By: Ben Whearty
The Race to the White House is in full swing, and arguably one of the most important issues on the campaign trail this election cycle is the American economy. Undeniably, the economy is not at its strongest and despite the Stock Market being at an all time high, the American economy is getting hit where it hurts. The average American family earns less today than in 2008. Millions are out of work and even more have simply stopped looking for it. Both Hillary and Trump are promising to revive the American economy, returning it to its proper health, and helping both businesses and Americans alike. Even if they do not realize it, both Hillary and Trump will have negative influences on the American economy, despite any well-meaning (or not) things they say about how they want to help it.
Many of Trump’s policies are not what US economy needs. Business owners in America, as well as Americans in general, certainly would not flourish under Trump’s policies. Free trade restrictions tend to include tariffs designed to make overseas goods more expensive and therefore, encourage purchasing goods. Free trade can be restricted through laws that ban certain products from being sold or may hold certain foreign goods to higher standards, making them more expensive. Trump’s restrictions on free trade are anti-free market capitalism, which is a certain thorn in the side of American companies and a deterrent to foreign corporations interested in working with those in America. Historically, free trade restrictions have only hurt the economy. One needs only to look to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, passed by Herbert Hoover in an attempt to protect the weakened US economy by placing tariffs on foreign imports. The devastating repercussions of this failed restriction on free trade when the American economy was already weak, fueled the fire of the Great Depression. Then foreign countries stopped trading with the US, and thus the economy fell even further.
Hillary Clinton is no better. Her disastrous tax plan would not only bankrupt the nation, but also the pocketbook of America, from the billionaires to the middle class. Clinton’s tax plan includes income tax increases on almost all Americans, businesses, and capital gains. She even included a fairness tax to make sure the wealthy “pay their fair share.” The total tax increases from these alone is 1 trillion 25 billion dollars ($1,025,000,000,000). The capital gains tax increase has not been posted. Overall the economy would suffer greatly with losses in after-tax revenue leading to less spending and therefore less money in the economy. Clinton plans to continue Obama’s “war on coal.” The war on coal been a systematic attack on coal companies from the EPA and the White House through legislation that has cost the US economy 125,000 jobs and 650 billion dollars. In fact in January 2016, the second largest coal company in the US, Arch Coal, filed for bankruptcy. Hillary’s opposition to the coal industry would also be crushing, sucking millions of dollars that remain in coal, out of the economy.
On trade agreements, Trump and Clinton’s opinion are equally bad. For example, NAFTA is a trade agreement between the US, Mexico, and Canada that results in billions of dollars of trade revenue for all the nations involved and has created thousands of jobs. Trump’s position of drastic revision, if not complete scrapping of NAFTA, would greatly hurt all parties in the agreement, especially America. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Hillary’s familial relationship with the deal ensures that it will not receive the facelift it needs to be practical and effective for America, Canada, and Mexico.
American voters this election have a difficult choice to make without a doubt. No matter what name on the ballot they cast, American wallets will soon take a hit. The choice Americans have to make this election cycle is not who can help the economy more, but rather who will damage it less. Whether you believe Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be worse, you must make a decision. .