How Would Presidential Hopefuls Reduce Unemployment?

By | April 27, 2015 at 11:25 PM |

2015 is just getting started, but the 2016 presidential race is already heating up. Four major contenders, one Democrat, and four Republicans have already tossed their hats into the ring.

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Experts say that the economy, including unemployment, will figure front and center throughout the race. How would the four current presidential hopefuls reduce unemployment? Let’s take a look.

Hillary Clinton

Political experts say that Hilary Clinton’s campaign will mostly focus on improving economic security and enhancing economic opportunity for all Americans. Her advisers say she specifically plans to focus on helping boost take-home pay and making higher education more affordable. Clinton is particularly focused on women as a presidential candidate, working to draw attention to the economic disparities among men and women (women’s unemployment rates are higher than those of men, and the United States currently ranks 65th out of 142 nations in terms of equal pay).

“When women are held back, our nation is held back. When ladies get ahead, everyone gets ahead,” she declared in one of her first campaign speeches. Many analysts have dubbed her campaign as aggressively feminist because of her focus on improving women’s economic situations as a means of improving the economy as a whole.

Besides, Clinton is also focused on toppling the infamous “1 percent.” “Americans have fought their way back from hard economic times, but the floor is still set in advantage of those at the top,” she said in her campaign video. She supports more taxes on America’s wealthiest citizens and wants to eliminate the exemptions and deductions that disproportionately benefit them.

To mitigate income inequality, she wants to limit CEO compensation by putting a restriction on the tax deduction that a company could take for stock options for its top executive (unless these options are expanded and made available to most employees), increase regulations on Wall Street, enhance union power, increase the minimum wage, and offer tax benefits to the middle class. To increase employment, she proposes increased spending on public works projects, including increased spending on roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. However, concerns abound about how Clinton would finance such plans.

Ted Cruz

Ted Crux has consistently argued that the private sector creates jobs, and the Obama administration’s “foolish” government policies are what have killed jobs. He is opposed to extending unemployment benefits and believes that the tax code should be reformed to lessen the financial burden on small businesses, which would in turn stimulate economic growth and job creation.

“The private sector generates jobs. But government can eliminate jobs. Extending unemployment benefits does worsen the jobless situation because it subsidizes unemployment and increases the tax burdens on those who are employed . . . Foolish federal policies are destroying jobs; I will drive the fight to decrease the burdens on small businesses, unleash new jobs and vigorous industrial growth,” he said. Cruz is also adamant that Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act has killed jobs across the country and promised to repeal it.

Rand Paul

Rand Paul is working on branding himself as a different kind of Republican leader (though it is still unclear what, exactly, that means). Paul, who is running under the slogan, “Defeat the Washington Machine, Unleash the American Dream,” primarily advocates lower taxes and less regulation in order to encourage economic growth and create more jobs. He is a big fan of Reagan-era tax cuts, which he argues created tens of millions of jobs.

Though, this assertion has been widely disputed, and the Washington Post recently pointed out in response that more jobs were actually created during the Carter administration, in spite of the fact that Reagan defeated Carter, partly because of alleged mismanagement of the economy, and wants a “flat tax” rate. To support these tax cuts, he wants to majorly cut government spending. How to do so? Well, he proposes cutting the U.S. departments of education, commerce, housing, and energy, as well as dramatically cutting government funding to public welfare programs, like food stamps, Medicaid, and child nutrition programs, because he feels that they are a waste of money.

Paul also supports international trade deals, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, to stimulate the economy and increased oversight of the Federal Reserve. Perhaps most importantly, Paul also wants to increase American energy production to develop an energy-focused economy and create more jobs in the energy sector.

He has stated that he wants the American economy to run on gas, oil, and coal and has called for more drilling on government-owned land. He is a big proponent of the Keystone XL Pipeline project, which he contends is instrumental in creating jobs and helping America to attain energy independence. Many, however, are skeptical of this plan. Especially considering that the price of oil is tumbling, and there is a global oversupply of oil.

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio has affirmed his commitment to advancing the economic interests of the American middle class. His signature ideas include higher wage subsidies for low-income workers to keep them in jobs and off public assistance programs, a new child credit for middle-income families, and several higher-education reforms that would help to steer students toward high-quality, cost-effective colleges and degree programs that would increase their chances of securing employment post-graduation.

Still, in terms of economics, Rubio’s campaign platform has been heavily criticized. In addition to significant tax cuts for families (to the tune of $2,500 per child), he is also proposing tax credits to the upper class in an attempt to stimulate economic growth and new jobs, including a tax rate of zero on dividends and capital gains (these kinds of income are accrued disproportionately by high earners).

He would also slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, arguing this would help stimulate job creation, and would also offer tax break to owners of non-corporate businesses to ensure that they aren’t taxed at a higher rate than big business and encourage more American entrepreneurs to open their own businesses.

These across-board, ambitious tax cuts have left many scratching their heads and wondering how, exactly, Rubio plans to come up with the money for all of this, as it would cost the government several trillions of dollars in lost tax revenue over the course of 10 years. The New York Times has jokingly dubbed the plan “The Puppies-and-Rainbows Tax Plan,” insisting “family tax cuts that will make it easier to purchase the kids a puppy, and capital tax cuts that hunt a pot of capital investment gold at the end of the rainbow.”

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