Obama or Romney: Who's better for your finances?

One economist says it's pretty simple: Richer folks will likely benefit more from Romney's policies, while lower-income Americans will benefit more from Obama's.

By MSNMoney partner Sep 20, 2012 9:03AM
US News logoBy Kimberly Palmer

When it comes to deciding which candidate is better for your financial life, the answer isn't entirely obvious. In fact, voters hold widely varying views on how the two candidates will likely influence the economy, often depending on their own income levels and financial situations.

Here's where Americans stand:

Voters believe presidents have a big impact on their money—to a degree.

"The economy is really on people's minds at this point, even more so than in past years just because it has been such a tough last couple years for Americans' finances," says Claes Bell, senior banking analyst at Bankrate.com, although he adds that "pocketbook issues" often play a major role in elections.

A Bankrate.com survey taken in June found that almost six in 10 Americans say their personal finance situation is either the most important factor or one of the most important factors in determining which candidate they'll vote for.

Still, Americans are skeptical that either candidate will actually be able to substantially improve their financial lives. Half of the survey respondents said that when it comes to affecting their own finances, it doesn't matter which president ends up getting elected. "It seems like people are thinking, 'We're stuck in the economic rut, and they doubt that specific policies will help us out,'" says Bell. Among those who thought that the president would impact their personal finances, they were equally divided on selecting the better candidate.

Americans are faced with two candidates who offer sharply different views on economic policy.

"The Romney crowd would say, 'If we have low taxes, and we get rid of regulation and reduce public spending, the economy will grow at a faster rate.' They're being guided by the (Paul) Ryan budget, (which includes) significant cuts in taxes and cutting back the size of the state," says resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute Desmond Lachman. Much of that is designed to stimulate business, he adds, "so you'd think it would be beneficial to people owning stocks, people in the upper-income brackets."

Lachman adds, though, that the Federal Reserve's policies under President Barack Obama have helped to buoy equity prices, and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney would likely take a different approach. (Romney has said that he would replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.)

Obama, meanwhile, has focused more on economic policies that affect the middle and lower classes, including health insurance coverage, student loan support, social services, and extending the payroll tax cut. "At the high-end of the income scale, he'd be raising taxes, whereas the Ryan budget cuts taxes across the board," says Lachman. Obama has also supported the extension of benefits for the unemployed as well as other social services, from food stamps to Medicaid.

Of course, presidents don't make policies unilaterally, and each candidate would have to work with Congress to pass legislation. For Obama, that could mean working again with a Republican-dominated Congress. "Tea party members are not prepared to compromise, so I'd expect you'll get more of the same in terms of economic performance," Lachman says.

In general, Lachman says, people in the upper-income brackets will likely benefit more from Romney's policies, while lower-income Americans will benefit more from Obama's.

Republicans and Democrats feel differently about their own financial situations and the financial health of the country.

"Partisanship seems to be having a pretty intense effect on how people view their personal finances," says Bell. A recent Bankrate.com survey found that a third of Republicans feel "more comfortable with their debt now versus one year ago," while just one-quarter of Democrats said the same. Possible reasons include that Republicans might fall into the higher-income bracket and have lower debt levels, or that Republicans tend to be more fiscally conservative in both their private lives and political beliefs, says Bell.

Bell believes respondents who support Obama also tend to feel more optimistic about the economy, and to "feel things are going better than they are," while Romney supporters tend to "feel things are going worse than they actually are." The intense emotions surrounding the election, he says, appear to be affecting perceptions of the economy.

Age and income level have an influence on how voters perceive the election.

Age also has an impact on voters' views. Bankrate.com found that among voters under age 30, 10 percent said their personal financial situation will be better under Romney, while 29 percent said it will be better under Obama.

A recent Pew report found that 63 percent of Americans say Republicans "favor the rich over the middle class and poor," and seven in 10 "believe the policies of a President Mitt Romney would be good for wealthy people." Meanwhile, six in 10 respondents said Obama's policies will help the poor, and half said they will help the middle class. Pew concludes that among middle-class adults, "neither candidate has sealed the deal."

