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Clinton has established several parts of her economic policy. One of the first is campaign finance reform, which involves: overturning Citizens United and establishing a small-donor matching system to empower everyday Americans. Her other most emphasized platform is a plan to raise the incomes of Americans by: giving working families tax relief that helps them manage rising costs; creating good-paying jobs and get pay rising by investing in infrastructure, clean energy, and scientific and medical research; and closing corporate tax loopholes and make the most fortunate pay their fair share. She also touches upon the economic benefits of women’s rights, small business, and paid family and medical leave.
Sanders has much more of an overall economic emphasis to his campaign. The top four issues most commonly addressed by Sanders are: addressing income and wealth inequality, making college tuition free and debt free, getting ‘big money’ out of politics, creating jobs, and raising the minimum wage. Sanders has proposed that raising the minimum wage to $15 and creating stronger unions are necessary for the average American to actually make a living wage, as opposed to the un-livable wage of $7.25. His plan for alleviating crippling student debt is to make public universities free through keeping the government from making a profit on loans, cutting interest rates, and putting a tax on wall-street speculators.
Trump proposes several plans, that involve economic means and implications. First, there is his proposal of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, that will be paid for by the Mexican government. Second, he has proposed repealing the Affordable Care Act, which has raised healthcare premiums, and put the American people into economic uncertainty. Third, Trump has called for significant reforms with the U.S. trade alliance with China, which has seen a decline in American jobs. Trump has also laid out a substantial plan to deal with corrupt and inefficient Veteran Affairs executives, in order to put more money into actually helping our veterans. Finally, Trump has proposed tax cuts for the middle class and a simplification of the tax code.
Cruz’s economic policies are exemplified in a few select areas. First, Cruz proposes a flat tax, which will see an increase in the U.S.’s GDP, wages, and job opportunities. Cruz also proposes several measures to reign in on governmental regulatory reform, specifically for small businesses, and with the repealing of the Affordable Care Act. Cruz also proposes utilizing the energy present in the U.S. through approving projects like the Keystone Pipeline; which will also create jobs. Cruz also proposes a significant decrease in the side of the federal government, through eliminating unnecessary departments and administrations, in addition to working for a more consistently balanced budget.
Kasich puts economic policy first, through his proposal of the Kasich Action Plan —which looks to reclaim power, money and influence from Washington. Outlined in this plan are actions items including: a feasible way to constituently balance the federal budget, cutting taxes and making the tax code simpler, regulatory reform, taking power from the federal government and giving it to the states, and through achieving energy independence. Kasich also proposes a conservative health care model that rewards quality over quantity, and would repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Clinton has gotten a lot flak for her economic policies so far. She is trying to find a way tosolve income inequality, while still keeping the wealthy happy, ultimately delivering an economic policy that falls flat, and might amount to a lot of nothing. In addition, Clinton has emphasized the necessity of increasing the minimum wage, an idea that could have a very negative effect on small business. Coupling an increase in minimum wage with increasing taxes could stifle some of the economic success that has been seen recently.
The concerning part of the Sanders’ economic platform is how he is going to pay for many of the programs that he is in support of. While alleviating college debt and making it easier for individuals to attend college is noble, itis concerning for where Sanders is going to find the money. The government is continuing to get farther in debt, and drastically increasing the tax requirements on large corporations could have negative affects on the economy. The wealth gap is probably something that needs to be decreased, but drastic changes in tax brackets could lead to economic backlash.
Practically, the wall that Trump proposes is quite unrealistic. Even if it were possible to overcome the immense problems of coordination that would come with building such a wall, it is even more ridiculous to assume that Mexico would pay for it. There is just no economic justification for Mexico to want to do anything of the sort. Most of the Republican positions want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, as doing so would cut down on government spending, and lower healthcare premiums again. Even though Trump has talked a lot about increasing jobs, Trump has been very reluctant at revealing the specifics as to how he is going to create those jobs, begging the question of whether there is any legitimacy to his claims.
Although Cruz’s plan will restructure the tax system, hopefully making it more effective and easier to manage, the GOP policies that have created the wage gap and wealth inequality are still being continued. In addition, the desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act could negatively affect the economy, as the difficultly in finding reverting back to a completely privatized system will have costs. While Cruz has been more forth coming in actual plans to create jobs, many of his plans are very short sighted. Energy plans like the Keystone Pipeline involve many construction jobs, but those jobs are not long term.
Kasich’s economic plan raises a similar question as Cruz and Trump: what would be the implication of repealing the Affordable Care Act? There would be some issues with translating back to a completely private health care system, and at least Kasich has an alternative plan that he can push forward. Many of the reforms that Kasich is pushing could simplify many of the government operations, increasing fiscal responsibility, but none of the reforms seem to resound the wage and wealth inequalities.
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