In her 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton outlined her ideas for fixing the American economy by creating a system that benefits middle class Americans and increases the burden on the upper class. Her ideas centered around closing loopholes that allow the wealthy to pay fewer taxes than the working class, and lowering tax rates for working class families. She believed that by raising taxes on Wall Street and decreasing taxes for small business, we could stimulate the economy and increase tax revenue, which would allow for investment in education and infrastructure.
It is clear through public opinion and staggeringly low numbers of Americans who identify as capitalists, that Americans have lost faith in our Market economy. While politicians throw around ideas of how to fix it, through breaking up big banks or strengthening financial regulation, the actual problem goes much deeper than that. The financial sector was essentially created to serve business, but today, only 15% of its capital is being used to fund business, the rest, for the most part, is being used for lending against existing assets. The financial sector has overstepped its bounds; it now controls the actions of businesses and corporations, rather than helping them. Following the market crash of 2008, the government should have worked to refocus and shrink the financial sector, and while there is no quick fix for the American economy, starting this conversation and working towards these goals is the only way to correct our capitalism.
In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 50% of Americans and 81% of Trump supporters agreed that the American standard of living is worse than it was 50 years ago. While many statistics such as crime rates, disease rates, and median incomes would prove this statement wrong, it is assumed that the root of this belief stems from the fact that living standards aren’t rising as fast as they used to, so citizens are less hopeful for the future generations. The underlying problem in these times is a lagging growth in productivity, which causes slow economic growth, and leaves many feeling as though they are being left behind. These feelings are nothing that can be fixed by politicians, but a boost in productivity or advancement in technology would go a long way in improving not only the American economy, but American's perceptions of the economy.
It became clear in the recent presidential election that the economy is a top priority for the majority of American voters, and although the economy is in a much better place than it was 8 years ago, there is still progress to be made through corporate tax reform, a boost in consumer confidence, and an increase infrastructure spending. So far, politicians on either side of the aisle have yet to seriously debate how stimulate the economy, but the aforementioned ideas would be a great place to start.
The economic issues in America today cannot be fixed by the government, but by Americans themselves. The root of the problem lies with consumer spending, because when half of all Americans are earning less than $30,000 a year as they currently are, they have little money to spend in the economy. The increased inequality between the 1% and the working class has only aggravated the problem, slowing down the economy. The profitability of American companies is rising, but one theory as to why is that they are paying low wages to their workers, so while money is being introduced into the economy, the consumers are suffering. If corporations were to hire more Americans and pay them higher wages, they would be investing in America’s future and stimulating the economy.