How the economy might look for people of color under a Clinton presidency
With the upcoming election, there is great uncertainty in regards to the direction that the country will follow. We now have two candidates with completely polarized views who are poised to take control of, without a doubt, the most influential country in the world, meaning that great changes are bound to come this November. Having said that, it is crucial, as citizens of this country, to understand the forthcoming implications of this election because it will affect every individual in every social and economic class. Most importantly, however, it will affect one of the most vulnerable subsections of the population, people of color.
Traditionally, people of color have always lagged behind other ethnic groups, socially and economically, not just in the United States, but other nations as well. A considerable number of researchers attribute this systemic problem to the institutional structures that have been implemented and inherited from previous generations that were, arguably, structured to benefit specific ethnic groups. Without going into specifics, people of color have historically been both actively and passively barred from the same opportunities that others have enjoyed throughout the course of recent history, leaving behind a variety of residual social problems.
For example, as discussed in a previous article I published, the income gap between Caucasians and African Americans in the United States throughout the last 50 years, while improving, still is substantial and presents multiple problems. It draws criticism due to the lack of initiative by the government, as a whole, to ameliorate these longstanding, continuous problems. Many have been asking themselves, and justifiable so, why isn’t there a concerted effort aimed at bringing, what we could refer to as economic and social justice, to modern-day America?
With every new election, it is with great hope that we, as Americans, experience positive change that will enlighten and improve the situations of our lives in this country. However, even with the last eight years of America’s first African American president, there is a feeling of discontent among the Hispanic and African American demographic, suggesting that despite having a president who is of color there has been a lack of economic progress in minority communities. So, many are looking ahead towards this next election with great zeal, eager to see tangible and credible change to the economy that will ultimately benefit them.
Due to the fact that Hillary Clinton is leading in most national polls, it is not farfetched to believe that she will be the next president. As mentioned previously, with every new president there is reason to believe that the country will follow a new direction, thus begging the question, “what will the country be like under Hillary Clinton?” Perhaps even more relevant to this discussion, “how will the lives of people of color in America change with Hillary Clinton in the White House?”
In order to answer such a question, it is pertinent to analyze and familiarize one’s self with Hillary Clinton’s proposed economic policies at least on a superficial level.
Some of the significant changes that Hillary Clinton wants to bring to fruition is empowering and strengthening the declining American middle class and lower class. For example, nearly 11 million American families spend half of their incomes on rent, with this practice usually occurring in expensive cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Hillary Clinton has proposed to enact a measure that would effectively function as a tax credit, dubbed the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, thus providing families the ability to allocate portions of their income to other expenses such as education. While this tax credit would affect the living conditions of all ethnicities, it is particularly relevant to people of color given that they, on a per capita basis, reside in these high cost urban areas on a greater scale than any other race.
In addition, Hillary Clinton has also called for raising of the minimum wage to at least $12 in an attempt to increase the purchasing power of people living at or below the poverty line, which again, tends to be traditionally dominated by people of color. That is to say, while poverty is not restrictive towards any one race, as you’ll find White Americans, Black Americans, Asians, and Hispanics suffering from the same economic hardships, it just so happens that people of color are affected to a greater extent.
Another proposal that she has put in place to help spur economic and social mobility among lower and middle income families is by refinancing student debt and making it possible for states to guarantee tuition to incoming students. This is particularly promising due to it increasing the chances for people of color to advance their education, given that it is a prerequisite in order to climb the ladder of social mobility. For the past few decades the cost of tuition has been exponentially increasing while the incomes of households have been nowhere near spectacular. This has not only made it difficult for middle class families to financially support their children in going to college, but it has nearly made it impossible for lower income minority families to help their children obtain a quality education because of the massive costs associated with attending a 4-year university.
Another measure that Hillary Clinton hopes to implement is the lowering of child care costs, as a way to help lower and middle class families continue working without jeopardizing the wellbeing of their children. This measure would not only seek to help secure child care for these families, but it would also lower the amount of money spent by these families to leave their children at daycares or other social centers while they are working. As a result, this allows these families to save money for other more expedient expenses such as education, groceries, and so forth.
While these measures will certainly aid people of color by giving them much needed economic assistance, one can’t but wonder that it is all wishful thinking. Nearly every election cycles the same promises are made, with promises to end poverty, create income growth, and revitalize downtrodden areas, yet little progress has been made to seriously tackle the issue of poverty in this country.
At the same time, however, we mustn’t make hasty judgments about what will occur if and when Hillary Clinton takes office. The future cannot be foretold so, unfortunately, this is a case of ‘wait and see.’ For all we know, a Clinton presidency could bring about positive change for people of color or it could, alternatively, exacerbate their condition. Either way, Hillary Clinton has laid out plans to implement substantial changes to the lives of people of color in hopes that it will make their lives easier. If one could apply a theme to all of her policies, it would be bringing people of color into the 21st century, socially and economically.