Comparison: Major Presidential Candidates on Monetary Policy and the USD

In this presidential race, monetary policy is a hot issue. Many Americans are fed up with government excess, a failing health care system, and faltering personal wealth. Here, we’ll take a look at how some of the major presidential candidates stack up on these issues and more.

  • Hillary Clinton (D)

    Hillary Clinton’s economic focus is on the middle class. Her campaign website criticizes the dichotomy between the rise in CEO pay and corporate profits and low wages and higher household debt. She promises to pay attention to the middle class, essentially the people she believes are currently being ignored. Part of her plan to help the middle class includes more affordable college and child care as well as an increase in minimum wage.

    One of the ways Clinton plans to help the American economy is through more affordable health care. Under Hillary’s "American Health Choices" plan, insurance would become more competitive in favor of the consumer. Essentially, Americans would have more choices for health care coverage available to them, and these choices would be more affordable than current plans. Clinton plans to enact tax credits that will help cover the cost of premiums as well.

    In addition to more affordable health care, Clinton is taking aim at housing troubles. She recommended that the President should double the budget of HUD’s Housing Counseling Assistance Program so that the program can better provide support and education to homeowners. She also wishes to replace "unworkable" mortgages through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and state housing finance agencies.

    Finally, Clinton’s plan also includes reducing dependence on foreign oil. It mainly relies on a transition toward renewable energy. According to the plan, a renewable energy transition will result in a shift of 25% of renewable energy use as well as create up to five million new jobs.

  • John Edwards (D)

    John Edwards’ economic plan, like Hillary’s, focuses on helping regular Americans. Edwards’ solution for the economy includes eliminating poverty, supporting our future in education, and improving health care.

    What really sets Edwards apart is his stance on poverty. He wants to cut the poverty rate by a third within ten years and completely end it within thirty. To do this, he plans to create initiatives that will help support saving, break up poverty-stricken neighborhoods, and encourage responsible financial lives. Edwards also believes we should raise the minimum wage, create "stepping stone" jobs, and protect consumers from financial products that are abusive, like payday loans with excessively high interest rates. Additionally, Edwards wants to fight poverty worldwide through education, medical attention, and better opportunities.

    John Edwards wants to make quality education available for all children in America, a move that will support the economy in the future. He plans to achieve this through pay raises for teachers that provide excellent education, with special attention for those working in high-poverty schools. Aditionally, he wants to create a teachers’ university that would be something like a West Point for teachers. For college students, Edwards proposes to pay for a year of public college to every student willing to take a part-time job. He also plans to reform student loans.

    Edwards has a plan for universal health care. His plan basically ensures that every American will have access to affordable health coverage. This would be achieved by requiring businesses to provide health insurance for employees, creating tax credits, and developing regional "Health Care Markets."

  • Rudy Giuliani (R)

    Rudy Giuliani’s money policy is one of fiscal discipline. When he became the mayor of New York, he cut bureaucracy and spending while still supporting important functions like education and the police force. His intention is to bring the same policy to Washington.

    Giuliani plans to cut taxes while relying on supply-side economics. In New York, he was able to create a surplus out of a deficit, and saved city taxpayers billions in taxes while growing the city’s economy. Rudy plans to cut taxes and foster economic growth if elected, specifically by keeping the capital gains tax rate low and getting rid of the "death tax."

    He also wants to cut spending. This would mean smaller, more efficient government, but Giuliani wants to make our government more effective at the same time. To achieve this, he recommends we invest in a stronger military and improve homeland security to avoid another disaster response like the one experienced after Hurricane Katrina. Giuliani also points out that a number of federal workers are due to retire in the near future, and cites this as an opportunity to make our government smaller.

    Another way Giuliani wants to improve the economy is through regulatory reform. He believes that Washington has over-regulated in the shadow of the Enron and WorldCom scandals, and those regulations are now too burdening. To improve American competitiveness, Giuliani would reform these regulations.

  • John McCain (R)

    Like many others, John McCain wants to put a stop to runaway government spending. His policy of fiscal discipline would ensure that tax money would be wisely managed, and not spent on special interests.

    McCain promises to end "pork barrel spending," which he identifies as special interest pet projects. Rather, he proposes that we spend tax dollars on more important things like supporting the military and paying down the national debt. Additionally, McCain seeks to reform entitlement programs like Social Security before they take over the federal budget.

    He also seeks more accountability from elected representatives. McCain would like to see legislation earmarks fully described and have the members who request them identified. He believes that this could cut down on spending that gets buried in legislation, as well as let Americans know what their tax dollars are doing.

