A Guest Post by George Diaz
Yep, America decided a few days ago to elect one of the most unqualified, xenophobic, racist, bigoted megalomaniac presidential candidates in history, and now we are less than 2 months away from 4 years of a Trump regime. Don’t worry, I know you’re probably tired of reading political articles, and just need a break from the back n forth so this post is not going to go down that road. I just want to point out a few things that may potentially adversely impact the Latino community in the US should president-elect Donald Trump follow through with his campaign promises.
This, despite the fact that he has called Mexican immigrants criminals, rapists, murderers, said he’d build a wall on the Southern border that Mexico will pay for, and even lashed out at a Mexican federal judge more recently. Still, Donald Trump supporters somehow always overlook his outlandish behavior with the logic that the good that he will provide (e.g. jobs, economic growth, trade reform, etc.) outweighs the fact that he seems to have no moral compass. What PR Secrets does he know that the rest of us don’t?
Anyway, I digress. But seriously, out of the numerous proposals he plans on implementing during his first 100 days of presidency, there are a few that will disproportionately affect the Latino community.
One of the signature policies of the Obama administration that helped millions of people get health insurance might be repealed. The fact that it took so long for one for the richest countries in the world to achieve (sort of) universal healthcare is a mystery. Don’t get me wrong, Obama himself will tell you that it is far from a perfect system, but rather than tweaking and adjusting some policies within the overall plan, Trump has promised to dismantle it entirely.
He would, instead, ask that:
- Health insurance is deducted from income taxes.
- Allow insurance companies to operate across state lines, giving more insurers more choices.
The rationale is that more choice would lead to more competition and lower prices. Speaking of prices, he aims to make it easier for insurers to know exactly what they’re paying for hospital and doctor visits. Still, premiums under the exchanges within Obamacare are actually cheaper, on average, despite the increased premiums, than those on the private market. Again, I don’t see why these adjustments can’t be made to the existing Obamacare plan instead of threatening to scrap it altogether and endanger millions of newly insured people but I digress. Needless to say, depending on your health insurance status, this legislation will potentially have the biggest impact on your expenses.
New Mothers and Benefits for Paid Leave
Trump has called for a “dependent care savings account.” This would enable a $2,000 per year tax-free contribution that can be used for school, childcare, or other related expenses. This would facilitate the transition back to the workforce for new mothers. There are also other proposed benefits including up to $1,000 for low-income families. You can read details of the proposal here.
The jury is still up in the air on this proposal as this could result in a tax increase for several families headed by single mothers, but all we can do is wait and see for now.
Speaking of taxes, Trump has a few ideas. He has promised to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15% not just for huge companies, but for small business owners as well. He also claims that no families earning less than $30,000 will have to pay taxes.
Middle class workers earning approximately $50,000 would realize a NET increase of about $1,000/year while those earning $500,000+ would see a NET increase of nearly $100,000! Naturally, details are sparse about how we can afford these tax cuts, but the general response has been that the overall increases in economic growth will more than make up for any tax cuts and proposed benefits. Again, you can view details of the plan here
This might be the most controversial of Trump’s policies. Obviously, there has been overt racist behavior from white nationalists, the KKK, Trump rally supporters, newly appointed Trump cabinet member Kris Kobach etc. The list goes on. The point is that many believe that immigrants have taken away jobs from working class Americans and that a mass deportation will somehow result in job restoration for millions. They even believe that building a wall is a good idea because it will help create jobs! Can’t make this stuff up.
Anyway, I’ll spare you the details as you can read about them on your own, but the gist of it is this:
- Trade with Mexico will invariably suffer as there will be a proposed 45% tariff imposed on imports.
- He has proposed re-introducing stop-and-frisk, which has been proven to target our brown brothers and sisters unfairly.
- A fearful country that has already illegally detained 10s of thousands of immigrants will have a leader who openly despises immigrants. This will only further stoke the fears and beliefs of those who believe that America somehow “belongs” to white people.
I started out by stating that I wouldn’t make this piece political but it’s simply too hard to overlook the potential ramifications of a Trump presidency. I’ll try to keep an open mind and hope that rationality and the good decency of (most) of the American people will prevail, but either way, we are in store for a tumultuous 4 years.
George Diaz writes at Sobredinero.com, a personal finance site catered to Latinos in the US.
Also published on Medium.