President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will be facing off to discuss key issues in the presidential campaign during the debate on Oct. 3.
Most policy issues can be collapsed into one big issue: the role of public institutions versus the market in providing for peoples’ well-being, according to QC political science professor, John Bowman.
“The Republican ticket and platform advocate a society in which market forces play an expanded role and in which people will be expected to rely more on the market for goods and services that they need to make up a good life — health, education, retirement income etc.,” Bowman said.
However, Bowman believes that some political parties are more aware of faults within the system. “The Democratic Party is more willing to acknowledge that market provision has flaws,” Bowman said. “While the market often works great, some things — such as health insurance — can’t be provided efficiently through the market.”
A campus wide survey of undergraduate students found that 83 percent of students surveyed consider the economy the top issue. Since 2008, job availability due to the economy has also been a concern.
“The economy is a very important issue, we will need jobs once we graduate,” sophomore Deya Chowdhury said. “Students who have student loans will need income to pay them off.”
Chowdhury also cited education as an important issue in the campaign. She believes that education and the economy are linked together.
“Students need more help with tuition payments, and the current job climate is not helping,” Chowdhury said. “The college outlook is bad because people can’t find work in order to afford tuition. In fact, I know several people who did not apply to college because of this.”
The surveyed students generally felt Obama has a better grasp on the issues, including gay marriage and immigration, which sit well with many students.
Regarding the economy, students believe Obama has been handling it relatively well. Judie Prew, junior, believes that with more time in office, Obama will further improve the economy.
“It’s important to remember that Obama is not the cause of the economy crisis; he just inherited it when he was elected,” Prew said. “I think Obama has done a good job with the economy and can do better with four more years in office.”
Obama’s health care plan has also been well-received by students. However, senior Miguel Chavez does not fully agree with his methods.
“I like that Obama will provide health care for lower-class citizens, but I don’t agree with forcing mandatory health plans,” Chavez said.
Bowman also said that this election will be very important for college students everywhere.
“I believe that the stakes in the election are quite high for college students, especially students at public institutions like Queens College. Higher education is one good that will not be provided fairly through the market,” Bowman said. “Real equal opportunity requires very high quality education — at all levels — and that requires the commitment of public resources.”
Wherever students stand, the debate on Oct. 3 is sure to provide more valuable insight on all of these issues.