Hillary Clinton on Budget & Economy

Secretary of State; previously Democratic Senator (NY)


No trumped-up trickle-down: reward work, not transactions

TRUMP: Under my plan, I'll be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses. That's going to be a job creator like we haven't seen since Ronald Reagan. It's going to be a beautiful thing to watch.

CLINTON: We need to have a tax system that rewards work and not just financial transactions. And the kind of plan that Donald has put forth would be trickle-down economics all over again. In fact, it would be the most extreme version, the biggest tax cuts for the top percent of the people in this country than we've ever had. I call it trumped-up trickle-down, because that's exactly what it would be. That is not how we grow the economy. We just have a different view about what's best for growing the economy, how we make investments that will actually produce jobs and rising incomes.

Source: First 2016 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University , Sep 26, 2016

Trump's plan costs 3.5M jobs; mine creates 10M jobs

Independent experts have looked at what I've proposed and looked at what Donald's proposed, and basically they've said this, that if his tax plan, which would blow up the debt by over $5 trillion and would in some instances disadvantage middle-class families compared to the wealthy, were to go into effect, we would lose 3.5 million jobs and maybe have another recession. They've looked at my plans and they've said, OK, if we can do this, and I intend to get it done, we will have 10 million more new jobs, because we will be making investments where we can grow the economy. Take clean energy. So I've tried to be very specific about what we can and should do, and I am determined that we're going to get the economy really moving again, building on the progress we've made over the last eight years, but never going back to what got us in trouble in the first place.
Source: First 2016 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University , Sep 26, 2016

Jobs for you, not just prosperity for those at the top

We have to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. That means we need new jobs, good jobs, with rising incomes. I want us to invest in you and your future. That means jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business. I also want to see more companies do profit-sharing. If you help create the profits, you should be able to share in them.
Source: First 2016 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University , Sep 26, 2016

Committed to reducing corporate power not only Wall St

SANDERS: Wall Street is perhaps the most powerful political force in this country. You have companies like Goldman Sachs, who paid a fine for $5 billion for defrauding investors. It was one of those companies whose illegal activity helped destroy our economy. Kid gets caught with marijuana, that kid has a police record. A Wall Street executive destroys the economy, no criminal record. That is what power is. That is what has to change.

CLINTON: Of course it has to change. That's why I have a plan. It's been judged to be the most effective. I do not believe that that is enough. We now have power under the Dodd-Frank legislation to break up banks. I've said I will use that power if they pose a systemic risk. But I want to go further, because it was investment banks, it was insurance companies, it was mortgage companies, all of which contributed. Let's not just be narrowly focused on one part of the problem. We have a lot of issues with corporate power that have to be addressed.

Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire , Feb 4, 2016

Go after shadow banking industry, like Lehman Brothers

Q [to Clinton]: Senator Sanders recently said, "People should be suspect of candidates who receive large sums of money from Wall Street and then go out and say 'Trust me. I'm going to really regulate Wall Street'. You've received millions of dollars in contributions and speaking fees from Wall Street companies.

CLINTON: You can look at what I did in the Senate. I did introduce legislation to rein in compensation. I've laid out a very aggressive plan to rein in Wall Street--not just the big banks. That's a part of the problem and I am going right at them. I have a comprehensive, tough plan. But I went further than that. We have to go after what is called the shadow banking industry. Those hedge funds. Look at what happened in '08, AIG, a big insurance company, Lehman Brothers, an investment bank helped to bring our economy down. So, I want to look at the whole problem and that's why my proposal is much more comprehensive than anything else that's been put forth.

Source: 2015 CBS Democratic primary debate in Iowa , Nov 14, 2015

We need bankruptcy reform, but we need the right kind

In the Senate, Clinton voted for an overhaul to the bankruptcy system that would have made debt forgiveness more difficult for borrowers to obtain. She said in 2008 that she regretted the vote, but it still could become a sticking point, as it did when she faced off with then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).

The credit card lobby pushed hard for the legislation, which did not prevail when Clinton voted for it in 2001, but did become law after another attempt by Congress in 2005. (Clinton did not vote in that round, telling reporters she missed the vote to be with Bill Clinton after his heart surgery.)

"The right kind of reform is necessary," Clinton said in a press release about the legislation in 2001. "We're on our way toward that goal, and I hope we can achieve final passage of a good bankruptcy reform bill this year"

During her initial presidential campaign, she said she would have voted against the 2005 bill that eventually passed.

