Fighting Inequality: Ideas Proposed by Bernie Sanders, Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump

For this final project, I have chosen to analyze the platform and political history of presidential candidates Democrat Bernie Sanders, Republican Carly Fiorina and Republican Donald Trump. I have examined their records on inequality, how they deal with they have dealt with issue of inequality in the past, how they address it now and ultimately proclaim who I feel has the best plan to combat inequality and which plan will be most effective.

To begin, I examined each candidate’s position on addressing our country’s largest concern: income inequality.

In this generation, we live in one of, if not, the richest countries in the world. However, that means nothing with the majority of it belonging to the top one percent of people living here.

As President, Sanders plans:

  • to reduce income inequality by first demanding that the wealthy class pay their share of taxes and prohibiting large corporations from shifting their profits overseas in order avoid these taxes;
  • increasing federal minimum wage to fifteen dollars and hour by 2020; investing a trillion dollars over five years in order to rebuild roads, bridges, airports, public transit systems, wastewater plants and other infrastructure needs and putting thirteen million Americans to work in the process; creating one million jobs for disadvantaged American youth (five and a half billion);
  • fighting for pay equity, since women only earn seventy- eight cents for each dollar a man earns;
  • making public colleges and universities tuition free; expanding social security by lifting the cap on taxable income to two hundred fifty thousand dollars; guaranteeing health care;
  • requiring employers to provide at least two weeks of paid vacation and seven paid sick days;
  • enacting universal childcare and prekindergarten; making it more accessible for workers to join unions; and breaking up large financial institutions so that they are no longer too large to fail.

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On the other hand, Fiorina has a different idea in order to combat the issue of income inequality and poverty in our country. In an interview when asked how she plans to address it she answered, “We must disentangle peoples’ lives from the webs of dependence that have been woven around them.”

In other words, she feels that it is the government’s responsibility to encourage people, enrolled in government dependence programs, to move forward; dependence programs discourage them from moving forward. She used the example of a single mother of two in need of food stamps to feed her children; She works twenty hours a week and one day, finds a new job that offering her 40 hours a week. Fiorina explains that this woman will still end up taking home less money. It is situations like these that discourages single parents all over the country from moving forward and instead lay back in that ‘web of dependency.’

In the same interview she states, “The real engine of economic growth that has always lifted the middle class is the small business, the family owned business, the community based business… Those kinds of businesses create two thirds of the new jobs; they employ half the people. We are now destroying more of those businesses than we are creating, for the first time in U.S. history. Why? Because those small businesses cannot withstand the weight of this government.”

According to Fiorina, America has a seventy-five thousand page tax code today, which favors the wealthy because they are the ones who can hire the accountants and lawyers who figure out how to make complexity work for them. She says that we have got to get it down to three: “The lower over rate, close every loophole. Maybe there are one or two loopholes that really help the middle class, but most of these deductions and loopholes and complexities actually benefit the wealthy, the powerful, the well connected. But yes, our tax code isn’t competitive anymore. It’s ridiculous that we have the highest tax rate in the world when we’re trying to attract jobs here.

So lower every rate, close every loophole.” Following, Republican Donald Trump, as president, supposedly plans to rewrite trade deals concerning China, impose tariffs on the products of American companies that send manufacturing overseas, leave Social Security and Medicare alone, and raise taxes on hedge-fund managers. He says he wants to save middle class. In an interview he once stated, “The hedge-fund guys didn’t build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.” Many Americans opposing his campaign feel he was one of those ‘lucky guys’ who shifted paper.

After researching the presidential candidates I noticed that each of their platforms and policy positions on inequality all differ. When it comes to their record on inequality either in public office or as heads of private institutions what I found was quite interesting. Sanders was wildly popular in Vermont, a state that is not too liberal monolith and won many elections with as much as eighty six percent of the vote. Several businessmen called him ‘Burlington’s Best Mayor’ because he revitalized the waterfront and created great opportunity in Vermont.

Sanders also never ran a single negative attack ad in a thirty-year career and opposed TPP, NAFTA, CAFTA, Keystone XL, the Patriot Act, and the Iraq War from day one. Most directly affecting income inequality, Sanders has always supported Medicare for all, repairing crumbling infrastructure, working towards debt-free college and fighting for civil rights, including the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, the information I found on Fiorina was not as optimistic. In several articles she is referred to as the ‘corporate face of greed and income inequality,’ during and after her five-year tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

After the Homeland Investment Act of 2004 was passed, HP was put in the forefront and the result was a two hundred sixty-five billion corporate giveaway toward research, development and other job-producing endeavors. However, instead all of it was put into stock buybacks, which is prohibited by the bill. To make it worse, the corporation even cut as many as a hundred thousand American jobs in the name of even greater profits. HP saved more than four billion dollars and put more than that in stock buybacks and laid off fourteen thousand, five hundred workers. According to an article by the Daily Beast, “Now Fiorina is running for president, declaring that we need to spend billions upon billions more on the military. Her campaign did not return a request for comment on her part in the shameful Homeland Hustle.”

Therefore, her record on inequality as head of Hewlett-Packard is not very trustworthy, in my opinion at least. Lastly, Trump is the only presidential candidate that most Americans are confused with; many including myself are confused as to where he stands on the issue of income inequality or if there is any solid evidence of his history with the issue in or outside all of his large franchises. In his speech declaring his candidacy for president, he proclaimed, “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” The question is, how? Unfortunately there is no sufficing answer to this question since he has yet to answer, distinctly.

In my opinion, all three candidates deal with the issue somewhat indirectly. Although Sanders has a well-organized plan for the solving the issue of income inequality, there a lot of questions floating around like ‘how is this going to happen’ and ‘where is the budget going to come from?’ His outline is great and well thought out, but he needs way more meat on his skeleton. Likewise, Fiorina makes a great point by stating that the government needs to close every loophole and push the working and middle class forward, but how are we going to achieve this? Trump, is the most indirect since most Americans cannot tell where he stands with this issue.

Finally, I feel Sanders has the best plan for combatting inequality. On his website, he literally addresses everything Americans, concerned with the matter, request. All of his solutions seem like they really can impact America and repair the state we are currently in. His plan seems effective because by demanding that the wealthy class pay their share of taxes and prohibiting large corporations from shifting their profits overseas in order avoid these taxes, America will be earning much more, which will ultimately be distributed throughout each class.

With more money coming in, we can rebuild roads, bridges, railways, airports, public transit systems, ports, dams, wastewater plants and other infrastructure needs and put thirteen million Americans to work in the process. By investing the money we make we can also create one million jobs for disadvantaged American youth, and establish pay equity.

With Sander’s plan we could possibly make public colleges and universities tuition free, expand social security, guaranteeing health care, requiring employers to provide at least two weeks of paid vacation and seven paid sick days, enacting universal childcare and prekindergarten, make it more accessible for workers to join unions and break up large financial institutions so that they are no longer too large to fail. I do not feel any parts of his platform would exacerbate inequality and hope more Americans notice him before the presidential election of 2016.

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Fighting Inequality: Ideas Proposed by Bernie Sanders, Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump. (2023, May 16). Retrieved from

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