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We dug into the official campaign websites of the candidates to see what positions they had — if any — about student loans, credit cards, and more

6 minute read

Every presidential candidate has to mention certain issues to attract voters; and the national debt is a popular one for Republicans. Nine candidates mention it.

Personal debt? Not so much. Just two candidates have anything to say about student loans or credit card debt; although many have ideas about taxes, Social Security and retirement.

Here’s what each candidate had to say…

Jeb Bush

On taxes: “We have a broken tax system that’s one of the most convoluted and anti-growth in the world. I just came back from Estonia where it takes residents less than five minutes to file their taxes. If we were following the Estonia model, our economy would be much more competitive.”

Ben Carson

On taxes: “The current tax code is an abomination. Our tax form should be able to be completed in less than 15 minutes. This will enable us to end the IRS as we know it.”

On affordable healthcare: “We didn’t need the monstrosity of the $1.2 trillion Affordable Care Act. I strongly support Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) which empower families to make their own decisions about their medical treatment.”

Chris Christie

On student loans: “Governor Christie proposes to refocus federal student assistance for those at the bottom while expanding alternative funding such as income-share agreements in which students could agree to pay some percentage of their future income for a defined period of time in exchange for private financing as well as tax credits to pay for programs that pay down student debt in exchange for community service.”

On taxes: “Governor Christie will reform the tax code by creating a flatter, fairer and simpler individual income tax system and keep returns simple by reducing deductions and giveaways. Governor Christie will also lower the Corporate Tax Rate to a more competitive 25% which S&P has suggested could help create as many as 10 million jobs. Governor Christie proposes eliminating the payroll tax for those above age 62. As well as for those newly entering the workforce, below age 25.”

On affordable education: “Students should be able to see cost itemization for tuition, so they can know what they’re really paying for. If colleges can break out those costs, they should also unbundle them – allowing students, to just pay for the education and not all the add-ons. ‘Stackable credentials’ would allow students to re-enroll at different colleges over time without losing credits so students have the flexibility to jump in and out of education as needed. We should also expand apprenticeships and training programs while linking employers with education institutions to offer a variety of paths for individuals to develop the skills the labor force needs.”

Ted Cruz

On affordable healthcare: “I have made repeal of this disastrous law [Obamacare] a top priority since the first day I arrived in the Senate and have made its repeal central to my campaign. Any candidate not willing to do the same — and campaign on it every day — should step aside. I remain fully committed to the repeal of Obamacare—every single word of it.”

Carly Fiorina

This candidate’s website lists no consumer finance-related policy positions.

Jim Gilmore

On taxes: “The Growth Code is simply, squarely and precisely focused on the tax code and restoring America to a sustainable economic growth trajectory. Every American will pay taxes. Tax brackets will be lowered and dramatically simplified for individuals across the board, including the middle class. Taxes on dividends, distributions and capital gains will be eliminated.”

Lindsey Graham

On taxes: “A tax code in excess of 73,000 pages is not a tax code that is working for average Americans and small business owners. We need a system that is fairer; that doesn’t stifle growth and innovation, and that doesn’t hide effective rates behind a wall of complexity.”

On retirement: “Retirement: Current and near retirees must be held harmless as we implement common-sense and necessary reforms [to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid] for future retirees. Future generations must have assurances that our entitlement programs will remain viable without saddling them with unsustainable debt. We must gradually begin to raise the retirement age.”

Mike Huckabee

On taxes: “We need a tax revolution that helps every hard-working American and eliminates the IRS once and for all. We need the FairTax. The FairTax is the only plan that lowers everyone’s tax rates; untaxes the poor, broadens the tax base, and helps protect Social Security and Medicare.”

On retirement: “Social Security and Medicare are based on involuntary confiscation from every paycheck with the promise that people will receive benefits when they retire. The government does enough lying and stealing. It shouldn’t play people for chumps by taking money from workers for 50 years and then fail to uphold its promise.”

