Hillary Clinton lays out economic vision in N.Y. campaign speech
Clinton positions herself, not Bernie Sanders, as best alternative to right wing ideologies
Pointing to the need to boost middle-class wages, Hillary Rodham Clinton laid out her vision for the U.S. economy on Monday in a pitch to Democrats who are being wooed by Clinton's chief rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and a larger electorate assessing the 2016 presidential field.
In a speech at The New School in New York, the Democratic presidential front-runner outlined the themes of her economic agenda, emphasizing the need for policies to increase the real incomes of everyday Americans. Clinton portrayed a large field of Republican candidates as beholden to tax cuts and quick fixes that will fail to jumpstart wages.
"Real and lasting prosperity must be built by all and shared by all," Clinton said. "America can't succeed unless you succeed."
Among the many progressive causes that Clinton espoused is a plan to encourage companies to offer profit sharing with their employees.
She also proposed reworking the tax code "so it rewards hard work and investments here at home, not quick trades or stashing profits overseas," a reference to numerous U.S. based multinationals that have drawn attention in recent years for keeping hundreds of billions of dollars worth of profits stashed offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes.
She also pledged to focus more on green energy, including renewable power such as wind, solar and advanced biofuels.
Without going into specifics, Clinton promised to work to "make preschool and quality childcare available to every child in America."
Clinton's high-profile economic speech coincided with a courting of labour groups and Hispanic officials by Clinton, Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. Clinton received the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers union on Saturday, and both Clinton and Sanders are holding private meetings with labor leaders later in the week.
Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist who has risen in recent Democratic polls, told CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday that he planned to address poverty in the coming weeks and reach out to voters in conservative states in the South.
The three Democratic contenders are due to address the National Council of La Raza conference in Kansas City later Monday, appealing to members of the nation's largest Latino advocacy organization.
In her New York address, Clinton pointed to the economic progress during her husband's two terms in the 1990s and more recently under President Barack Obama. Yet made it clear that the next president will need to do things differently to face new challenges.
"She's clearly saying, 'Look, things have changed.' We've gone through financial crises, globalization and technological changes creating inequality," said Jacob Hacker, a Yale University political scientist who has advised Clinton's campaign. "We need a robust approach."
In framing an economic vision, Clinton also attempted to meet the demands of liberals within her own party who are wary of her willingness to regulate Wall Street. Some of those Democrats have rallied behind Sanders, who has made economic inequality the central focus of his campaign.
On the other end of the spectrum from her liberal rivals, Clinton sought to differentiate herself from a Republican field that has veered sharply to the right since Donald Trump launched his candidacy.
Republicans said Clinton was simply offering a prescription for a bigger government role in the economy. "Every policy she is pursuing will make income inequality worse, not better, crony capitalism even worse, not better," said Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina in an interview with ABC's This Week. "And meanwhile, we will continue to crush the businesses that create jobs and middle class families."
Clinton assailed Republicans for supporting "trickle-down" economic policies that she contends have led to the wealthiest Americans benefiting the most from the economy.
In recent speeches, Clinton has sought to undermine the entire Republican field, including Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, as supporters of "top-down" economic policies and large tax breaks for the wealthy. Bush has said he would set a goal of 4 percent economic growth, including 19 million jobs, if elected president. But Clinton will say that economic progress should be measured by middle-class incomes rising, not specific rates of growth.
Clinton aides say the New York speech was the first of many on an economic theme, where the candidate will go into more specifics on what she plans to do to about wage growth, college affordability, corporate accountability and paid leave.
With files from The Associated Press