As both candidates make their case to voters in the final months leading up to the election, each will try to do just that.

More from US News & World Report

Sep 20, 2012 5:50PM

Mitt Romney is OBVIOUSLY the best choice for our finances.

Obama plans to TAX us into oblivion.


By the way, what's up with this new trend by the Cult of Obama?

They are writing on their hands to show support.

Now Obama plans to fly HIS OWN FLAG!!!!!


This is exactly how the NAZI PARTY started.

Swastika symbols and a Nazi flag.

I always said Obama is a narcissistic, wannabe socialist dictator.

History repeats itself as we stand by and watch.


Obama is not Hitler you say????

I bet he will throw all of us in prision for speaking out againt him if he is re-elected.

This is already evident by the reaction of the hypocritical liberals who claim they believe in Freedom of Speech, as long as it is in support of their agenda.    

Sep 20, 2012 5:50PM

Hussein Obama needs to leave and apologize to the american people for being an imposter and an illegal. Now we hope for real change, out with the obablehead/doofus ticket in with Romney/Ryan.

bobblehead had his chance and did nothing, he could not direct traffic on a one way street.

Sep 20, 2012 5:50PM
Yeah sure!  Obama will do a lot for the middle and lower class people.  For instance...the ones that are on welfare and drawing un-employment will continue to get their checks from the ones that are working.  Take from us and give to them.  That says a lot about the man that has ran up more debt than any other president in history.  You people go ahead and vote for the mman, but you will be sorry before the next four years is over.  I'll bet on that.
Sep 20, 2012 5:49PM

All these politicians lie!! No matter who it is. Bush promised to put lockbox on SS but he didn't, he kept taking out. Also he is the one who had to go to war with Iraq to get even for his daddy. That's why the rich got tax breaks and now they won't give them up. Don't forget that!! Obama came into a big deficit. Where is all the surplus that Clinton had when he left office? Bush spent it all!! Also Obama can't get anything done when Republicans don't allow him to dothings unless they get what they want especially tax cuts for those rich A----! Also Mitt the Witt is so rich why does he have to run anyway? Hides his money in off shore accounts so he doesn't have to pay taxes. He should also stop using his wife's illness to get in!! I think we will be worse off with a republican running mthey are always for the rich!! Also just listen to what The Witt says about not caring about us. He's Mormon and thinks we should take care of ourselves, but we weren't born with a silverspoon!!!!

Sep 20, 2012 5:48PM
Obama has lied so much it is with difficulty to know which thing he has said that bothers me most but I believe it was during his initial campaign when he said he would repeal most of the garbage Bush wrote into law
Sep 20, 2012 5:48PM

It depends on if you are out for yourself or the good of the country. Obama is willing to give you whatever you want to get reelected and crate his socialist utopia and sacrifice the country in the long term. WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THE GIVEAWAYS?