On education: “I oppose Common Core and believe we should abolish the federal department of education. We must kill Common Core and restore common sense. For too many, college is where students discover mountains of debt — but not a lifelong career. We must tackle the establishment and reform our colleges and universities so they make sense for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Bobby Jindal

On affordable healthcare: “President Obama’s grand program has failed to deliver real healthcare outcomes that America needs. I am the only presidential candidate who has a detailed plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with a conservative and effective alternative. We must empower patients rather than bureaucrats. My healthcare plan focuses on patient freedom and reducing costs.”

John Kasich

This candidate’s website lists no consumer finance-related policy positions.

George Pataki

This candidate’s website lists no consumer finance-related policy positions.

Rand Paul

On taxes: “Some of my fellow Republican candidates for the presidency have proposed plans to fix the tax system. These proposals are a step in the right direction, but the tax code has grown so corrupt; complicated, intrusive and antigrowth that I’ve concluded the system isn’t fixable.

So I am announcing an over $2 trillion tax cut that would repeal the entire IRS tax code—more than 70,000 pages—and replace it with a low, broad-based tax of 14.5% on individuals and businesses. All deductions except for a mortgage and charities would be eliminated. The first $50,000 of income for a family of four would not be taxed. For low-income working families, the plan would retain the earned-income tax credit.”

On the CFPB: “Unelected bureaucrats should not have the power to enact regulations that affect the lives of everyday Americans. It is important that those citizens are made aware of how these regulations come to be. will place common sense and reasonable limitations on a bureaucracy that seeks to target well-intentioned businesses with burdensome regulations.”

On Social Security: “During my time in the Senate, I have worked on proposals that would fix the shortfalls in the Social Security program through a gradual increase in the age of full retirement and by means testing yearly earnings, while preserving those benefits for near and current retirees. These changes would only apply to younger Americans who have time to plan for the future.”

Rick Perry

On taxes: “We need to make life more affordable, by helping Americans keep more of what they earn, and by lowering the cost of everyday expenses.”

Marco Rubio

On student loans: “I believe that before any of our young people take out student loans, that school has to tell you how much you can expect to make when you graduate from that degree from that school so people can decide whether it’s worth borrowing tens of thousands of dollars to major in basket weaving.”

On taxes: “The current tax code taxes too much, taxes unfairly, and conspires with our outmoded welfare system to trap poor families in poverty, rather than facilitate their climb into the middle class. Our reforms seek to simplify the structure and lower rates. How? By consolidating the many existing income tax brackets into two simple brackets—15% and 35%—and eliminating or reforming deductions, especially those that disproportionately benefit the privileged few at everyone else’s expense.”

Rick Santorum

Job creation: “Immigration: Rick Santorum believes we must reduce immigration levels to the United States in order to protect American workers from foreign labor that is taking jobs that Americans could otherwise hold.

He supports reducing immigration from about a million immigrants per year—the current level—down to about 750,000 per year. This will help blue collar American workers get back to work and thrive economically. Every net new job created since 2000 for people between 18 and 65 is held be someone who wasn’t born in this country. This needs to change.”

Donald Trump

This candidate’s website lists no consumer finance-related policy positions.

Scott Walker

On taxes: “We need to lower the burden on hard-working taxpayers to improve take-home pay. And we need tax levels that are competitive for job creators to bring jobs back from overseas to put more of our fellow Americans back to work.”

On healthcare: “We must repeal ObamaCare. That’s right, repeal the so-called Affordable Care Act entirely and put patients and families back in charge of their health care decisions – not the federal government.”

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About the Author’s writers are journalists, personal finance experts, and certified credit counselors. Their advice about money – how to make it, how to save it, and how to spend it – is based on, collectively, a century of personal finance experience. They’ve been featured in media outlets ranging from The New York Times to USA Today, from Forbes to FOX News, and from MSN to CBS.

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