The Candidates on Issues

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Things to consider before voting

As we wind down to the election in a couple of weeks, I thought I would post one last article dealing with politics, specifically the presidential campaign

In a comprehensive interview published in the AARP Bulletin, the two primary presidential candidates, Clinton and Trump, were asked specific questions about there proposed policies. I found the answers interesting and thought they were worth sharing.

I have condensed and paraphrased much of the article in the AARP publication as follows:

In Trump’s response on health care costs, which was taken from his website, he blames the runaway cost of medicine and healthcare on Obamacare, but in reality the cost of healthcare is controlled more by insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the healthcare professionals.

Trump does proposed opening the healthcare system up to free enterprise and perhaps that would work we just don’t know.

Clinton’s response to the Health Care Cost question, “I had one good proposal and that was to give Medicare the right and authority to negotiate for lower drug prices.”

She also proposes taking a hard look at co-pays, premiums, and deductibles because they are creeping up. She indicates that she is going to tackle that issue but she doesn’t say specifically how.

When asked about where Social Security falls on the priority list, Clinton said it’s at the very top of her list because we need to make sure that Social Security stays solvent. She does have specific things that she plans to do, such as increasing the funding going into Social Security by getting those who can pay more to do so.  She also says that Social Security should be looking at passive income Investments and dividends and other forms of income that allow a small percentage of Americans to do well.

She also says that it’s important to use technology to verify that the right people are getting Social Security and eliminating Social Security fraud.

In addressing Social Security issues, Donald Trump said that ensuring that Americans receive the benefits they have earned is high on his priority list. When asked about older Americans expressing fear about outliving their money and how Trump will address that, he said, “I’d cut taxes. Renegotiate unfair trade deals. Unleash America’s energy potential and reform regulations to spur economic growth this will promote economic growth which will boost income wages and jobs.”

Asked about how he would deal with the gridlock in Washington, Trump said, “Setting and establishing a clear agenda. Taking it to the American people and developing public support will help to break up gridlock in Washington along with developing relationships on both sides of the deal and understanding the art of negotiation to get a win for all Americans.”

Since the powers that be in Washington are not listening to the American people is this a viable option and something that we can believe could possibly happen?

Regarding how the candidates would address terrorism, Donald Trump said the only way to truly defeat Islamic terrorism is to call it by its name and identify it as a military and ideological foe. The United States will cease processing visas for admitting refugees from regions of the world where proper vetting cannot occur in which are at a high risk for terrorism. We will also resume ideological screening to prevent entry into the United States by those who do not share our values as was regularly done during the Cold War.

That last part worries me because whose values do these people need to share, and how do we actually determine that? Will people be pulled in front of panels such as happened during the McCarthy era when everyone was looking for Communists under every rock?

Clinton’s response to the question about taking out terrorism was to say that she has laid out a very comprehensive plan about taking on the terrorists, going after them where they operate, doing everything we can to take away their territory so they can’t mastermind attacks from afar. But we also have to go after them online because that is where they recruit, radicalize and direct attacks.

Clinton’s response to the question about gridlock was to say that people who are elected have to pay attention to those they represent as opposed to powerful lobbies. She said, “If you vote for me, I’m going to do everything I can to deal with these problems that have been gridlocked.”

Again she doesn’t say exactly how she plans to deal with the problems but she does bring up her experience as first lady when she worked with Republicans to create the children’s health insurance program and thought reform the foster care system.

On the topic of caregivers and the challenges they face in terms of not only caring for their loved one but possibly losing income and having to pay exorbitant costs in medical care both candidates had reasonable responses. Clinton pointed out that if all the caregivers were to stop, it would severely impact the Healthcare System. She proposes giving a tax credit to people who are providing care, especially those who are in still in the workforce. Clinton also proposes establishing a tax system that rewards care-giving, giving workers credit for time out of work that can then be applied to Social Security.

Trump proposes that Americans have the option of opening dependent-care saving accounts so they can plan for future expenses related to child and elder care. these accounts would not be subject to tax. The total contributions each year cannot exceed $2,000, but balances would roll over from year to year so that substantial amounts could be accumulated over a period of time. When established for an elderly dependent, the funds could be used for adult day-care and in home or long-term care services.

This ability to set aside funds would be most helpful to low-income workers who are typically the primary care providers that have to reduce the number of hours they can work at their job in order to provide care.

The Trump plan would also allow an above-the-line deduction for elder-care costs necessary to keep a family member working outside the home.

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