Barack Obama, a former community organizer, lawyer, and current U.S. senator, is the Democratic Party's nominee for president. His running mate, Joe Biden, is a lawyer and U.S. senator.
In his campaign platform, Obama describes poverty as a major problem in America and homelessness as one of its consequences. He advocates an "Affordable Housing Trust Fund to develop affordable housing in mixed-income neighborhoods" and pledges to "fully fund the Community Development Block Grant program." According to a report in the New York Daily News, at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention he stated that his administration would have "zero tolerance" for homelessness among veterans.
Obama believes that racial disparities "plague [the] criminal justice system." According to his campaign platform, he would end racial profiling among federal law enforcement, "provide job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling to ex-offenders," eliminate the sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine, and use drug rehabilitation programs as an alternative to incarceration for "first-time, non-violent offenders."
Obama's economic policies focus on reducing taxes among the middle class and small businesses, negotiating trade policies that consider labor and environmental standards, and using federal funds to support manufacturing, infrastructure, and renewable energy.
He supports the right to unionize and strike. He has criticized the economic policies of the Bush administration and would increase government oversight of business; he sees the theoretical underpinnings of the economy -- a combination of regulation and laissez-faire capitalism -- as sound. His changes to the tax system represent a refining, rather than a fundamental recreation, of the system.
Obama has criticized Bush for failing to "finish the job against al Qaeda," for turning his focus to Iraq, and for refusing to negotiate with other countries. In his campaign platform, he emphasizes diplomacy and endorses increasing the number of soldiers in the Army and Marine Corps.