I have avoided weighing in on the 2016 Presidential campaign up until now because I thought Republicans would snap out of their unexplainable worship of Donald Trump and that the progressive movement would win out over the status quo of Hillary Clinton. I was wrong on both points.
Worship of Trump on the part of his supporters has reached a nasty, fever-pitch and the now-exposed internal DNC effort to block Bernie Sander’s campaign at every turn has now been made public; with little effect on the nomination of Clinton.
So, we are left with the lesser of two evils between the two major candidates. And if this is all we have to choose from, understanding their economic policies is of utmost importance when making a decision on who to vote for.
Yes, there are third-party candidates – Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, etc., and their policies are just as important and I may focus on them in the future. But unfortunately, we live in a duopoly of parties and the Republicans and Democrats suck the air out of any alternatives still out there.
So where do the major party candidates stand on the economy. Clinton is easier to figure, since she is a seasoned politician and gets that she needs to have policy papers available on her website and she needs to speak about the issue in live appearances with actual facts and figures.
Trump, on the other hand, is bravado who simply says he alone will make the economy better – bigger and better, so big we won’t know what to do with all the money that will be coming our way. His actual policy white papers on this subject are light on the subject, except for making our allies to start paying up for military protection and eliminating trade agreements that he feels steal jobs from hard-working Americans.
- Unlocking access to capital: Clinton would like to ease the regulatory burdens on small community banks and boost funding programs that support small businesses in underserved communities.“It is wrong that it is so easy for big corporations to get a break but so hard for small businesses even to get a loan,” Clinton told a crowd in Iowa. “It shouldn’t take longer to start a business in America than it does in Canada and France.” If she is sincere on this, it’s a good start, but will those regulation eases also apply to her big time friends at banks like Goldman-Sachs?
- Cutting red tape: Americans smallest business – those with one to five employees- spend 150 hours annually and $1,100 per employee making sure they comply with federal tax laws. That’s 20 times higher than Clinton’s large firm contributors. She would like to simplify the tax process and provide targeted relief to small business.
- Opening new markets: This is Clinton’s plan to invest in American infrastructure. She says we need to invest in the Internet, roads, bridges, ports, and airports that make it easier for small businesses to reach new customers, and encourage innovations that unlock new markets for small business. She feels that this will open up markets across America and even the world. However, remember Obama’s stimulus for infrastructure investment where most of it went to unions and cities that used it to plug up budget shortfalls.
- Making sure small businesses get paid – not stiffed: In a direct attack on The Donald, Clinton would like to assure that big businesses like Trump Enterprises will not build their fortunes by repeatedly stiffing the small businesses and contractors that do the actual work for them. She has a plan to go after unscrupulous big businesses that repeatedly stiff small business and giving small businesses the recourse to fight back.
- Supporting small-business owners and entrepreneurs: Clinton wants to develop small business incubators, mentoring, and training to 50,000 entrepreneurs and small-business owners in underserved communities across the country.
Trump also has an economic plan that is shorter than Clinton’s but it has the support of 60 percent of small business owners that were asked in a Manta poll.
“Entrepreneurs relate to Donald Trump because, like him, we write our own narrative. We turn conflict into opportunity,” said Cherie Corso, owner of G2 Organics, in Manta’s findings.
Trump’s Economic Plan
- Tax reform: “No business of any size, from a Fortune 500 to a mom-and-pop shop to a freelancer living job to job, will pay more than 15 percent of their business income in taxes. This lower tax rate makes corporate inversion unnecessary by making America’s tax rate one of the best in the world,” Trump says on his website. “This lower tax rate cannot be for big business alone; it needs to help the small businesses that are the true engine of our economy. Right now, freelancers, sole proprietors, unincorporated small businesses and pass-through entities are taxed at the high personal income taxes. This treatment stifles small businesses. It also stifles tax reform because efforts to reduce loopholes and deductions available to the very rich and special interests end up hitting small businesses and job creators as well.” This comes from a man who has used every imaginable tax loophole to avoid paying taxes and keeping his bottom line healthy. He also has shown disdain for small businesses, especially building contractors, when he stiffs them for work they have done on his luxury hotels and casinos.
- Healthcare: “On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare,” Trumps said. “We will work with Congress to make sure we have a series of reforms ready for implementation that follow free market principles and that will restore economic freedom and certainty to everyone in this country. I would end Obamacare and replace it with something terrific, for far less money for the country and the people.”
- Regulations and regulatory reform: Trump seems to be in agreement with many small business owners that the fewer the regulations the better. He supports the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act saying, “I will sign the REINS Act should it reach my desk as PResident and more importantly I will work hard to get it passed. The monstrosity that is the Federal Government with its pages and pages or rules and regulations has been a disaster for the American economy and job growth. The REINS Act is one major step toward getting our government under control.”
- US-China trade relationships: Small business owners are divided on trade with China – some are hurt by the current arrangement, others are benefitting from the increased market access. This makes Trump’s plan somewhat vague, trying to be something for everyone. “If you give American worker a level playing field, they will win. At its heart, this plan is a negotiating strategy to bring fairness to our trade with China. The results will be huge for American businesses and workers. Jobs and factories will stop moving offshore and instead stay here at home. The economy will boom. The steps outline in this plan will make that a reality.” However, as pointed out by Clinton and members of the media, Trump finds the trade agreements beneficial to him, with his clothing line being made in China and Mexico, instead of in states such as Colorado or North Carolina with a history of textile manufacturing.
- Immigration: Trump’s immigration plan is well-known and often raises eyebrows among thinking human beings – deport everyone who is here illegally and institute a religious-test on persons who attempt to immigrate here in the future. But in the case of economic policy, again small business owners split with Trump on his plans. Tech startups especially, rely on a global talent pool from which to recruit. So it’s unclear how Trump’s policies will affect them. However, Trump adds, “Real immigration reform puts the needs of working people first – no wealthy globetrotting donors. We are the only country in the world whose immigration system puts the needs of other nations ahead of our own. That must change. I will end forever the use of the H-1B visa as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.” However, Trump just applied for hundreds of H-2B visas to supply low-wage cooks, wait staff and janitorial staff for his million dollar club in Florida, Mar-A-Lago Club.