A US Election Thread Where We Are Gonna Be Nice

So I’m probably very dumb.

But here is a thread to talk about personal finance, student loan forgiveness, taxes, health care, economics, or other policies of the candidates for the 2020 US Presidential Election.

WE ARE GONNA BE NICE because that’s how we are on OMD.

Rules:

  • talk about the issues, not candidate’s hairstyles, outfits, how they eat a hot dog, or the blanket “electability”
  • focus on issues related to personal finance and economics
  • do not attack people for their opinions
  • do not make assumptions about other posters, come from a place of empathy always
  • absolutely do not take any discussions about politics into DMs or people’s journals unless specifically invited

I am an extremely hands-off moderator, but I will close and lock this thread :lock:and throw away the key :old_key: if people are mean or the discussion isn’t being productive. :fire:

(also it’s totally fine for non-US folks to tune in to ask questions or give outside perspective! This election affects you, too, because of hegemony).

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Personal finance related policy statements/plans for Prez Candidates

Biden

Bloomberg

Buttigieg

Klobuchar

Trump (incumbent republican)

Sanders

Warren (this woman really does have a plan for everything, this is not an exhaustive list)

(updating this as I go, holding #2 spot)

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ok I’ll go first! can someone help me understand (impossible, I know) why, if I have 100k of student debt that my parents are cosigners on, that they are not at all interested in voting for a candidate who will forgive some portion of student debt? not to mention the student debt my sister has that they are cosigners on… like I hope this can help you understand why I am like this (doesn’t understand money)

also I am actually really open to accepting the argument that student loan forgiveness isn’t the greatest idea because it’s an economic stimulus for the middle class, and for example, ending homelessness is more important (although, uh i believe both could happen because the cost of ending homelessness in the US is actually almost nothing, right?). I also think that environmental policies are more important too, in the scope of humanity.

i also don’t know who I’m voting for in the Dem primary, also not interested in being convinced by anyone. I plan on making a last minute mostly gut based decision between Sanders or Warren.

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I’ll jump in too. A Sanders or Warren win would dramatically change my life, provided they can enact their plans. H and I have ~$120k in student loans together. Medical insurance and the cost of actual health care is probably the 3rd biggest cost we have. Even with some higher taxes, if the loans were forgiven and healthcare wasn’t hundreds per paycheck we would probably be buying a house now.

Not to mention the investments I’d be able to make in my business and that H would be able to make in his career once we don’t have to worry about making sure we have decent health coverage…

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I think many protests are “it’s not fair for people who paid it off already” (equity among generations or based on “work ethic”.)

…or “it’s not enough”. Meaning, if you forgive $50K in student loans on taxes per person (Warren’s plan), it doesn’t make a sizable difference to people with >$100K in student loan debt. So why bother with a massive economic stimulus?

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I think having half (a literal 50%!!!) of my debt forgiven is a sizable difference, :joy::joy:
I am also thinking that younger people who have less debt is good for most everyone, and the economy in general, I literally wouldn’t know what to do with my 34k/yr income if my only bills were rent (and not even healthcare, still on my parents plan). I’d probably quit my other part times and just live off 30k. I’d start buying a lot of artisanal hand-cut wooden cutting boards or something. Supporting small farms and buying really expensive cheese.
Also I mean this in the way that they’re voting for T****

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I would love to see compound interest removed entirely from student loans (they should be installment loans like a car loan, not compounding loans). Or just interest free entirely.

That’s one reason why $50K in debt reduction won’t make a significant difference (in overall lifestyle) for someone people. If you have $60K still outstanding in loans after the tax writeoff, you still have compounding interest, possibly at 12%, heaping itself on.

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maybe this is a huge failure of math on my part, but isn’t compounding on 100k worse than compounding on 60k. I get the feeling, emotionally, that it wouldn’t “help”. I literally cannot comprehend the level of my debt as real and involving physical money because it’s probably not a good idea to think about. I also ended up with so much debt because when going to college, with no savings account for tuition and no scholarships, that ‘oh what’s the difference between 60k of debt at a state school or 100k at a private’
… idk it sucks. I will literally take any amount of loan forgiveness. Even an extra $500 in a tax return, I think, makes a tangible difference for the “real” “everyday” Americans. $500 is an important amount of money when most Americans don’t have emergency savings.

