Post-Debate Reality Check: How Biden and Trump Will Handle Your Finances

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This year has given countless Americans one financial worry after another, from the fluctuating stock market to waiting weeks — or months — for unemployment payments to hit their bank accounts amid the coronavirus pandemic. And the economic uncertainty of 2020 isn’t over. It’s a presidential election year, after all, and elections typically impact the moves of investors.

Trying to decipher all of the political rhetoric is tough, especially at a time when a divisive atmosphere makes it difficult to get a straight answer — that’s especially true after the combative first presidential debate. So, here’s a quick guide on some of the major issues, from the minimum wage to income taxes, that could impact your wallet come Election Day in November. Every American likely will be affected in some way by who wins the White House this fall, making it worth your time to be sure you know what incumbent Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden stand for.

Last updated: Sept. 30, 2020

Student Loan Debt

Former Vice President Joe Biden (Democrat): Supports addressing the problem by expanding or supporting existing programs, such as the Obama administration’s income-driven repayment initiative and those that forgive student loan debt if the borrower takes part in certain forms of public service. Has expressed support for some loan forgiveness for low-income borrowers.

President Donald Trump (Republican): Has opposed opportunities to forgive loans through public service and wants to eliminate those opportunities, along with existing income-driven repayment programs.

Reopening the Economy

Biden: Has cautioned against reopening until the country ramps up testing for COVID-19 and said he’ll listen to scientists on reopening.

Trump: Has advocated for faster reopening, even continuing to do so amid rising infection rates in certain areas of the country.

Economic Recovery

Biden: Supports offering financial support to states to allow them to extend unemployment benefits, and he’s presented plans for trillions in new spending to help create jobs.

Trump: Supports a payroll tax cut and signed legislation that included trillions of dollars in one-time support for employers and individuals.


Biden: Has criticized the Trump 2017 tax cut and advocates returning the top tax bracket to 39.6% from its current rate of 37%.

Trump: Has touted the 2017 tax cut as being crucial to economic growth during his first term and is critical of any effort to raise taxes on anyone.

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Biden: Has advocated plans for supporting domestic manufacturing, including investing $700 billion in industrial research and American-made products that he believes will create 5 million jobs.

Trump: Has been a loud critic of free trade and has engaged in a lengthy trade war with China that has yet to produce significant results in trade policy.

Affordable Care Act

Biden: Has been a vocal proponent of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and is proposing an influx of $750 billion in new spending over the next decade to strengthen the law, financed by raising taxes on the wealthy.

Trump: Campaigned on repealing the Affordable Care Act in 2016 and has continued to attempt to dismantle the law throughout his time in office, through both executive actions and the courts.

Drug Prices

Biden: Supports the bill passed by the House of Representatives last year that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices in the same way private insurers do.

Trump: Has focused on the lower cost of drugs abroad, calling for basing Medicare prices on drug prices in other countries as well as importing drugs from nations with lower prices.


Biden: Wants to lower the eligibility age for Medicare to 60, giving access to an additional 20 million Americans.

Trump: Wants work requirements for Medicaid, caps on growth in Medicaid spending and distribution of Medicaid funds via block grants presented to states.

Climate Change

Biden: Has proposed a $2 trillion investment in his first term — along with research into advanced models for nuclear energy — with a goal of reaching 100% clean energy generation by 2035.

Trump: Has rejected science on climate change and has touted his efforts to roll back Obama-era rules on power plants but also favors advanced nuclear energy.

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Auto Emissions

Biden: Supports increasing emissions standards for automobiles that were created during the Obama administration. Also wants incentives for producing zero-emission cars, a new federal procurement program to put clean vehicles in federal fleets and a mandate for all new buses to be zero emissions by 2030.

Trump: Described Obama administration standards as a major anchor on the American auto industry and replaced them with a much lower bar in March.

Big Tech

Biden: Has criticized major tech firms during his campaign and proposed a new minimum federal tax for companies such as Amazon. Has said he would explore breaking up big tech firms.

Trump: Has had an adversarial relationship with some major tech firms, implied that some of them have a monopoly and launched a broad antitrust investigation into the tech industry.

Social Media

Biden: Has called for revoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which exempts social media platforms from being held liable for posts made by users. Also has called for Facebook to fact-check ads from politicians.

Trump: Long has accused social media platforms of exhibiting an anti-conservative bias without any evidence to support the assertion. Made an executive order — though one that appears unlikely to survive a legal challenge — to increase regulatory oversight and weaken Section 230.

Data Privacy

Biden: Wants data privacy standards that are similar to those that exist in most of Europe.

Trump: Has shown support for efforts in Congress to create a bill to protect user data. Pushed hard for laws that would force Apple to unlock phones seized from criminals.

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Broadband Access

Biden: Wants to invest $20 billion in a rural broadband project — paid for by tax increases on businesses and richer Americans — designed to expand access to high-speed internet in remote areas.

Trump: Expressed commitment to securing high-speed internet for every American and supported a $20 billion plan for expanding access in rural areas that was announced in January.


Biden: Advocates wearing masks as a way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in public spaces, citing clear evidence of their effectiveness in doing so in most other countries. Has called for a national mask mandate.

Trump: Resists calls to wear a mask in public and repeatedly has politicized the wearing of a mask.


Biden: Calls for any efforts to return to normal be mitigated by the best scientific evidence. Has said that he would shut down reopenings if they are followed by an outbreak.

Trump: Intentionally misled the public on the severity of the coronavirus early in 2020 as part of an effort to prevent a panic, as shown by transcripts of an interview the president did with journalist Bob Woodward.

Education Funding

Biden: Has expressed broad support for increasing resources available to educators and parents across the country as part of efforts to reduce the inequalities that exist between districts.

Trump: Has supported school choice initiatives that would give parents the right to use public money on private school tuition, including reallocating $5 billion in education funding to support a federal voucher program.

Workers Rights

Biden: Wants to establish minimum collective bargaining rights for public employees and create a cabinet-level group to support labor organizing.

Trump: Expresses broad support for workers but opposes unions in most cases. Has spoken out against the influence of organized labor in the political decisions of their membership.


Minimum Wage

Biden: Wants to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour.

Trump: Has not expressed direct interest in an increase of the minimum wage to $15 but said wages should go up. He also has supported a payroll tax cut that would put more money into Americans’ pockets.

Reopening Schools

Biden: Supports new federal spending on equipment and training that would allow for safer reopening plans.

Trump: Has placed school reopening among his top priorities, insisting that life cannot return to normal without it. Has ignored recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as White House guidelines on delaying physical reopenings until there’s a documented slowing of the spread of the coronavirus and other flu-like illnesses.

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This article originally appeared on Post-Debate Reality Check: How Biden and Trump Will Handle Your Finances

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