As a class assignment, the students in #COMM4500 gathered information on Presidential candidates and found that the candidates (in no particular order) have said the following about wealth/income inequality:
Hillary Clinton: The middle class makes America great with their determination to be better then their parents. The candidate has worked on her State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which she created when she was first lady, to increase health coverage for millions of children in low-income and working families. Criticizing major corporations, Clinton continues to fight with the middle class no matter who or where the person is from in the United States. She recognizes the economic gender inequality and doesn’t believe it should be sweep under the rug anymore.
Bernie Sanders: The candidate believes that the United States needs to reverse income inequality because the rich seem to get richer while the poor and middle class are struggling to make ends meet. Bernie Sanders‘ website it mentioned how the wealth gap now is larger then anytime during the 1920’s. According to the Huffington Post, Sanders said many of his primary losses to Clinton in states with the highest levels of income inequality can be chalked up to the fact that “poor people don’t vote.” Sanders wants to expand the social safety net, creating more well paying jobs, and reforming systems to fix our criminal justice system.
Rick Santorum: According to the New York Times, Santorum supports the idea of income inequality. He says that wealth and income inequality in this country has and always will exist, and on that note he allegedly “has no problem with it.” In Santorum’s eyes, those who work harder and take more risks should be awarded for that. Although he doesn’t necessarily support inequality itself, he says that income inequality allows for equal opportunity.
Ted Cruz: The candidate has said that, “Today the top 1 percent earn a higher share of our national income than any year since 1928,” and under Obama’s watch, “the rich and powerful have gotten fat and happy.” Cruz, a Republican, points out that the gap of income inequality has worsened under the Obama administration in the last six years. Cruz’s tax plans include a 10 percent individual flat tax would give the top 1 percent a 34% tax cut, compared to an average 23% cut across all groups. Cruz also said that any policy that is talked about should focus on how it will affect the least well-off of the country.
Donald Trump: The candidate is offering a tax reform that will “make America great again.” He state that too few Americans are working, too many jobs have been shipped overseas and too many middle-class families cannot make ends meet. He plans to reduce or eliminate most deductions and loopholes available to the very rich, as well as corporate loopholes that cater to special interests and create a reasonable cap on the deductibility of business interest expenses. If you are single and earn less that $25,000, or married and jointly earn less than $50,000, you will not owe any income tax which removes nearly 75 million households from the income tax rolls. All others will get a simpler tax code with four brackets of 0%, 10%, 20% or 25%. He also pledges to repeal the estate tax, which is a tax placed on assets that are left to heirs after a person’s death– he states that you earned and saved that money for your family, not the government. You paid taxes on it when you earned it.
John Kasich: Though the Republican candidate has said in campaign speeches that “we don’t leave anybody in the shadows,” Kasich was against poor people before he was for them. Kasich’s idea of increasing economic growth as an antidote to income inequality does not, in fact, eliminate inequality. Kasich has been called an “uncompassionate conservative.” In fact, Republican candidates have struggled to gain traction with voters on income inequality.
Paul Ryan: “Growth occurs on the margin, which is a wonky way of saying, if you want faster economic growth, more upward mobility, and faster job creation, lower tax rates across the board is the key – it’s the secret sauce,” says House Speaker Paul Ryan. Ryan believes that it is time to cut out taxes on the wealthier people in America. Ryan has a speech entitled “Saving the American Idea: Rejecting Fear, Envy and the Politics of Division.” The Speaker thinks that President Obama is “sowing social unrest and class resentment.” Furthermore, he believes that progressive thinkers are highlighting economic inequality, which is in return, dividing the country.
Elizabeth Warren: Senator Elizabeth Warren says that a “trickle-down” economy will destroy this country. Sen. Warren agrees with George H.W. Bush that we don’t have a trickle down economy, we have a trickle up economy. She says that what happens in the distribution of wealth over time depends on the policies that any government follows. These policies can make the distribution either better or worse.
Lawrence Lessig:Lawrence Lessig is a lawyer and legal activist who has argued for sensible intellectual property law to be updated in accordance with the digital age. He was a founding board member of Creative Commons, an organization that builds better copyright practices through principles established first by the open-source software community.In 2011, Lessig founded Rootstrikers, an organization dedicated to changing the influence of money in Congress. In his latest book, Republic, Lost, he shows just how far the U.S. has spun off course — and how citizens can regain control.
Currently, Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries.
Chris Christie: Chris Christie’s biggest stance on the issue of income inequality is that President Obama is responsible for the fact that it is as worse as ever. He attempts to downsize the issue of income inequality by saying that the American people do not actually want income equality in an attempt to seem more conservative to his fellow Republican Party members. Christie also believes that by trying to fix the issue of income inequality, we would just be further driving American’s to a state of mediocrity, and blames the Democratic Party for doing so. He goes on to contradict this idea in other instances when he speaks about ways that he would aim to boost the income of the middle class by creating more opportunity.
Carly Fiorina: The former candidate understands the current economic status as an effect of liberal intervention. She discounts Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama’s plans stating that progressive policies are only helping the wealthy because of the loopholes and deductions just accommodating the big money holders.
Jim Webb: An advocate for rectifying the issue of income inequality and poverty in the United States, Jim Webb’s mother grew up in an impoverished family in Arkansas, and noted that Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal helped families such as his mother’s survive, which is what he believes our country needs now.
Webb says we should seek a leader who believes in the value of a good jobs, good education, and good, affordable healthcare, all of which were similar pillars of Roosevelt’s regime, and while we have strayed from that path, Webb believes it is possible to get back on track.
In 2007, Webb noted that the amount of money CEOs make in one day takes the average worker more than a year earn.
Today, Webb has said that he supports both the increase of capital gains taxes and the decrease of corporate taxes, as well as the elimination of taxation loopholes.
Ben Carson: Ben Carson believes that individuals deserve to be paid in accordance to the work that they do; he believes that those who generate income and are valued in the marketplace deserve to be paid generously, while those whose line of work is less impressive should be paid less.Carson has stated that it is possible for people who fall victim to income inequality to vote Republican because, since they are desperate to experience the American Dream, they want a someone who can help; he said that the republican party “can lift people out of poverty,” although he hasn’t mentioned how.
Carson does not believe in raising the minimum wage as a solution to combat income inequality, because he thinks that increasing it would cause the number of jobless people to multiply.
Rather than raising the minimum wages, Carson thinks that the creation of more opportunities will help end income inequality.