US presidential race issues: Economy

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Election Issues of 2016: The Economy


In a May Gallup poll, 86 percent of Americans said the economy will be an extremely or very important issue for them during the 2016 presidential election. So, yeah, the economy means a lot to voters.
That's because it affects everyone. It's how much people get paid, how much everyday items cost, the availability of jobs, etc. As for how the economy's doing right now, well, that depends whom you ask.

"All told, we've now seen 64 straight months of private sector job growth, which is a new record. New record. Twelve point eight million new jobs all told, and that's good," President Barack Obama said during a speech in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

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US presidential race issues: Economy
In this July 29, 2015 photo, volunteer Peggy Bragg, of Des Moines, Iowa, unloads donated baked goods at the Des Moines Area Religious Council food pantry in Des Moines, Iowa. Food banks across the country are seeing surging demand for free groceries despite a growing economy and steadily declining unemployment rate, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
A job seeker fills out paperwork while waiting to meet with representatives during a weekly job fair event in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits rose more than forecast to an eight-week high, representing a pause in a trend of more muted firings. Photographer: Laura Buckman/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Job seekers wait in line to meet with representatives during a weekly job fair event in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits rose more than forecast to an eight-week high, representing a pause in a trend of more muted firings. Photographer: Laura Buckman/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on September 4, 2015 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average finished the day down over 250 points, furthering losses for the week. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
FILE - in this Feb. 13, 2015 file photo, a forklift operator moves a pallet of goods at a Amazon.com fulfillment center in DuPont, Wash. An Illinois corporate tax credit program suspended earlier this summer amid a state budget crisis has since been offered to Amazon because of a previous commitment to the online retailer. Amazon announced its plans in August for a Joliet warehouse that will create 1,000 full-time jobs when it opens. The 500,000-square-foot fulfillment center is its first in Illinois. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
The silhouette of a Federal Reserve police officer is seen walking past the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. While economists are almost equally divided on whether Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will raise U.S. interest rates this week, the bond market suggests policy makers will wait. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Federal Reserve police officer walks past the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Bill Gross said the Federal Reserve has waited so long to raise interest rates that any move now may be labeled 'too little too late' as market turmoil restricts the room for policy makers to act. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the afternoon of September 8, 2015 in New York City. The Dow jumped nearly 400 points by the time of the closing bell. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: A man pauses by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on August 24, 2015 in New York City. As the global economy continues to react from events in China, markets dropped significantly around the world on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average briefly dropped over 1000 points in morning trading and closed down 588 points. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
EXETER, NH - SEPTEMBER 10: Former Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush holds a tax policy event at R.E Prescott on September 10, 2015 in Exeter, New Hampshire. Here an attendee at the event hold's a JEB sign. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 29: Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is flanked by more than 74,000 pieces of paper representing the size of the U.S. tax code as he speaks during a campaign stop at an Embassy Suites hotel on June 29, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Paul made stops in four cities in Nevada on Monday as he campaigns for the battleground state against 12 other Republican candidates in the 2016 presidential race. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 25: Senate Budget ranking member Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., holds a news conference to introduce legislation 'to make millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share of estate taxes and close loopholes that have allowed billionaires to avoid billions in taxes' on Thursday, June 25, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Registered nurses and community activists hold a vigil on April 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, part of a nationwide day of action, calling for a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street which they claim will help raise hundreds of billions of dollars to help social and economic justice. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 4: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks next to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) during a news conference to introduce their proposal for an overhaul of the tax code, March 4, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. One part of the plan proposes to reduce seven tax brackets for income tax to two: 15 percent and 35 percent. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
An employee arranges copies of U.S. President Barack Obama's Fiscal Year 2016 Budget on display at the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. Obama sent Congress a $4 trillion budget that would raise taxes on corporations and the nationÃs top earners, spend more on infrastructure and housing, and stabilize, but not eliminate, the annual budget deficit. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Seth Hahn shouts in a megaphone as he leads a large group of fellow union members as they march to the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., Thursday, June 12, 2014. Hundreds of union members marched to protest Gov. Chris Christie's proposed cuts to mandated state pension contributions. Some said to pay the pension contributions, the state should cut business incentive programs that Gov. Chris Christie's administration has been using heavily. Since December, the state has pledged just over $1 billion in tax credits to companies to move or remain in New Jersey. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
DORAL, FL - DECEMBER 10: Glenn Rehn (C) and Sandy Lleo (R) along with other protesters rally together outside the office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on December 10, 2012 in Doral, Florida. The protesters are hoping that Senators like Rubio will not cut medicare/social security benefits and will agree to raise taxes on the top 2% of earners in the country. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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"It's a false economy that we're living in. We're in a bubble," Donald Trump said during an interview with CBS. "But let me tell you something, the Obama administration, we have tremendous unemployment in this country."

The latest numbers on jobs are actually pretty optimistic. The Labor Department's most recent report on unemployment puts it at 5.1 percent, the lowest rate since 2008. The federal government also says 173,000 jobs were added in August.

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The wealth gap isn't as rosy, though — the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ranks the U.S. as one of the worst nations for wealth inequality. And it's not getting any better.

According to the OECD, that's bad for the economy. Taxes are a big issue as well. While wealth inequality is a relatively new talking point, taxes are not.

"It's a proportional tax; that's what tithing is," Ben Carson told Fox Business.

"If you're investing, you should have a lower tax rate, and we're proposing 20 percent," Jeb Bush told CNN.

"The wealthiest people in this country are in fact going to have to start paying their fair share of taxes," Sen. Bernie Sanders told PBS NewsHour.

Most Republican presidential candidates want to lower taxes in some way. Democratic candidates are more focused on increasing taxes, primarily for the wealthiest of the wealthy.



Other political talking points may come and go, but the economy is an issue that's always going to be on people's minds.

See where the presidential hopefuls stand

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