The Presidential campaigns of 2020 have seen both the present President Donald Trump and his challenger from the Democratic Party Joe Biden promise a large number of changes to move through America. Yet interestingly, none of their ideas match with each other, giving rise to truly polarising opinions. Trump has always claimed to be the champion of wars that have cultural infringement on them while upholding the Republican conservative nature of change- regulatory tax cuts, and tax reductions being his modus operandi. Yet the President hasn’t really spoken much about how he would fashion the machinery of the government into moving through the changes as he claimed to bring about.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, brings out the true essence of the Democratic party, with his ideas and objectives being the institution of a federal government that would be capable enough to take care of the coronavirus epidemic. He has further planned to restructure the entire economy, whilst dissolving centuries worth of racial inequality, and institutional racism. Since Biden has been in office before, he uses his previous presence as a reason as to why he can do it again- from the highest position in the country.
But, this does leave Americans getting confused with whom to vote for. There are several major key differences in the objectives of both the challengers and that could be a distinguishing point when considering one’s options.
Economy and Taxes
Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Trump’s trump cars were a continuous increase in the stock market along with a record low unemployment rate. But then the coronavirus shook the very foundations of the American economy. Although the stock did manage to climb up following its sudden fall in the very first week of the crisis, the unemployment rate is at an all-time high, with the previous record being in the 1980s. According to a report published in June, the rate of unemployment in this country is at 11.1%. In fact, last month had around 15 million jobs less than February.
The President has predicted that things will go back to being normal, or they might even be better than normal. He believes that the unemployment rate would go back to being at its lowest during the last half of the year. It must be said that his belief is based on the assumption that by then scientists would be able to find out a viable vaccine for coronavirus, leading to the end of the pandemic. He has also been a major supporter for the payroll tax deduction, something he faces immense stiff opposition for. If he wants to follow through on his promises and actually get what he demands, he needs to first win the elections- for that would be the only way to get beyond the bipartisan opposition.
Joe Biden though takes a different route. He believes that the Federal Government needs to be more pro-active which will help prevent any increase in an economic recession or the prevalence of depression. He also hints at bringing about discussions for wealth inequality- something that continuously plagues the minorities in the country. His trump card- A funding of $2 trillion that would see off carbon emission in the energy grid of the country by 2035, and also bring about improved health insurance for every single working-age American. Needless to say, the insurance would be government approved and have generous subsidies. Along with these major issues, he also promises to remove unemployment by spending more on education, looking after the infrastructure, and developing small businesses, while raising the minimum wage to a supposed $15/hour.
Most of the new costs for this sweeping development would be compensated by the complete rollback of the tax overhaul of 2017. For the wealthy, his plans might be a bit concerning, as he proposes an income tax rate of 28% and hikes in payroll tax along with broad incomes for those who earn more than $400,000 of annual taxable income. This entire economic structure ought to raise close to $4 trillion in the next decade. Next, his focus is on immigration. In order to make America a more immigrant-friendly nation, he is going to expand the slots of immigration, whilst making it easier for close to 11 million immigrants in the country to get citizenship. Although the republicans might consider them to be illegally living on land, Biden recognizes them as workers and contributors to the national economy.
Trump has decided that the best thing to do amidst this pandemic would be to reopen schools. This he believes will display his support for school choice, and charter schools. Betsy DeVos, the Secretary for Education, and someone who has been a longterm proponent of charter schools believe that there should be a law in place that would allow parents of children to take money out of public schools that haven’t reopened yet, and transfer them to private schools that have opened. This money would be deducted from the funds allocated to every school district. Trump’s first stint as President has been all about trying to get more and more changes in charter schools, but the Congress has pushed back with just a few changes.
As far as higher education goes, Trump believes that university campuses are a hub for radical left indoctrination. This also implies that Trump wants to defund universities from promoting a political standpoint that goes against the Republican perspective of things. In fact, he did ask the Department of Treasury to carefully scrutinize the tax exemptions and federal fundings that most universities enjoy.
Biden, yet again, walks completely on a different road, as he believes in the federal government collaborating with the state governments to ensure that public higher education is made free for those whose families have a financial ceiling of $125,000 annually. And this support would be provided to any student attending 2-year courses, irrespective of their income. He also wants to increase the amount of financial aid that can be provided to colleges that have been considered historically black. And all this would rack up a cost of $850 billion spread over a decade.
He has had the following plans for schools which he would want to implement as soon as possible-
- Universalization of kindergarten programs for children between the ages of three and four.
- Tripling the Title I expenditure on schools, who have a much intense concentration of students from the lower echelons of society.
- Varied support for positions going beyond the classrooms- on-campus social workers.
- Federal spending on the infrastructure of buildings of public schools.
- Summing up the costs of schools to fall back under the disability laws.
He has also vehemently opposed the usage of taxpayer money into funding charter schools. For this, he has promised to hire someone with teaching experience to be his Education Secretary.
Back in 2016, Donald Trump claimed for the Oval office by declaring that his healthcare plan would trump Obama’s, and would actually pay for the healthcare of everyone in the country. With the Presidential elections coming up shortly, Americans haven’t been privy to this health care that Trump promised four years ago. Yet, the officials in the Oval Office have claimed that Trump administration has brought about several changes in the way health care is shaped in the country. The strides made by bringing down hospital prices whilst maintaining transparency or a whole host of actions deployed to prevent an increase in the costs of prescription drugs aren’t the same as the claims put forward by the President of the United States of America.
