The Marco Rubio Effect on Your Wallet
Right now, there are a lot of people who could possibly be the 45th President of the United States. Among the many contenders is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who came in a close third place to Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1.
Like every other presidential candidate, Rubio has all sorts of ideas about how he’d change the country. While it’s difficult to say exactly how these proposals could affect Americans — particularly because it’s hard to predict if and how they’ll materialize, not to mention how they’ll be paid for — they’re important to consider as voters decide in the coming months who will run the country for the next four years.
We’ve already rounded up a handful of ways other candidates could affect your money if elected president (read here about Trump, Cruz and Sen. Bernie Sanders), so here’s an overview of Rubio’s positions on issues that could impact your finances.
1. Healthcare Reform
Like other Republican presidential candidates, Rubio proposes repealing Obamacare. The law has significantly impacted the way in which many Americans pay for healthcare, as well as how much they pay, so getting rid of it would spur more changes in that area. Rubio’s idea for giving people access to affordable healthcare is to give Americans “an advanceable, refundable tax credit that can be used to purchase insurance,” according to his website. Where that tax credit would come from, however, is unclear.
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2. Income-Based Student Loan Repayment
At the moment, people have a variety of student loan repayment options (for federal loans, at least). One of them is income-based repayment, which borrowers can apply for through their student loan servicers. Rubio proposes making income-based repayment the “universal repayment method for federal student loans.”
He hasn’t detailed how this simplified IBR would work — under the current IBR program for new borrowers, people pay 10% of their discretionary monthly income toward the loans, and any balance remaining after 20 years is forgiven. The rules are a little different if you have older loans. Right now, you have to qualify for IBR, but Rubio proposes it be automatic.
3. Social Security
Rubio wants to reform Social Security and Medicare, because the way he sees it, the programs can’t last the way they are now. He proposes keeping things the same for people who are near retirement, but he suggests gradually increasing the Social Security retirement age and exempting from payroll tax seniors older than 65 who wish to continue working. He also proposes reducing the growth in benefits for wealthier retirees to strengthen the benefits for low-income retirees.
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4. Fewer Tax Brackets
There are seven tax brackets right now, which Rubio proposes replacing with three. The current tax brackets aren’t easy to explain concisely (here’s a more in-depth guide to current tax brackets), but Rubio proposes brackets of 15%, 25% and 35% of taxpayers’ incomes, depending on filing status and how much they earn. (The low end of the current tax brackets is 10%, and the high end is higher than 35%). If Rubio gets his way, it’s likely you’d see a difference in what you’re paying in taxes, though it’s difficult to say if you’ll pay more or less.
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5. No Minimum Wage Increase
Rubio thinks Americans need higher-paying jobs, but he doesn’t think raising the minimum wage is the way to do it. Instead, he wants to focus on bolstering vocational education and cutting the corporate tax rate so business can offer more jobs to un- and under-employed people.