Election Watch 2016: Millennial Money Edition

Millennials are positioned to make a big impact in this year’s presidential election—if they turn out to vote.

  • Young voters were a key factor in the election of Barack ObamaObama won 66 percent of the under-30 vote in 2008 and 60 percent in 2012.
  • Young voter turnout increased substantially in the last two elections. About half of eligible voters aged 18-29 voted in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, compared to less than 40% of voters that age during the 1990s.
  • Young voters have the numbers to make a difference. For the first time, the millennial voting population equals that of baby boomers.

Today’s 20- and 30-somethings are facing unprecedented financial challenges, like unemployment, stagnant wages, and student loan debt. This year’s election is a huge opportunity for young voters to make their voices heard. The presidential candidates are talking (a lot) about finances and the economy, and our next president’s actions will likely have a big impact on everyone’s financial future.

Check out our guide below to the 2016 presidential candidates and their stances on the issues that impact young professionals’ financial health.

Student Loans & Education

Millennial Money Breakdown:

The Democratic candidates have been far more vocal on the subject of student loan debt, which impacts 42% of 18-29 year olds. It’s unclear whether the proposed plans would have the backing of Congress or the funding necessary to come to fruition, but it’s clear that student loans and the rising cost of education are top-of-mind for Sanders and Clinton, while Cruz and Trump are less focused on this subject.


“Costs won’t be a barrier; debt won’t hold you back.”

Proposed Plan

“The New College Compact”

In school:

  • Make in-state, four-year colleges “debt-free” (meaning students only pay what they can afford).
  • Make community colleges tuition-free.
  • Hold colleges and universities accountable for controlling costs and making tuition affordable.

Paying student loans:

  • Enable borrowers to refinance federal student loans with the government at lower interest rates.
  • Simplify income-driven repayment options for federal loans.

Who foots the bill?

Pay for these changes by limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers. For example, capping the value of all itemized deductions at 28%, which means someone in the 36% bracket who claims a $100 deduction would only reduce his tax bill by $28, instead of $36 under today’s rules.


“It’s time to make college tuition-free and debt-free.”

Proposed Plan

“College for All Act”

In school:

  • Make public colleges and universities tuition-free.
  • Expand need-based financial aid and work study programs to make college debt-free.
  • Substantially cut student loan interest rates (interest rates on undergraduate loans would drop from 4.29% to 2.37%)

Paying student loans:

  • Enable borrowers to refinance federal student loans with the government at today’s interest rates.

Who foots the bill?

Pay for these changes by imposing a tax on “Wall Street speculation”. Basically, a small tax on every stock (0.5%), bond (0.15%) and derivative (0.005%) trade done in the U.S.


“I think it’s terrible that one of the only profit centers we [the government] have is student loans.”

No stated plan as of yet.


“If we want this generation to be able to pay off their loans, we’ve got to return to an environment where small businesses are growing and flourishing, and creating jobs and opportunities.”

No stated plan as of yet.

  • Says he wants to dismantle the U.S. Department of Education, which funds grants, subsidized loans and work-study


Millennial Money Breakdown:

For anyone who hates doing their taxes, the Republicans’ plans would bring some relief in the form of simpler returns and lower tax bills. But critics worry about the lack of details about where spending cuts would come from. On the flip side, Sanders’ tax plan could mean higher taxes for more than the uber-wealthy—presumably what he’d need to fund some of his ambitious plans like the education initiative above.


“The wealthiest pay too little in taxes while the middle class needs more relief. I’m going to fix that.”

Raise or lower taxes?

Keep tax rates the same for most people, but add a 4% surtax on income and capital gains for those who earn over $5 million.


Cap the value of all itemized deductions at 28%.

Investment income:

Raise rates on medium-term capital gains (investments held for less than six years) for top earners to between 24%-39.6%.


“It is time to redistribute money back to the working families of this country from the top one-tenth of 1 percent, and tax policy is one of the ways we do that.”

Raise or lower taxes?

Raise the marginal tax rate for those who earn less than $250,000 by 2.2%; raise taxes for those who earn more than $250,000 by establishing four new brackets of 37%, 43%, 48%, and 52%.


Limit tax deductions to 28% for households with incomes over $250,000.

Investment income:

Tax capital gains and dividends at ordinary income rates for households with incomes over $250,000.


“Simplifying the tax code and cutting every American’s taxes will boost consumer spending, encourage savings and investment, and maximize economic growth.”

