In a speech Monday morning, 2016 Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton outlined her goals for the American economy. Clinton spoke at the New School in New York City about her vision, which includes raising median incomes, using policy to raise wages and reduce income inequality, and working specifically to raise pay for women across the U.S. Some of the best quotes from Clinton's speech on the economy show that she understands the fundamental connection between economic disparities and social inequalities, which good policy can help change.
"I've had the opportunity to listen to Americans' concerns about an economy that still isn’t delivering for them the way it should," Clinton said at the beginning of her speech, according to her Twitter account. She talked about how Americans are working harder — they're working longer hours and producing more for their employers — but their wages aren't going up.
Clinton also pointed out that Republican policies are consistently the same, and they only worsen income inequality: Republicans want to cut taxes for the rich, loosen regulations on financial industries, break up unions and other organizations that provide protections for workers, and restrict public investments, according to her Twitter. Clinton said those policies have failed, and it's time to try something brand new — like raising the minimum wage, for starters.
Clinton realizes that, though policy may not be intended to create inequality, there's something fundamentally flawed with the way that we've been doing things that has done just that:
I believe we have to build a "growth and fairness" economy. You can't have one without the other.
She said wages haven't been rising at the same rate the cost of living has:
Wages need to rise to keep up with costs. Paychecks need to grow. Families who work hard and do their part deserve to get ahead and stay ahead.
The measure of our success must be how much incomes rise for hard-working families — not just for successful CEOs and money managers.
I know it’s not always how we think about this, but another engine of strong growth should be comprehensive immigration reform. ... Bringing millions of hard-working people into the formal economy would increase our GDP by an estimated $700 billion over 10 years.
Then Clinton turned to women. A huge part of her economic platform is getting more women into the workforce, and making sure that they get paid just as much as their male counterparts and receive benefits that they deserve as hardworking employees. Because no one deserves to get "shortchanged," according to her Twitter:
It’s time to recognize that quality, affordable child care is not a luxury — it's a growth strategy. ... It's way past time to end the outrage of so many women still earning less than men on the job — and women of color making even less. For far too long, these challenges have been dismissed by some as 'women's issues.' Well, those days are over.
Clinton made a reference to former Florida Governor and 2016 Republican hopeful Jeb Bush's comment that American workers need to work more hours, which might be true in cases where workers are only working part-time. But in the majority of cases, Americans are working full-time, or more than 40 hours a week, and they're still struggling to make ends meet:
Let [Jeb Bush] tell that to the fast food workers marching in the streets for better pay. They don't need a lecture — they need a raise. To get all incomes rising again, we need to strike a better balance. If you work hard, you ought to be paid fairly. ... I will propose ways to encourage companies to share profits with their employees. That's good for workers, and good for businesses.
Then Clinton hammered the point that investing in workers' long term by providing them with ways to pursue an education or training programs will outweigh any short-term gains:
Workers are assets. Investing in them pays off. Higher wages pay off. And training pays off.
Clinton's speech showed that she understands that to help American workers, you actually have to create policy that puts their future needs first, even if it won't immediately help you:
Leadership is planting trees under whose shade you will never sit.
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