Inequality & Family Issues

Inequality and family issues are typically the most emotionally contentious in politics. Because they delve so deeply into the personal realm, people have strong views about what the government should and shouldn’t do in this broad arena. From minimum wage, to religious liberties, to same-sex marriage, these issues have a very emotional impact on families on both sides.

The minimum wage is a hot topic these days. Proponents have recently made a push for a $15 minimum wage. Others have called for raising it to $10 or tying it to inflation. They believe that raising the minimum wage will help struggling families earn more and raise the quality of life. Opponents to the minimum wage have stated that it will raise the cost of goods and services while cutting the most vulnerable and low-skilled workers out of the workforce.

Religious liberties have been the topic a lot of state legislation lately. Indiana passed a religious liberty bill that protects business owners’ deeply held religious convictions. Other bills passed were North Carolina’s HB2 addressing transgender individuals and their choice of restroom in state facilities and public schools. The emotions have been strong on either sides.

Proponents of the Indiana bill believe it’s about protecting the 1st Amendment and not being forced to perform a service that goes against their deeply held religious beliefs. Opponents of the bill believe it is discrimination and look to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 14th Amendment to challenge their constitutionality. The North Carolina bill, HB2 states that while businesses can make their own decisions on bathroom policy, government buildings and public schools can only allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their gender identity if they have fully transitioned physically. Proponents believe that this policy will help protect women and children from predators and say that it has nothing to do with discrimination against transgender individuals. Opponents believe that the bill is discrimination and point to the 14th Amendment and equal treatment under the law. There was recently a fourth circuit court decision stating that a student in a public school who identified as male, but was born female, could use the mens restroom.

Same-sex marriage has seen a drastic reversal in public opinion just within the last ten years. In June 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal and should be recognized in the United States. Proponents believe that the Supreme Court has settled the issue in Obergefell v. Hodges and that the 14th Amendment applies to same-sex marriage. Opponents to the Supreme Court ruling believe that since the marriage is not mentioned in the Constitution, the 10th Amendment applies and that it should be left up to the states to decide.

 

Minimum Wage

Point

Proponents have recently made a push for a $15 minimum wage. Others have called for raising it to $10 or tying it to inflation. They believe that raising the minimum wage will help struggling families earn more and raise the quality of life. Proponents believe that not providing a minimum wage can let corporations funnel that extra money to their upper level employees, leaving low-skilled workers out in the cold.

Counter

Opponents to the minimum wage have stated that it will raise the cost of goods and services while cutting the most vulnerable and low-skilled workers out of the workforce. They believe that the minimum wage can leave new workers, such as high school students out of the workforce as they try to save for a car or college.

Religious Liberties

Point

Proponents of religious liberties bills believe that states and the federal government need to recognize deeply held religious beliefs. Indiana's Governor, Mike Pence stated that his bill supports the freedom of all religions to deny service over beliefs. Pence reiterates that he does not believe the bill legalizes discrimination and if it did, he would not have signed it. Supporters of HB2 in North Carolina believe that the law is for the safety of women and children from predators.

Counter

Opponents of religious liberties bills believe that there has been an assault of equality and civil rights. They believe that a lot of these bills have violated the 14th Amendment and that individuals are not being treated equally under the law. Opponents point to the recent fourth circuit court decision as proof that public entities must provide equal access to their facilities.

Same-Sex Marriage

Point

Proponents believe that the Supreme Court has settled the issue in Obergefell v. Hodges and that the 14th Amendment applies to same-sex marriage. In Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion, he stated that “Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on gays and lesbians serves to disrespect and subordinate them. And the Equal Protection Clause, like the Due Process Clause, prohibits this unjustified infringement of the fundamental right to marry.”

Counter

Opponents to the Supreme Court ruling believe that since the marriage is not mentioned in the Constitution, the 10th Amendment applies and that it should be left up to the states to decide or that the government should not be involved period. In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas stated, “In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well. Today’s decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter. It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples. The majority appears unmoved by that inevitability.”

What Students Think

Inequality and family issues are typically the most emotionally contentious in politics. Because they delve so deeply into the personal realm, people have strong views about what the government should and shouldn’t do in this broad arena. What do you think?

Candidate Positions

Donald Trump

Republican Candidate for President

According to CNN, “Donald Trump’s “comprehensive tax reform plan does include tax relief for low-income Americans. By the Trump tax plan, single adults who earn less than $25,000 a year, or married adults who jointly earn less than $50,000 a year, won’t owe income taxes. Trump’s campaign site claims that his tax plan includes “reducing or eliminating most deductions and loopholes available to the very rich,” but there’s not much detail about how, exactly, he would do that.”

In His Words: “In order to achieve the American dream, let people keep more money in their pockets and increase after-tax wages.”

