Obama Wins: What It Could Mean for Your Wallet

Alden Wicker

After a tight race, last night ended with Barack Obama giving his acceptance speech for another four years in office—and a chance to further his agenda.

The President pulled in well over the 270 electoral votes needed to win at the 11th hour, literally. It was shortly after 11 p.m. when the race was called. Ohio, the quintessential swing state, pushed him over the edge to victory.

Now the question that’s on everyone’s lips: What will his re-election mean for me … and America?

Campaign promises are one thing, and actual action is another, especially in Washington. With the House of Representatives still controlled by Republicans, and the Senate still held by a majority of Democrats, he’ll have to carefully navigate Congressional gridlock to get his next set of initiatives passed.

But what initiatives might he take on, and how would they affect you? Here’s a closer look at how your wallet could be impacted.

What do you hope will happen—economically, or in your own personal finances, in the next four years? Let us know in the comments.

If Your Household Earns Less Than $250,000

Obama has proposed to extend the tax cuts–which are currently set to expire at the end of this year–for households earning less than $250,000. A White House-authored report says that allowing the tax cuts to expire would raise taxes on a “typical middle class family of four” by $2,200. Obama will try to keep that from happening.

If you Earn More Than $200,000 or Your Household Earns More Than $250,000 …

No secret here that your tax rate will jump to 39.6% from 35% as the Bush-era tax cuts are allowed to expire.

If You’re a Woman

Because of the Affordable Care Act, starting in 2014:

  • Insurance companies will not be able to charge a co-pay for certain preventive services, like screenings for breast cancer and sexually transmitted infections
  • 8.7 million women will pick up coverage for pre- and post-natal care
  • Insurance companies won’t be able to deny you coverage for having the “preexisting condition” of being pregnant, like they used to

If You Are Older or Are in Poor Health

Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will prevent insurance companies from turning down applicants who have pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies also will not be able to charge higher premiums because of your age or health. That means if you lose your current health insurance and already suffer from a chronic illness like diabetes, you won’t have much trouble picking up new health insurance, and won’t face inflated premiums.

If You Have a Low Income

If your income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but less than four times the federally defined poverty level (four times the poverty level for a family of four works out to $92,200), you will qualify for federal subsidies to buy your own health care, so that the premiums don’t take up more than 9.5% of your income.

Some states will probably refuse the optional Medicaid funds available under the Affordable Care Act, but if you live in a state that decides to take federal funds to expand Medicaid and you don’t currently qualify for Medicaid and live around the poverty level, you might qualify starting in 2014. If all states expand coverage, an estimated 16 million Americans would be newly covered.

If You’re Looking for a Job

If Obama holds true to his campaign promises, there might be more jobs available in transportation, construction and teaching, and he says he wants to support job training. If you work in manufacturing, he has also spent a lot of time talking about how he would support try to bring jobs back to the U.S., using tax breaks and incentives.

If You’re a Small Business Owner

According to Obama’s official website, he’s “calling on Congress to cut taxes for businesses that are hiring, raising wages, and investing this year,” and putting “forward a framework for tax reform that would simplify taxes for small businesses.”

He’s proposed extending the payroll tax cut, which is significant for small businesses, since they pay both the employee and employer portion. He also would extend the investment depreciation tax benefit, which encourages business owners to make immediate investments in their businesses.

But according to a study by the accounting firm Ernst & Young, Obama’s tax plan to allow tax cuts to expire for people earning more than $200,000 and households earning more than $250,000 might actually be a burden to small businesses, in particular partnerships, LLCs and S-Corporations. That’s because owners of these types of businesses pay “pass through” taxes, or pay taxes themselves instead of the business paying them.

If You Want to Send Your Kids to College

Obama has said that he wants to expand the college tuition tax credit, which could save you a bundle when you start paying tuition. And he has spoken about lowering tuition costs in general, though he hasn’t yet stated how he plans to do that.

Read about more tax credits and deductions that come from paying tuition.

Image credit: Flickr/Joe Crimmings Photography

  • lotusmoon

    GO OBAMA!  He won.  America is changing.  And thank goodness for that.  I was born in the USA, but when George W got elected a second time, it was time to leave.  So I left and moved across the Atlantic.  It felt like leaving a dysfunctional family you had grown up in.  You don’t see just how dysfunctional things  are until you manage to get out and see how much betters things could be when living in a more healthy society.  I did move to England… which is not perfect, but even the most conservative there would not think it’s okay for people to live without healthcare, or for great part of the population to live at unacceptable rates of poverty which they do in the US.    There are taxes on everything.  High taxes, too.  And you know I didn’t mind paying them, knowing that my taxes went to healthcare, housing, education, and a safety net for all.  I prefer higher taxes knowing that people are cared for.   One of my ex-boyfriends was from Norway and that country was even better.  He was a business manager for a telecoms company, quite a rich guy, and his taxes were eye-watering high, especially if you compare to what Americans would be paying.  He lived in an apartment complex in Oslo, sharing the same building with neighbours whose housing was subsidized.  So it didn’t matter too much how much you earned, the same high standard of living was enjoyed by pretty much everyone. Imagine that?  If the level of inequality in America was corrected a bit, so that the 2% who owned 80% of the wealth, had to share.  So someone on 6 figures was very happy to living there, because to think of people deprived, one’s neighbours and countrymen living in either relative or abject poverty while one has much more money than one needs… I think that’s the very notion of suffering, just caring about oneself.  I’d rather be the poor person than the rich person who doesn’t care about others any day.   I think all the Americans who voted for Romney, well, maybe they should travel, experience another culture & way of life.  If Americans were more worldly or got out of this “me, me, me” mind-set, maybe things would be different?  The rest of the world adores Obama.  Thank god for Obama, once he was elected it was much nicer being an American outside America.  

  • Catherine

    You make this sound like a utopia we will all live in. Obama is a marxist and does not believe in free enterprise. Read his books before you get all gooey over him. He believes in wealth redistribution while making the ruling class elitist politicians and overpaid czars ( what a joke) and union officials rich and the dreggs of society on welfare and the workers ( the rest of us) with just enough to be all in the same boat. Where do you get your info, George Soros? Educate yourself.

    • Guest

      Are you saying that the policies for free enterprise to allow rampant greed for the very rich to become richer on the backs of the “dregs of society” even during an economic downturn represent the American spirit?  Obama believes in All American working together to improve opportunities for everyone.  In difficult times, those American who are in a better position, having already benefitted from paying lower taxes over the years, should step up and pay their fair share particularly when that additional amount will help their fellow Americans (most are not “dregs of society”) get back on their feet. The taxpayers was there to provide the bailout for the banker fat cats who screwed American and still got richer.  It that the America you believe in?