SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — U.S. Senate hopefuls Republican Gabriel Gomez and Democrat Edward Markey clashed in their second debate on everything from tax policy and the minimum wage to the National Security Agency’s collection of billions of Americans’ phone and Internet records.
Gomez said Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who claimed responsibility for revealing the surveillance programs, should be labeled a “traitor” if any of the leaked information ends up harming anyone.
Markey said Snowden should accept responsibility for making the information public, but Markey also said Americans shouldn’t have to sacrifice all their privacy protections to find what he called the “guilty needle” in the “innocent haystack.”
Both candidates said they support a $10 federal minimum wage, but Gomez said the larger goal should be to help Americans aim even higher rather than be satisfied with scraping by.
“People don’t want to earn just $10 an hour,” the former Navy SEAL said. “They want a chance at the American Dream.”
Markey said that for many Americans, winning a $10 an hour minimum wage is a first step toward that dream.
The two candidates also debated tax policy.
Markey said the nation should end tax breaks for oil companies and other corporations. He said those breaks are draining away a critical source of revenue.
“Subsidizing the oil industry is like subsidizing a fish to swim and a bird to fly,” Markey said. “You simply don’t have to do it.”
Gomez said he supports closing corporate and personal tax loopholes. He also said he backs lowering the federal corporate tax rate to encourage companies to bring more of their money back into the country to be taxed.
Gomez also said the country needs a more streamlined tax system.
“We should also be able to do our own taxes in a simple, efficient way,” he said.