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Elections and the Economy

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

As we all know, we are currently in one of the worst economic crises since the 2008 recession. In fact, some even argue that COVID-19 has caused more economic damages than the Great Depression or the recession. To summarize the damage, here are some statistics:


  • From the start of the pandemic, all three stock market indices dropped as low as -35%

  • The national GOP is now at -9.5%

  • National debt has exponentially increased

  • The unemployment rate was worse in the first 3 weeks of COVID-19 than the first two months of the Great Recession, reaching around 14% in spring 2020


To attempt to combat these issues, a few economic relief measures have been passed under the Trump administration, including stimulus checks, the CARES Act, and other packages targeted specifically for vulnerable populations like small businesses. Unfortunately, while these measures provided temporary aid, the pandemic shows no signs of stopping and continues to take its toll on increasing American citizens everyday. This challenge, coupled with the polarized elections this year, are an equation for disaster. That’s why, when voting, it’s important to take a holistic approach when comparing the two candidates, and dismissing partisan divide as a reason to favor one over the other. For those of you who are making that decision this November, we wanted to help compare one aspect of both candidates’ policies: the economy.

To preface this discussion, we also would like to disclaim that we are not endorsing either of the two candidates and only hope to provide unbiased information for you to make your own choices.


First, let’s go over the biggest issue right now: the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden’s detailed proposal can be found here:https://joebiden.com/covid-plan/ . To summarize the economic plan, Biden proposes a paid emergency plan for essential works up to $1400 a week, free testing, relief on federal student loans/mortgages, interest free loans for small businesses, and the formation of a new task force to be focused solely on research around the virus. Trump is proposing a new round of stimulus checks and a very high economic relief plan (totalling around 1.5 trillion dollars). This is the key difference; while Trump insists on a new round of checks, Biden states that he will only issue them if necessary. On testing, Trump is expected to proceed with paid tests.


The next aspect of economic policy is taxation. You can look up Biden’s specific policies, but most revolve around increasing taxes for those who fall under the $400,000+ income bracket. In UPenn’s analysis of Biden’s plan, they found that from 2021-2030, Biden’s plan would:

  • raise $3.375 trillion in additional tax revenue

  • increase spending by $5.37 trillion

  • decrease the federal debt by 6.1%.

Under Donald Trump’s presidency, taxes were actually reduced and the highest income brackets saw the benefits. Compared to a promised 4% economic growth rate, his policies resulted in a 2.9% growth rate. While Biden is increasing the capital gains tax, Trump plans to cut it severely. The tax is most heavily calculated on those who possess several assets, which also typically correlates to the higher income brackets. UPenn issued a statement that they were not able to analyze Trump’s economic proposals because they were too vague.


The third major aspect is student loans. Joe’s plan can be found here: https://joebiden.com/joes-agenda-for-students/. Overall, Biden’s plan increases grant distribution, reduces income payment for student loans, and proposes a 100% forgiveness for those who have paid responsibly after 20 years. Trump’s budget plan can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wpcontent/uploads/2020/02/msar_fy21.pdf. On the topic of student loans, Trump proposes an increase in income payment (12.5% as opposed to the current 10% and Biden’s 5%), decrease in loan duration, increase in loan payment duration, ending subsidized loans, ending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and capping the issuing of federal PLUS loans.


Biden also announced a $2 trillion dollar plan to combat climate change which can be found here: https://joebiden.com/clean-energy/. Trump has not proposed any economic or other policies related to climate change because of his disbelief in it.

On the basis of racial inequality, Biden’s plans can be found here: https://joebiden.com/racial-economic-equity/. In summary, it includes financial bills to invest in non-profits in communities of color, entrepreneurs of color, and historically black colleges. While Biden has endorsed the possibility of reparations (payments) to African Americans for slavery, he has not outright support it. Trump has completely shut down that idea. Under the Trump administration, Black unemployment is its lowest and he has signed an act to establish “opportunity zones” to give investors tax cuts if they invest in communities of color. It is important to note the controversies surrounding both Trump’s policies, however, and they can be found with a Google search.


Lastly, let’s go over health insurance. Joe Biden’s plan can be found here: https://joebiden.com/healthcare/. He aims to create a public insurance plan as an addendum to the Affordable Care Act, but unlike more left-leaning candidates, his proposal is not equivalent to totally free healthcare or “Medicare for All.” Other policies include reducing the cost of health care coverage and ending surprise billing. Trump, however, has opposed the Affordable Care Act, but has not proposed a new healthcare plan. He also implemented a work requirement for Medicaid patients, which previously did not exist, and ended a regulation that prevented discrimination against trans patients. The last aspect of Trump’s policies on health insurance has caused a lot of controversy as well.


There are a few other topics like home inequity that this article did not cover, but you can check it out and learn more at the official White House website and Joe Biden’s website. Your vote and representation matter, so be sure to register as soon as you can. Happy voting!



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