U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-15, and his Democratic opponent Rick Daughertyagree job creation is the top issue in November’s election — but they have different ideas on how to accomplish it.

Dent, 52, of Allentown, who is running for his fifth term, said regulations on corporations should be reduced, the country’s tax code should be simplified and energy exploration should be furthered.

Daugherty, 51, of Lowhill Township, said he believes the key to turning around the economy is to end trade agreements that encourage companies to move outside of the United States because of lax importing rules.

“This race is about jobs and the economy,” Dent said. “So many Americans are struggling to find work and my main goal is to enact policies that will help people create jobs.”

Dent said he favors limiting tax deductions for businesses so the nation’s 35 percent corporate tax rate can be brought down to 25 percent to be in line with most of the rest of the industrial world. He said he believes the overall cut can be done in tandem with the tax deductions changes to make it revenue neutral.

On the topic of energy exploration, Dent said he favors allowing for the Keystone Pipeline as a way to increase oil distribution between the United States and Canada. In Pennsylvania, Dent said it’s important to allow for the expansion of PPL’s Susquehanna-Roseland power line that’s needed for electric service in the Lehigh Valley and for the growth of natural gas exploration.

“We always have to balance environmental interests with economic interests,” Dent said. “If we don’t get this regulatory system right, it’s going to slow growth. The biggest problem in our economy is uncertainty because they don’t know what their tax rate will be and what environmental regulations will be forced upon them.”

Daugherty said he believes the country’s ineffective trade policies are the root cause of most of its economic problems. In its founding, the United States imposed tariffs to encourage domestic manufacturing and that should again be the country’s priority, Daugherty said.

“I don’t believe stimulus spending, government spending or even tax cuts — none of those will work unless we stop unfair trade polices and bring jobs back overseas,” Daugherty said. “It actually undercuts everything.”

Daugherty said he sees ties between restoring domestic manufacturing jobs and the successful continuation of programs like Social Security and Medicare. Fewer workers mean fewer people paying into those programs, Daugherty said.

Daugherty, the executive director of the Lehigh County Senior Center, said retaining the current Medicare program is another one of his priorities. He said he believes his view on this topic is more in line with residents of the 15th District than those of Dent, who voted in favor of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget that seeks to replace Medicare with a voucher plan.

“It’s much too little in the way of a subsidy and it just doesn’t work. Seniors can’t compete in the private market for insurance,” Daugherty said.

The Democrat said he also favors reducing the nation’s military spending, especially in places such as Western Europe and Japan, who are well-off enough financially to protect themselves.

“I do not believe we can play the role of policemen of the world,” Daugherty said.

Related topics: 15th congressional district, charlie dent, election 2012, rick daugherty