As I steamed milk and poured coffees at my on-campus job on October 9th, I had the radio on full volume tuned into the second presidential debate of this year’s election. It felt like one of those historical moments that they portray in TV shows or movies when people gathered around a radio or watched a small TV screen to hear of John F. Kennedy’s assassination or to watch the first astronaut be launched into space. Now, in 2016, there were college students piled around the counter, lingering long after their much-needed caffeine intake, just to hear what was happening.
“Come on, when are they going to actually talk about what really matters, the policy?” a female college student addressed this to Donald Trump on the radio behind me as I handed her the latte she ordered. After she walked away, I began to listen to the debate again, and she was right. The debate was more or less a slaughtering of each candidate’s character, and I walked away getting little to no information on what each candidate would do.
For most of us, it is probably the first presidential election we can actually vote in. Like some college women, you may be wondering how the policies these candidates talk about directly impact you. While some of you as college women may have certain issues that are very important to you for our next country’s leader.
Putting aside the personal jabs at the candidate’s characters and pasts, I decided to strip the election down to the studs, and focus on what every election should be about: the policy. I go into detail about six different issues that I think directly affect college women across our nation, and issues that our age group truly have been caring about, and issues that you should care about too!
Why should you care? After graduation, the track that most of us have in mind involves landing a job! It’s important as a college student to keep an eye on the job market and know what we’ll be going into when we graduate. Currently, companies hired 5% more of 2016 grads than the year before, and we are going to a positive job market compared to the past.
JOB MARKET AND INFRASTRUCTURE
HILLARY: Promises 10.4 Million new jobs by making “the boldest investment since World War II” in job infrastructure. Will put forth $10 billion into a “Make it in America Plan” to retract jobs from offshore to onshore. Wants to provide tax relief and expand access to capital for small businesses.
DONALD: Promises 25 Million new jobs in the next decade by increasing the GDP each year. Promises to take back jobs from Foreign Countries to lower the unemployment rate in America and bring jobs back to this country. Strong views of no federal involvement in small businesses.
HILLARY: Yes on increasing the minimum wage: Increase the national minimum wage to $12 and to $15 in some locations.
DONALD: No on increasing the minimum wage: wants to abolish the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and to leave it up to state governments to decide the minimum wage.
Why should you care? The average college student has $37,172 in student loan debt by the time they graduate, yikes! If you’re in the national average, chances are you may be leaving with some sort of debt by the time we graduate and take off into the real world. This is consistently one of the top issues for college voters (and for good reason!) since it is one policy that will directly impact us in the coming years.
HILLARY: Put forward a plan to have “debt-free” public in-state college for those whose family’s income is below $125,000 annually. Plans to do this by increasing her tax terms on the rich. Plans to have students be able to refinance their college loans since it is the only bank loan that cannot be refinanced.
DONALD: Promises to work with Congress to pressure institutions with large endowments to spend more on students or face a loss of tax-exemption status. Believes that student loans should be private banks business, not the government.
Why should you care? Probably one of the scariest words in the adult dictionary and one of the biggest political issues discussed across the board. You should care because we will, unfortunately, be paying them really soon, you are even paying federal taxes right now if you have an on-campus job! It’s important to know how much you will be paying in taxes with how much income you will be receiving once you graduate. (Make sure you know what our current tax brackets looks like!)
HILLARY: Will be making modest tweaks to the tax system, but generally keeping it the same. The change to the current tax plan will be to increase taxes for the wealthier brackets.
DONALD: Proposes an across the board tax cut for all economic classes by consolidating the existing seven brackets into three, which will reduce the tax rate for everybody.
Why should you care? It is one of the hottest topics in the recent political debate and more importantly you’re a woman! Whether you are a feminist or not, it’s important to know what the government has got to say on your rights. The government has always been intertwined in women’s rights from obtaining the right to vote to now securing the wage gap!
THE WAGE GAP
HILLARY: Is for closing the wage gap and is promoting pay transparency across the board as well as trying to implement the Paycheck Fairness Act.
DONALD: Has an unclear stance on the gender wage gap. Has stated that he is for reducing the gap, but his latest stance is, “[Women] are [going to] make the same if [they] do as good a job.”
ABORTION / WOMEN’S HEALTH
HILLARY: Supports keeping abortion legal with restrictions on late-term pregnancies. Hillary stands with Planned Parenthood. Pledged to protect women’s health and to push for more affordable birth control.
DONALD: Denounces legal abortion with exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and mother’s health. Trump pushes to defund Planned Parenthood, due to abortions. Believes that birth control should not be prescribed but more of an over the counter medication.
HILLARY: Yes, has publicly stated that she will fight for paid leave for women.
DONALD: Yes, child care policy he created states that women would be able to have up to six weeks paid leave after having a child.
Why should you care? Climate Change is currently one of the biggest international threats and is an issue that has a lot of small parts affecting the bigger problem: clean energy, fracking, fossil fuel dependency, and more. Big on campuses, college activists have made climate change one of the biggest issues that twenty-year-olds fight for. From The LaLa check out, how climate change even directly impacts women.
HILLARY: Plans to invest in clean energy, in hopes of making America the leading Clean Energy country. Wants to ban offshore drilling and plans on keeping the United States in the Paris Climate Accord. Will not be banning fracking, but instead restricting it. She also wants to end the Keystone XL pipeline.
DONALD: Does not believe in climate change. Plans to take the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. Wants to keep public lands in control of the government and believes not climate change, but clean water is the biggest environmental issue we are currently facing.
Why should you care? With the recent move over to the Affordable Care Act underneath the Obama administration, you are allowed to stay on your parent’s insurance until you are twenty-six years old. Coming out of college, it’s helpful that you still have insurance! However, there has been a lot of criticism about the ACA with actual affordability issues. What the candidates believe can affect how our healthcare will change and we need to stay on top of it! Another health issue that is important to keep on your radar during elections is mental health. Suicide is the second most leading cause of death in those aged 15-34.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
HILLARY: Plans to defend the Affordable Care Act. Plans to expand access to families of immigration status and promise to bring down out of pocket healthcare costs such as co-pays
DONALD: Plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with Health Saving Accounts and promises to work with congress to create a better patient-centered health care system.
HILLARY: Plans to put in place a nationwide suicide prevention program as well as increase funding for community centered mental health institutions.
DONALD: Agrees that we need to reform mental health programs and institutions. Congress is making great progress in this step and Trump will defend whatever they put on the table.
Image via Anna Schultz