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Austan Goolsbee, a professor at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and a top economic adviser to Mr. Obama, countered that it was Mr. McCain’s proposed tax cuts that were fiscally irresponsible. Mr. McCain’s plan to freeze most federal spending and cut back on spending earmarks would shave at best $30 billion from a projected $1 trillion budget deficit, he said.

Mr. Goolsbee, at the same forum, said the McCain budget was from the “same old playbook” calling for immediate tax cuts for the wealthy and unspecified spending cuts in the future.

“The historical record on that kind of program is not super-great,” he said.

Highlights of the Obama economic platform include a middle-class tax cut for those making less than $250,000 a year, the investment of $60 billion in new infrastructure, and a tax credit for businesses that take on new workers over the next two years. He also proposes spending $150 billion on new “clean energy technology,” which his campaign said would create 5 million new jobs over the next decade.

In the wake of the recent worldwide economic crisis, the Illinois Democrat also has backed a 90-day moratorium on home foreclosures at some banks and a waiver for families to withdraw up to $10,000 from their retirement funds without penalty.

“Make no mistake about it, after eight years of Bush-McCain economics, the pie is now shrinking. That means lower wages and declining incomes and plummeting home values and rising unemployment,” Mr. Obama told a “jobs summit” he convened in Florida last week.

Mr. McCain’s economic agenda focuses first on tax cuts, insisting that Mr. Obama will not be able to deliver the tax relief he promises. Mr. McCain could cap the tax rate for small businesses and cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. He would cut the capital gains tax in half to 7.5 percent for two years to spur investment and lower the tax bite on IRAs and 401(k) plans.

“I will help create jobs for Americans in the most effective way a president can do this — with tax cuts that are directed specifically to create jobs and protect your life savings,” Mr. McCain told a campaign rally earlier this month at Montgomery County Community College in suburban Philadelphia.

Mr. McCain also has proposed a $300 billion plan for the government to directly buy up troubled mortgages at face value and help struggling homeowners refinance them. He argued that it was the most efficient way to remove troubled properties that are dragging down the market as a whole, but the Obama campaign has attacked the idea as a giveaway to banks who hold the troubled loans.

The prospect of a new federal stimulus package to jump-start the economy has provided a new point of disagreement for the campaigns. Mr. Obama is for it, while Mr. McCain has expressed reservations.

“We do not believe that a national crisis should be taken as a license for wasteful spending or earmarked projects,” Mr. McCain said in a statement last week.

Mr. Haught, the union local president, said he wants to see the federal government end what he called subsidies to corporations like Lear to move American jobs to other countries.

“I want them to have some kind of restriction on how companies can leave and go overseas,” he said.

Zaneville’s Mrs. Crain says she hasn’t followed the economic debates closely and doesn’t think it matters much in the end.

“They all get up there and say all kinds of stuff and promise all kinds of changes,” she said. ” I just hope whichever one gets it will take a long, close look at the economy and do something.”

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