Sep 20, 2012 5:46PM

There are many with strong opinions, but don't know a thing about debt-financing.  First of all that hog-wash about Obama adding  trillions to the federal debt is pure bull.  Here is where all the debt comes from.  On Jan-09, the date Obama was sworn in, the National Debt according to BARRON's was $10.7 trillion...but…there was another $1.3 trillion deficit.  By the way, the largest budget deficit in history.  (It cost $3.6 trillion to run he government for a year, and only $2.3 trillion of tax revenues came in. )  Are you still with me?  That adds up to $12 trillion.  But hold on…At that time, it was also known that the budget deficit would repeat itself….it would be at least $1.3 trillion/year into the foreseeable future until such time as revenues = expenditures.  That means for fiscal 2010 to 2013, the years that Obama would inherit these “hidden” costs.  So add $1.3 trillion x 4 years = $4.2 trillion to the $12 trillion sub-total + $4.2 trillion = $16.2 trillion….and that is before President Obama spends as much as a dime!  All of it is the Bush era debt legacy…..and by the way, that isn’t the end of it, because we have to pay interest on all of it.  That’s right!  Money borrowed through the sale of 30 yr treasuries sold in 2002, must continue to pay the semi-annual coupons for another 20 years….and that includes the last issue of Bonds at the time Bush left office.  Tat last budget, with the deficit of $1.3 trillion, the biggest annual deficit in history, had to be borrowed by selling more bonds.  So from early 2009 onward, in addition to debt already piled up, we have another $1.3 trillion to pay intererest on through 2039.  Now lets talk about what Obama spent.  Obama had to spend all $2.3 trillion a year that were collected in taxes + 1.3 trillion dollars a year in Bush’s deficit legacy costs.  Remember it costs $3.6 trillion/year to run the government + the costs of two wars (yeah, money was borrowed off the books for that project), and the Bush tax cuts which guaranteed we would have to continue to borrow money….perpetuating the deficit.   So Obama, by the time 4 years is up will have spent $3.6 trillion x 4 = $14.4 trillion.  Now subtract the tax revenues, $2.3 trillion x 4 = $9.2 trillion.  The difference between $14.4 trillion - $9.2 trillion = $5.2 trillion.  Of this sub-total, 4 years of Bush legacy budget deficits = $1.3 trillion x 4 = $4.2 trillion.  Subtract that expense that was imposed upon President Obama’s budget, $5.2-$4.2 = $1 trillion.  So….that amount of added spending that can be justly attributed to Obama is $1 trillion over 4 years.  Too bad many are a sucker for every negative piece of propaganda and  bumper sticker.  Pick up a copy of BARRON’s weekly and study it.  When you get to the Market Watch section, you’ll see where they publish a running tally of the Statutory Debt Limit,  and where we are as of today.    

Sep 20, 2012 5:46PM

I for one am a lot worse off these last 4 years.  I have been steadily employed but have watched my paycheck buy less and less.  We have had no raises since 2007 and the cost of living ( the true cost not media spin) has gone up 16%.  True gasoline was up during the summer of 2008 thanks in part to the Big Banks like Citi, BofA, Goldman -Suchs and JP Morgan all using shadow companies to trade up oil commodities, but over all gasoline stayed in the $2.29-$2.69 a gallon range.


Since Obama took office gasoline ranges slightly below $3.00 to nearly $4.00 a gallon, food prices for basic goods( bread, milk, ect) have jumped 16% and utiliies have sky rocketed because of regulations.  My wife finally found a job last month after two years unemplyed making 35% LESS for doing the same work.  Now looking at MSN Money's article from yesterday the CBO has said that over 6 Million middle class are going to pay higher taxes (penalties) next year because they aren't insured.  Several of the Big Banks have gotten away with fraud, theft and forgery because of Obama's DOJ and SEC appointees.  Obama renominated Bernanke as Fed Chairman and he was confirmed by a Democrat controlled Senate and House.  Mr. Bernanke's monetary policies helped create the spike in commodity prices through money given to the banks that immediately take the money to the trading desks to make obscene profits.


I Hope enough Americans are tired of high unemployment racial polarization, apologizing to our enemies, uncontrolled government spending and out right criminal activity within this adminstration to make a BIG CHANGE in November.  If not the USA that we know will never recover. 

Sep 20, 2012 5:46PM
unicorns, faries and tree huggers are better off with obama, oh should i forget, terrorist that obama apologizes to and sends our hard earned tax dollars to. what a slanted news organization the big 3 and cable news networks are, except fox. Its so obvious they are in the tank for oooobbbaaammma.
Sep 20, 2012 5:45PM
How much time does Mr. Obama need to fix the mess, has anyone ever said? Four years seemed to be enough when he ran in 08'. I don't remember him telling us he would need 8 years to fix anything, I do remember him talking about the budget, how he was going to go though it line by line... Ha what budget?

How much more time does he get? Should he be excused for doing nothing the first four years?

The excuses that people make for him are unbelievable,  when will he take responsibility for anything.

Sep 20, 2012 5:44PM

Learning to really manage money will do waaaaaaaaaay more than any candidate although each candidate has some small pluses and minuses

1. GET AN EDUCATION  if you are newly grad engineer you have your pick of high paying jobs, many fields have a strong growth future like this, even some that do not require college.  whats your plan.

