The economy is always a top voter issue in elections. This year is no different, with voters paying close attention to each candidate’s vision as the economy reels from the effects of COVID-19.
“They are absolute polar opposites when it comes to economic consequences and economic policies,” said Steve Cortes, a Trump campaign senior adviser.
And it's true voters will have some drastically different options this November. Newsy focused on three key differences between each candidate's economic platform, starting with taxes.
President Trump wants to extend the current tax structure for individuals that's set to expire in 2025. Former Vice President Biden plans to increase the top tax rate to 39% from 37.5% as part of his goal of addressing income inequality.
On trade — one of the centerpieces of President Trump's policy agenda in office — the two differ on how to approach China, with the president relying on tariffs and Biden proposing coalitions with allies.
Lastly is health care spending. The president's administration has proposed billion-dollar cuts to Medicare and Medicaid over the next decade. Biden wants to lower the eligibility for Medicare and create a public health insurance option as well that builds on the Affordable Care Act passed while he served under President Obama.
"I think the difference between Donald Trump’s economic plan — if that’s what you would call it — versus former Vice President Joe Biden could not be more stark,” said Lynda Tran, founding partner at 270 Strategies and director of communications for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under President Obama.
Allies of the Biden campaign say his plan will boost working families and caregivers who are struggling amid the economic downturn. President Trump's campaign has stressed GOP efforts to cut wasteful government spending and lower taxes.
While Biden's economic agenda is posted in detail on his website, most of what we know about the president’s priorities come from his 2021 budget proposal — released before the pandemic. Few details are available online.
“This president, in my view, has been the most transparent politician in American history. Between his use of social media, his use of Twitter, he’s constantly communicating directly in an unfiltered way with the American people,” Cortes said.
A Newsy/Ipsos poll released last month found one-third of Americans ranked the economy as a top issue in 2020, putting it second only to the coronavirus pandemic.