Stocker: Why NU students should vote Democrat


Alexi Stocker, Columnist

A recent Harvard Public Opinion Project poll found that job creation was one of young voters’ top priorities, and it should be for Northwestern students too. Within the next four years, the majority of students currently enrolled at NU will be starting full-time work.

Economic downturns like the one President Obama inherited in 2008 have prolonged consequences. The effects of the Great Recession on the first-time job market are only now wearing off. And the ability of current and future students to find fulfilling employment depends upon the continued strength of the U.S. economy, as well as a president and Congress committed to ensuring continued growth and stability.

The current state of the U.S. economy is strong, thanks largely to Obama’s policy initiatives. Obama’s auto bailout was a success, he fended off Republican demands for spending cuts, preventing the austerity-induced disasters seen across much of the European Union, and he defended the Federal Reserve’s independence, enabling effective monetary policy. The much-dreaded “job-killing” consequences of tax increases on the wealthiest Americans never materialized.

Sure, the recovery wasn’t perfect, but, given the political environment, Obama’s accomplishments are impressive. Going forward, we need a president, and representatives and senators, who will make the right choices for our country’s economy. Many NU students will be graduating with student loan debt. Recent studies have found that student loan debt is damaging the U.S. economy, preventing young college graduates from starting businesses and delaying purchases of homes and cars.

The Democratic Party officially supports student loan reform, and both major presidential contenders – Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders – have proposals for eliminating student debt and tuition at public institutions, respectively. Student loan reform to free up young college graduates’ income for consumption and investment is crucial.

Tax policy matters, too. All Republican contenders for the presidency want to further cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans, despite the enormous costs of such proposals — trillions of dollars over a decade — and strong evidence that tax cuts for the rich do little, if anything, to stimulate the economy. The Democratic Party advocates for tax cuts, but only for the middle and working class, which stimulate the economy through increased consumer spending.

The Democratic Party also aims to rein in Wall Street speculation, protecting our economy from another catastrophic crash like the one in 2008.

Finally, the Affordable Care Act is an economic gift for NU students as they enter the working world. The ACA allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they turn 26, and offers strong health insurance options for young adults without employer-provided insurance. Health insurance is key for preventing bankruptcy or financial hardship from unexpected medical costs.

Democratic economic policies – from student loan reform to taxes and regulations – are not only better for the economy as a whole, they are especially beneficial for NU students as they set out into the working world. The choice is clear; vote Democratic in 2016, for economic stability and continued growth.

Alexi Stocker is a Weinberg senior. He can be reached at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.