Hillary Clinton is probably one of the most recognizable people on the U.S. political scene who hasn’t been president. Of course, that could change this year. Voters have a lot to think about over the next several weeks (and, potentially, months), not least of which is how a Clinton presidency could affect their financial well-being.
In recent weeks, we’ve outlined some of the ways other presidential candidates could impact American wallets should they be elected. (You can read the piece on Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s competition for the Democratic nomination for president, here. We’ve also covered Republican contenders Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio.)
It’s impossible to predict if and how a candidate’s campaign platforms will materialize (and what the true costs would be), but everyone vying for the Oval Office has proposed changes that Americans could feel in their personal budgets. Here are a few of the shifts you might feel if Clinton is in charge.
1. College Costs
Clinton has a few proposals for changing the way people pay for college and repay their student loans. She wants to make sure college students attending in-state public institutions do not have to borrow student loans to pay for tuition, books or fees. Community college would be tuition-free. As part of the deal, which Clinton calls the New College Compact, students would work 10 hours a week and use those earnings to help cover the cost of tuition.
For people who have student loans, Clinton wants them to be able to refinance loans at current interest rates, which could significantly lower the overall cost of debt for some borrowers. Another thing that could help borrowers in repayment is to merge the current loan repayment options into a single income-based repayment program that limits student loan payments to 10% of a borrower’s income. She also proposes new borrowers receive lower interest rates than what’s currently in place. (You can see how your student loan debt is affecting your credit scores by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.)
To pay for the New College Compact, Clinton demands states maintain and “reinvest” in higher education funding and colleges control costs to make tuition affordable. The plan will cost an estimated $350 billion over 10 years, paid for by “limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers,” Clinton’s campaign website says.
2. $12 Minimum Wage
Clinton has several proposals for increasing American incomes, like closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy, incentivizing companies with a tax break if they share profits with their employees, expanding overtime and increasing the federal minimum wage to $12. She doesn’t exactly connect the dots on how those plans would be paid for, though she mentions a goal to “impose accountability on Wall Street,” as part of that plan.
3. Healthcare Costs
Clinton says Obamacare would be here to stay if she were to take office. She’d build on that with efforts to decrease out-of-pocket healthcare costs like co-pays and deductibles, as well as reduce the cost of prescription drugs. For anyone who spends money on prescriptions and visits to the doctors, that could make a huge difference in their financial health, though Clinton hasn’t given details on how she’d implement her plan.
4. Paid Family & Medical Leave
Clinton wants workers to get up to 12 weeks of paid leave to recover from a serious illness or care for a new child or ill family member. That pay must equal a minimum of two-thirds of the worker’s current wages. Clinton proposes paying for this policy by “making the wealthy pay their fair share.”
5. Social Security Reform
Clinton opposes privatization of Social Security, as well as increasing the retirement age and reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments. Much of the support for her approach to Social Security would rely on higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans.
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