THE CANDIDATES ON THE ISSUES: #5 HUMAN WELFARE; CARTER
Workers' rights Carter said at the Democratic convention: "I am pleased that the platform has reaffirmed our strong support for the social security system." That platform says the Democrats "oppose any cutting of social security benefits or taxing of such benefits." It also is against changing the cost-of-living indexing system or raising the eligibility age for social security retirement benefits.
The President is opposed to a "snub-minimumc wage for youths, and supports continued increases in the overall minimum wage.
Carter obtained legislation eliminating forced retirement of federal workers at age 65 and raising the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 70 for private-sector employees.
The President seeks repeal of Section 14B of the Taft-Hartley law, which allows states to enact so-called "right to work" legislation prohibiting closed union shops. He is opposed to repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires that workers on federal projects be paid at prevailing union wage rates.
He wants to expand unemployment compensation coverage and extend the period in which benefits are paid to a full year. Health care
Carter indicated at the Democratic convention that he remains committed to "a universal, comprehensive national health insurance plan" which would provide complete coverage of the costs of "catastrophic illness or injury." But Congress so far has resisted such sweeping legislation, and the President has sent to Capitol Hill lesser measures, which he sees as "first steps" toward the more ambitious national health system. These are: hospital cost-containment proposals seeking to save consumers $4.1 billion over a three-year period, a plan for catastrophic comprehensive care for 15 million low-income persons. None of these have been enacted
Carter stands solidly behind the activities of OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) in trying to ensure safety and healthful conditions in places of employment. The Democratic platform says that "legislative efforts to weaken OSHA's basic worker protection responsibilities are unacceptable," that the agency "has significantly reduced workplace accidents and fatalities. . . . The Democratic Party strongly opposes . . . legislation which weakens OSHA's critical protections." Education
Besides getting Congress to approve the new US Department of Education, Carter obtained funding increases for education programs. The Democratic platform says that federal aid to education went up by 73 percent during Carter's first term. It notes that the Carter administration obtained passage of the Middle Income Student Assistance Act, expanding college aid for that group.
Carter's inclination has been to let the courts decide on the legality and suitability of busing for school desegregation, but he is opposed to a constitutional amendment against busing. The platform says: "The Democratic Party continues to support programs aimed at achieving communities integrated both in terms of race and economic class through constitutional means. . . . Mandatory transportation of students beyond their neighborhoods for the purpose of desegregation remains a judicial tool of last resort."
Carter has been opposed to tuition tax credits for parents who send their children to private and parochial schools, but the platform says the party will "advocate constitutionally permissible federal education legislation which provides for the equitable participation in federal programs of all low- and moderate-income pupils." Housing, welfare
Carter agrees with the following statement in the Democratic platform: "We strongly reject the Republican platform proposal to transfer the responsibility for funding welfare costs entirely to the states. . . . The Democratic policy is exactly the opposite -- to provide greater assistance to state and local governments for their welfare costs and to improve benefits and services for those dependent on welfare."
In 1979 Carter sent to congress a proposal to set up national minimum welfare benefits, to grant aid to two-parent families, and to provide fiscal relief to states overburdened by welfare costs. It was not passed.
Carter strongly supports the federal food-stamp program, and he backed changes making 2.2 million low-income people eligible for the stamps.
Carter would increase funding for public housing, expand "urban homesteading" and housing rehabilitation programs, and strengthen fair-housing laws to prevent discrimination by landlords and real estate dealers. He has proposed a $2 billion expansion of housing programs for the elderly and handicapped. Civil rights
"I am proud of the ringing endorsement of the ERA contained in the platform," Carter told the Democratic convention."I will not be satisfied until the ERA is part of our Constitution." The platform calls for denial of party financial aid to Democratic candidates who do not support the Equal Rights Amendment. However , Carter is known to have been opposed to this policy.
In a recent "town meeting" Carter said: "In the federal district courts and circuit courts, where policy is made and where the service is for life, I have tried to correct past discrimination in appointments to those positions that we all recognize now. I have been only been in office 3 1/2 years, but I have appointed more women judges, I have appointed more black judges, I have appointed more Hispanic judges than all of the other presidents combined since this nation was formed."
At another such appearance, he said: "The important thing is that our nation has made steady progress in accommodating differences among people. . . .I think our country has a good record in dealing with minority groups." Civil liberties
Carter recently said: "Since the beginning of my administration I haver personally opposed federal funding of abortion. I am sworn to uphold the laws passed by Congress and the Constitution of the United States, as interpreted by the federal courts, by my personal view remains unchanged." But he also says that if Congress passed an amendment nullifying the Supreme Court's decision legalizing abortion, he would support the amendment.
Carter's present position on gun control is reflected in the 1980 Democratic platform. It "affirms the right of sportsmen to possess guns for purely hunting and target-shooting purposes" but "supports enactment of federal legislation to strengthen the presently inadequate regulations over the manufacture, assembly, distribution, and possession of handguns and to ban 'Saturday-night specials.'"
Carter leaves the question of capital punishment to the individual states and the courts. On prayer in public schools, he says: "I believe that there ought to be a place and a time in school for voluntary prayer. The thing that I am against, as President . . . , is the government telling people they have to worship at a certain time and in a certain way. To me that violates the constitutional separation of church and state."