Source: Megan R. Wilson in TheHill.com weblog, "Clinton vs. Warren" , Aug 24, 2014

1998: Personally lobbied Congress against bankruptcy bill

In 1998 I had met with First Lady Hillary Clinton to discuss the proposed bankruptcy legislation, and after our meeting she had declared that she would fight on behalf of working families, against "that awful bill." Now the president was under enormous pressure from the banks to sign the bill, but in the last days of his presidency, urged on by his wife, President Clinton stood strong with struggling families. With no public fanfare, he vetoed the industry's bill.

In "Living History," Hillary writes, "proposed bankruptcy reform moving through Congress threatened to undermine the spousal and child support many women depend on." The New York Times also reported: "[Mrs. Clinton] wrote dozens of personal notes to lawmakers last year as the [bankruptcy] bills made their torturous way through the Congressional process. And she, along with Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), played what the bill's opponents say was a decisive role in helping to kill the legislation last year."

Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p. 65&288 , Apr 22, 2014

The economy is not working for middle class families

Tonight President Bush claimed that the state of our union is strong. But for too many American families, the true “state of their lives” is one of economic anxiety and uncertainty.

After seven years of stagnant wages, declining incomes and increasing inequality, our families are working harder and harder and still falling behind. President Bush had one final chance tonight to acknowledge what the American people have known for years: that the economy is not working for middle class families. Unfortunately, what he offered was more of the same--a frustrating commitment to the same failed policies that helped turn record surpluses into large deficits, and push a thriving 21st century economy to the brink of recession.

We need a President who understands the urgent economic challenges our families face and who will work as hard for middle-class families as they work for America. I intend to be that President for the American people.

Source: Response to 2008 State of the Union address , Jan 28, 2008

2000: Eight years of a great economy is not enough

"My opponent goes around saying, '8 years is enough,'" Hillary said on October 22. "The first time I heard it, I thought, well, maybe I had misheard. 8 years of a great economy. 8 years of declining crime rates. 8 years of improving education scores. 8 years of expanding health care. Where is he living and who is he representing?"
Source: What A Party!, by Terry McAuliffe, p.238 , Jan 23, 2007

Co-sponsored bills totaling $502B in spending thru 2005

While opposing tax cuts, Clinton has supported hundreds of bills boosting federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars. During her first two years in office, Clinton sponsored or co-sponsored 169 bills increasing spending by a total of $124 billion, while failing to sponsor or co-sponsor a single bill to reduce spending.

In 2003 and 2004 Clinton grew even more generous with the taxpayers’ dollars. She sponsored or co-sponsored 211 bills to increase spending and just three bills to reduce it, yielding a total net cost of $378 billion. This made Clinton the second most “expensive” senator during that time.

Source: Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, by Amanda Carpenter, p. 55-56 , Oct 11, 2006

Use tax dollars to upgrade infrastructure, not for stadium

Q: Should taxpayer money should be used to build such a stadium in Manhattan?

CLINTON: I don’t think that’s a good use of that space or of taxpayer dollars. There is work we need to do to upgrade the infrastructure. That’s why I support the Second Avenue subway. That’s why I support the East Side connector, a rail link to La Guardia and to JFK. I will go to the Senate to continue the work on Penn Station and others that Senator Moynihan has started.

LAZIO: I think it’s important to get the Jets and Giants back. This is not just a plan for a stadium; it’s also a plan for expansion of convention space. I don’t think this should be funded with public money entirely. But I believe that this is an important initiative to build jobs for New York.

Source: Senate debate in Manhattan , Oct 8, 2000

We have outlived the usefulness of Bretton Woods

We have lived with the benefits, for 50 years now, of the agreements that were made at the end of WWII, coming out of Bretton Woods to create new financial architectures. Today, we have outlived the usefulness of that particular set of arrangements. And we now have to face up to creating a new architecture that will help us tackle runaway global capitalism’s worst effects; ensure social safety nets for the most vulnerable; address the debt burden that is crushing many of our poorest nations.
Source: Remarks at The Sorbonne, Paris, France , Jun 17, 1999

