Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Big Issues Could Hinge on Outcome of Election; Analysis; Taxes, Health Care, Supreme Court, Energy Lead List

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Big Issues Could Hinge on Outcome of Election; Analysis; Taxes, Health Care, Supreme Court, Energy Lead List

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - Election Day could well determine how much Americans end up paying in taxes. It could move the bar for fighting future wars. On energy, it could shape the balance between drill-baby- drill (and mine-baby-mine) and some big pollution controls. If you care about Obamacare, this may be your last, best chance to save it or unravel it - with your vote.

Long after the fuss fades over President Barack Obama's snoozy debate opener and Mitt Romney's weird flub or two, one of them will be hard at work trying to make good on his agenda. This will include pressing any opportunity to reshape the Supreme Court, which hovers over all other issues.

The winner's policies will find Americans where they live, no matter how far from Washington in mind or miles. The taxman cometh. So does the Social Security check for retirees - and the shakier-by- the-decade promise of checks for everyone else.

Obama's mandate for almost everyone to have health insurance - along with all the coverage protections that flow from that - constitutes the largest reshaping of social policy in generations, with the effects to be felt ever more as the law takes firmer hold in the next few years. If Romney wins and gets enough like-minded people in Congress, he would reset that and try something else.

Though farther from home, the outsourcing of production overseas goes to the heart of American communities large and small as factory jobs vanish, or in some cases come back. Seemingly esoteric subjects such as the value of China's currency and the fine print of trade deals affect what Americans pay for goods and perhaps whether they have work. Less obviously, the debt crisis on a faraway continent affects credit in the U.S. What happens in Greece, Spain and beyond may put a home loan out of reach if the turmoil gets out of hand.

Both candidates talk about cutting unnecessary regulation, but Romney's view of what's unnecessary is far wider than the Democrat's. …

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