How Would Clinton and Trump Rewrite the Rules?

October 5, 2016

Secretary Clinton made a bold statement in her speech in Toledo, Ohio this week: “It’s time to rewrite the rules and make this economy fair for everyone.” Here at Roosevelt, we couldn’t agree more. But what exactly does she mean? And how do both presidential candidates measure up to our vision to rewrite the rules of the U.S. economy?

Despite data showing rising GDP and millions climbing out of poverty, the U.S. economy has still not experienced a meaningful recovery. The American public continues to struggle to keep up with the rising costs of childcare, healthcare, and higher education. Slow wage growth continues to undercut broad-based prosperity and drive economic inequality. This election has put voters’ frustration on full display, and that frustration is largely the result of ineffective policy solutions to these problems.

At Roosevelt, we argue that inequality is not inevitable: It is a choice we make through the policies our political leaders put in place to structure our economy. These policies range from taxes to healthcare policies and criminal justice to infrastructure. In Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy, Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz proposed a comprehensive agenda of nearly 40 policies, ranging from pay equity to raising top tax rates, designed to restore the balance between government, business, and labor and create an economy that works for everyone. Trickle-down economics has failed America’s economic growth and families, and our agenda focuses on a new set of economic rules that aim to tame corporate and financial power and influence, help families achieve a middle class life, and fight racial inequities.

When we released the report, we challenged the presidential candidates to rewrite the rules of the economy to promote growth and shared prosperity. To see how the presidential candidates measure up to our agenda, we created our new 2016 Presidential Candidate Comparison, which looks at a wide range of policy proposals the candidates have publicly supported.

The policies matter, but so does the macroeconomic impact of these policies. Moody’s estimates that real GDP would increase by 1.7 percent under Secretary Clinton’s proposals compared to a 2.4 percent decline under Donald Trump. Moody’s also projects unemployment to be 4.4 percent by 2020 in a Clinton administration, compared to 6.8 percent under Trump. Finally, it projects that real income per capita would grow 4 percent over the course of Clinton’s first term, but would not budge under Trump.

As the media gives undeserved airtime to misinformation, it’s more important than ever to learn about the candidates’ policies and how (if at all) they would promote much-needed economic growth. We hope this guide will help you judge where the presidential contenders stand on making our economy work for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.