Hillary Clinton gave her first policy-oriented speech of the campaign on Monday, July 13th, laying out her economic agenda and setting the tone for a Democratic primary focused on wealth inequality, gender equality and tax reform. Clinton began by saying that two Democratic presidents in the past two decades — Barack Obama and her husband, Bill Clinton — have had to “clean up the mess” left by Republican deregulation and trickle down economics. Clinton positioned her own plan opposite those of the current Republican field, who she said favor economic plans in support of the wealthy. Clinton broke her speech up into three parts: “strong growth, fair growth, and long term growth.”
The majority of the speech focused on equality and fairness: perhaps pushed to the left by the unexpected rise of far-left candidate Bernie Sanders, Clinton took steps to spell out her support for raising the minimum wage, effectively implementing President Obama’s expansion of overtime pay requirements, and instituting new protections and advantages for workers: investigating the mis-classification of contractor labor, for example, or encouraging large corporations to share profits with hourly employees.
Known for her fundraising success on Wall Street, Clinton was clear that financial crime, such as in the case of HSBC, which admitted guilt and payed a large fine after it was discovered that the bank had laundered money for drug cartels, would be punished. Clinton said of the incident, “There can be no justification or tolerance for this kind of criminal behavior.” She also mentioned the importance of supporting small banks, and cautioned that new regulations would have to address the rise of “shadow banking,” or Wall Street innovations such as high frequency trading that do not face the same levels of scrutiny as traditional investing.
Clinton also re-emphasized the importance of gender equality in the workforce, and implementing national policies that supported women balancing a family and work, such as paid family leave, fair scheduling, and universal pre-school education starting at four years old.