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It depends on the mix of loans and rates! I mean, yes, it’s significant and your mental math is true! <3 <3 The issue for some is that the loans that will be forgiven under a few of these plans will be federal loans, with low interest rates, and the ones that will be sticking around will be private ones, which have the sky high rates. For some though this means a they may “only” go from $800 a month in payments to $700 a month in payments, depending on the loan mix and amounts.

YES. Seriously wtf. I think I have gotten to the point with understanding our loan/higher ed funding system that I’m ready to burn the whole system on fire because it is so broken, so it’s hard to care about even small changes when you’re like “it’ll go back to being broken unless we fix the underlying issues”

But also yes. Anything helps.

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Yeah, and really what does loan forgiveness for a certain age cohort do for society, if the cost of college just keeps going up :grimacing: I’m super pro ~work some jobs for a few years and go to college when you’re 24 for my littlest sister. It’s so sad how hard it is for 18 year olds to navigate (and really, younger because you have to be making important college decisions way before then)… there’s literally nothing you could’ve said to 17 year old me to deter me from moving away for college so I could get out of my parent’s house, especially because at that age I was super ambitious, had great grades, and was doing all the “right” things

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So much to all of this. If we could get back the $400-$500 a month we pay on H’s loans it would be huge. My loans are in deferment because I’m elligible for forgiveness since my school was literally convicted of misleading students to borrow more and H has $90k vs my $30k.

Even if the payments just went down to $250/month it would be huge

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Warren’s plan is really interesting. It phases slowly out based on household income above $100K, with complete phase out for those with household income above $250K. I wonder if married filing separately will impact household income, like it does right now for PSLF and IBR or not.

The details on private loans are just “we’ll work on it and it will apply to private loans”. But no details on it.

PERCENTAGE OF BORROWING HOUSEHOLDS RECEIVING FULL STUDENT LOAN CANCELLATION

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I struggle a lot with where the ideological divide falls in US politics.

For instance, do we need a stronger government funded social safety net or should encourage society to do more private charitable giving which (usually) results in more dollars actually addressing the problem, though of course unlike the government it can’t necessarily fix systemic problems. For example, many Trump supporters point to the fact that unemployment - and especially minority unemployment - is at an all-time low.

I think everyone acknowledges healthcare is broken. Is Medicare-for-all the answer, or will this further remove pricing signals from the system? I think a lot of healthcare price inflation is driven by pricing being so opaque. I could see some sort of regulation-based approach where price hikes (thinking pharma and hospital services) are heavily scrutinized but health insurance returned to more of an auto-insurance model where the focus is on catastrophic coverage and encourage various low-cost frontline solutions that have emerged like telemedicine, providers in pharmacies, etc versus the current model which is more like a payment subscription plan with some catastrophic coverage. I especially worry that it becomes another perpetually underfunded program that just adds more and more debt to the burden of future generations where we’ll be fucked if the US dollar ever stops being the world reserve currency.

Unrestricted capitalism is terrible for society and the environment but I feel like many of the proposed solutions would be worse, not better. This analysis of the unintended consequences of Warren’s wealth tax plan comes to mind. He has an older post addressing some of Sanders’ plans from the 2016 cycle I can dig up if people are interested. And for those who are unfamiliar, Kennon is not your normal critic of liberal ideas, he and his husband specifically moved their business to California despite the unfavorable tax climate because they valued a state with strong protections for LGBT surrogacy.

https://www.joshuakennon.com/lets-talk-about-elizabeth-warrens-proposed-wealth-tax/

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I forgot to include that I particularly detest deregulating environmental protections but, on the other hand, I worry that so much about environmental policy (especially surrounding climate change) continually displays fundamental misunderstandings about sustainable let alone regenerative agriculture. Happy to expand on that if people are interested :slight_smile:

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Please do, I’m super interested in this and kind of getting into the issue through climate action twitter, definitely a LOT goes over my head at the moment

The central problem is the way beef (and other ruminant) production is demonized without ever clarifying between CAFO beef production versus properly managed rotational grazing. And even when science acknowledges rotational grazing, experimental models to test the efficacy of grazing are often highly flawed because they fail to capture the art and nuance of management intensive grazing. Good grass farmers can build a tremendous amount of topsoil, which is a HUGE carbon sink. Forests are actually carbon neutral once established unless you bury the trees in the ground.

