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Sep 17, 2020

Biden vs. Trump: Where the Candidates Stand on Major Issues

By Claire Grant

With the pandemic continuing to take its toll, the economy is at the forefront of the election.

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In just a few short weeks, voters will choose either President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden in an unusual presidential election that could have long-term consequences for the economy, and your finances.

The U.S. faces a unique set of challenges heading into the general election. Covid-19 has infected more than 6.7 million Americans and killed almost 200,000. The pandemic has slammed the economy, leading to the unemployment of 14 million Americans and causing the closure of businesses. And Congress is unable to decide on another economic stimulus package, leaving many out-of-work people without an extra $600 unemployed benefit, which expired at the end of July.

The nation also confronts numerous other issues. In May, 2020, the death of a Black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody sparked protests and calls for racial justice and police reform throughout the U.S. Meanwhile, states are battling natural disasters that have reportedly been intensified by climate change. Hurricane Laura, the strongest hurricane in more than a century, hit the Gulf Coast in August, 2020. And the West coast of the U.S, which recently has had one of the worst air qualities in the world, is fighting off 87 deadly wildfires. The fires have burned more than 5 million acres, causing an estimated $20 billion in damages, according to one expert.

Additionally, the way Americans vote may also be complicated by the pandemic. The U.S. Postal Service expects to see an increase in voting by mail as voters avoid going to the polls, but delivery delays have caused concerns in some states.

The economy sits at the center of many of these issues. Both candidates have their own economic policies as part of their larger campaigns, which can affect your bottom line, from how much you receive in unemployment to how much you pay in taxes or how much education and health care will cost you. 

You may have already decided who you’re voting for or you may still be figuring out who to back. As part of Stash’s election coverage, we have a breakdown of Trump’s and Biden’s policies on the economy to keep you informed: 

Donald Trump

Current President of the United States

  • His “America First” trade agenda aims to return manufacturing to the U.S, in part by exiting international trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and reworking older deals such as NAFTA.
  • Trump entered into a trade war with China and other countries starting in 2018. The trade war with China particularly, where both countries have added tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods, might be a drag on business and the economy in 2020 and beyond, according to experts.
  • In 2017, Trump presided over the biggest tax cut in a generation, which reduced the top ordinary income rate to 37% from 39%, doubled the standard deduction for ordinary taxpayers, and slashed corporate tax rates.
  • The cost of the tax cut is expected to add $3 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade.
  • Supports reducing taxes for individual taxpayers and businesses, and rolling back regulations for U.S. companies, such as decreasing oversight on drug approvals in the healthcare industry and challenging new state rules designating contract workers employees.  
  • Signed off on the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March, 2020, which gave unemployed Americans an extra $600 per week through July, 
  • Issued executive orders cutting extra unemployment stipend to $300 per week after the $600 stipend expired. However, those benefits are just going out in some states and are expected to last only four to five weeks. Trump also ordered a payroll tax deferral allowing taxpayers to abstain from paying Social Security taxes through the rest of 2020. Those taxes will eventually be due.
  • In June, President Trump issued an executive order on police reform to create a database of police officers with a history of misconduct and to encourage police departments to properly train officers on conduct in order to receive government grants. The Department of Justice has issued more than $400 million in funds to police departments in 2020 so far. 
  • President Trump has rolled back 70 regulations meant to protect the environment during his administration, reportedly in support of the fossil fuel industry and other businesses. Those deregulations include the removal of carbon emission limits on plants powered by coal and gas, as well as the loosening of regulations when it comes to offshore drilling. Trump has questioned the effects of climate change.

Joe Biden

Former Vice President

  • Aims to combat steep unemployment by promoting short-time compensation programs, according to his campaign website. As part of these programs, companies struggling as a result of the pandemic would reduce their workers’ hours so that employees could keep their healthcare benefits and the federal government would pay for lost wages. 
  • Intends to establish paid sick leave for those affected by Covid-19. Biden’s sick leave plan would provide up to $1,400 per week to people unable to work because of Covid-19.
  • Wants to expand Covid-19 testing and ensure that testing is free so that it’s available to everyone, regardless of income.
  • Plans to put $150 billion into developing Black- and Brown-owned businesses and businesses located in predominantly Black and Brown neighborhoods. 
  • Would designate $20 billion in grants for states that shift their criminal justice approach from incarceration to prevention. 
  • Hopes to invest $2 trillion in national infrastructure, including the expansion of broadband wireless internet and the repair of highways, roads, bridges, and airports.
  • Plans to roll back President Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, crack down on tax evasion, and increase corporate taxes, as a way to pay for his plans, which are estimated to cost $5.4 trillion over a decade, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • Would encourage the purchase and use of electric vehicles by building 500,000 public charging stations for electric cars. Biden also supports a tax credit for people who purchase electric cars.
  • Supports the Green New Deal, a ten-year plan to infuse environmental policy into trade policy, foreign policy, and economic policy by reducing carbon emissions and bolstering sustainable energy. The proposal aims to reverse the effects of climate change, and could potentially create millions of jobs, proponents say.
  • Would expand the Affordable Care Act of the Obama administration, which extended healthcare benefits to 20 million uninsured Americans and made coverage more accessible. 
  • Supports a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour.

No matter who you plan to vote for, it’s important to make sure you’re registered so that you can exercise your right. Each state has a different deadline, so register as early as possible (or make sure you’re still registered.)  

Also, figure out how you’re going to vote before election day arrives. If you hope to vote by mail, you’ll need to request a ballot and send it back by a certain deadline.

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Written by

Claire Grant

Claire is a content writer for Stash.


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