How Much Will Financial Issues Influence Your 2016 Vote?

We’re coming into the home stretch of one of the most important and memorable election campaigns in our lifetime. History has already been made as we have the first women presidential nominee (in a major party) and that alone is a historic event. But that isn’t all. This time around our nation is facing so many important and troubling things and it’s easy to see why the coverage, discussion and almost obsession about the election have been all over the media ad nauseam. With all this noise, will financial issues in the 2016 election make a difference?

Will financial issues in the 2016 election influence your vote? Or is it about issues of character and trust? What's important when you cast your ballot?

General Issues in the 2016 Election

Under normal conditions we’d be only talking about issues like the candidates tax policies, government spending, the national debt, creating new jobs, our major national security issues and the immigration problems.

Unfortunately, most of what we have been hearing about is the candidate’s own personal issues and problems. It’s difficult to get past that because it goes directly to the point of whom we can trust and believe in to do the things that will benefit all of us. The President of the United States has the responsibility to try to improve the life of all of its citizens and is also been the person who makes decisions that impacts the entire world!

I don’t support any particular party these days and frankly I have always voted on the issues. This year the character and trust talk has been thrust into the discussion so much so that it has almost overshadowed the normal topics we discuss. That leads me to ask the question: How much will money matters influence your vote in 2016?

Candidates for the presidency tend to make really bold statements and promises, even exaggerated ones about money matters that are meant to convince you that they have the answers to every problem that we face today.  If they really did have the definitive answers we’d always be in a perpetual state of economic prosperity, wouldn’t we?

Financial Issues in the 2016 Election

Some issues are just more complicated that others and because of that it’s not so simple to get behind a candidate without a lot of thought. The decision comes to each of us depending on our own perspective and who we are and where we are in the spectrum our lives. Let’s examine some of these financial issues:

Federal Income Taxes

Donald Trump has proposed a dramatic cut in and changes to our federal income, the largest cuts in taxes since Ronald Reagan’s 30 years ago. He claims that a reduction of taxes will be the boon to job creation and the bringing back of trillions of dollars now currently parked outside of the US. That will then trigger the growth of the Gross National Product and reduce the national debt which is currently about $20 trillion. For a point of reference, the national debt has more than doubled over the past 10 years. The last time we had no national debt was in 1835 and that lasted all of one year so don’t get your hopes up that it will be going away soon. For the record, the talk about how overtaxed we are as a country doesn’t prove out with fact checking. When comparing taxes as a share of Gross Domestic Product, the US ranks 32th out of the 34 top nations in taxation by the government.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, says that the wealthy (people earning over $250,000 a year) should be taxed at a higher rate than they are right now to help us pay for government programs and ease the burden of those who earn less. Both candidates want to reform the tax code but I have a feeling that won’t happen as long as it’s a big money maker for the accounting and legal professionals who lobby against that.

Social Security and Medicare

This is a huge issue; the system as it is today will be out of full funding in less than 20 years if nothing is done to stop it. Both candidates have pledged to prevent it from failing and are committed to finding the resolution whether it be increasing the Social Security taxes on wages or increasing the full retirement age or some other plans that can save it for its benefit to us. Medicare costs and premiums rise every year and they’re at a point in beneficiaries’ lives when they suffer the most health issues. Of course, healthcare costs are rising no matter what kind of heath insurances you carry.

Funny though how this topic has been on the table now for decades and nothing has ever been even close to being done up until now. We are at the eleventh hour, so much so that many younger people don’t believe that the system will be there in any form when they retire. Certainly the current group of retirees like me is afraid that benefits will be reduced while we are still around and then what will happen to the new flood of retirees that will have been added to the list?

Climate Change and Energy

Is climate change real or a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese as Donald Trump suggests? Climate change may impact not only the environment directly, but the fuel sources we use and the cost of cooling, heating, and gasoline. Either we believe it’s real and have to bite a bullet to save our planet as Hillary Clinton proposes, or invest in things like “clean coal” and further development of fossil fuel sources and building the pipeline for distribution. Both candidates say that energy concerns can lead to new technology and more jobs. The only question is, will we have a planet left that can support life after were done providing it?

Foreign Trade – NAFTA and TPP

Foreign trade and our huge deficit is a major talking point of both candidates.  These deals such as NAFTA, as much as they are opposed, have allowed imported goods manufactured outside of the US to remain cheaper and have helped poorer Americans afford those goods. If NAFTA is repealed as Donald Trump pledges he will do, prices will go up and you will pay more for imports. Jobs however have been lost. The TPP which is now being discussed is currently opposed by both candidates even though President Obama is desperately trying to have it passed before he leaves office. This subject will affect your wallet directly.

The Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”)

The cost of healthcare is continuing to increase and concern us even though “Obamacare” has insured millions of people who did not have it before. Pre-existing conditions are no longer a factor in obtaining coverages. Donald Trump wants to repeal and replace it. Hilary Clinton wants to fix the current plan and continue the core of what we have for everyone who hasn’t previously had or could afford it.  In any event, it’s a huge money issue today. I just wonder if there will be any agreement or compromise that will actually repeal or repair by it congress.

