Time for a Revolution? Sanders and Clinton Clash at Democratic Debate

Date: January 20, 2016 Last Edit: February 11, 2016

Sanders wants to “transform” America, while Clinton plans to continue Obama’s legacy. Is either platform best for small biz?

The differences became clear early on at the fourth Democratic debate, held in Charleston, South Carolina: Bernie Sanders called for Americans to fight a “political revolution,” while Hillary Clinton encouraged slow and steady reform.

Here’s how the candidates addressed issues affecting small business:

RELATED: Trump’s Plan to Simplify the Tax Code

The wealthy must start paying “their fair share” of taxes

Both Clinton and Sanders plan to pay for reforms by taxing upper-class Americans. However, unlike Sanders, Clinton repeated a key promise in her campaign.

“I’m the only candidate standing here tonight who has said I will not raise taxes on the middle class,” she said. “I want to raise incomes—not taxes. And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that the wealthy pay for debt-free tuition, for child care, for paid family leave.”

Sanders plans to fund his “Medicare-for-all” healthcare program with a 6.2 percent payroll tax on employers and 2.2 percent income tax on all Americans. Despite these increases, the Vermont senator claimed 95 percent of Americans would save money.

“So, if I save you $10,000 in private health insurance, and you pay a little bit more in taxes in total, there are huge savings in what your family is spending,” he said. 

Additionally, the self-proclaimed democratic socialist aims to reform the tax code to fall heavily on the upper classes: Individuals making $250,000 to $500,000 a year would be taxed 37 percent, and those making $10 million or more would be taxed 52 percent.

“This country, and the middle class, bailed out Wall Street. Now, it is Wall Street’s time to help the middle class,” Sanders declared.

Clinton calls to improve Obamacare, while Sanders wants Medicaid for all

The biggest clash of the night was on healthcare. Clinton argued Sanders’ healthcare bill would “tear up” one of the greatest accomplishments of the Obama administration: the Affordable Care Act.

“We finally have a path to universal healthcare. We have accomplished so much already,” Clinton declared. “I do not want to see us start over again with another contentious debate. I want us to defend and build on the Affordable Care Act and improve it.”

Sanders said it is time to have “the guts to stand up to the private insurance companies and all of their money” and help the 29 million people still left uninsured.

“We’re not going to tear up the Affordable Care Act,” he promised. “I helped write it. But we are going to move on top of that to a Medicaid-for-all system.”

Read NFIB’s stance on why Obamacare is bad for small business >>

Raising the minimum wage is a top priority

Sanders and Clinton did agree on one thing: In the first 100 days of their presidency, both said raising the minimum wage would be of utmost importance.

“The real issue is raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour,” Sanders said. “The American people want it.”

Read NFIB’s take on what raising the minimum wage really means for small business >>


Where the Candidates Stand on Small Business Issues

Democratic Debate: Highs, Lows—and Some Laughs on Twitter

 *Note: This news coverage does not equate to an endorsement of any candidate by NFIB.

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