President Trump’s first term impacted the wallets of nearly every American. He signed major tax legislation that eliminated credits and increased the standard deduction, pursued protectionist trade policies that affected the prices of products and services across the economy and eliminated the individual mandate penalty under the Affordable Care Act. He also oversaw the early months of America’s coronavirus response and signed the first two pandemic-relief stimulus packages.
His advocates and detractors continue to debate the wisdom of his policies, who they helped and who they harmed. But his time in office touched household budgets across the country — and now he’s campaigning to join Grover Cleveland as only the second president in history to win two non-consecutive terms. Here’s a look at how Trump’s agenda could impact your finances if he’s elected as the 47th president of the United States.
IRA Home Energy Credits Could Be on the Chopping Block
On his 2024 campaign website, Trump vows to “unleash energy dominance” as one of the former president’s top priorities for his second term. He promises to “eliminate the socialist Green New Deal,” in reference to Democrat-sponsored proposals to combat climate change and promote social justice by pursuing 100% clean energy, agriculture and infrastructure.
The Green New Deal never passed, but President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act included several of its chief components, including home energy credits, which could be in jeopardy if Trump wins a second term and has a friendly Congress. The GOP-led House of Representatives was eager to gut the IRA’s climate-focused provisions in the recent debt-limit fight.
The most vulnerable credits, which give tax breaks for energy-efficient home renovations and upgrades, include:
- Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit: Homeowners currently get tax credits for up to 30% of the cost of installing energy-efficient doors, windows, skylights, central air, heat pumps, boilers, furnaces, water heaters and home energy audits.
- Residential Clean Energy Credit: This credit covers up to 30% of the cost of wind, solar and geothermal power generation, solar water heaters, battery storage and fuel cells.
Trump Has Vowed To End Tax Credits for EV Purchases
The IRA also renewed and expanded several tax credits worth up to $7,500 for the purchase of qualifying electric vehicles.
In contrast with President Biden, who has aggressively pushed for expanded EV production, Trump told a Michigan audience on June 25 that electric vehicles would lead to the “decimation” of the U.S. auto industry. Earlier in the month, he told an audience in Georgia that repealing credits for EV purchases and incentives for their domestic production would be one of his top priorities, saying, “First day in office, I’ll be ending all that.”
Trump Will Pursue Cheap Gas Through Expanded Fossil Fuel Production
Presidents can’t directly control gas prices, but they get credit when they’re low and take the blame when they’re high. In the early months of the pandemic, when highways were empty and factories were closed, demand for oil cratered and the price per gallon fell below $2, a fact that Trump is quick to mention when discussing his energy record.
He and his supporters see expanded oil and gas production — not green technologies — as the key to energy independence and low, stable prices.
“A Trump second term would focus some economic policies on creating an environment where fuel is cheaper,” said Jamie Miller, the Florida director for the national advertising and political consulting firm People Who Think and publisher of the political blog Reasonable Arguments. “I consider myself a blue-collar economist and I think Trump has a similar philosophy. Simply put, a blue-collar economist is someone who believes that cheap oil results in pay raises for those blue-collar workers who commute to work. Cheaper gas means a cheaper commute, which puts more discretionary spending in their pockets. Cheaper gas also means cheaper food, which helps those who need it most. Cheaper fuel also means reduced heating costs during winter months.”
On Trump’s last day in office, gas cost $2.39 per gallon. Today, it’s $3.56 (as of June 19, 2023).
It’s Unclear if Trump Would Aid Student Borrowers, but He Has in the Past
When the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s plan to forgive $430 billion in student loan debt, Trump praised the ruling.
In Pickens, South Carolina, he said the plan “would have been very unfair to the millions and millions of people who have paid their debt through hard work and diligence.”
Although Trump hasn’t offered specifics, the logical leap is that student borrowers shouldn’t expect an ally if he gets a second term.
“A re-elected President Trump would certainly not provide any forgiveness for borrowers who are saddled with student loan debt,” said Jo Ann Oravec, MA, MS, MBA, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Business and Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Madison and author of “Good Robot, Bad Robot.” “This debt is climbing steadily and is escalating as a psychological and economic burden for millions of borrowers. Mr. Trump will strongly support the movement that declares a college education as not being essential economically for pursuing the American Dream.”
But his supporters point out that Trump signed the HEROES Act, which paused student loan payments and stopped the accrual of interest as part of the original pandemic package and extended the freeze when it was set to expire.
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