The economy creates consumers but cannot create citizens

Some think that the market can do anything if left alone. Others undermine the benefits that free enterprise brings. We have to create a balance. How do we enjoy the benefits without suffering from the excesses? The economy can create the jobs... and wealth; it can create consumers and the producers of goods. But the economy cannot create citizens. Government can only respond to citizens, not create them. Only civil society can do that. And it is time for us to renew and expand civil society.
Source: Remarks at The Sorbonne, Paris, France , Jun 17, 1999

Invest in people instead of “smokestack chasing”

Remember what we thought of as economic development. “Smokestack chasing” is what it was called. If we could convince someone to get out of old dying Detroit and move to Arkansas, we were going to be moving right along. We have seen how many of those industries that we got to move from Detroit have moved to Bangladesh. We have seen that economic development cannot depend on what kind of jobs we bring as much as on what we do to invest in our people to generate more of our own economic opportunities.
Source: Unique Voice, p. 43-44 , Feb 3, 1997

Hillary Clinton on National Debt

Don't add a penny to the national debt

Q: The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says, under your plan, debt would rise to 77% of GDP to 86% of GDP over the next 10 years.

CLINTON: If you look at the debt, I pay for everything I'm proposing. I do not add a penny to the national debt. I take that very seriously. So when I talk about how we're going to pay for education, how we're going to invest in infrastructure, how we're going to get the cost of prescription drugs down, and a lot of the other issues, I've made it very clear we are going where the money is. We are going to ask the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share. And there is no evidence whatsoever that that will slow down or diminish our growth. In fact, I think just the opposite. We'll have what economists call middle-out growth. We've got to get back to rebuilding the middle class, the families of America. That's where growth will come from. That's why I want to invest in you. I want to invest in your family.

Source: Third 2016 Presidential Debate in Las Vegas , Oct 19, 2016

Democrats would have paid off national debt in 2000s

There's just a pattern here [on deficit spending and the national debt], where the other side continues to use the same old tired policies. They don't work and then Democrat presidents have to come in and fix what was broken. I have this old-fashioned idea that you ought to look at the evidence. And if you look at the evidence at the end of Bill Clinton's two terms, we had the longest peace-time expansion in American history, with 22 million new jobs, a balanced budget and a surplus that would have paid off our national debt had they not been so rudely interrupted by the next administration.
Source: Remarks at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. , Jul 3, 2015

Look back to 1990s to see how I’d be fiscally responsible

Q: Would it be a priority of your administration to balance the federal budget every year?

A: Well, fiscal responsibility is a very high priority for me. We don’t have to go back very far in our history, in fact just to the 1990s, to see what happens when we do have a fiscally responsible budget that does use rules of discipline to make sure that we’re not cutting taxes or spending more than we can afford. I will institute those very same approaches. You can’t do it in a year. It’ll take time. But the economy will grow again when we start acting fiscally responsible. And then we can save money in the government by cutting out private contractors, closing loopholes, getting the health care system to be more efficient. We’ll do all of this at the same time, but the results will take awhile for us to actually see.

Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic debate , Dec 13, 2007

Balanced budget replaced with rising costs & falling wages

Families are struggling with rising costs and falling wages. They’re working harder than ever in the last six years. Productivity has gone up 18%, but the average family income has fallen $1,300. We have now more than 45 million people living without health care, and millions more who are underinsured. We have 12 million children living in poverty. We have more people going bankrupt last year than graduating from college. Yet these are all invisible to the president and his administration.

And we know that for those who worry about passing on this huge debt that has been blown up in the last six years--because remember, six years ago we had a balanced budget and a surplus--well, if you’re a grandparent worried about passing that debt on to your grandchildren, you’re invisible.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 20, 2007

Pay down debt & cut taxes within balanced budget

Q: How will you pay for all the new programs you’ve proposed?

A: We have a surplus after 7 years of good economic leadership in our country. We should pay down the national debt, secure Social Security, add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, and provide affordable tax cuts. I have been very careful to cost out my plan because I believe in a balanced budget. That’s why I reject the large tax cut that independent experts have said is more than a trillion dollars that my opponent has proposed.

