When Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris recently said, “the economy is a disaster,” I thought of both the millions of Americans who get up and go to work every day grateful for the job they have and the many others who are not as fortunate.
Since Harris made the comment during the vice presidential debate, it has yielded a deeper discussion on taxes, spending and jobs, which is exactly what America needs. Whether you are a plumber, a teacher, a stay-at-home mom, or a CEO, the economic issues affect all of us. It decides what is left in our bank account, how intrusive the government will be in our lives, and indeed, whether or not we can get up and go to work. The vision laid out by the vice presidential candidates ought to help voters make an informed and educated decision in this election.
But what we didn’t hear at the debate were actual numbers – what these different visions would cost and how those costs translate to the economy. What do these both parties' platforms mean to you and your family? This is why the organization I am privileged to lead, The James Madison Institute, took on the challenge of diving into the facts and figures to answer those questions. We focused our attention on five critical swing states – Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio, the very states that will more than likely decide the election.
The Biden-Harris agenda would amount to more than $36 trillion over the next 10 years – yes that’s trillion with a “T.” They would repeal the Trump-Pence tax cuts, implement a complete government takeover of healthcare in favor of a socialized system, and enact the Green New Deal in favor of eliminating traditional energy sources. Examining these policies in the wake of a prolonged Covid economic downturn is shocking to state budgets – to the tune of more than $27 billion in shortfalls across the five states.
We all know that Washington, D.C. doesn’t create anything – they take and redistribute. The price tag for these programs will come from your household budget. How much? We took a look at that as well. A family of four in these battleground states would see a staggering increase of between $32,000 and $42,000 for a family of four, depending on the state. That is on top of existing federal tax responsibilities. So – tens of thousands more sent to the federal government by families across the country, in return for the hopes dreams of government doctors, solar power at night, and “free” college for all.
As with any debate, there was also heated rhetoric about job growth. JMI looked at the numbers empirically and when comparing job growth, our analysis revealed a stark contrast in annual job creation as a direct result of each candidate’s economic agenda. Imagine an economy that creates 144,000 fewer jobs per year in Florida, or one that creates 82,000 fewer per year in Pennsylvania, or 79,000 fewer per year in Ohio. Because that’s what the numbers say.
When seeing a number like 144,000 fewer jobs, it’s vital to know that each of these figures represents a person and their struggle – a new college graduate trying to start a career, an accountant trying to survive the next round of layoffs, the small business owner that can’t make payroll under the crushing regulations of D.C.
What we have all learned together this year is that the economy can turn on a dime, and policies matter greatly. We face a perilous fight to return to prosperity, and what happens in Washington, D.C. will filter down to each state in different ways. Both presidential candidates would approach America’s challenges differently, and their policy agendas absolutely reflect that. Those agendas will have tremendous and long-lasting impacts on our economy. It’s why we encourage everyone to vote like your economy depends on it. Because in so many ways, this year it truly does.