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Charts of the Week: Issues in the 2020 campaign

Now that the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination is in high gear, this edition of Charts of the Week looks at some data related to issues on the campaign trail. These are all drawn from the Policy 2020 Initiative at Brookings, empowering voters with fact-based, data-driven, non-partisan information.

FOR-PROFIT EDUCATION BORROWERS HAVE THE MOST DEBT

In their Voter Vitals guide on student loan debt, Adam Looney, David Wessel, and Kadija Yilla say that “borrowing to earn a degree can make economic sense,” given that most workers with bachelor’s degrees earn more than those without them. However, for those who enrolled in for-profit schools, almost half have loans that exceed $40,000—far higher than for students in other types of schools. And these are the students with the highest default rates.

ACCESS TO PAID FAMILY LEAVE IS LIMITED FOR LOWER-WAGE WORKERS

Isabel Sawhill and Sarah Nzau, in their Voter Vitals piece on the challenges to adopting a federal paid family leave program, observe that “the United States is the only advanced country without a federal paid family leave policy.” The Family and Medical Leave Act covers less than 60% of the labor force, but not everyone who is eligible can afford the loss of income if they take it. “Many employers offer their own formal paid leave policies,” they add, “but access is limited, especially for low-wage workers.”

PROPOSALS TO TAX THE RICH

In his “Who are the rich and how might we tax them more?” Voter Vitals guide, David Wessel defines “rich Americans” as those in the top 9% of households, who get nearly 45% of all pre-tax income. He looks at the data and explains some of the tax proposals of the leading Democratic presidential candidates, including increasing top tax rates, a tax on wealth, increasing the estate tax, and lifting the Social Security payroll tax cap.

For more, visit Policy 2020.