Here's How the Election Could Impact Your Wallet

It's Clinton versus Trump, and the topic is money — because, more than anything else, that's what's on the minds of American voters. All told, 44% of Americans say the economy is their top campaign issue. Read on for our roundup of how either candidate's presidency would impact your dollars and cents.

Donald Trump

First up, the presumptive Republican nominee and his ideas about taxes, wages, and more.


Trump proposes a systemwide overhaul of the U.S. tax code aimed at simplifying it to the point where it would "put H&R Block right out of business." In addition to his pledge to make the tax filing process more intuitive for Americans, Trump has also said that he believes the wealthiest Americans should pay higher taxes.

"If you make $200 million a year and you pay 10%, you're paying very little relatively to somebody that's making $50,000 a year and has to hire H&R Block because it's so complicated," Trump said during a Republican presidential debate last year. "I know people that are making a tremendous amount of money and paying virtually no taxes, and I think it's unfair."

Under Trump's plan, federal income taxes would be eliminated for Americans who earn less than $25,000 and married couples that earn less than $50,000.

Corporations and the wealthy would pay a decreased corporate tax rate (15% rather than the current 35% rate). The highest income tax rate would drop down to 25% from 39.6%.

Despite these cuts, Trump has said that his plan would ultimately raise taxes on the wealthy. That would be achieved, he said, through proposed measures such as the elimination of a hedge fund tax loophole and a one-time 10% tax on money brought back into the U.S. by corporations currently holding funds overseas.


Trump has vowed to grow the economy, namely by bringing back jobs he says the U.S. has lost to countries including Japan, China, and Mexico. Tariffs on foreign goods and negotiating better trade deals are the two main ways Trump has said he would accomplish this goal.

When it comes to bringing home foreign jobs, Trump has specifically criticized Apple's China-based manufacturing. If elected, he has said he would force the tech company to "start building their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries."

As a billionaire real estate developer, Trump has already directly created about 34,000 jobs, according to an analysis by CNNMoney.

Minimum Wage

Reversing a previous position, Trump has said he would raise the federal minimum wage from its current rate of $7.25 an hour. He has not, however, revealed by how much.

Social Security

Trump pledges to leave Social Security "the way it is," a position that has been called impractical by analysts. The reserve fund will be depleted soon after 2030, upon which, if the law is not changed, monthly benefits will have to be slashed by 21%, experts say. There is one change that he would make, however. Trump has said he would raise the age at which Americans are eligible to begin receiving Social Security benefits to 70. Trump has said that he would not support cutting benefits to those who already receive them.

Health Insurance

Trump has said that he would ax the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and replace it with his own medical care reform system, the details of which are fuzzy. Trump's plan would, however, allow the sale of health insurance across state borders and make health insurance premium payments for individuals fully tax deductible.

Hillary Clinton

Secretary Clinton's plans differ from Mr. Trump's, of course, especially in the areas of taxes and health care.


Clinton's economic plan aims to close the wealth gap, in part by raising taxes for the rich while encouraging the private sector to raise middle-class wages. Specifically, she has said she would close corporate loopholes, including those used by hedge funders to avoid paying millions in income taxes, in an attempt to reign in Wall Street.

"We must raise incomes for hardworking Americans so they can afford a middle-class life," she said at a campaign event last year where she debuted her economic recovery strategy. "That will be my mission from the first day I'm president to the last."

Under Clinton's plan, low and middle-class Americans would pay lower taxes — just how much lower, she hasn't yet revealed. Meanwhile, wealthy Americans would pay more.

Analysts estimate that Clinton's plan would, on average, raise taxes for the top 1% of Americans by more than $78,000, reducing their after-tax income by 5%. Individuals with adjusted gross incomes topping $1 million would pay a minimum of 30% of their income in taxes.

Experts say that while lower and middle-income Americans would pay less, most won't pay very much less.

Overall, Clinton's plan is closer to the status quo than the plans proposed by Trump or any other major candidate.


