Hillary Clinton 2016 Economic Platform

By Kimberly Amadeo

Former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for President in 2016 on April 12, 2015. She is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. In a April 14 press conference in Monitcello, Iowa, she laid out the four pillars of her platform:

  1. Create the economy of tomorrow, not yesterday. She recognizes that income inequality is depressing demand, and slowing economic growth. She mentioned that hedge fund managers pay lower taxes (via the capital gains tax) than most middle-class Americans. Her focus is on creating jobs, and may steal from husband Bill's 14 job creation ideas.
  2. Strengthen families. This would presumably include the emphasis on "healthcare, education, and enrichmentemphasized in the newly-released epilogue to her book, Hard Choices. She supports Obama’s proposal to make community college free.
  3. Defense. She supports free trade agreements, which she's said is more important than defense in establishing global leadership. So, you can expect her to push for a comprehensive defense solution that includes diplomacy as much as military might. (Source: The Daily Beast, Clinton Speech to Economic Club, October 14, 2011)
  4. Change campaign financing.

Before her announcement, Clinton used her position with the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation to outline her economic agenda. In a June speech 2013, Clinton laid out three priorities: early childhood education, economic development using private/ public partnerships, and equal opportunities and pay for women. 

To promote economic development, she advocated a program like the $4.6 million "social impact bond" issued by Goldman Sachs. The firm will only profit if the program meets its goals of reducing the need for remedial education, meaning taxpayers will only end up paying for it if it works. (Source: YahooNews, Clinton Addresses Education, Women and Economy, June 13, 2013; CBS News, Clinton to Focus on Economic Issues, June 13, 2013; ThinkProgess, Clinton Call on Business to Support Pre-school, June 14, 2013)

Clinton's Economic Priorities as Secretary of State

Clinton was Secretary of State from 2009-2013. She lobbied for American companies within foreign countries. She drafted the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and pried open Chinese markets to U.S. companies. She lobbied for women's and human rights. She forged major diplomatic breakthroughs with Russia (since rescinded by Putin).,

She also led the U.S. response to the Arab Spring, especially in Libya. However, she was investigated for not preventing the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya that killed U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others on September 11, 2012. An independent panel found "systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department. (Source:Businessweek, Clinton's Business Legacy, January 10, 2013; Biography.com,Hillary Clinton)

Clinton's 2008 Economic Stimulus Plan

Clinton proposed these steps to resolve the 2008 financial crisis:

  1. A $30 billion housing crisis fund to help local governments prevent foreclosures.
  2. A 90-day moratorium on foreclosures.
  3. A rate freeze on subprime mortgages for five years or until banks convert them into affordable loans.
  4. More power to state housing financing agencies to help families refinance.
  5. Increased portfolio caps at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  6. $25 billion in emergency home heating assistance.
  7. $5 billion for various energy efficiency measures.
  8. $10 billion in additional unemployment insurance.
  9. $40 billion in tax rebates if the economy gets worse.
  10. Convene the Working Group on Financial Markets, coordinating with regulators around the world.
  11. Provide relief for mortgage holders.
  12. Liberalize the 2005 bankruptcy law. (Sources: HillaryClinton.com, Remarks on the Global Economic Crisis, January 22, 2008; Aggressive Economic Plan, January 11, 2008)

Clinton's 2008 Economic Platform

While running for President in 2008, Clinton's economic platform included the following:

  • Create a balanced budget by developing budget rules that require new expenditures be funded with revenues or cuts.
  • Provide health plan tax credits. Expand private plans used by Congress, or Medicare to all.
  • A $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund to fund an alternative energy agency and provide incentives for alternative energy use.
  • Double the size of the enforcement unit in U.S. Trade Representative's Office to increase compliance with trade agreements.
  • Expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance agency to help workers displaced by outsourcing.
  • Tax relief including child tax credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and marriage penalty relief. Reform the AMT to protect middle class earners.
  • Provide a $3,500 tuition tax credit and other education incentives totaling $8 billion per year. It will be funded by repealing the estate tax only for those with assets below $7 million.
  • Allow states' Mortgage Revenue Bond programs to address refinancing. Increase cap an additional $2.5 billion.
  • Allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to insure jumbo loans.
  • Create the American Retirement Account to allow tax-deferred contributions of up to $5,000 per year. The first $1000 contributed into any retirement account will be eligible for dollar-to-dollar tax credits. (Source: HillaryClinton.com, Issues)

Clinton's plan was well-thought out and detailed. She was the only 2008 candidate to advocate a balanced budget. The tax credit, health insurance and retirement plans would have added dollars to consumers' pockets, strengthening the economy. Many of her proposals would have increased the power of existing agencies, such as Fannie Mae and state Mortgage Revenue Bond programs, without increasing federal spending.

Her retirement plan would have gone a long way towards helping with the looming Social Security crisis. Her proposal to fix the Alternative Minimum Tax has been a problem long overdue. In short, this platform would have definitely benefited the U.S. economy.

Clinton's Economic Priorities as Senator and First Lady

Clinton was the U.S. Senator from New York from 2000-2008. She served on the Armed Services Committee, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Budget Committee and the Select Committee on Aging. She was a member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. She worked across party lines to build support for the expansion of economic opportunity and access to quality, affordable health care.

After 9/11, she supported funding to rebuild New York, and addressed the health concerns of the first responders at Ground Zero. She fought for better healthcare and benefits for wounded service members, veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserves.

Clinton was First Lady from 1993-2001. While there, she was Chair of the Task Force on National Healthcare Reform. She continued to be a leading advocate for expanding health insurance coverage, ensuring children are properly immunized, and raising public awareness of health issues.

In 1994, she also helped create the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women. In 1997, she supported the passage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which expanded health insurance for children in lower-income families. She helped pass the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which eased the removal of children from abusive situations.(Sources: WhiteHouse.gov, Hillary Clinton; NPR, Hillary Clinton; U.S. Department of State, Hillary Clinton)

Clinton's Early Career

Secretary Clinton has a B.A. from Wellesley College (1969) and J.D. from Yale Law School (1973). She was an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law, and worked for the Rose Law firm. She was appointed by President Carter in 1977 to chair the board of the Legal Services Corporation. She was First Lady of the State of Arkansas from 1979-1981 and 1983-1992. During that time, she chaired the Arkansas Education Standards Committee, co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and served on the boards of the Arkansas Children's Hospital, and Legal Services and the Children's Defense Fund, as well as TCBY and Wal-Mart.

She is author of It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us (1996),Dear Socks and Dear Buddy (1998), Invitation to the White House (2000), her first memoir, Living History (2003), and her followup memoir, Hard Choices (2014). Article updated April 15, 2015.