Election 2016

Past the BS: Here’s What the Presidential Candidates Actually Stand For

By Adam Uren | November 2, 2106 | SOURCE: GoNews

We are just a few days from the election and amid all the bluster, rhetoric and factually dubious statements from the presidential candidates, it’s important to remember each of them actually has policies.

Considering these policies will form the direction of the country, it’s worth brushing up on the actual policies before you head to the polling booth

A few weeks back we asked some young Twin Cities voters what issues were important to them. Using their suggestions, here’s a brief overview of each candidates’ views on these subjects:

Personal and corporate taxes

Clinton: One of the people GoMN spoke to wants the wealthy to pay higher taxes, and that’s a major tenet of Clinton’s tax policy, which you can read here. Here are the highlights:

  • A 4 percent surcharge on anyone earning more than $5 million.
  • Anyone who earns more than $1 million will pay an effective minimum tax rate of 30 percent.
  • She has pledged that individuals earning less than $200,000 and couples earning below $250,000 will not pay any more income tax.
  • She will cut taxes for small businesses to help them grow and close corporate loopholes that help the wealthy reduce their tax bills.

Trump: Unlike his opponent, Trump is planning a broad range of tax cuts that will mostly benefit the wealthiest earners. Here’s his policy, and the highlights:

  • Reduce the current seven tax brackets (ranging from 10 to 39.6) percent to just three: 12, 25 and 33 percent. Citizens for Tax Justice estimates that 44 percent of the total tax cut would go to the top 1 percent of earners.

  • Standard deduction for joint filers increased to $30,000; upped to $15,000 for single filers.
  • Business taxes reduced to 15 percent.
  • Abolition of “death taxes” on estates.

Thing to know: The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates Clinton’s tax plans would increase the national debt to 86 percent of GDP, while Trump’s would increase it to 105 percent.

Reproductive rights

Clinton: A backer of Planned Parenthood, she says women’s personal health decisions “should be made by a woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor.”

She vows to fight GOP attempts to restrict access to reproductive healthcare, contraception, preventative care and “safe and legal abortion.” She also promised to nominate a Supreme Court justice that would protect Roe v Wade (which effectively legalizes abortion). You can read more here.

Trump: While he doesn’t have a policy on his website, Trump – who according to Life News supported abortion 25 years ago – has since changed his views. He’s now anti-abortion, and wants to appoint similar-thinking justices to the Supreme Court.

Trump’s plan, as detailed in this letter:

  • Banning abortions after 20 weeks.
  • Defunding Planned Parenthood, though he has said they do good work for women’s health.
  • Making the Hyde Amendment – which bars taxpayer money being used to pay for abortion except to save the mother/in cases of incest or rape – permanent law.

Minimum wage

One voter told GoMN that they want to see the minimum wage increased, ideally to the $15-an-hour level. Here’s where the candidates stand on this:

Clinton: On her website, Clinton pledges to raise the federal minimum wage – currently $7.25 – to a “living wage,” without specifying an amount.

Attn reports that while she supports efforts to increase minimum wages to $15 in places where it’s “economically feasible,” her plan for the national minimum wage is to increase it to $12 an hour.

Trump: The Republican candidate’s views on the minimum wage are a little harder to pin down. In May he hinted at abolishing the federal minimum and leaving it to states to decide, but as recently as July said he said the federal minimum wage has to go up to at least $10 an hour, Politifact notes.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Trump has also proposed an alternative – allowing families to deduct childcare expenses on their tax returns. The WSJ notes this would give families an effective minimum wage increase to just over $10 (higher in states with higher minimums), though it would not help anyone without kids.


This is a big topic in Minnesota, with health premiums for people buying individual health plans rising significantly for 2017.

Clinton: Wants to retain the Affordable Care Act that was a landmark bill of the Obama administration. She says it’s helped 20 million people get health coverage, and also gave health insurance access to transgender people and those with previously disqualifying medical conditions.

She wants to reduce the cost of the act however, by:

  • Reducing copays and deductibles, as well as the cost of prescription drugs.
  • Introducing a “public option” – taxpayer-funded health insurance to compete with private insurers, that would increase competition and incentivize cost savings.
  • Allowing younger people – 55 years and up – to buy into Medicare, and incentivizing the expansion of Medicaid.

Trump: One of Trump’s first decisions would be to repeal the Affordable Care Act (which actually has to be done by Congress), and replace it with Health Savings Accounts. Those already exist and allow people to save money tax free that can later be used for health care.

He also wants to allow people to purchase insurance from out of state, to boost competition; and work with states to establish “high-risk pools” to ensure access to coverage for those who have not maintained continuous coverage.

Black Lives Matter

One GoMN reader said supporting the aims of the Black Lives Matter movement was important to her.

Clinton: During the first debate, she said steps need to be taken to “address the systemic racism within our criminal justice system.” Her policy speaks of increasing trust between black communities and the police, as well as boosting funding to police training programs.

Trump: The GOP candidate has taken a more aggressive stance on the protest movement, focusing more on the actions of its members rather than the aims they are trying to achieve, and has repeatedly called for the restoration of “law and order.”

In July, he said the group had helped instigate police killings, as CNN reports, and has called for giving more power to the police. But he has also spoken about improving the circumstances that lead to black people being killed by police, admitting “racial tensions have gotten worse,” as New Republic wrote.

Read original article here.