Days after Donald Trump revealed his fiscal plans, his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton put forward her blueprint for the U.S. economy.
During her speech in Warren, Michigan, Clinton criticized Trump’s plans that she characterized as giving tax cuts to his wealthy friends – something she argued would further increase the inequality gap in America.
1) Big infrastructure investments – most of it private
In the first 100 days of taking office, Clinton intends to “break through Washington gridlock” to pass a $275 billion investment and jobs package.
Over five years, $250 billion would be invested in infrastructure, manufacturing, research and technology, and small businesses.
The remaining $25 billion would be used to create an “investment bank,” which would provide low interest loans and financial assistance to investors backing national infrastructure projects, in a bid to to attract a further $250 billion in private sector funding.
She also reaffirmed her opposition to the TPP trade deal – a deal she initially backed but U-turned on last year – which she says doesn’t “meet a high enough bar of creating good-paying jobs.”
2) Making America the ‘clean energy superpower’
Also included in her planned jobs package are investments in clean energy, which she sees as crucial to creating millions of jobs and businesses.
In the future, Clinton thinks, “some country is going to be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century”, adding: “It’s probably going to be either China, Germany, or America. I want it to be us.”
NPR reports this point contrasts completely with Trump’s plan, which would create more jobs by going back to old sources of energy (namely coal). It would also reduce regulation, allowing energy companies to increase their use of the fossil fuel, as well as promoting fracking.
3) Making college ‘debt-free’
Bernie Sanders won a lot of support from young voters by pledging to make college education free, and his surge in the Democratic race appears to have had some impact on Clinton’s policy.
While not offering free tuition, Clinton does want to provide options for Americans from lower- and middle-class families to attend public colleges or universities in their state, where they can graduate without taking on any student debt.
Under this plan, she says families with income up to $125,000 will not pay tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities by 2021; and families with less than $85,000 income will be able to access these programs immediately.
She also wants to make it easier for those who do incur debts to pay them off, by offering 40 million Americans with student loans the option to refinance at lower rates.
4) Tax the rich, crack down on Wall Street
Having been criticized by Sanders (and Trump) in the past for her close ties to Wall Street, Clinton is vowing to close the “carried interest loophole” that allows hedge fund, venture capital and private equity managers to pay tax at a lower rate than the middle classes. They often do this by classifying their incomes as capital gains.
Trump vowed himself to close the loophole, which he dubbed the “hedge fund loophole” during his Monday speech.
Clinton has also pledged to increase taxes of the mega-rich, imposing the “Buffett Rule” that requires people with incomes of more than $1 million to pay a minimum of 30 percent tax on that income, and imposing a 4 percent surcharge on incomes over $5 million.
In exchange, she will offer tax relief to the middle classes in areas such as child care, health care and education.
5) Paid family leave, continuing the Affordable Care Act
Clinton has been a firm backer of President Obama’s controversial “Affordable Care Act,” which aimed to get millions of uncovered Americans affordable health insurance. This had the effect of pushing up insurance costs of the majority of other Americans – though the New York Times recently noted it might also be making some people healthier.
She plans to defend the health care overhaul from Republican attacks, while at the same time pledging to bring down out-of-pocket costs such as copays and deductibles, as well as reduce the cost of prescription drugs, which she says rose by 12.6 percent in 2016.
She will also ensure woman feel comfortable staying in the workforce after having a child by guaranteeing up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for a new child or a seriously ill family member, which she will pay for by the money made from the taxing the wealthy.