The current election cycle is unlike any other in the past, with Donald Trump, a candidate with strong business background who promises to put the country first, battling against Hillary Clinton, a seasoned politician with an economic plan that promises wider investments to improve living conditions of the lower and middle classes.
Because the United States is currently the world’s largest economy, voters should consider each candidate’s platform in order to choose a leader who will be able to steer the economy in the right direction.
Though Trump’s platform seems ever-changing—the candidate is known to shift his opinion on issues between interviews—his economic policy remained largely unchanged since he announced his candidacy in 2015. Most recently, Trump summarized his plans for the economy at the Detroit Economic Club.
“When we abandoned the policy of America First, we started rebuilding other countries instead of our own,” said Trump in the speech, according to a transcript posted on his campaign’s website. “The skyscrapers went up in Beijing, and in many other cities around the world, while the factories and neighborhoods crumbled in Detroit.”
In his Detroit speech, Trump proposed simplifying the tax code and reducing the income tax, hoping that the latter will lead to the creation of well-paying jobs. This will also be fueled by a 15 percent cap on businesses’ income tax. Additionally, Trump wants to get rid of loopholes that are often used by large corporations.
Trump also wants to get rid of trade deals that he views as harmful to the U.S. economy, particularly the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement. The idea is also combined with increasing tariffs on products coming from countries, like Mexico and China, with which the United States has reached high trade deficits.
“Trade has big benefits, and I am in favor of trade. But I want great trade deals for our country that create more jobs and higher wages for American workers. Isolation is not an option, only great and well-crafted deals are,” Trump said in the Detroit speech.
However, a Politico article argues that raising tariffs on imports from those countries would soon be followed by higher prices for products that the United States imports, most of which are raw materials. This, in turn, may actually hurt U.S. businesses.
By cutting back on environmental restrictions that came into effect during President Barack Obama’s administration, Trump hopes to bring back jobs to states that lost them because of the effects these restrictions had on the coal industry. This, however, would weaken the global initiative to fight climate change.
Like Trump, Clinton wants to close tax loopholes that corporations use, cut taxes on the middle class and small businesses and end the TPP, her official campaign website states.
She takes Trump’s ideas a step further, however, with the proposal of an exit tax that would charge companies for moving out of the United States.
As for the banks and the idea of “reigning over Wall Street,” Clinton proposed a tax on “harmful high-frequency trading,” creating rules to make the stock markets more open and raising taxes on banks whose actions pose a threat to the well-being of the U.S. economy.
The differences between the two candidates are even more prominent when one looks at how they plan to tackle poverty and income inequality. Clinton proposed investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and small businesses in order to create well-paying jobs.
She also wants to raise the minimum wage to $12, while allowing cities or states to raise the minimum wage even further. She also supports the overtime rules passed by Obama and wants to encourage companies to train and invest in their workers. In contrast, Trump wanted to achieve these goals by cutting the income tax.
In a speech in New York, Clinton said, “previous generations of Americans built the greatest economy and strongest middle class the world has ever known on the promise of a basis bargain: if you work hard and do your part, you should be able to get ahead. And when you get ahead, America gets ahead. But over the past several decades, that bargain has eroded. Our job is to make it strong again.”
For the younger generation, Clinton proposed college debt relief and a possibility of debt-free college, which would make higher education more accessible and make well-paying jobs more accessible to the public.
While both candidates have their own ideas as to how the economic policy should rule, it is up to the voters to make the right decision as to which candidate is more suited to be the next president of the United States.