By Anthony Close, Robinson High

Barack Obama has been president almost three years now, and with a little more than 12 months until the next election, the presidential race is in full swing.
You might be saying to yourself, “Who cares?” or “I can’t vote, so whatever.” But the fact is high schoolers will be directly affected by the outcome of the 2012 election. From taxes to funding for higher education to tons of things in between, the next election will impact your life.
In the race to decide who will run against Obama, Republican presidential candidates already have been debating each other on the issues, but often people don’t really understand the issues being discussed. Some of the language used in debates can be complex, confusing or even completely made up.
Even if you are not old enough to vote, it is important to understand what is being discussed. A good place to learn is politifact.com, the national website produced by the St. Petersburg Times to sort out truth in politics. Sometimes the rhetoric on the campaign trail makes that job tough. Our informal survey of high school students looks at three commonly heard phrases.

Obamacare
 WHAT YOU THINK
“It’s Obama giving money to people with no health insurance, it’s his healthcare plan.”
WHAT IT IS
“Obamacare” is commonly used to reference The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that was heavily supported by President Obama. The word is often used in a negative way as a way to attack the plan.

Diana Felix, Robinson High



Fair Tax

 WHAT YOU THINK
“I’m not exactly sure, but I think it’s like not being wrongly taxed for things, and it allows people to keep their whole paychecks and just be taxed on new things.”
WHAT IT IS
The Fair Tax is a proposed change to government tax laws that intends to replace all federal income taxes with a single broad national consumption tax on retail sales. You would be taxed only on items you buy.

                                                       Carly McLeod, Bayshore Christian High


Right-to-work laws
 WHAT YOU THINK
“I think right-to-work laws involve workers’ rights, like minimum wage and benefits.”
WHAT IT IS
Right-to-work laws make it illegal for employers and labor unions to create contracts to employ only union members. These laws ensure employees are not  denied work solely on their membership or non-membership to a union.

Charlotte Rothschild, Robinson High

Published by the Tbtwo*, a publication of the St.Petersburg Times, now the Tampa Bay Times.

(http://web1.sptimes.com/tb-two/blog/2011/10/14/deciphering-political-babble/)