Millions of Americans are struggling financially right now. As election season enters its final stretch, you can expect the harsh economy to be the front-and-center issue of both candidates’ campaigns. Financial problems are more than just campaign talking points; they have the potential to seriously impact your wallet long after the U.S. has chosen a president. It is critical that you take a stance on pressing economic issues and think of Election Day as an opportunity to express your own financial worries. Here are four major issues to be aware of before you enter the voting booth on November 6th:
1. Tax reform: Billions of dollars in tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of 2012 could bring another recession to the horizon unless Congress acts. While most agree that lower and middle class families shouldn’t see a tax hike; the heart of the issue lies in the highest tax brackets and whether they will see an increase. Both parties have occasionally expressed an interest in a complete overhaul of the tax code, but the odds of that happening are virtually zero.
2. Student debt: The cost of a college education has continued to increase at a staggering rate. Total student loan debt has surpassed more than a trillion dollars, with the average borrower owing upwards of $20,000. The candidates hold different opinions on not only the state of but the future of student loan debt it is important to not only think of how your vote could affect your financial situation but the also the financial future of generations to come.
3. Healthcare: For many families, healthcare is placing a further financial strain on monthly budgets. Since 2000, insurance premiums have nearly doubled (from $1.3 trillion to $2.5 trillion) at a rate three times faster than wages, yet rising premiums are only one of the ways families shoulder the burden of rising health care costs. Often times, a medical emergency or unexpected medical crisis can throw a family into significant debt that can be very difficult to overcome. Lowering healthcare costs is one of the most important challenges of the next decade and government must take action on this before consumers see another dramatic increase in premiums and another blow to their monthly budget.
4. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs: The unemployment rate is the single most talked-about figure of the 2012 election. Right now it stands at 8.1 percent. That’s down from a high of 10 percent three years ago, but is still much higher than the 5 percent rate that existed before the economic downturn began in 2008. If the government fails to avoid the “fiscal cliff” looming at year’s end, the unemployment rate could skyrocket again.
What financial issue is the most important to you in the upcoming election?
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