What You Need To Know About the Candidates' Economic Plans


On Saturday, April 19 a young man holding up a piece of paper in a Lancaster, Pa. parking lot made a few extra dollars by charging gawkers $10 per car for a prime space. Who were they hoping to see? Barack Obama. And, that’s not all.

In nearby York, Pa. Hillary Clinton was drumming up business for farmers after referencing 'Central Market,' a historic 120-year-old neighborhood institution. The two candidates were working the crowds in anticipation of the state's April 22 primary. However, while the local economies along the campaign trail may get a boom for a weekend, what are the candidate's economic plans for the next four years? With the Democratic ticket still in limbo, MainStreet decided to take a peep at each candidate’s economic ideas.

On Housing

Hillary Clinton: In March, Senator Clinton offered up a second economic stimulus package of $30 billion to relieve help owners and those affected by the subprime crisis.

Barack Obama: Also supports a second economic stimulus package of $30 billion. “This starts with providing a stimulus that reaches the most vulnerable Americans, including immediate relief to areas hardest hit by the housing crisis,” said Obama during a recent speech in New York.

On Social Security

Hillary Clinton: Has plans to create a bi-partisan commission to review Social Security.

Barack Obama: Will also review Social Security. Plans to place a cap on payroll taxes (guaranteed funds that support Social Security), which will raise the amount of taxes paid by Americans that earn more than $97,500.

On College Tuition

Hillary Clinton: Seeks to create a $3,500 tuition tax credit, and to annually adjust Pell Grant amounts to reflect rising college costs.

Barack Obama: Wants to create the American Opportunity Tax Credit, and seeks to increase the Pell Grant to factor for inflation.

On Taxes

Hillary Clinton: Will repeal tax cuts introduced under George W. Bush.

Barack Obama: Will repeal tax cuts introduced under George W. Bush. Also wants to create a 'Making Work Pay' tax credit of $500 per person or $1,000 per working family, and plans to reform the Child and Dependent Care Credit by allowing low income families to receive a credit for up to 50% of their expenses.


So what are the big economic policy differences between the two candidates? Well, there are not too many. 'The plans are so similar you might call them a carbon copy,' says James Francis, CEO of Paradigm Asset Management, based in White Plains, N.Y. 'When two people have nearly the exact same plan, you have to look at the execution,' says Francis. While Hillary’s campaign team is competent, he calls the Obama campaign team more innovative, younger, and fresh.

Ross Eisenbrey, Vice President of the Economic Policy Institute also noted similarities between Clinton and Obama’s statements on Social Security and Taxes. While calling Obama's tax credits progressive, Eisenbrey says Clinton’s education tax credit is a terrific move. 'College Education is getting out of reach of more and more Americans,' says Eisenbrey. And the way colleges have generally attacked this issue is by 'trying to make student loans cheaper,' which leaves students 'strapped with debt' upon graduation, he says. The credit could go a long way toward reducing that debt.

Here on MainStreet we are not endorsing either candidate, we're just looking at the issues. And while this information offers a snapshot of the candidate’s platforms, you can have more access with the click of a mouse. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both have information available online for the educated MainStreet reader looking to exercise their right to choice.

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