The Supreme Court

Seen as possibly the most important decision that out next president will face is the choosing of not only one Supreme Court justice in their first year of office but the real possibility of naming 2 or 3. Those appointments will be so important that it will influence our country’s direction for generations once the changes are in place. Subjects like gay marriage, abortion, women’s rights, immigration issues, law and order, etc. will be discussed, revisited and possibly altered. It may not have a direct impact on your wallet, but indirectly everything that is decided by the court will impact you.

Immigration

The immigration question and how to control the border and the over 11 million people here in the US without documentation is another massive question on the table. Donald Trump wants to build a wall and deport millions of undocumented people. How can you literally deport that many people? The children of the undocumented are US citizens and what happens to them? Build a wall? I still have a problem imagining that and that Mexico would pay for it! If they don’t pay, who will? Is it America? How about the path to citizenship? How would that be handled and what time frame and expenses does that entail? This is a question that has yet to be specifically explained to us. It’s an emotional issue that ties into our national security fears and as well as the cost and financial strain that potentially untaxed people put on our system and government programs monetarily.

Today, our country is much larger in population and that has almost doubled since I was a kid in the 1950’s. There are currently an estimated 325 million people living in the US today and that population is much more diverse than ever before. Many applaud that diversity but some do not. These differences in the culture and language may be the root cause of the some of the major divisions amongst us today.

Summary

Obviously these are only a few of the issues, but if I didn’t say it outright, just about every program and controversy that is being discussed in this presidential race involves money. Your money, whether it is your income, your expenses, or the funding of government programs, is number one on the list. When we listen to our candidates and they use their economics as the reason they should win our loyalty and support, I have increasing doubts as to whether they are accurate and sincere in their proposals. Today, all candidates know that those new and newer citizens hold the balance of power in their hands when it comes to elections and that no one can win election without broadening their appeal to more than just one group of people.

Politicians will do and say just about anything to gain votes even though they may know that they can never accomplish what they pledge, even those who claim that they’re “not politicians”.  This year the race for the White House has been one of the worst or perhaps the worst one that I have ever witnessed. I go back to the 1960 election, so I have some point of reference here.

The candidates have use personal attacks, negative ads, racial, gender and sexual overtones, twisted the truths and further divided us and embarrassed us all. We cannot legislate morality or character but we can choose the one that most reflects what we personally believe. I have always tried to vote for the person I believe and trust to move our country in the right direction. This year, i have to admit my vote is being cast with less than my whole hearted confidence and approval.

The vote is expected to be close, so don’t assume anything and remember your vote really can make a difference. Money does matter, but there so much more at stake here, isn’t there? The economy is likely to be bouncing up and down before and after the election on November 8th, until we see what course we are actually going to be taking. So much depends on the compromises of all the legislative branches to accomplish changes. That’s how it was designed and that’s a good thing in most cases.

Your vote is of course is your decision.  But what issues are crucial to winning your vote? Is it about financial issues? Is it matter of trust or character? Is it time for dramatic change and throwing out of the old guard? Is this the year that reality TV finally sees the series “The Real White House”?

10 Comments

  1. Emily @ JohnJaneDoe

    I will say that money issues are less a factor for me than judgement in this election and money is more a factor for Jon this election. I don’t love any of the candidates, don’t trust any of them. But, I trust one’s judgement a lot more than the other’s.

  2. No matter the outcome I wonder if either candidate or political party can change the needle at this point. Americans distrust government and many are filled with hopelessness. More than ever we need to rely on ourselves and our ability to steer our lives in the right direction.

  3. I don’t agree with Hillary’s statement that the wealthy should pay a bigger share of taxes. I’m not wealthy by any means, but I know that the rich worked like a dog to deserve every single penny that they have (with a few exceptions here and there, ahem.. Trump). They already pay the highest amount of taxes dollar wise out of everyone in the group. They shouldn’t be punished for doing something that they deserve!

    1. I appreciate your comment, Finance Solver. Many people would argue that the wealthy take advantage of numerous loopholes in our tax system that moderate and low income people cannot use. I certainly don’t want to discourage or defame hard-working people who have made themselves wealthy, however, those who are disadvantaged do need some government support and that comes from taxes. Historically, the middle class has borne that burden.

  4. under Eisenhower we rounded up 11 million illegals and sent them back to their country of record. Cost was cheaper than the alternative. When a candidate says its to hard to do that is ignoring history.
    If you own stocks in medical companies that could be concern if we go to single payer.
    If we are getting rid or limiting the 2 cheapest forms of energy, how are the poor going to afford electricity?
    As far as global warming one volcanic explosion does more damage than the current population can over a long time.
    I vote positions not candidates and only 1 party has fit my positions for a long time.

  5. James

    I have known people who have been assisted with Obamacare. Though there are some issues or improvements to be done, I support Clinton for just fixing it because replacing Obamacare will require more costs and another start of something new that will be improved or replaced by another administration.

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