With the New Hampshire presidential primary just a few short days away, the two remaining Democratic candidates, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, take to the debate stage Thursday evening. The two finished in a virtual dead heat in the Iowa caucuses earlier this week, and their performances could be critical to the outcome of the February 9 vote.
Both Clinton and Sanders have strong opinions about issues that affect businesses, including how best to handle health care, immigration, and taxes. Here's how they stack up.
|ISSUE||HILLARY CLINTON||BERNIE SANDERS|
|Taxes||Expand on President Obama's so-called Buffett Rule proposal, which would tax annual incomes of $1 million or more at a minimum of 30 percent.
A 4 percent surcharge tax on income over $5 million.
Close loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying taxes.
|Increase the top tax rate for those who earn between $500,000 and $2 million to 43 percent, up from the current top rate of 39.6 percent. Rates would rise to a top level of 52 percent for those earning income of $10 million or more.
A 10 percent surtax on estates worth $1 billion or more.
|Capital gains||Increase capital gains taxes for the wealthiest Americans to 39.6 percent, from a current top rate of 20 percent, for investments held less than two years.||Rates would go up to ordinary income rates for those making more than $250,000 annually.|
|Estate taxes||Decrease to $3.5 million from $5.5 million the threshold for the tax, and increase the tax to 45 percent from its current rate of 40 percent.||Tax estates valued between $3.5 million and $10 million at 45 percent; increase the tax rate to 50 percent on estates between $10 million and $50 million, and to 55 percent on estates above $50 million.|
|Minimum wage||Has supported increasing the federal minimum to $12 and supports state efforts to increase the minimum wage to $15.||Supports increasing the federal minimum wage to $15.|
|Regulations||Strengthen Dodd-Frank banking regulations and crack down on Wall Street's "shadow banking system," which Clinton says lets hedge funds and high-frequency traders profit disproportionately compared with everyday investors.||A tax on Wall Street speculation that would go into a fund to pay for college tuition for all students at public colleges and universities; strengthen existing Dodd-Frank banking laws.|
|Immigration||Reform current immigration laws, while upholding President Obama's executive action from late 2014 that would provide millions of undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship.||Comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.; update the current visa system; allow undocumented workers and their families to purchase health care through the Affordable Care Act.|
|Family leave||12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for all workers, with a two-thirds wage protection guarantee.||12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for all workers.|
|Incentives||Create tax incentives for smaller businesses to share profits with employees. Specifically, giving businesses a tax break of up to 15 percent for profits shared worth up to 10 percent of a worker's annual salary, or a tax credit equivalent to $750 per employee. The plan would phase out after two years, however.||Provide access to more low-interest small-business loans, pegging the rate to the discount the Federal Reserve offers foreign banks lending in the U.S.|
|Loopholes||Prevent wealthy individuals from sheltering millions of dollars in IRAs; close loopholes that allow the richest to shelter cash in offshore insurance accounts.||Close loopholes for big oil- and gas-producing companies; reform current laws that allow companies to receive credits and pay lower taxes in the U.S. when they pay taxes overseas. End corporate tax inversions overseas.|
|Health care||The Affordable Care Act would remain in effect. The so-called Cadillac Tax--a tax levied on very generous health plans provided by some businesses--could go away.||Switch from the ACA to a single-payer system similar to Medicare. Increase the payroll tax to 6 percent from its current rate of about 3 percent to help pay for the changes.|