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  • Kevin Yan

Economic policies of primary presidential candidates

Introduction

One of the most important aspects of voting is understanding how your vote will affect the economic state of the country and the world. In the 2024 election, the Republican and Democratic primaries seem mostly decided, with Joe Biden having practically zero competition and Donald Trump leading heavily on Nikki Haley. With a mirror matchup of two previous presidents, analyzing the economic policies of both is very important, along with looking at the past eight years and what they have contributed to the economy.


Joe Biden’s Economic Vision

President Joe Biden’s economic policies focus on rebuilding the middle class, which he considers the backbone of the nation. He has committed to inclusiveness and sustainability that ensure economic growth benefits as many Americans as possible. He aims to form an activist government that can address economic inequality and promote economic growth. As president, Biden has sought to pass key legislation through Congress that aims to bolster the long-term growth of the economy while providing support to fragmented workers and families. The American Rescue Plan highlights this idea as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic aimed at delivering immediate relief to Americans suffering from the economic stress brought on by the pandemic. Biden has voiced concerns over infrastructure, clean energy, and education. His domestic policies have been created to address climate change with investments in greener technology and renewable energy sources. These policies highlight his goal to make America a country that can economically function as the world adapts to climate change. 


Biden’s main issues in terms of the economy come from the ever-rising government debt. Many are worried about the issue of reaching the debt ceiling and view mass public spending as a negative as it will lead to further inflation. Biden himself has agreed that the rising debt is caused by excess spending of government funds. Many do still agree with Biden’s approach to government debt and value upgrading infrastructure and addressing climate change as more important issues than forcing down government spending. This could potentially lead to a better economy in the future if the United States can advance further into a climate-friendly model. 


Donald Trump’s Economic Vision

Former President Donald Trump’s economic policies focused on deregulation, tax cuts, and “American” trade policies. During his presidency, he led the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which lowered corporate and individual tax rates to encourage more spending, expansion, and specifically hiring. His aim with these policies was to promote business growth as soon as possible and hopefully have this growth stay, which would lead to more competition and, in turn, more economic growth. He also renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement, which allows US companies to ship goods to customers in Canada and Mexico as duty-free goods. This aimed to promote trade with those countries and decrease trade with China. Trump views China as an economic threat due to the growing trade deficit between the two countries. The “American” trade policies center around Trump’s belief that bilateral, or country-to-country, trade treaties would be better than multilateral, more than two countries, as multilateral trade to him would harm workers and industry.


These policies, specifically the ones around trade and tax cuts, are where Trump gets a large part of his criticism, along with Trump’s ideas to reduce government involvement in business. Many view these policies as unsustainable and are worried about the impact of deregulation on the environment. Others do state that Trump’s policies have fostered significant growth pre-pandemic and incredibly low employment rates. Looking at past data, it is true that Trump’s policies have succeeded in the past and may have been overshadowed by the pandemic.


Conclusion

In general, Biden and Trump provide contrasting views in their beliefs and policies. Trump favors current economic growth and supports policies that stimulate the economy, aiming to provide jobs and increase business competition. Biden, on the other hand, is focusing on future economic growth, which is leading to current economic issues. At this point in time, the unemployment rate is at an all-time low, along with the still-rising debt ceiling. America is currently plagued with a multitude of issues, and the ideas of both presidents could solve many of them. As a voter, the main ideas to look out for are whether you consider current issues to be so problematic that an immediate solution is necessary or if you view the future as the priority. Understanding how these policies impact your life and how you want to see society in the future should be your basis for voting. This is an important decision that will determine the economic and political landscape in the coming years.


 

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