Kamala Harris on student loan forgiveness, Medicare, Universal Basic Income, credit scores – and a tax on business stocks

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Now that she has been named Joe Biden’s running mate for the 2020 presidential election, Senator Kamala Harris’ positions on a wide range of issues are coming under scrutiny again.

Suspected Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he had chosen Harris, a California native, as his runner-up choice in the race against President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The selection of Harris, 55, is historic. She is the first black woman and the first person of Asian descent to be named to a presidential list by a major political party. She is only the third woman to be selected as a running mate by the Democratic or Republican parties, following in the footsteps of Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin.

Also see:Joe Biden chooses Kamala Harris for vice president: here’s how Trump and other politicians are reacting

Harris herself staged a short-lived but notable campaign for the Democratic nomination. She garnered a lot of attention after criticizing Biden for his racial record in the early Democratic debates, but she ended her campaign in December before the first primaries were held.

During his campaign, Harris presented a wide range of proposals regarding his vision for the country. Here is his position on issues ranging from universal basic income to universal health insurance:

Student loan debt and higher education

During his short presidential campaign, Harris joined rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in releasing a plan to solve the $ 1.5 trillion student debt problem. The proposal was part of his larger plan to close the gap between blacks and whites when it comes to jobs in high-paying fields like technology, engineering and entrepreneurship.

Under the Harris Proposal, borrowers who have received a Pell Grant, the money the government provides low-income students to attend college, will have up to $ 20,000 of their student debt canceled if they create a business and operate it for at least three years in a disadvantaged community. Additionally, eligible borrowers would have their deferred loans interest free for up to three years to start a business.

The plan faced a quick reaction on Twitter TWTR,
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where people argued that accessing forgiveness would be an onerous task. Harris even acknowledged the reaction by tweeting, “I want to thank everyone for your comments and clear up some confusion.”

Harris also proposed to make community colleges free and four-year public colleges debt-free. She said she would allow borrowers to refinance their loans at lower interest rates and expand the income-based repayment program, which allows borrowers to repay their loans as a percentage of their income.

The for-profit colleges had a formidable opponent in Harris. She said the United States should get rid of it, and as California’s attorney general, her office passed a judgment of over $ 1 billion against the late Corinthian colleges after uncovering a chain fraud. university.

Affordable housing

Last July, Harris’ presidential campaign released a sweeping plan to increase homeownership rates in black communities. The plan called for $ 100 billion in federal grants that would help pay down payments or closing costs for families who rent or live in historically marked communities.

Harris also called for strengthening anti-discrimination laws to prevent discrimination in home sales, rentals and mortgages.

Harris’ legislative brief also underscores his position on the high cost of housing nationwide. With Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, she drafted the Housing Is Infrastructure Act. The bill would set aside $ 100 billion for affordable housing – the bulk of which ($ 70 billion) would be used to pay for necessary repairs and improvements to the nation’s federally subsidized housing stock, including housing projects. flood mitigation.


Harris introduced the Rent Relief Act, which would create a refundable tax credit for households earning less than $ 100,000 a year.

Harris also introduced the Rent Relief Act, which would create a refundable tax credit for households that earn less than $ 100,000 per year (or $ 125,000 in more expensive areas) and spend at least 30% of their income. for housing costs.

Harris has been criticized for handling lockdown issues during his tenure as California attorney general. Some have argued that she should have sued OneWest Bank, which at the time was headed by current Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, for seizing thousands of landlords in California. Harris told the San Francisco Chronicle his office lacked the legal capacity to do so “because of the way the rules were written in favor of the banks in terms of our subpoena powers as state attorney general.”

Medicare For All (or more people)

Last July, Harris released a plan to provide “comprehensive health insurance that covers all Americans.” The way she planned to get there? By expanding health insurance.

Unlike Bernie Sanders, however, Harris did not envision achieving this goal by taxing families earning less than $ 100,000. Instead, she planned to pay for “Medicare For All” by taxing Wall Street.

His plan called for a 0.2% tax on stock transactions, a 0.1% tax on bond transactions and a 0.002% tax on derivative transactions. She claimed that these taxes would bring in more than $ 2 trillion over the course of a decade. Critics of the plan have argued that taxing financial transactions in this way could make it harder for Americans to build up retirement savings.

Credit ratings

As part of his larger plan to improve the homeownership rate of blacks, Harris proposed an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The amendment would require credit reporting agencies to include rent payments, cell phone bills and utilities when calculating credit scores.

The proposal aimed to broaden the scope of people who can get credit scores. Data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggest that about 26 million people are “invisible when it comes to credit” and that another 19 million have “non-correctable” records.

When the proposal was published, FICO FICO,
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noted that credit scores have always been designed to account for telecom and utility payments since they were first published in 1989. According to Joanne Gaskin, vice president of ratings and analysis at FICO, the problem is that data collection.

FICO relies on consumer data from major credit reporting agencies – Experian EXPN,
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Equifax EFX,
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and TransUnion TRU,
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So far, agencies have struggled to collect “alternative” data for most consumers, Gaskin told MarketWatch last year.

Universal Basic Income

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang has made a universal basic income policy his celebrity cause campaigning for the Democratic nomination. Harris didn’t necessarily come up with her own version of the Universal Basic Income, but she did come up with the LIFT the Middle Class Act.

The bill would grant significant refundable tax credits of up to $ 500 per month or $ 6,000 per year to families earning less than $ 100,000 per year. Single tax filers who earn less than $ 50,000 per year could earn up to $ 3,000 per year.

Andrea Riquier contributed to this story.

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