2. Save money, save money,save money   most of the stuff you want you do not need.

3.Invest your savings wisely, if you understand investing do it yourself, if not get somehelp

4. Avoid paying taxes, you should be plannning a tax strategy for 2013 now   Not just tossing reciepts in a box.

No president will do more for you than having a sound plan in these 4 areas,but each of these areas will be effected by who is elected

1. Many times President Obama has taken steps to lower the cost of education, new GI bIll, having government assume student loans and lower interest rates, increasing pell grants. Mr Romney want to cut this type of social support.

2. Saving is something you must do

3 Investing wisely is not really effected by either candidate both of them wish to support growth.

4. Both candidates have different plans to lower your taxes.   Do you know both plans,if not you are not prepared for next year 

Sep 20, 2012 5:43PM
Sep 20, 2012 5:43PM

please note the commercial by x president Clinton...he states and I quote... It worked for him when things were good for the middle class people. Well, guess its not going to work then because things are not good for the middle class people right now and another 4 years of Obama will make it worse. So let me get this straight you would rather vote for a president who uses Clinton to get him votes ( man who disgraced our country and his family with Monica) and Sandra Flucks the woman who likes to (do her last name without the L and wants us to pay for her birth control and abortions) then a man who has loved his wife and children for years and has helped people all his life. What morals Obama fans have. Flucks the slut and CLinton the blow man are Obama's character wittness and this is who you want to give your vote lol

yes, give Obama another 4 years, so he can spend trillions more and have this to show for it...here is a list of where all our tax dollars have gone and each company has either closed now or went bankrupt  ...4 more YEARS NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WAY


companies our tax dollars paid for with nothing to show for unde OBAMA

For those who only hear about these failing companies one by one, the following is a list of all the clean energy companies supported by President Obama’s stimulus that are now failing or have filed for bankruptcy. The liberal media hopes you’ve forgotten about all of them except Solyndra, but we haven’t.

Evergreen Solar
Solyndra (received $535 million)
Beacon Power (received $43 million)
AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy
Nevada Geothermal (received $98.5 million)
SunPower (received $1.5 billion)
First Solar (received $1.46 billion)
Babcock & Brown (an Australian company which received $178 million)
Ener1 (subsidiary EnerDel received $118.5 million)
Amonix (received 5.9 million)
The National Renewable Energy Lab
Fisker Automotive
Abound Solar (received $400 million)
Chevy Volt (taxpayers basically own GM)
Solar Trust of America
A123 Systems (received $279 million)
Willard & Kelsey Solar Group (received $6 million)
Johnson Controls (received $299 million)
Schneider Electric (received $86 million)


Sep 20, 2012 5:41PM
A Comprehensive List Of Obama's Worst Executive Orders

JUNE 15, 2012 BY

There have been over 900 Executive Orders put forth from Obama, and he is not even through his first term yet. He is creating a martial law 'Disney Land' of control covering everything imaginable. Some of the executive orders he has signed recently have been exposed thanks to 'Friends of Conservative Action Alerts.' They have compiled a choice list of 'Emergency Powers, Martial law executive orders': Get your headache medication out while you still can without a prescription.

* Executive Order 10990 allows the Government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

* Executive Order 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

* Executive Order 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels, and minerals.

* Executive Order 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

* Executive Order 11001 allows the government to take over all health education and welfare functions.

* Executive Order 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

* Executive Order 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

* Executive Order 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate and establish new locations for populations.

* Executive Order 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways, and public storage facilities.

* Executive Order 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen-year period.

* Executive Order 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

* Executive Order 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice (NOTE: that's Fast and Furious Eric Holder!) to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute Industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

* Executive Order 11921 allows the Federam Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit, and the flow of money in U.S. financial institutions in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when the president declares a state of emergency.Congress cannot review the action for six months.

It is more than clear that Obama is planning for the total control and takeover of America via Martial Law. Food, energy, transportation, work, banking, and health: he has it covered.