Raise or lower taxes?

Cut taxes by establishing four tax brackets with rates of 0%, 10%, 20% and 25%. The top rate applies to to income over $150,000 for single filers and $300,000 for joint filers.


  • Increase the standard deduction to $25,000 for single filers and $50,000 for married couples (about four times higher than the current one).
  • Reduce or eliminate most itemized deductions except charitable contributions and mortgage interest.
  • Allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from their tax returns.

Investment income:

Continue to offer today’s income-based tax rates rates of 0, 15%, and 20% on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends, plus eliminate the 3.8% net investment income surtax.


“We need to pass fundamental tax reform making our tax code simpler, flatter, fairer.”

Raise or lower taxes?

Cut taxes by establishing a flat rate of 10% on all ordinary income.


  • Increase the standard deduction to $10,000 per filer.
  • Eliminate all itemized deductions except charitable contributions and mortgage interest.

Investment income:

Lower the rate on capital gains and dividend income to 10%.

Estimated tax impact on a single, childless individual making $75,000/year:

Jobs & Wages

Millennial Money Breakdown:

On the subject of jobs, all parties agree that something’s gotta change. As for how to increase jobs and raise wages, the Pubs and Dems have fallen into pretty typical party lines with Clinton/Sanders advocating social programs and a higher minimum wage, and Trump/Cruz proposing lower taxes, U.S. trade protections, and incentives for businesses.


“The defining economic challenge of our time is raising incomes for hardworking Americans.” (hillaryclinton.com)

Job creation:

Create jobs by boosting public investment in infrastructure, clean energy and scientific/medical research.

Job training:

Provide a tax credit for businesses that create high-quality apprenticeships that lead to jobs.

Small business/entrepreneurship:

  • Expand access to capital by easing regulatory burdens on community banks.
  • Simplify tax filing to reduce burden of hiring tax/accounting help.
  • Improve infrastructure to make it easier to bring goods to new markets.
  • Provide incubators, mentoring, and training to 50,000 entrepreneurs and small-business owners in underserved communities.

Minimum wage:

Raise the federal minimum wage to $12/hour and expand overtime rules.

Gender pay gap:

Sign the Paycheck Fairness Act into law to drive gender pay equity.


“The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great economic issue of our time.” (berniesanders.com)

Job creation:

Create jobs through the “Rebuild America Act”, which would invest $1 trillion over five years to modernize US infrastructure. Also, increase US manufacturing jobs by reversing trade policies like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Job training:

Introduced the Employ Young Americans Now Act last year, which would spend $4 billion to provide one million jobs for Americans ages 16-24.

Small business/entrepreneurship:

  • Support low interest SMB loans
  • Reform the current patent system
  • Advocate for net neutrality
  • Reform the visa program

Minimum wage:

Raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour by 2020.

Gender pay gap:

Sign the Paycheck Fairness Act into law to drive gender pay equity.


“I will be the greatest job-producing president in American history.”

Job creation:

Create jobs by reforming the US-China trade relationship, for example by challenging China to adhere to the same labor and environmental standards that the US follows.

Small business/entrepreneurship:

  • Cap business tax at 15%
  • Repeal Obamacare
  • Eliminate the estate tax so SMBs can be passed to heirs.


“The best way to jumpstart (jobs) growth is through fundamental tax reform.”

Job creation:

Create jobs by approving the Keystone Pipeline and similar infrastructures.

Small business/entrepreneurship:

  • Lower business tax to 16%.
  • Eliminate the payroll tax.
  • Simplify tax code to reduce burden of hiring tax/accounting help.
  • Eliminate the estate tax so SMBs can be passed to heirs.
  • Repeal Obamacare
  • End Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

Money & Marriage Equality

Millennial Money Breakdown:

While marriage equality is a social issue, it also has a financial impact. When the Supreme Court struck down state bans on same-sex marriage last year, it opened the door for same-sex couples to experience the financial ramifications of being legally married, including collecting spousal social security benefits, contributing to spousal IRAs, filing joint taxes, and administering a spouse’s estate upon death. Both Trump and Cruz have stated they would appoint Supreme Court judges to overturn the current ruling, which would end these considerations for same-sex couples.


“LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones – and they are full and equal citizens, and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage.”


“I have supported same-sex marriage and voted against Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act. You can’t claim to support equality and not support equal rights.”


“I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.”


