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Hillary Clinton Draws Contrast With Republicans As She Lays Out Economic Plan

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Hillary Clinton Draws Contrast With Republicans As She Lays Out Economic Plan

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By Evan Halper and Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau (TNS)

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton used an economic policy speech Monday to make an early contrast with her potential Republican opponents, promising to “rely on evidence more than ideology” in an effort to restore financial security for Americans left behind in the recent economic recovery.

Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, said that boosting middle-class wages was the “defining economic issue of our time” and proposed to overhaul the tax code, promote corporate profit-sharing and advance paid family leave to build what she called a “growth and fairness economy.”

“I want to see our economy work for the struggling, the striving and the successful,” Clinton said in her address at the New School in New York. “We’re not going to find all the answers we need today in the playbooks of the past, we can’t go back to the old policies that failed us before, nor can we just replay the successes.”

Corporate profit-sharing was an example of the “new ideas” Clinton said she’d promote as president, saying it would give workers a stake in the success of their employer as a way to “boost productivity and put money directly in employees’ pockets.”

The emphasis on profit-sharing comes amid concerns by Clinton and the many economists advising her that too much of the American economy has become focused on fast earnings for those in top income brackets, to the detriment of rank-and-file workers.

Clinton’s speech represented the first look at what aides say will be a detailed agenda, to be rolled out in the coming weeks, that seeks to push capital toward more durable growth, creating incentives for investments in infrastructure and research, for example, while closing what her advisers say are tax loopholes that promote excessive risk-taking in the markets.

She also promoted familiar Democratic priorities such as pay equity for women, paid family leave and affordable child care, something she said was not a “luxury” but a “growth strategy.”

Her proposals take aim at a problem vexing economists: how to pull America out of a prolonged period of stagnant middle-class wages, even at a time when productivity is on the rise.

Income disparity has become a central issue in the race for the White House, and Republican candidates have ideas that differ from Clinton’s. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is building his economic agenda around a plan to boost growth of the country’s gross domestic product to a sustained 4 percent a year.

Calling inequality a “drag” on the entire economy, Clinton targeted Bush directly for saying last week that Americans needed to “work longer hours” — a portion of the former Florida governor’s discussion of economic solutions that his campaign said critics have taken out of context. Clinton said Bush “must not have met very many American workers,” and challenged him to repeat the claim to nurses, teachers and others who she said “do not need a lecture. They need a raise.”

Discussing tax reform, Clinton called a plan from Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida that would slash taxes on top incomes a “budget-busting giveaway to the super wealthy,” the kind of plan that was typical of the “bad economics” Republicans would propose.

And she attacked the newest GOP contender, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, for “stomping on workers’ rights” by seeking to undermine the strength of public employee unions.

“I will fight back against these mean-spirited, misguided attacks,” she vowed, saying the decline of unions was responsible for a third of the increase in income inequality. “If we want to get serious about raising incomes, we have to get serious about supporting union workers.”

(c)2015 Tribune Co. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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4 Comments

  1. Dominick Vila July 13, 2015

    This is what I wanted to hear from Hillary, and all the other candidates. I agree 100% with what she said. In addition to investing in infrastructure, modernization, and education, we must raise the minimum wage to a more realistic amount, and we should offer American workers benefits similar to those in other industrialized nations. Narrowing the economic gap between the elite and the middle class, and putting in place policies that put an end to salary stagnation, should be among our highest priorities.
    If we can afford to waste trillions of dollars in inexplicable crusades, we can definitely spend billions at home on things that help ALL Americans and that help improve our standard of living. Asking American who are already holding two jobs and often work between 50 and 60 hours to work harder is not the answer. One of the most important components to solve the financial inequality that exists in the USA is to create jobs and put in place policies that help the middle class, instead of obsessing about the well being of those who already have it all.

    Reply
    1. Independent1 July 13, 2015

      Talking about jobs: if what’s needed is jobs, then that lets the GOP out. Just think of this: during the 18 plus years that Carter, Clinton and Obama were in office, about 40 million jobs have been created. While during the 20 years that Reagan and the 2 Bushes were in office, only 1/2 that number, 20 million were created.

      And here’s something that really needs to be harped on prior to the election with respect to anyone who has made money or is now benefiting from a stock market portfolio. Essentially, almost every bit of gain in the stock market since the ’29 crash has been accumulated during the years that a Democrat was in office. Even Fox News has published this: Since 1929, the net gain in the stock market over the 42 years of Republican presidencies was ZERO!! While during the 43 years that of Democrat presidencies, the net gain is 300+%

      The wealthy and the retired need to consider two things: virtually all their current wealth was accumulated during Democrat presidencies: 2) how much richer might they be, or how much better might their retirements be, if all of those 85 years had had a Democrat president.

      And something even more to think about: how much richer might America and the world be, if a Republican had never held office the past 85 years.?

      Since 1900, the average annual increase in Ameria’s GDP growth was a mediocre 2.6%/year growth during all the GOP presidencies, while in contrast, it was a robust 4.3%/year average annual GDP growth during Democrat presidencies.

      Reply
      1. TZToronto July 14, 2015

        JEB says he wants 4% growth when he’s President. Judging by history, that ain’t gonna happen, especially since Republican policies cannot possibly result in that type of growth.

        Reply
        1. Independent1 July 14, 2015

          Yeah! The average annual GDP growth rate under Republicans since 1900 has been 2.6%/yr. I doubt Jeb would be any better about driving that rate up than any of the other, 10 or so, GOP presidents in office during that time. It’s nice to be a ‘dreamer’ isn’t it?? Even a disingenuous one.

          Reply

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