Basic Briefing

The Economy Debate

The debate on the economy focuses on employment, taxes, and spending. What is the best way to increase economic growth and lower the unemployment rate? Should the government prioritize lowering the national debt? Did the 2009 stimulus have an effect on lessening the recession? Should taxes on individuals and businesses be reduced or increased?

Official Democratic position

The Democratic Party opposes “The failed economic policies of the past, in which tax relief for the wealthy explodes the deficit and asks the middle class to shoulder that burden.” The Party opposes Social Security privatization. The Party believes that debt reduction should be balanced between spending cuts and by enacting the Buffett Rule, which would raise taxes on wealthy Americans.

Official Republican position

“The best jobs program is economic growth.” The Republican Party supports free market policies that lead to job growth. The Party supports permanently extending the Bush Tax Cuts, and would like to “Eliminate the taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains altogether for lower and middle-income taxpayers.” The Party believes that minimizing the national debt should be a priority. The Party supports the adoption of the Balanced Budget Amendment and supports reforming Medicare.

Institutional framework

At the federal level, the Department of Labor and the Federal Reserve have the most influence over the economy. The Federal Reserve controls monetary policy by controlling interest rates and the money supply. Congress passes laws to fund stimulus packages and bailouts.

Congress also sets federal rates for taxes such as federal income tax, capital gains tax, and estate tax. States and local governments can set state income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes. These jurisdictions can also raise the local minimum wage.

Most Vocal on Economy

These are the candidates who focus on this issue the most, with the most liberal on this issue on the left and the most conservative on this issue on the right. Click on the circles to see more information.

Patrick Tiberi | Candidate for 12th Congressional District, 2018 Primary Election in Ohio (OH) | Crowdpac Robert Menendez | Candidate for U.S. Senate, 2018 Primary Election in New Jersey (NJ) | Crowdpac Sam Johnson | Candidate for 3rd Congressional District, 2018 Runoff Election in Texas (TX) | Crowdpac Pat Roberts | Candidate for U.S. Senate, 2020 Primary Election in Kansas (KS) | Crowdpac Allyson Schwartz | Candidate for State House, 13th District, 2018 Primary Election in Pennsylvania (PA) | Crowdpac Kevin Brady | Candidate for 8th Congressional District, 2018 in Texas (TX) | Crowdpac Bob Casey | Candidate for U.S. Senate, 2018 Primary Election in Pennsylvania (PA) | Crowdpac Emanuel Cleaver | Candidate for 5th Congressional District, 2018 Primary Election in Missouri (MO) | Crowdpac Tim Huelskamp | Candidate for 1st Congressional District, 2018 Primary Election in Kansas (KS) | Crowdpac Mick Mulvaney | 5th Congressional District, 2016 in South Carolina (SC) | Crowdpac

The Spectrum on Economy

These are the candidates who are most liberal, most conservative, and most moderate on this specific issue. Click on each candidate to see more information.

Relevant Committees


Brookings Institute - Founded in 1916, liberal-centrist think tank based in Washington DC. Their fiscal policy research focuses on taxes and the federal budget

U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) - Founded in 1912, the largest lobbying group that represents businesses