The 2020 presidential election is well underway, and tens of millions of people have already voted. Even aside from whatever the economy or the stock market does in response, the winner is likely to enact polices that can affect your bottom line.
So where do the two candidates stand on these pocketbook issues? And what could a future look like with either of them in office? Here's an overview.
In 2017, Trump (with the help of Congress) enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts (TCJA), which made changes to standard deductions, itemized deductions, and tax credits for dependents. He has since said he'd consider an additional income tax cut for middle-class families as well as a capital gains tax cut, though details aren't offered on his campaign website.
Biden has expressed his disapproval of the TCJA, which is believed to disproportionately favor the wealthy, and has said he would roll back most of Trump's tax cuts. Per Biden's website, he would raise the top tax rate back up to 39.6% and would "not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000." Biden has also said he would raise the capital gains tax on anyone making more than $1 million per year in income.
Trump has long worked to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), although he has not yet offered a replacement health-care plan. The TCJA began the process of dismantling it by eliminating the health-care mandate, or the tax penalty for not having health insurance.
In a second term, Trump says he would cut drug prices, lower health-care insurance premiums, and end the practice of surprise medical bills.
Biden has pledged to protect and bolster the ACA by bringing back the individual mandate, for example, and adding a public health insurance option similar to Medicare that individuals could opt into. He has pledged to lower health insurance premiums, introduce a premium tax credit for middle class families to help pay for coverage, end surprise billing, and lower drug prices.
Video by David Fang
Trump's campaign website does not address the future of student loans, but he signed an executive order deferring federal student loan payments through the end of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The president has also proposed that monthly loan payments be capped at 12.5% of borrowers' discretionary income. Undergrads would pay for 15 years while grad students would pay for 30.
Biden has called for those making $25,000 or less per year to be exempt from paying their federal student loans until they begin earning more. Their loans would not accrue any interest during this time. Everyone else would pay a monthly loan bill of 5% of their discretionary income over $25,000.
Whether or not your income ever goes above the $25,000 cutoff, after 20 years, the remainder of the loans for people who have responsibly made payments through the program would be 100% forgiven.
Funding for Social Security is running low. Trump's website says his administration would protect the program; he is also in favor of a payroll tax cut and implemented a payroll tax deferral in September 2020. That could pose problems since payroll taxes help finance Social Security.
Biden has proposed increasing the special minimum benefit for low earners to 125% of the federal poverty line, which would bring it to $1,301 per month, as well as increasing survivor benefits by 20%, and providing a higher benefit to the oldest Americans. To pay for the changes, he would apply payroll taxes for those earning $400,000 and more.
Video by Courtney Stith
Trump disapproves of the idea of free college, according to The Washington Post, but he doesn't address the issue on his campaign website.
Biden has proposed making public colleges and universities free for all students whose family incomes are below $125,000. He has also suggested doubling the value of the federal Pell Grants to expand eligibility to more people and increase the value of the grants themselves.
Though there's no mention of paid parental leave on Trump's campaign website, he did sign a 2019 defense bill that guaranteed 12 weeks of paid parental leave to federal workers.
According to Biden's site, the vice president would work to make broadly available 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. He would also work to provide free universal prekindergarten programs for 3 and 4-year-olds and work to implement a child care tax credit.
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