Source: Clinton-Lazio debate, Buffalo NY , Sep 13, 2000

Protect next generation by paying off national debt

We’ll never accomplish what we need to do for our children if we burden them with a debt they didn’t create. Franklin Roosevelt said that Americans of his generation had a rendezvous with destiny. Well, I think our generation has a rendezvous with responsibility. It’s time to protect the next generation by using our budget surplus to pay down the national debt, save Social Security, modernize Medicare with a prescription drug benefit, & provide targeted tax cuts to the families who need them most.
Source: Address to the Democratic National Convention , Aug 14, 2000

Hillary Clinton on Voting Record

Voted to limit credit card interest to 30%

Clinton and Obama battled over their votes on bankruptcy bills and an amendment to cap interest charged on credit. Clinton said, “There was a particular amendment that I think is very telling: to prohibit credit card companies from charging more than 30% interest. I voted for limiting to 30% what credit card companies could charge. Senator Obama did not.” Obama responded, “I thought 30% potentially was too high of a ceiling.”

Obama did vote against--and Clinton voted for--an amendment that would have placed a 30% cap on the interest rate that could be charged on any extension of credit. The amendment failed by a vote of 74 to 24 in 2005. When the amendment came up for a vote, Obama was standing next to Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-MD, the senior Democrat on the banking committee and the leader of those opposing the landmark bill, which would make it harder for Americans to get rid of debt. As for whether the 30% cap was too high, that’s certainly a matter of opinion.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Dem. Debate , Jan 21, 2008

FactCheck: Consistently against making bankruptcy stricter

Clinton also said she had opposed the overall bankruptcy bill, which made it more difficult for consumers to erase debt by declaring bankruptcy; Obama opposed it, too. She didn’t vote on the final bill, which passed by a 74-25 vote, because it was the day of her husband’s heart surgery.

Obama mischaracterized Clinton’s comments on her vote for an earlier, 2001 bankruptcy bill. Obama said, “Sen. Clinton said she voted for [the 2001 bill] but hoped that it wouldn’t pass. Now, I don’t understand that approach to legislation.“

That’s not exactly what Clinton said. When asked if she regretted voting for the 2001 bill, Clinton answered, ”Sure I do. It never became law, as you know. It got tied up. It was a bill that had some things I agreed with and other things I didn’t agree with. I was happy it never became law. I opposed the 2005 bill as well.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Dem. Debate , Jan 21, 2008

2005 bankruptcy bill was by big credit cards & lenders

OBAMA: When we talked a while back, we talked about the bankruptcy bill, which had been pushed by the banks and the financial institutions, that said, basically, it will be harder for folks who have been lured into these teaser rates and then see their credit cards go up to 30%, that they would have a tougher time getting out of bankruptcy. In the last debate, Clinton said she voted for it but hoped that it wouldn’t pass. Now, I don’t understand that approach to legislation.

CLINTON: I regretted voting for the bankruptcy bill and I was happy that it didn’t get into law. By 2005, there was another run at a bankruptcy reform, motivated by the credit card companies and the other big lenders. I opposed that bill. There was a particular amendment that is very telling. It was an amendment to prohibit credit card companies from charging more than 30% interest. It was one of the biggest lobbyist victories on that very bad bill that the bankruptcy bill represented.

Source: [Xref Obama] 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Dem. debate , Jan 21, 2008

1998: Opposed bankruptcy bill; 2001: supported it

[In 1998, Hillary Clinton called the bankruptcy bill] "that awful bill" and was convinced that the bill was "unfair to women and children."

In 2001, despite President Clinton's veto, the bankruptcy bill was reintroduced in the next session of Congress. This time, even Senator Hillary Clinton bowed to big business. She had been in office two months when she had her chance to vote on what she had called "that awful bill."

She clearly understood that families in trouble would be hit hardest by the proposed changes [but] families in financial trouble do not make campaign contributions or have lobbyists. Senator Clinton had taken $140,000 in campaign contributions from the banking industry, and she proved willing to overcome her "strong reservations about whether this bill is both balanced and responsible" and voted in favor of "that awful bill."

Source: The Two Income Trap, by Elizabeth Warren, p. 125&156 , Oct 15, 2007

Voted YES on $60B stimulus package for jobs, infrastructure, & energy.

