In an address that lurched wildly between Elizabeth Warren-style populism and a more familiar corporate centrism, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton unveiled a framework of her economic platform in at the New School in Manhattan on Monday.
Taking the fight to Republicans, Hillary threw punches at a trio of GOP candidates: Scott Walker, for "stomping on workers' rights"; Jeb Bush, for his out-of-touch suggestion that Americans need to work more hours — "he must not have met very many American workers"; and Marco Rubio, for a tax plan she scoffed is a "budget-busting give-away to the super-wealthy."
By contrast, Clinton offered an economic plan she called "principled and pragmatic and progressive" — with a central promise to grow the economy and the wages of average Americans.
Despite at times soaring progressive rhetoric — "hard working Americans deserve to benefit from the record corporate earnings they help produce" — much of what Clinton proposed sounded like it was written by Bob Dole's economic team, including her promise to "push for broader business tax reform to spur investment in America."
Clinton repeatedly banged the drum of deregulation — for the little guy. She promised to roll back Dodd Frank restrictions on smaller lenders, or as she put it to "ease burdens on community banks." And she vowed to be "the small business president" offering to slash taxes for job creators, specifically pledging to "empower entrepreneurs with less red tape, easier access to capital, tax relief and simplification."
But Clinton didn't leave the Democratic base out in the cold. Many of her most specific policy proposals are unmistakably progressive.
Here we survey the 12 leftiest economic promises Clinton made:
1. "We have to raise the minimum wage and implement President Obama's new rules on overtime."
2. "I'll crack down on bosses who exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors."
3. "Let's establish an infrastructure bank that can channel more public and private funds, channel those funds to finance world-class airports, railways, roads, bridges and ports."
4. "I'm committed to seeing every 4-year-old in America have access to high-quality preschool in the next ten years."
5. "I support the Buffett Rule, which makes sure that millionaires don't pay lower rates than their secretaries."
6. "I have also called for closing the carried interest loophole, which lets wealthy financiers pay an artificially low rate."
7. "When the government recovers money from corporations or individuals for harming the public, it should go into a separate trust fund to benefit the public. It, could for example, help modernize infrastructure or even be returned directly to taxpayers."
8. "I've proposed a new $1,500 apprenticeship tax credit for every worker [businesses] train and hire."
10. "I will soon be proposing a new plan to reform capital gains taxes to reward longer-term investments that create jobs more than just quick trades."
11. "I will offer plans to rein in excessive risks on Wall Street and ensure that stock markets work for everyday investors, not just high frequency traders and those with the best – or fastest – connections."
12. "Another engine of strong growth should be comprehensive immigration reform….Bringing millions of hard-working people into the formal economy would increase our gross domestic product by an estimated $700 billion over ten years."