“Five unelected judges ignored the Constitution and purported to tear down the marriage laws of all 50 states. That decision was fundamentally illegitimate, it was lawless, and it will not stand.”


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50 thoughts on “Election Watch 2016: Millennial Money Edition

  1. Jeff Rosenberg says:

    What of the Libertarian candidates? The Libertarian nominee will be on the ballot in all 50 states this fall, and will be the only viable nationwide candidate that isn’t part of the Dem/GOP political cartel that has led us to our current dysfunction. I find the exclusion of that party odd for an article meant to appeal to notably inclusive Millenials.

  2. Dennis L Noah says:

    So what is the conclusion? Like all millennials she is good at research but weak on analytical conclusions.

  3. American journalism at its best, Jeff. Only what they want the public to see.
    The headline lead me to think this article was about “how the millenials might vote”; instead it lists what 4 candidates’ ideas on various subjects.
    I wish they could campaign – promise better reporting, journalism in America.

  4. I can tell you this time you should vote for Trump, anyone except Hillary. I have been around a long time . I know you are highly educated but you do not know what I know. vote for Trump if you want use your education.

  5. This is an awesome app
    I love i

  6. James Carter says:

    I have very little/no doubt that if the majority of Millennials who voted for Obama, especially those who voted for him in both elections, objectively compared the overall condition of United States of America immediately pre-Obama to what it will be immediately post-Obama they will regret having voted for Obama.

  7. Andrew Braswell says:

    There is no conclusion. It was just to provide facts. Actually one of the better pieces I have read lately. Still slightly opinionated but far less so than most articles today. This is what journalism should be.

  8. I regret having voted for her husband. But this country deserves what it gets. Clintons, Bush, Obama….we are in a downward spiral.

  9. DianeWinter says:

    VOTING TRUMP is the only logical solution to USA economical issues. He may not know the political system like Hiliary, but his VP will. Trump will learn the ropes qyickly. You may not like his PC tendencies – who cares. He’s not out for personal gain like Clinton, who will ace Bernie out one way or another. Great comparison of candidates if Cruz was removed.

  10. I have NO doubt that you are incorrect.

  11. I can tell you this time you should vote for Hillary, anyone except Trump. I have been around a long time. I know yu are highly educated but you do not know what I know. vote for Hillary if you want use your education.

  12. robert wright says:

    What Libertarian? The Libertarian Party doesn’t have any solid candidates yet. You can’t get a reply from the Swiss Navy.

  13. robert wright says:

    Agreed. Anyone but Hillary. She is a pre-proven failure.

  14. This is such right wing bs…. Typical faux news reporting to their sheep

  15. Will Rohane says:

    I don’t see anything about the foreign policies of these would be presidents. With so many countries now hating us and several of them having THE BOMB, perhaps we should be hearing a bit more about their foreign policies.

  16. James, would you please elaborate on the “pre’s and posts of Obama”? Your answer will help many who read this looking for answers prior to voting. Thanks

  17. Facts are incorrect on here, showing favoritism towards Sanders.

  18. Obama care or the ACA has to be amended or repealed. This is what I do for a living over the past 30 years. I’ve written a book called ” The War on Medical Terrorism” …single payer Medicare for all. Not a difficult decision . Follow the direction of a visionary or push us into a bigger problem

  19. Go look at the US debt for the past 200 years then look at it since Obama took office. Get it?

  20. Tammi S. (GA) says:

    Wow! Talk about a biased report!

  21. Beautiful

  22. Well said

  23. Kathy Liso says:

    I was about to state the obvious as well. A Weak Conclusion IS ONE THAT Is Already written but not well done. She didn’t have one. .for that she can be judged. But I did not expect her to write one.
    I too like what her analysis is with the candidates solutions to current issues. Of course I can assume that Bernie and Hillary are going to tax us to death and Donald and Ted have a total different approach.
    Thank you for your input because if you didn’t, I was!

  24. Her analysis of tax increases says Bernie’s plan will increase taxes by $7590 per year on someone making over $75,000 per year and then says “big tax increases mostly on the rich”. Since when is $75,000 a year rich?? That’s more than a 10% increase! All the millennials that think their educations will be free should see that they will be paying for it for the rest of their lives, not for just a few years after graduation.