Congressional Summary:
    Supplemental appropriations for:
  1. Infrastructure Investments: Transportation: DOT, FAA, AMTRAK, and FTA
  2. Clean Water (EPA)
  3. Flood Control and Water Resources (ACE)
  4. 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities (ED)
  5. Energy Development (DOE)
  6. Extension of Unemployment Compensation and Job Training
  7. Temporary Increase in Medicaid Matching Rate
  8. Temporary Increase in Food Assistance

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. DAVID OBEY (D, WI-7): Congress has tried to do a number of things that would alleviate the squeeze on the middle class. Meanwhile, this economy is sagging. Jobs, income, sales, and industrial production have all gone down. We have lost 600,000 jobs. We are trying to provide a major increase in investments to modernize our infrastructure and to provide well-paying construction jobs at the same time.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. JERRY LEWIS (R, CA-41): Just 2 days ago we were debating an $800 billion continuing resolution. Now in addition to being asked to pay for a bailout for Wall Street, taxpayers are being asked to swallow an additional $60 billion on a laundry list of items I saw for the first time just a few hours ago. The Democratic majority is describing this legislation as a "stimulus package" to help our national economy. But let's not fool ourselves. This is a political document pure and simple. If these priorities are so important, why hasn't this bill gone through the normal legislative process? We should have debated each of the items included in this package.

It doesn't take an economist to tell you that the economy needs our help. But what does this Congress do? It proposes to spend billions more without any offsets in spending. The failure to adhere to PAYGO means that this new spending will be financed through additional borrowing, which will prove a further drag on our struggling economy.

Reference: Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act; Bill S.3604&HR7110 ; vote number 2008-S206 on Sep 26, 2008

Voted NO on paying down federal debt by rating programs' effectiveness.

Amendment intends to pay down the Federal debt and eliminate government waste by reducing spending on programs rated ineffective by the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART).

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

My amendment says we are going to take about $18 billion as a strong signal from the Congress that we want to support effective programs and we want the taxpayer dollars spent in a responsible way. My amendment doesn't take all of the $88 billion for the programs found by PART, realizing there may be points in time when another program is not meeting its goals and needs more money. So that flexibility is allowed in this particular amendment. It doesn't target any specific program. Almost worse than being rated ineffective, we have programs out there that have made absolutely no effort at all to measure their results. I believe these are the worst offenders. In the following years, I hope Congress will look at those programs to create accountability.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

The effect of this amendment will simply be to cut domestic discretionary spending $18 billion. Understand the programs that have been identified in the PART program are results not proven. Here are programs affected: Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, child abuse prevention, and treatment. If there is a problem in those programs, they ought to be fixed. We ought not to be cutting Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, and the rest. I urge a "no" vote.

Reference: Allard Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.491 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-090 on Mar 22, 2007

Voted NO on $40B in reduced federal overall spending.

Vote to pass a bill that reduces federal spending by $40 billion over five years by decreasing the amount of funds spent on Medicaid, Medicare, agriculture, employee pensions, conservation, and student loans. The bill also provides a down-payment toward hurricane recovery and reconstruction costs.
Reference: Work, Marriage, and Family Promotion Reconciliation Act; Bill S. 1932 ; vote number 2005-363 on Dec 21, 2005

Require full disclosure about subprime mortgages.

Clinton co-sponsored requiring full disclosure about subprime mortgages

Sen. DODD: Today we are facing a crisis in the mortgage markets on a scale that has not been seen since the Great Depression: over 2 million homeowners face foreclosure at a loss of over $160 billion in hard-earned home equity; over one out of every 5 subprime loans is currently delinquent. These high default rates have frozen the subprime and jumbo mortgage markets and infected the capital markets to the point where central banks around the world have had to inject liquidity into the system to avoid the crisis from spreading to other segments of the market.

One of the fundamental causes of this serious crisis is abusive and predatory subprime mortgage lending. The Homeownership Preservation and Protection Act of 2007 is designed to protect American homeowners from these practices, and prevent this disaster from happening again. The legislation will:

It is important to keep in mind that only about 10% of subprime mortgages have been made to first time home buyers. This market has not been primarily about creating a new set of homeowners; a majority of subprime loans have been refinances. While maintaining access to subprime credit on fair terms is important, too much of the subprime market has actually put the homes and home equity of American families at risk.

In the coming months, the housing crisis is going to get worse. We will need to continue to press lenders and servicers to provide real relief for homeowners threatened with foreclosure.

Source: Homeownership Preservation and Protection Act (S.2452 ) 2007-S2452 on Dec 12, 2007

Reform mortgage rules to prevent foreclosure & bankruptcy.

Clinton co-sponsored reforming mortgage rules to prevent foreclosure & bankruptcy

Source: Foreclosure Prevention Act (S.2636) 2008-S2636 on Feb 13, 2008

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