WASHINGTON (AP) — A look at where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on issues related to personal finances:
Child care/pay equityIn much of the U.S., families spend more on child care for two kids than on housing. And if you’re a woman, it’s likely you earn less than your male colleagues. That’s according to the latest research, which suggests that while the U.S. economy has improved, women and their families are still struggling to make the numbers work.
Women comprise about 57 percent of the labor force and many of them have young children. If they aren’t getting paid enough to make ends meet, more families will seek out government aid programs or low-quality, unlicensed day care for their children.
Clinton wants a 12-week government-paid family and medical leave program, guaranteeing workers two-thirds of their wages up to a certain amount. Trump proposes six weeks of leave for new mothers, with the government paying wages equivalent to unemployment benefits.
Both candidates propose tax relief for child care costs. Trump’s plan provides for a new income tax deduction for child care expenses, other tax benefits and a new rebate or tax credit for low-income families. Clinton says no family should spend more than 10 percent of its income on child care. She would double the child tax credit for families with children 4 and younger, to $2,000 per child.
Health careAbout 9 in 10 Americans now have health insurance, more than at any time in history. But progress is incomplete, and the future far from certain. Rising costs could bedevil the next occupant of the White House.
Millions of people previously shut out have been covered by President Barack Obama’s health care law. No one can be denied coverage anymore because of a pre-existing condition. But “Obamacare” remains divisive, and premiums for next year are rising sharply in many communities. As well, some major insurers are leaving the program.
Whether Americans would be better off trading for a GOP plan is another question. Recent studies found Trump’s proposal would make 18 million to 20 million people uninsured. GOP congressional leaders have a more comprehensive approach, but key details are still missing.
Overall health care spending is trending higher again, and prices for prescription drugs — new and old — are a major worry.
Medicare’s insolvency date has moved up by two years — to 2028.
Clinton would stay the course, adjusting as needed. Republicans are united on repealing Obama’s law, but it’s unclear how they would replace it.
Income inequalityIncome inequality has surged near levels last seen before the Great Depression. The average income for the top 1 percent of households climbed 7.7 percent last year to $1.36 million, according to tax data. That privileged sliver of the population saw pay climb at almost twice the rate of income growth for the other 99 percent, whose pay averaged a humble $48,768.
Dogged on the issue during the primaries by Bernie Sanders, Clinton has highlighted inequality in multiple speeches. She hopes to redirect more money to the middle class and impoverished. Clinton would raise taxes on the wealthy, increase the federal minimum wage, boost infrastructure spending, provide universal pre-kindergarten and offer the prospect of tuition-free college.
Trump offers a blunter message about a system “rigged” against average Americans. To bring back jobs, Trump has promised new trade deals with better terms, greater infrastructure spending than Clinton foresees and tax cuts that he says would propel stronger growth (though independent analysts say his budget plans would raise deficits).
JobsTepid income growth and a smaller share of the population at work have kept many Americans anxious about jobs and the economy, seven years after the Great Recession ended.
And most jobs that pay decent wages require more education than in the past, leaving many workers feeling left behind.
Trump says he would cut regulations and taxes to spur more hiring, and renegotiate or withdraw from trade agreements to bring jobs back to the U.S.
Clinton says she would spend more on roads, tunnels, and other infrastructure and make state colleges and universities tuition free to most students.
Even though hiring has been healthy for the past six years, incomes have lagged. A typical household didn’t see its income recover to pre-recession levels until just this past July. And the proportion of Americans working or looking for work remains below pre-recession levels, as some of the unemployed have given up searching for jobs.
Minimum wageModest income gains, strikes by fast-food workers, the rapid growth of low-paying jobs while middle-income work shrinks. These factors have combined to make the minimum wage a top economic issue for the 2016 campaign.
Millions would benefit from higher pay, of course. But an increase in the minimum wage would also boost costs for employers and may slow hiring.
Clinton supports raising the minimum wage at least to $12 an hour, even higher at state and local levels. Trump has said he supports an increase to $10, but thinks states should “really call the shots.” It’s $7.25 now.
Why the momentum for higher minimums? The typical household’s income has fallen 2.4 percent since 1999. Low-paying industries, such as retail, fast food and home health care aides, are among the largest and fastest-growing. And many low-wage workers are older, have families and are probably more willing to demand higher pay.
Student debtMore Americans are getting buried by student debt — causing delays in home ownership, limiting how much people can save and leaving taxpayers at risk as many loans go unpaid.
Student debt now totals around $1.26 trillion. This amounts to a stunning 350 percent increase since 2005, according to the New York Federal Reserve.
More than 60 percent of the class of 2014 graduated with debt that averaged nearly $27,000, according to the College Board. Not all that taxpayer-backed debt is getting repaid. Out of the 43 million Americans with student debt, roughly 16 percent are in long-term default — a potential hit in excess of $100 billion that taxpayers would absorb.
Clinton proposes no tuition for students from families making less than $85,000 who go to an in-state, public college. That threshold would rise to $125,000 by 2021. Trump promises to cap payments at 12.5 percent of a borrower’s income, with loan forgiveness if they make payments for 15 years.
TaxesPresidents like to try reshaping the tax code to make substantive changes in fiscal policy and to show voters their priorities.
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have made clear that that’s just what they want to do. There’s an enormous difference between their approaches and goals.
Trump, the Republican, is intent on cutting taxes. He’d collapse the current seven income tax brackets, which peak at 39.6 percent, into just three tiers with a top rate of 33 percent, slice the corporate income tax and eliminate the estate tax. Analysts say the wealthy would benefit disproportionately.
Clinton, the Democrat, is proposing tax increases on the rich, including a minimum 30 percent tax on incomes over $1 million and higher taxes on big inheritances. Most taxpayers would see little or no impact on their tax bill, but the government might look different. She’d use the added revenue to expand domestic programs.