  25. I always wonder how my friends that voted for Obama feel today, but I don’t discuss politics with my Dem friends–it’s a hands off subject. But, today I have to say, I’m not a great Trump fan, but our country, in my opinion, cannot survive a Hillary or Bernie presidency. We need to clean house in DC on both sides of the aisle.
    Okay, America, take back our country, of the people and by the people!!!!

  26. I share the same feelings you have. We can’t continue to be a soft nation. A Democratic vote would drive things down. Is Trump a radical? Or does he come across that way because we have had such soft leaders for so long, both Republican and Democrat? Remember H. Bush, “we will be a softer more gentler nation”? Well, look at what we’ve become. I agree. Let’s take back our country and “Make America great again”!

  27. I find it stunning that so many think the right president is going to fix this nation’s problems.

  28. I agree with you.

  29. The wrong president amply increased our problems.

  30. Gene Wagner says:

    Gene says: let’s look at what the DEMS have done in the past. We no longer see as many African american workers in construction today because Imigration took there jobs, all to buy DEMS more votes. Millennials will no longer be able to find good paying jobs because the democrats kill off so many big paying jobs like in the coal & oil industries. Those of you wanting a better life & parents of them need to vote for the GOP or your kids will be the next generation living off the gov’t . With no future. When the DEMS have enough votes to have a one party system,
    there control over you will be devastating.

  31. Have you even researched Hillary or Bernie? I don’t like trump either but I will vote for him. Hillary will give us 4 more years of Obama policies and worse. Bernie will break and destroy the country in minutes. He will pass all his big spending promises in the first week. Trump isn’t perfect but so far he not let us down while in office. He has never been in office. Hillary and Bernie are lifers. They are very liberal. It’s a proven fact any city or state going broke,high crime and poverty very high is run by liberals. That facts and simple math. If you have a hard time with numbers I can help. I do know one thing I like about Trump he will lower the debt and balance the budget. That should be first on the list for any POTUS. 20 trillion in debt and growing can’t be sustained. I have children and grandchildren and I’m ashamed of the way we are leaving this country to them. I voted for bill back in the day. I voted for Hillary in 08. Now I vote for who I think will at least slow down the madness. He can slow down the corruption, fire the liars and suck ups. Clean out many of the alphabet soup of agencies we don’t need so many of. Stop the fed employees from being a lifer job no matter what mistakes they make. If you have kids and grandkids and vote for Hillary who has showed us her best and it’s her worst then you will reap what you sew. The sad part is your family will to. You should be very proud when the bottom falls out and stand and shout I voted for this idiot who bankrupted this country and now we will have fight for food or die . And that’s the rest of the story. There won’t be Hillary groupies coming to feed your family and pay your rent. You can bet on that. When it gets bad the rich folks will leave like rats on a sinking. Ship. Then your family can thank you I tell you how proud they are when their starving or sick. Shame on you.

  32. Being around,84 years, having been a small business man with a school teacher for a wife, having traveled all over the world, having raised two children who I sent to two prestigious top rated universities with no college loans or any gov’t. Assistance, having accumulated sufficient capital to be debt free with both of my children and two grandchildren attending top rated universities with no gov’t. Loans or assistance, having accumulated sufficient wealth that allows me to travel anywhere in the world and still be able to help my children/grandchildren, ………..considering all of the above, I feel that I can offer up my feelings .
    First I am the luckiest “dawg” in the world having been born in Texas and the USA with all of the rights and opportunities that I have enjoyed and that I was able to seize these opportunities. I am saddened that in this great country is that we are able to come up with only Lying, crooked Hillary and dangerous Donald to lead…SAD, SAD SAD. We cannot be PROUD OF BRAGGART DONALD OR LYING HILLARY, ARROGANT OBAMA,THE BUSH SONS,, GOOD TIME BILL WITH THE MORALS OF AN ALLEY CAT, THE NAIVE PEANUT FARMER, AND THE LIST GOES ON.,
    I am beginning to think, forgive me for saying this, that we should consider remodeling our government on the British model, but that is the only thing the beggars of Europe has that seems to work.

  33. You draw your own conclusions from the policy positions she listed for each candidate. Pleased with this format in trying to document their policy positions so some folks would have a better grasp of what these candidates propose to offer.

    Need more of this.
    One “fact” I do know is that I can not support Hillary. Her email fiasco indicated her ego takes precedence over law and security controls in place.
    I also feels she parrots what she thinks folks want to hear. I feel with her in the White House we would get 4 more years of worsening mediocre.