While Obama is busy pulling executive orders out of the sky to control everything inside our country, he has been issuing executive orders to force us to submit to international regulations instead of our Constitution.

Sher Zieve exposed this in one of her recent articles. Damn the U.S. Constitution, damn the American people and damn U.S. sovereignty.

Sep 20, 2012 5:41PM

It was clinton who forced regulation on the banks to have a growing % of their loans to CRA, and Obastard was the lawyer who sued banks who didn't comply after the republicans warned over and over again that this was bad policy.  Anybody with half a brain knows this is what caused the banks to fail when all their sub-prime mortgages failed resulting in the mess we are in.  I don't know how that piece of trash sleeps at night knowing he contributed the most to the mess he created and then lies every day saying it was 100% Bush's fault.  People need to start learning some facts about what got us in this mess and the trillions spent to make it worse was wasted.  I can't imagine anybody who knows the facts would vote to reelect this piece of trash.

Sep 20, 2012 5:41PM
There are people in America who believe that there should be no minimum wage.  That workers should be paid the least amount of money possible, and that if those workers can not do it for the low wages employers want to offer, than we should should bring in new workers, or send the jobs elsewhere.   They believe that just because you work 40 hours a week does not "entitle" you to insurance, or benefits.  They believe the people with the least, should pay the most.  They believe that if you have a lot, you are wholesome and good, and if you do not have a lot, you are a burden. 
These people are called Republicans.  
Lets us elect one to better our economy and get people working again.
Sep 20, 2012 5:40PM

What a liberal media rag you and the rest are. Why don't all of the media, yourself included, and Obama just say you want Socialism and be done with it. Say you can make it work better than Stalin, or Europe has. I am so sick of the media ignoring the glaring failures and lies and of course the sordid past of our current president and lets harp on every thing about the other candidate. Far more important to concentrate on what Romney said months ago in a private fund raiser than to report the negligence of our current administration that left Americans dead in protest of our embasies. How could the Prme Minister of Israel expect a meeting to discuss Irans nuclear situation when he was already booked on Lefty Letterman and had to attend Jay Z and Beyonce fund raiser. Iran is only concerned with peacefull energy development, to bolster having the fourth largest oil production in the world, cant be to safe when energy is concerned. Its a disgrace having the media outlets runned/owned by a bunch of progressives, or isn't tht another term for communist?

 Ill go puke now.

Sep 20, 2012 5:40PM
hussien obama is causeing more companies to relocate overseas or just run with a skeleton crew to see what the election brings.  If it brings obama these companies are not going to pay his 45% tax rate and then pay the personal tax rate on top.  Romney right now has effective tax rate of 51%.  What company will stay for that.  Obama needs to be booted. The corporate tax rates need to drop so the big companies that moved to china and mexico can return. Just think if GM, Ford and Chrysler brought back all the jobs that are in mexico, china and canda.  That would be well over a million jobs alone.  Not counting other companies. I know you libs don't believe it because you would rather just have the money handed out.  But  Lower the corporate tax rate to 20%,  blow the unions out, that will save 10. dollars per hour per person, many millions.  Raise the customs import rates so they are competitive with the import rates of other countries.  Then Ohio, and Michigan and all the automobile producing states would be back to work.  Same is true for most companies.  Hussein is to political to do the right thing,  he just spends money to buy votes, Now the stock market is up thanks to bernanke pouring millions of dollars into it.  Guess how hussein is buying wall street with our money.  All that money will be pulled out by wall street banks and operatives, and hussein bought the vote by giving them our money.  Entitlement people are a lot cheaper, free phone and minutes and a couple thousand dollars per month. Compare to the billions he is buying off wall street with.  Hussein obama needs to go 
Sep 20, 2012 5:39PM
MSNBC who is paying you off? Obama is here for someone else, he not here for America and you have got to know it. Where is the money coming from?
Sep 20, 2012 5:38PM
We need Mitt Romney more than eve. We need a leader. We need someone to help us get out this desert that we have wandering in the past 31/2 years. As it turns out Obama was not the annointed one afterall.
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