    John McCain wants America to continue its tradition of free and open markets. He believes that economic isolationism is a threat to American entrepreneurs, and opening our markets is necessary for our success. Further, McCain feels that the US needs to be open to change, and stay focused on creating new approaches through education and assistance.

  • Barack Obama (D)

    Barack Obama’s monetary policy focuses on bringing American industry into the future while providing support for those who need it most. He believes that we need to fight poverty, reform health care, and bring our economy into the digital age.

    One of Obama’s main concerns is the working poor of America. To support these low-income and unemployed citizens, Obama believes in tax credits, a minimum wage increase, better education, and an improved mortgage system. Obama’s Issues page details a number of different programs and ideas that would fight poverty, including improved transportation access, an expansion of paid medical leave, and more afforable college.

    An extension of Obama’s fight against poverty is a revamped health care system. He wants to create universal health care with lower cost, but high quality. With his plan, an American family would save about $2,500 every year on health care.

    Obama is also a strong supporter of technology and innovation in our economy. He wants to make America more competitive in the "digital age" by offering better teachers, scientific research investment, and a more technologically connected network across the country. His plan would foster open exchange of information online and encourage more modern communication development.

  • Ron Paul (R)

    Ron Paul’s monetary beliefs have been front and center in his presidential campaign. Dr. Paul has been a prolific economic writer and speaker, offering his opinion on currency, government spending, and the Federal Reserve to just about anyone who will listen. His monetary policy centers on smaller government and a return to commodity-backed currency.

    Paul has heavily criticized excessive government spending while in Congress. He wants to make our federal government much smaller, reducing or even completely getting rid of entitlements, the IRS, and other expenditures. This includes defense spending as well. Rather, he’d require that every expense be completely paid for in the budget.

    Another major criticism from Ron Paul is that of our paper money system. He argues that it supports spending much more than saving, as the Fed can print money out of thin air any time our government needs more funds. Instead of the current system, Paul favors a commodity-backed system that would hold real value behind our currency.

    Like many other candidates, Ron Paul has quite a bit to say about health care as well. As a former practicing OB-GYN, Dr. Paul believes we should have a health care system that cuts out the middle man, which he calls "free market medicine." With his system, health care would largely be paid for on an as-needed basis, cutting both costs and bureaucracy.

  • Mitt Romney (R)

    Mitt Romney recongizes that America has a number of economic challenges, specifically with trade, currency, oil, education, and credit. In order to support our economy and become more competitive, Romney proposes that we focus on lowering taxes, improving education, and loosening regulations.

    Romney believes that lowering taxes will be beneficial, offering more money to be spent on economic-supporting actions like investment and consumption. His tax cuts would include a zero rate on middle class savings that would promote savings and investment, permanent tax cuts implemented by the Bush Administration, and an elimination of the death tax.

    In addition to tax relief, Romney wants to improve America’s competitiveness through education. He would strengthen education through new approaches like charter schools and public-private partnerships. Additionally, Romney would improve retraining for existing workers by making federal training programs more efficient.

    Further, Romney wants to end overregulation and exccessive tort claims, citing them as a penalty for growth. He would get rid of regulations and bureaucracies that hold us back, as well as create reform for torts.

  • Fred Thompson (R)

    Fred Thompson warns of an impending "fiscal tsunami" that will finally make America accountable for our debt. He estimates the tax burden to be around $170,000 per person and asserts that we need to address this crisis. To remedy the situation, he offers political cooperation, tax reform, and a revamping of health care.

    In order to stop America’s coming financial crisis, Thompson proposes that we open the government’s books so that everyone can see what’s going on. He’d then foster cooperation to create a solution, and commit to cutting wasteful spending. He promises that doing this will help security, prosperity, and stop the financial crisis.

    For tax reform, Thompson feels that we should make savings and investment easier and more profitable. He wants to lower taxes so that taxpayers can better spend their money. Ultimately, he believes that our tax system should be simpler and more fair, and even proposes dissolution of the IRS.

    Thompson believes that the US has excellent health care, but laments that not every American has the means to get access to it. His system would realign programs and put the emphasis on individual consumers. He would also support prevention, modernization, and consumer choice.

Looking at the candidates, it sounds like they have a lot in common. Many of them want to reform hot-button problems like taxes, health care, and government spending. Still others are interested in hitting the root of the issues with poverty and currency policy. No matter how this presidential race progresses, it will be interesting to see how these candidates’ monetary platforms evolve and what the voters will choose.