 

http://money.cnn.com/2015/08/27/news/economy/donald-trump-economy-tax-plan/

Gary Johnson

Libertarian Candidate for President

When asked what he would do about income inequality in an interview with NPR, Johnson responded “[A]s governor of New Mexico, I may have vetoed more legislation than the other 49 governors in the country combined. A lot of that legislation gave people with money more advantage. What government can do is just create a level playing field. And as president of the United States, just count on me to sign legislation that will actually move us in that direction. Count on me to veto legislation that just makes crony capitalism more ingrained in everything that we come across.”

Quote pulled from an NPR interview 

Hillary Clinton

Democratic Candidate for President

As president, Hillary will:
-Fight for full federal equality for LGBT Americans. Today in America, nearly 65 percent of LGBT individuals report experiencing discrimination in their daily lives. LGBT youth are nearly twice as likely as their peers to be physically assaulted at school, and 74 percent of LGBT students say they’ve been verbally harassed for their sexual orientation. And a recent study found that nearly 50 percent of of LGBT elders experienced discrimination when applying for senior housing. Despite this discrimination, 31 states do not have fully inclusive LGBT non-discrimination laws. Hillary will work with Congress to pass the Equality Act, continue President Obama’s LGBT equality executive actions, and support efforts to clarify that sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.”
-Support LGBT youth, parents, and elders. Hillary will end LGBT conversion therapy for minors; combat youth homelessness by ensuring adequate funding, and safe and welcoming shelter, for youth; protect LGBT elders against discrimination; improve school climate by working to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act; and collect national data that will help us better serve LGBT individuals and families.
-Honor the military service of LGBT people. Every day, LGBT service members valiantly fight for our country around the world. Hillary believes we should honor their service and ensure they receive the benefits they have earned. As commander in chief, Hillary will upgrade service records of LGBT veterans dismissed due to their sexual orientation and support efforts to allow transgender personnel to serve openly.
Secure affordable treatment for people living with HIV and AIDS. While the United States has made great progress in the treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDS, our job is not done. As secretary of state, Hillary began an ambitious campaign to usher in an AIDS-free generation. As president, she will continue to drive towards that goal by calling on all Republican governors to extend Medicaid coverage to provide life-saving health care to people living with HIV, capping out-of pocket expenses for people with HIV/AIDS, and expanding the utilization of HIV prevention medications, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
-Protect transgender rights. We must do more to end discrimination against the transgender community. Hillary believes no one should be held back from fully participating in our society because of their gender identity. As secretary of state, Hillary made it possible for transgender Americans to have their true identity reflected on their passports. As president, she will work to protect transgender individuals from violence by directing the government to collect better data regarding crime victims and seeking to improve reporting of hate crimes; streamline identity documents to remove barriers to transgender Americans changing their gender marker on identification documents; and invest in law enforcement training focused on fair and impartial policing, including in interactions with LGBT individuals. Hillary will invest in law enforcement training that focuses on issues such as implicit bias, use of force, and de-escalation, as well as fair and impartial policing including in their interactions with the LGBT community, in particular transgender individuals. It will also focus on educating police officers on correctly identifying bias-motivated crimes.
-Promote human rights of LGBT people around the world. As secretary of state, Hillary stood before the United Nations Human Rights Council and and told the world’s leaders, “Gay rights are human rights.” Hillary will continue to promote LGBT human rights and ensure America’s foreign policy is inclusive of LGBT people around the world, including increasing our investment in the Global Equality Fund to advance the human rights of LGBT people around the world.

Jill Stein

Green Party Candidate for President

Inequality & Family Issues

Free universal child care.

  • Impose an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.
  • Offer capital grants to non-profit developers of affordable housing until all people can obtain decent housing at no more than 25% of their income.
  • Create a federal bank with local branches to take over homes with distressed mortgages, and either restructure the mortgages to affordable levels, or if the occupants cannot afford a mortgage, rent homes to the occupants.
  • Expand rental and home ownership assistance and increase funding for public housing.
  • Use Department of Housing and Urban Development authority to grant or withhold funds in order to encourage state and local governments to take positive steps to desegregate housing, including ending zoning laws that effectively prohibit multi-family housing, prohibiting landlords from refusing to accept Section 8 vouchers, increasing Section 8 voucher amounts so that poor people can move into middle income neighborhoods, prohibiting the use of Low Income Housing Tax Credits to increase low income housing in already segregated neighborhoods, and building new public housing in middle income communities that is high quality and mixed income.
  • Expand women’s rights, including equal pay and reproductive freedom. Pass the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment).
  • Protect LGBTQIA+ people from discrimination.
  • Defend indigenous rights,  lands and treaties.
  • Support immigrants’ rights. Create a welcoming path to citizenship for immigrants.
  • Halt deportations and detentions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants., including the shameful practice of night raids being used to terrorize refugee families.
  • Improve economic and social conditions abroad to reduce the flow of immigrant refugees, in part by repealing NAFTA, ending the failed drug wars, and halting CIA and military interventions against democratically elected governments.
  • Demilitarize border crossings throughout North America.
  • Protect the free Internet. Oppose the Online Piracy Act and all other legislation that would undermine freedom and equality on the Internet.