If you want to read more, Simon Fairlie’s book “Meat: A Benign Extravagance” is a good read. It can be quite dry with facts and figures and it is focused exclusively on the UK, but it’s an interesting look at the issues. The US climate is arguably more heavily favored to various regenerative livestock practices than the UK because we have so many brittle environments that aren’t suitable for any form of arable cropping but are quite suitable to permaculture or sylvopasture systems with livestock integrated into the farm.

I could talk about this stuff for days but I think that’s a good brief answer so I don’t derail this particular thread :slight_smile:

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My favorite thinker just published a piece on socialism that’s very apropos to my earlier post in this thread

It’s a really good piece on socialism (in the turn of the 20th century “Christian democratic” sense of the word, e.g. people like Dorothy Day). This helps put another nail in the coffin on my childhood and early 20s spent listening to conservative talk radio and their fomenting hatred of “socialism” and “socialized healthcare in particular”. But I share his concern (encapsulated in quote #2) about whether the US will manage to generate what I feel would be a worthwhile form of socialism.

Some good quotes:

“Americans are, of course, the most thoroughly and passively indoctrinated people on earth. They know next to nothing as a rule about their own history, or the histories of other nations, or the histories of the various social movements that have risen and fallen in the past, and they certainly know little or nothing of the complexities and contradictions comprised within words like “socialism” and “capitalism.” Chiefly, what they have been trained not to know or even suspect is that, in many ways, they enjoy far fewer freedoms, and suffer under a more intrusive centralized state, than do the citizens of countries with more vigorous social-democratic institutions. This is at once the most comic and most tragic aspect of the excitable alarm that talk of social democracy or democratic socialism can elicit on these shores.”

“Just as we Americans have succeeded in turning “Christianity” into another name for a system of values almost totally antithetical to those of the Gospel, I have every confidence that we will find a way to turn “socialism” into just another name for late-modern liberal individualism. I still support most of the genuinely communitarian aims of the democratic-socialist movement. But, in the end, it is that tradition of Christian socialism mentioned above to which I remain loyal. And I do not know if it could now flourish here.”

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, Christianity has never really taken deep root in America or had any success in forming American consciousness; in its place, we have invented a kind of Orphic mystery religion of personal liberation, fecundated and sustained by a cult of Mammon.”

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My largest concerns are decreasing domestic terrorism by not fueling the terrorist platforms (re: increase in public hate crimes, increase in publicly funded violence against black and brown people, increase in public shootings, etc.), health care reform, education costs and taxing corporations/the wealthy/(these are interchangeable).

Sanders and Warren are the only two candidates who come anywhere close in their platforms.

I prefer Sanders because I know he’ll do his damndest. Warren has some much needed privilege checks in order to remain relevant, but I believe she would try to do as she promises.

Edit: coats/costs

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Do you (or anyone else) worry about the electability of someone who (by American standards) is “far left” like Sanders and Warren?

Though the only remaining candidate who isn’t a major clunker IMO is Klobuchar. I don’t know much about her besides the favorable opinion of her I got from her endorsement by the NYT because I usually don’t follow primary politics super closely since my state comes relatively late in the process and so rarely has much say.

I am not, but I hear it as being an issue. As far as “far left” goes, on the world stage these candidates are closer to center and right than they are left.

Warren is a capitalist who wants structure reform, not to dismantle the structure. Sanders is fighting for the general population.

Stephanie Pio had a great breakdown the other day in her Instagram stories about “electability,” and how it’s essentially a media-driven popularity contest.

In her high school government class, she presented her students with the four front runners, stripped of almost all identity/opinion, on a spreadsheet that read like their resume. Categories included age, gender, past jobs, key issues.

The candidate that they found to be the most appealing at a macro level, who her students thought that most Americans would be happy with, was Warren.

I am personally tired of the popularity game. I will have conversations with folks in my life (that includes OMD) about why I support who I support, but I no longer care to debate/argue/convince others.

Edit: Stephanie can be found here:

That particular story is no longer available, but she frequently posts about politics, unions, health, her dog.

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