Clinton's plan for job growth includes measures that would incentivize corporations to invest in employees. It would also eliminate tax benefits to companies that outsource jobs to foreign countries. Companies that move their headquarters overseas would be hit with an exit tax.

"I'm not interested in condemning whole categories of businesses or the entire private sector," she has said. "But I do want to send a clear message to every boardroom and every executive suite: If you desert America, you'll pay a price."

Clinton has also pledged to expand overtime benefits and promote equal pay for women while also advancing fair scheduling, paid leave, and earned sick days.

Minimum Wage

Clinton has said she supports a federal minimum wage increase to $15 from the current rate of $7.25 an hour. She has also said that she supports a $12 federal minimum wage, with the caveat that states should feel encouraged to go higher, especially in cities and suburbs with high living costs. It's unclear which proposal she prefers.

Social Security

To preserve the quickly depleting Social Security reserve fund, Clinton's plan calls on the rich to contribute more via income tax. She opposes any benefits cuts and has said she would not raise the retirement age. Clinton has also said that she would expand Social Security to groups she says are treated unfairly by the system, including widows and caretakers who have taken time off from work for the benefit of children, aging parents, or ailing family members.

Health Insurance

Clinton has embraced the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, while acknowledging that there are improvements she would like to make to the current system. Namely, she has said that she would like to add a public option, make health coverage accessible to even more people — including undocumented immigrants — and cut its cost.

Will the candidates' positions on bread and butter issues affect your choice this fall?

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Guest's picture

No, my vote will not be affected by these ideas. I can't vote for Donald Trump because of how I see his character, the threat he poses to our country and our people, and life itself. If he were a valid candidate and possessed a minimum level of decency and integrity, I would think his undisclosed policies would benefit our household more than Hillary's. I do not agree with different levels of taxation; I believe in a 7 percent tax on everyone - and no H&R Block needed. No write-offs and no games. I also believe in single-payer/universal health care, which would never come under a Hillary presidency, as she profits tremendously from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. I think Donald Trump would be the more likely one to implement universal health care or other "socialist" policies. Of course, we already have a form of socialism inherent in how America does capitalism; for instance, we do not need free college, because it has been highly subsidized or free for decades. Doesn't everyone know about "professional" students? Higher education is highly overrated, obviously, because some people are not college material.

My vote (or lack thereof, after never missing any voting opportunity since age 18 - decades) will be based on conscience. In this current ugly, defining political scene in the USA, I have seen only 2 candidates that I could vote for - and those are Bernie Sanders and John Kasich.

Guest's picture

I agree with you on almost everything! If we had a straight 7% tax on ALL income, for both private AND corporate, it would give our government so much more tax revenue than we are now getting. This is due to the fact that the way our current tax laws are written, the biggest conglomerates in the country pay a small amount of taxes... BUT...after all the tax breaks, tax incentives, and loopholes, they usually GET IT ALL back. Don't you people realize that you probably paid more in taxes than Exxon??? 7% straight across the board with NO corporate tax breaks would very nicely pay for everything we need, and would create millions of jobs repairing and renewing our country's decaying infrastructure ...our bridges, dams, tunnels, and especially our power grids. I would also disagree about free colleges. I believe everyone is entitled to an education, as well as excellent healthcare. I believe we should also fund trade schools, as we need excellent plumbers, electricians, steelworkers, etc., to accomplish our goal of improving our infrastructure. I also think the government should exercise some control on "charities". Do you realize the top echelon of most "charities" in America, such as the American Cancer Society and many others, spend very little on actual research and helping cancer patients? Most of their donations received by the hard work of volunteers, goes directly to obscene salaries and perks to the CEO and other top management. Google it online and just look at their salaries! This should be disallowed. And yes...I agree wholeheartedly with you Bela, that the only candidates I could imagine doing ANY of these things would have been #1 Bernie Sanders and a distant #2 John Kasich. God help us if Trump gets in! And Hillary is not much better. So tragic!