With the U.S. economy still recovering from the Great Recession, the 2016 Presidential Election will, of course, be focused on the state of the current economy. Specifically, there will be a focus on 2 key economic issues. The first is the mending of the lower and middle class. With so much focus on wealth distribution in the U.S. this decade, both the Republican and the Democrat nominees will boast their strategies to narrow the gap between the rich, the middle class, and the poor. The second is the current state of the national deficit. That being said, I will make a (not so bold) prediction: Hillary Clinton will win the 2016 campaign. Here’s why…
First let’s get this out of the way; Americans have shown their willingness to be progressive by electing Barack Obama as the first black president in 2008. We are ready for our first female president. Now that that is out of the way, let’s get to the economy.
To understand some of the basic themes of this up-coming election, let’s look at an article by Paul Waldman:
In general, Democrats have an edge over Republicans in elections that focus on the economy. Republicans are too wordy, and often can only promise economic policy that may seem backwards to those who are not educated on politics or economics. There is little certainty about wealth being greatly distributed when there are tax cuts. How do we know that cutting taxes will lead to more money in the economy, and therefore leaving everyone better off? There is much greater certainty in a policy that promises to raise taxes on the rich, and give those revenues directly to the poor. The Democrats will offer tax credits for the middle/lower classes, limit corporate tax deductions on the top 1%, and increase taxes that directly benefit public social programs. The Republicans might try to cut Social Security funding. One policy offers immediate benefits to the bulk of voters, while the offers theoretical benefits. Democrats will boast the decreased unemployment rate while Obama was in office while Republicans will point to an underwhelming employment rate. One of those stats is much more accessibly understood by the general public, and here’s a hint: it isn’t the latter. You get the point, the election will be an uphill battle for the Republicans, no matter who they choose.
Taking a more specific stance, I think Hillary will win the election primarily because there doesn’t seem to be a more clear front-runner in the Democrat party. Also, her team seems to have the base of a tax reform in place that looks to increase taxes more so on the wealthy’s assets than on the actual wages. A policy that is able to decrease the amount of tax loopholes that the wealthy use could be a huge win for the Democrats. There are also educational reforms, and a suggestion of higher wages for the lower class that promise to increase overall productivity in the work force.
The final part of this post explains another more general reason why the Democrats will win the crowd over faced with economic policy. They will focus on the national debt. Most people would think that the Republicans would win this one, as the national debt has sky-rocketed during the Obama era (see graph below). However, Democrats will attack the rich here, saying that early tax cuts without spending cuts is what got Obama into the mess in the first place (specifically, look at 1980s). They will argue that when the rich think they are over-taxed, they either find loopholes or completely drop out of the top-class bracket. This will be a tougher battle for the Democrats to win, but if they promise to somehow decrease the debt by creating tax reform that weakens the power and wealth of the top 1%, then they should win 2016.