An economy is the lifeblood of a country. Whether you're a homeowner, a union worker, or a lawmaker, current economic issues will always directly affect your livelihood. From world issues to debates within the United States, what matters to you most in terms of the economy?
In the past few years, America has seen an increase in job growth, yet homelessness and affordable housing are still thriving issues we're struggling to combat. Causes of poverty are still unclear. Social issues like gender inequality feed into the income gap between men and women. These and other debates continue to dominate the media.
What are the reasons for income inequality and how do we agree, as a nation of millions, how money should be allocated? Read through this list of the biggest economic problems we face today and upvote the current financial issues you think we should be prioritizing.
War on Drugs
Since the 1970s, the United States government has directed almost $1 trillion to combating the drug war. Is this spending justifiable because it benefits public welfare? Or is the drug war ultimately ineffective, meaning the extraneous costs harm the economy without any clear benefit?
Medicare has been a basic and essential program for seniors since Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill into law in 1965. Medicare and similar programs continue to face budget cuts. How high up the economy importance ladder do you think Medicare sits?
Pharmaceutical Prices and Practices
With over 45% of the global pharmaceutical market found in the United States, prices and practices of major companies are of great concern. Are drug prices reasonable for the average American?
How much do you think a nation should dedicate to defense spending? Currently, 16 percent of all federal funding goes towards defense. Is that number too big or is it necessary to keep our country safe?
As the Trump administration increases tariffs on myriad Chinese products, what kind of impact will this have on our economy? Are you an advocate of a rise in tariffs as a means to penalize Chinese trade practices and re-route trade activity?
Despite multiple introductions since 2009, the Paycheck Fairness Act has continued to fail through Senate legislation. The act would make it illegal for men and women performing the same tasks to be paid different wages. Do you think we've made enough progress with income equality across all genders?
Campaign Finance Reform
Is campaign financing a legitimate way for candidates to voice opinions and raise attention on important policies? Or is campaign financing further corrupting an already tenuous election system, ensuring only the wealthiest candidates win?
With major changes to the tax system at hand, millions of Americans could be seeing higher tax deductions, changes to their income brackets, and shifting health insurance premiums. Where do you stand on the recent overhauls to the system?
Pensions/401ks used to be the norm in the United States. In recent years, however, pensions paid for solely by the employee are becoming more common. Is this preventing Americans from retiring comfortably?
Online Sales Tax
Huge online enterprises such as Amazon can do damage to tax-paying retailers, as many customers opt to buy cheaper products online. While online sales taxes could make online shopping pricier, it could also generate upwards of $13 billion annually for states.
One of Trump's first actions in office was pulling the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal that would have established the world's largest free trade zone. However, the TPP has been finalized into the similar Trans-Pacific Trade Deal. Some think these deals bolster America's position in the world economy, while others see them as a threat to United States sovereignty.
Corporate Tax rates are scheduled to drop from 35% to 21% in 2018. Does this help stimulate the economy by encouraging companies to grow? Or should corporations be forced to contribute more funds to government programs?
In 2018, several states are adopting Medicaid expansion that makes low cost healthcare accessible to more adults. How much of the poverty level do you think should be covered by programs like Medicaid?
The North American Free Trade Agreement has eliminated trade tariffs between North America, Canada, and Mexico. The Trump administration plans to renegotiate NAFTA terms and threatens to withdraw from the agreement if demands aren't met. What will the effects of a possible NAFTA retreat look like for the US?
Rise of Cryptocurreny
Do cryptocurrencies threaten the integrity of the dollar, the most steadfast currency across the globe? Or do the benefits of cryptocurrencies outweigh the disadvantages?
How do we reduce our national debt? Should we be cutting superfluous government programs or should we increase taxes as relief?
Green Energy Subsidies
Some see green energy as a way to generate new jobs and benefit the environment. Others see it as an unrealistic venture that results in frivolous government spending. Do you believe America should be pushing towards a cleaner, greener future?
In the last decade, property taxes have surged over 180 percent. Should the government provide property tax relief to ease the burden?
The US added 313,000 new jobs in February of 2018 alone. Should we continue funneling time and resources to job growth or should we focus economic momentum on areas that need more attention?
The National Association of Home Builders reports that affordable housing didn't make any serious progress in 2017. Roughly 58% of homes sold last year were within the median income range. Is that enough? Or should we be putting more effort into building and selling more affordable homes?
Health Care Reform
With the future of the Affordable Care Act in question, there's a lot of debate regarding healthcare and the economy. Some studies estimate 30% of healthcare spending goes towards unnecessary expenses. How much funding should the government allocate towards healthcare and how can we ensure the money is spent efficiently?
America has seen the lowest unemployment rates recorded since 2008. However, some argue the unemployment rate is deceptive and many Americans - especially those who came of age during recession years - remain unemployed or underemployed. Does unemployment still rank high on your list of economic concerns?
Unions directly support union member wages and benefits, but some feel they also slow economic growth and lengthen recessions. What role do you think labor unions have in our economy?
Some programs - like defense, Social Security, and healthcare - are vital to our nation's economy and welfare. However, some argue there's a lot of frivolous government spending - including 2017's $30,000 government funded re-creation of Hamlet (starring canines). Is the government allocating funds to the right outlets?