses.

Bush:
President Bush rejects economic isolationism because he understands that free and fair trade and global economic growthmeansmore jobs, higher wages and greater prosperity for Americans. The objectives of his trade and international economic agenda are to openforeign markets for American manufacturedgoods, farmproducts, and intellectual property; ensure a level playing field for American workers and farmers; provide American families with greater choices and the ability to stretch their budget through lower prices; promote the freedom and prosperity that comes from the opening of markets around the world; provide training and assistance to help American workers enhance their skills and remain the best in the world; and encourage countries around the world to move to a system of free and fair trade, free capital flows, and flexible market-based exchange rates.

On fuel costs

Kerry:
The Kerry-Edwards energy plan will harness the full force of Americaningenuitytocreate the energy of the future and make America independent of Middle East oil. They will create an Energy Security Trust Fund, which will encourage the development of new clean fuels and technologies of the future, and their plan will promote the diversification of energy sourceslike natural gas, coal, renewable and nuclear energy.

By taking these steps, they will create new economic opportunities for farmers, landowners and small businesses and invest in the jobs of the future for America's workers.

Bush:
Last year, President Bush launched an initiative to develop technologies to produce, store and distribute hydrogen for use in fuel-cell vehicles, electricity generation and other applications. In his second term, President Bush will build on these important steps to help reduce America's dependence on foreign sources of energy.

At the same time, he will continue to make clear to foreign oil producers our mutual interest in maintaining adequate and secure supplies of foreign oil to meet our energy needs and to ensure the continuation of global economic growth. To achieve these goals, President Bush will initiate environmentally safe exploration; promote natural gas production; build an Alaska natural gas pipeline; promote liquefied natural gas (LNG); continue energy partnerships; help build refineries; and utilize nuclear power.

Voices from the heartland

Never let it be said that logistics professionals are any less politically astute — or opinionated — than any other voters. The following comments, from our QuickPoll forum at www.logisticstoday.com, are but a handful of the comments we received:

"George W. Bush's re-election could be the most celebrated presidential election in history and our country hangs in the balance on two totally different men of different beliefs. Bush has been the kind of leader our country has been calling on for some time now."

"Bush has one interest, and one interest only — making himself and his cronies richer. I'm voting for Kerry. At least he has the people's interest in mind."

"What is wrong with the rich getting richer? The company I work for shares the wealth with the associates that are on the front line and in the trenches. Most companies do the same."

"Neither candidate is a good one — as usual we're voting for the lesser of two evils. Bush knows that keeping businesses running will keep the economy going. Kerry is a yes man who will say anything to get a vote."

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