Biden’s objective is a bit different. He wants a ‘Medicare-like public option’. This policy would definitely rival the markets of private insurance that has been leeching off working-class Americans for ages. His policy also claims of increasing the subsidies that the working class already receives under the Affordable Care Act. The cost would be around $750 billion spread over ten years. Now, Biden’s policy isn’t completely conservative like Trump, nor totally radical as most liberals want it to be. It places him somewhere in the middle, with his new policy substituting the single-payer insurance system that the liberals want or Trump who simply wants to do away with the 2010 bill. Biden believes that his policy would get through to Congress.
Throughout most of 2020 Trump had us all believe that the worst of the pandemic was over and things would get better tremendously. Recently, he declared that the coronavirus was far from over, and there might be a major surge in the cases in the latter half of the year. And that puts his reelection in jeopardy because the states with most recurring cases happen to be on his voters’ side of the list. He also keeps organizing briefings that provide him with all the information on the virus which he then spreads to the masses. But there have been cases where he has brought out incorrect information leading to widespread ridicule. One of them being the reopening of schools, which he believes would combat the coronavirus. And this policy hasn’t been approved by 9 out of 10 Americans. In this extremely dangerous times, opening schools would result in a massive spread of the virus. Trump also believes that a vaccine is just around the corner and the multiple deals that the government has signed with pharmaceutical companies would pay dividends before long. And he believes that would actually turn things around before the year is over. Close to $3 trillion dollars have already been spent on fundings for the vaccines, and other health care requirements and Congress is negotiating for more. Trump wanted the relief package to have an option of tax payroll cut, but at this time of the year that was something, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans wanted to put through to the masses.
Joe Biden has gone a complete 180 on this situation, as he believes the federal government is in place specifically to combat such crises. This is in contrast to Donald Trump who believes that the entire responsibility lies on the governors to take care of their states. Joe Biden has readily endorsed any and all fundings provided by the Federal government to the small businesses to help them get over the worst of the pandemic. He also believes in using the Defense Protection Act that would allow the federal government to have the prerogative to ask private sectors to function in a certain way. Interestingly, Biden wants the USA to rejoin the WHO after Trump pulled out, and he considers elevating the position of scientists so they can directly speak out their messages to the public. Regarding masks, he is willing to use executive power to ensure a mask mandate, but it is questionable whether it will be enforced or not.
Trump considers the highlight of his Presidency to be the two trade deals he signed with Canada, Mexico, and China. This includes Phase 1 of the China Agreement and an updated pact with Canada and Mexico. It was in January when China and the USA signed Phase 1 of their Agreement which was a few months before coronavirus hit and resulted in the swift deterioration of the US-Sino relations. Phase 1 was all about China purchasing close to $200 billion of American agricultural produce over two years, which includes energy and some other products. On the other hand, America put down all tariffs that were imposed on Chinese electronic products being imported into the country. As far as other products go, the USA did reduce the tariff rate to around 7.5% on $120 billion of Chinese imports.
The other side of the deal would have both the countries focusing on some of the more important parts of trade and governance. The Trump government wants China to give up the subsidies that it places on the enterprises that are state-owned. But considering the poorly worded statements of the President on coronavirus being a ‘Chinese virus’, it remains to be seen how willing would Beijing would be to reenter talks with the President. Currently, Trump isn’t much interested in conversing with China.
Joe Biden is slowly forming an association of a bipartisan nature that focuses on fair trade on foreign shores. This is in complete contrast to the earlier pejorative of ‘free trade’, as most politicians from both parties tried to expand the trade. Biden also plans on improving the American manufacturing industry by pouring in $400 billion of federal purchases that will be placed on small business firms over a period of four years. He is also looking to gather around $300 billion that would help him see off new research and development sectors in tech industries. He is a firm believer in expanding the domestic trade center before branching into the foreign trade sector. He has also promised to engage in tough negotiations with the Chinese trade association over intellectual property, and trade matters. Considering the Trans-Pacific Partnership was his brainchild when he was Vice President, Biden aims at inducing the USA into the agreement.
Trump’s first term as President was all about ‘Make America Great Again’. Along with the many foreign trade deals he participated in, he also decided to bring about major changes to foreign policies. He quite proudly declared the construction of the 200 miles long wall that would separate Mexico from the USA. He also convinced several NATO members to spend more than 2% of their GDP on their military, whilst reducing the military footprint of America on Afghanistan. He had also pledged to pull America out of the Climate Accord held in Paris. Trump can actually leave the Paris Climate Accord on November 4th, because according to a deal that Obama signed, no country can leave the accord until four years had passed off its membership. For Trump, that is November 4, 2020. Trump wants to leave the Paris Climate Accord because he feels that the entire plan- devised to limit global warming under 3 degrees Fahrenheit, has been created to trouble America whilst benefiting every other nation.
He also made it clear that American troops would leave Afghanistan much faster than their stipulated period if the Taliban met certain conditions that were to be signed on February 29th. Currently, there are close to 8500 troops in Afghanistan who could come home.
Biden, on the other hand, has made it abundantly clear that he would work on fixing the relations America has with other nations. Firstly, he would work on reestablishing the relationships amongst NATO members for he thinks it would be paramount to stopping Russia from expanding its territories to East Europe and Asia. His other plans involve rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, ending wars yet maintaining that the US Army was intrinsic to world order and peace. And finally, he believes that the problem of immigration would be solved if more and more legal slots opened up for the benefit of all.
So, in the Presidential elections 2020: Trump vs Biden, who will you vote for? The current President who has had quite a negative impact on American economy and foreign policy, or the previous Vice President Joe Biden who hints at a complete restructuring of the system?