While economic issues aren't necessarily the main focus of Tuesday's elections, several do occupy center stage, including the minimum wage, Obamacare, taxes and bank regulation, says Jacob Davidson of Money magazine
"Midterm elections are often more a referendum on the president's performance than a driver of significant policy changes," he explains.
"But that doesn't mean economic and financial issues are off the table this week. While major policy changes will be few and far between, a handful of pocketbook issues will be in flux on Tuesday," Davidson argues. Some of these issues are:
- Minimum Wage. An increase is on the ballot in several states this year. Conservatives say a higher minimum wage would cost jobs, while liberals say a higher minimum wage is necessary for low-paid workers to avoid poverty. "It doesn't matter what economists like me say about the negative impacts," Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former head of the Congressional Budget Office, tells Davidson. "It's always very popular and it's going to pass everywhere it's on the ballot."
- Obamacare. Conservatives say it's expensive and doesn't provide Americans with better healthcare. Liberals say it's necessary to provide healthcare to the poor and middle class. "There is bipartisan support for a handful of Obamacare reforms," Davidson notes.
- Taxes. There is some agreement between Democrats and Republicans on reforming corporate taxes. The federal corporate tax rate of up to 35 percent is the highest in the developed world.
- Bank regulation. Democrats mostly support the provisions of the Dodd-Frank law, while many Republicans don't. But even if Republicans capture the Senate, it's unlikely any weakening of the law will survive President Obama's veto.
"Any change to one of the administration's major policy achievements faces an uphill battle, but a limited compromise is possible if Democrats are weakened on Tuesday," Davidson maintains.
Meanwhile, the issue of jobs is playing a major role in several gubernatorial races, CNBC
In Wisconsin, for example, GOP Gov. Scott Walker may suffer from the fact that the state has generated less than half the 250,000 jobs he promised in his first term.
But Walker points to the 8,400 jobs added in September. "That's the best September for job creation in more than a decade," he said in a debate last month, according to CNBC.
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