  34. over 300 million people in this country and Clinton and Trump are the best we got??? Sad times for America

  35. Did you just copy Dean’s post from above or are. You being unsure of what to post?????

  36. https://www.facebook.com/199185580460366/photos/a.199191697126421.1073741828.199185580460366/218989065146684/?type=3. Trump will be a great president! This is the way they treated Ronald Reagan ,the best president of this century. Pay no attention to the morons like Lindsey Graham and all the other rinos who want to keep the status quo even if we lose our country. They should have already kicked out Obama if they were doing their jobs . And these young people who want a socialist country do not know what it is , they have been brain washed by socialist prof. And don’t know what they are asking for! Ask a person who has Liived under it ! The rep. Are only. Heaping coals on their heads !

  37. The young people of this country had better change your thinking on Trump. If you want to have the life you so enjoy now , by voting for Obama or Hillary you have almost destroyed it . And it may be too late to save it! But Trump is the only choice , !!!!! I believe God has put him her for this time, but people have to make the right choice.

  38. Where exactly are all these rich going to go? They didn’t get rich selling to each other….. They need us as much as we need them. There’s no power without the people.

  39. How is this showing favoritism towards Bernie exactly? It clearly states that the tax rate would be Higher than any other candidate….

  40. How about Gary Johnson. That’s who this millennial is voting for. I don’t even see him on here

  41. Its a tough political landscape to overcome. Remember the 47% Romney talked about. Well, its probably higher than that now. They want free stuff. And if Hillary is going to bait them with that…its going to work…regardless of how horrible she is on everything else. Benghazi…emails…picking a terrible husband….Lybia….the Russian reset…I could go on and on and on. It does not matter….the free stuff trumps everything else. Like Hillary says…”what difference does it make”….she’s there santa claus and she will win. I just hope the repubs can hold onto the senate…most of those states ate still red. Although…this current repub party is quite spineless. Whats really sad though is that the supreme ct is going liberal. That will create an irreversible problem and there is nowhere to go.

  42. James woodall says:

    It does not require a Ph.D. In economics to understand the overall economy improves by nurturing and supporting business activities and making business friendly tax considerations. There. Can anyone argue that?

  43. How can they report the news better if they never paid attention in junalism classes. Send them back to school nod tke spring break away from them oh I’m sorry spring break is all yer for most of the.

  44. Wow, Mike you have some convoluted thoughts in that over the hill-mind of yours don’t you. Don’t worry I’ll be over the hill soon too, but with a less (how to say this????) foxy-right side talk radio view of the world than you. I tend to agree with the shared opinion of “how the hell are these our only choices”…….. However, donald with a little d is literally the most dangerous man on the planet right now. Would you let the people you love live in a house with a feral animal…….they are very unstable, erratic, inconsistent, and unpredictable, not to mention dangerous………….both of them. America is headed for destruction either way. The only question is do you want it to happen in the year 2017 or sometime later. I vote for sometime later……… I still have so many internet posts/replies to write.

  45. “ABSOLUTLY”!!!

  46. This article is a useful and functional piece. We need more journalistic expression that is ultimately unbiased, simple, and cuts through the b——T. This is what Americans want to make decisions.

  47. holy crap, this comments section is a total shitshow! wtf is happening to this country? half the comments have so many spelling and grammatical errors, one can’t entirely tell what they are trying to say. and the majority seem to believe whatever lies they’re fed by the right-wing establishment and media.

    first off, this is not an article by a journalist. it is a BLOG POST on the blog for a for-profit social finance company.

    now, for the candidates: trump is a lying, bigoted, power-hungry lunatic. clinton on the other hand is the most intelligent, experienced, hard-working, and thus well-qualified presidential candidate we have had in decades. if you don’t vote for her, what you are voting for, is is the ruining of our great nation. do so at your peril, my friends.

  48. Agree. Points out that Demos seem to have a difficult time receiving data, assimilating it, discerning ramifications of strategy and the application of logic.

  49. Wow, what an incredibly slanted article. No bias here. It’s scary that many people vote according to the nonsense they read rather than doing their due diligence.

    The author of this article is clearly a Democratic.

    There is no such thing as reporting news anymore. All the media and journalists do is sell it. And they always sell it to align with their own personal beliefs.

  50. I couldn’t agree with you more Gene. Scary times for our country. Between the news media and the college professors brainwashing all of the younger folks, we are in a desperate situation.

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