clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hillary Clinton laces up her partisan boxing gloves for economy speech

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds up a pair of boxing gloves given to her by a union leader on October 31, 2007, in Washington, DC.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds up a pair of boxing gloves given to her by a union leader on October 31, 2007, in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton will hammer Republicans when she outlines her economic vision for America on Monday.

In particular, she'll go after Republicans, including Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, who have framed their economic plans around a hard-to-achieve 4 percent annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate rather than building a system that is both more fair to all Americans and geared for sustainable growth, according to her campaign.

"The measure of our economic success should be how much incomes rise for middle-class households, not an arbitrary growth figure," a Clinton campaign official said. "She firmly believes that yes, we have to grow. But we have to grow together — meaning we should pursue a rise in GDP through strategies that will ensure middle-class incomes grow alongside corporate profits and executive compensation. That’s the key."

The basic argument, according to the campaign: Republicans aren't offering anything different from the trickle-down theory of the Reagan era, which posited that aiming benefits to the wealthiest in America would goose the economy and lift the middle and lower classes. Clinton will make the case that helping the middle class will spur growth.

Her own plans — mostly standard Democratic fare — probably won't thrill the Bernie Sanders crowd. But they should create enough of a contrast with leading Republicans to assure most Democratic voters that she's clearly left of center.

She'll propose raising taxes on wealthy investors, boosting wages for low-income workers, and invest public and private money in infrastructure and jobs of the future, according to a release from her campaign. It's likely that Clinton will hold back a few wrinkles as surprises for Monday's speech at the New School in New York City.

The speech is designed to build the framework for policies she will detail more fully in a series of announcements over the summer. The campaign broke it down into three major pillars:

  1. Increase private/public investment and unleash workforce participation
  2. Reward work more fairly to reduce inequality
  3. Encourage long-term thinking and more sustainable business strategies

Under the first category, Clinton will propose directing federal and private investments to an infrastructure bank and clean energy jobs and reiterate her support for policies that provide for child care, paid leave, and paid sick days as an important component of strengthening the workforce.

She'll also argue that a high concentration of wealth retards economic growth as an explanation for a series of proposals aimed at raising revenue from the richest Americans and providing benefits to laborers. The list includes raising the minimum wage, backing collective bargaining rights for workers, increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and cutting health-care costs.

To the chagrin of Democratic interest groups, Clinton is unlikely to put a lot of flesh on the bone in Monday's speech, preferring to roll out detailed policies at a slower pace in the coming months.

But with the final top-tier Republican contender — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — getting into the race later Monday, Clinton is clearly most interested in ensuring she's contrasting her theory of economic success with that of the GOP.