Thursday, April 12, 2012

Whom Does Your Wallet Say You Should Vote For? This Website Tells You!

Though this extremely fun tool has been online a couple of months, I only came across it this week. If you put your basic demographic information into this website (annual income by source, age, ZIP code, tax filing status, number of children, and whether any of your children go to college), it will spit out the exact dollar amount increase or decrease you would see in your personal income and in the services that you receive from the federal government resulting from the implementation of the policies proposed by each of the different Presidential candidates (Obama, Romney, Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum, though I don't know how much longer Santorum will stay on the site, since he's out of the race now).

Here are the top two results from a household earning the median income for households in the US (as of 2010):

Click here to be taken to the tool to run your own numbers.

The tool sorts the results by the candidates that are best on your wallet - meaning that Gingrich's, Paul's, and Santorum's policies are, from an economic perspective, even worse for the median household than Romney's. It's interesting to see that the median household would receive greater tax benefits under Obama than under any other candidate. The tool also shows how a candidate's policies would affect revenues to the government.

(Spoiler alert - unless you are at the high end of the income distribution, Obama usually does the best for you, by at least $10,000/year. Also, all of the Republicans' proposals would drastically reduce revenue to the government, either causing massive deficits or requiring massive cuts to all aspects of government.)

The website authors also seem to be refining the tool as new policies are proposed or new data becomes available - in the past few days, the numbers I get from the tool have been changing as new data have been fed into the tool. I'll hope that the authors continue to update the tool through election day.

This tool severely personalizes the outcomes of each of the candidates' policies and makes it abundantly clear whether you are voting with or against your own economic interests. I doubt this website will have a big effect on the general election, but it's a fun exercise in personalizing the economics of politics and the outcomes of elections, and I thank the website authors and wish them all the best.

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