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Hillary Clinton: Her Plans For The Economy, And How Her Opponents Are Responding

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Senator’s plans for the economy address popular concerns but are questioned by critics.

As the Democratic National Convention draws near, a Hillary Clinton victory seems to become more likely. While her current lead in delegates over Bernie Sanders is not insurmountable (1705 vs. 1414, not including unpledged super delegates), the economic implications of a Clinton presidency are worthwhile to consider.

Her opponents have argued that she is beholden to Wall Street, citing numerous profitable keynote speeches she made to members of banking corporations over the past several years. The fact that the content of these speeches hasn’t been made public by the senator has given the Bernie Sanders campaign a significant boost.

At the same time, however, Clinton has put forth ideas that go against the popular image of her being “paid off” by banks and large corporations. She plans to tighten regulations on speculative bank investments, as well as raise taxes on the highest income bracket.

The following is a breakdown of Clinton’s proposed plans, and what her opponents are saying about it.

The Wall Street Issue: Strengthening Regulations

While Bernie Sanders is suggesting a complete upheaval of the American banking system, Clinton has taken a more moderate stance in insisting the banks need to be more tightly regulated to prevent abuses that lead to events like the 2008 financial crisis.

When polled, over half of the U.S. population expressed that they want their next president to be tougher on Wall Street. It comes as little surprise, then, that both Democrat and Republican candidates are all proposing at least some further regulation on the banks, just to varying degrees.
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Clinton’s position has certainly been challenged by her reluctance to release the transcripts of her paid speeches, suggesting that she might not be as tough on the banks as she is implying on the campaign trail.

Constraining the 1%: Raising Taxes on the Upper Class

As Clinton’s candidacy for the nomination increases, she has shifted her focus somewhat toward emphasizing her differences with the Republican Party rather than her Democratic opponent.

She has proposed closing legal loopholes that give tax breaks to managers of high-risk investment funds, as well as raising taxes on short-term income gains. She also plans on introducing a new 4% tax on individuals earning more than $5,000,000 a year, reducing the national debt by over a hundred billion dollars over the next decade.

Her opponents have pointed out, however, that simply raising taxes on banking investments will give less incentive for banks to make those investments in the first place, leading to economic stagnation.

Corporations and Foreign Policy: Expanding Trade Agreements

Hillary Clinton was a key figure in engineering the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) under the Obama administration. Ever since she started running for president, however, she has spoken out against the agreement as it currently stands.

She has expressed concerns about how the TPP does not account for the manipulation of foreign currencies, which she argues has caused many American jobs to be transported overseas.

According to her critics, despite the current political dialogue, Clinton has always been a supporter of free trade and is only taking stances against it now to win supporters for the November election. The TPP itself is most likely going to be finalized before the next president comes into office, due to Obama’s vigorous support for the bill.

 

Shifting Left: Raising the Minimum Wage

While she has supported centrist organizations in the past such as the Democratic Leadership Council, Clinton is attempting to paint herself in a more progressive light, taking on a more leftist stance on wages and jobs.

Income inequality is one of the core debates of this year’s election, and one of the ways Clinton plans to address it is through raising the federal minimum wage. She has suggested a target of $12 per hour over the current $7.25, yet its possible effects on the economy are still being argued.

Also, the purchasing power of the minimum wage is less than it was in 1984, after several wage increases over the decades:

  • 1984: $3.35
  • 1995: $2.80
  • 2005: $2.74
  • 2013: $3.23
Hillary Clinton as President: Political Gridlock?

If Clinton does manage to secure both the Democratic nomination and the presidency this year, it is very likely during her first term she will have to combat a largely Republican House of Representatives. Much of her proposed legislation would have a hard time making it into law if this were to be the case unless she made significant concessions to the opposition.

This pattern was already seen during the Obama administration, with Congress being in what seemed like a perpetual stalemate with the president’s attempts to enact new policy. Critics of Hillary suggest that she cannot do much to change the relationship if she is elected, continuing if not worsening the administrative impasse.

If Clinton ultimately succeeds in persuading the country that she is the best candidate to be its leader, her next enormous task is to govern effectively enough to convince a Republican Congress as well.

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