In Part One, I took a look at the economic policies of Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley.
I broke their ideas into the categories of wages, banking policies and taxes.
I also noted other policies relevant to entrepreneurs, small businesses and related freelance types.
Now, on to the third and final candidate, one Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In Part One, I noted Sanders’ and O’Malley’s support for a $15 minimum wage. For Clinton, the number is $12.
She’s on record as saying $15/hour isn’t appropriate in all communities. While it’s unclear what impact a minimum raise bump may have on entrepreneurs and small businesses offering professional services, its creation of disposable income should help most others.
Clinton stands apart from her opponents in her opposition to reinstating the Glass-Steagall regulations that essentially forbid banks from gambling with their customers’ money. However, she argues that it’s mostly a matter of semantics, since she has a plan that would go farther that Glass-Steagall.
In general, she fights a perception that she’s cozy with Wall Street. Not only did she represent them as a senator from New York, but she has received many donations from big banks, for which she was called out in Saturday’s debate.
“Small businesses” is a two-word phrase that Clinton uses as often as Sanders utters the phrase “income inequality.” This past summer, Secretary Clinton made stops at many small businesses across the country.
A recent Washington Post news analysis tells us that Clinton’s priorities are to “cut red tape, simplify tax filings, target more tax credits to small business owners and make it easier to get financing.” One pines for some concrete details.
Like Sanders, Clinton has other ideas and policies that would be helpful to small businesses and entrepreneurs. At the same time, some of her push for humane policies regarding women and LGBT people in the workplace cause worry for some business owners.
If we accept the premise — and how can we not? — that less expensive education will provide a general economic stimulus helpful to us all, Clinton is a Sanders-lite on this issue. She isn’t ready to promise federal grants big enough to cover tuition, but she is in favor of lower-interest student loans and free tuition on the community college level.
As far as healthcare and its effects on small businesses, Clinton is in favor of Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act and wants to expand it. As with other issues, some of the impacts of this may be in the eye of the beholder.
Of the three candidates, Clinton is the only one who expressly offers tax cuts to small businesses, so far as available information reveals.
Can we conclude which candidate would be the best for entrepreneurs, small businesses, freelancers and fellow travelers?
It depends on what we consider to be the chief benefits. Sanders has a sweeping healthcare plan that relieves businesses of the responsibility of paying for insurance plans and relieves the self-employed of buying insurance on the market. Clinton’s plan would probably keep us near where we are under Obama.
Clinton seems to have small businesses more expressly in mind than the others. Recall, Sanders has voted against tax cuts for small businesses, with the tax cut generally not figuring heavily in his arsenal.
While O’Malley has cut taxes for all but the top 15 percent in Maryland, he has placed so many taxes on casinos, gas, etc. that he is known as the “tax man.” He’s gotten as much criticism for how his tax policies have allegedly hurt business as he’s been patted on the back for lowering income taxes for 85 percent of citizens.
Sanders has a bolder and more sweeping vision for the economy in general. If his plans were passed, benefits for owners of their own business would probably come from an uptick in the economy across the board rather than from loopholes, deductions and incentives aimed at them expressly.
Some people are skeptical of Clinton’s claims, while many find Sanders’ to be pie in the sky. O’Malley backs up all of his claims with policies he’s already passed in Maryland. But he’s polling dismally.
It’s clear that each of them does have something to offer small businesses and entrepreneurs. How that will play out as the race continues will be something to watch.