Hillary Clinton walking in front of the citadel of learning in Pittsburgh
Image: ©Andrew Harnik AP/Press Association Images

So what exactly is Hillary Clinton’s economic plan?

Family policies, debt-free college, big infrastructure plans, and fixing Obamacare – Prez Clinton would be keeping busy

America elects a new president today. Most Americans have a pretty good idea what Trump’s economic ideas are: tax cuts, deregulation, trade deals and walls. But a lot of people still don’t have a great idea of what a President Clinton would do about the economy (partly because both candidates have mostly tried to win by convincing the American people that their opponent was personally unfit to be president.)

Clinton has a grand total of 65 different policy proposals (most of which are directly about the economy). Taken together, they’re over 112,000 words long (slightly smaller than the average Harry Potter book). (For comparison, Trump has 11 policy proposals which, at 9,000 total words, are the length of a pretty long college paper.)

Hermione Granger meme
Just think how many policy proposals Clinton could write with a Time-Turner.

Loads of Clinton's economic ideas are about what people are calling 'family policy'.

These days more women are working, and fewer and fewer families fit the ‘traditional’ mold of 1950s America. But a lot of of the rules currently on the books were made with working dads and stay at home moms in mind. At the same time, raising a child in America is a lot more expensive than it used to be—today’s families spend about 18% of their incomes on education and childcare, up from 2% in 1960.
Here are Hillary’s ideas on how to make raising children in modern America cheaper and easier:

Paid family leave.

Families should be able to take 12 weeks of paid leave to have (or adopt) a child, take care of a sick relative or recover from an injury or illness. Employers should have to pay at least 2/3rd of the person's wages while they’re gone, and the provision applies to both men and women.

Universal pre-school and subsidized child care.

No family should pay more than 10% of its income for child care, with the government filling the gap where needed. For context, child care is more expensive than tuition at public universities in over half the states. Similarly, every 4 year old would be enrolled in preschool, with the government picking up the tab for those who can’t afford it.

Child tax credit.

Currently, middle class families with children under 4 get $1,000 from the government each year (in the form of a tax break). Hillary would double that to $2,000. Currently you have to make about $10,000 to get the full value of the tax break. Clinton would change that so that people with lower incomes would qualify as well.

Debt free college.

Bernie Sanders wanted free college. Clinton says she’ll give us debt free college. What’s the difference? For most Americans, not much actually. Under Clinton, tuition at four-year public schools would be zero for families making under $85,000. By the end of her presidency, she wants to raise the threshold to $125,000. Clinton says about 80% of American families should qualify for free tuition. Community college would be free for everyone.

And that’s just the first 4 policies...


Gif of Clinton talking about the economy

Clinton’s also got a ton of proposals about more ‘traditional’ economic things. Here’s some highlights:

Big infrastructure plan.

Clinton wants to spend $275 billion on fixing and upgrading America’s infrastructure. For Clinton, infrastructure is not just roads and bridges but more behind-the-scenes things like water pipelines, electrical grids, seaports and internet capacity. The plan would also raise matching dollars from the private sector, making it the biggest public works package since the Interstate Highway bill in the 1950s.

$12 minimum wage.

Clinton wants to boost the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, and would support city and states that wanted to go to $15 an hour. The current Federal minimum wage was set in 2009 at $7.25 an hour. Because of  inflation, the minimum wage gradually loses it’s value if it’s not increased.

Expanding (and fixing) Obamacare.

Hillary’s got a bunch of little fixes to Obamacare planned, but the biggest two are creating a so called ‘public option’—basically a government health plan that competes with private plans— and letting people ‘buy into’ Medicare (the government’s health plan for elderly people) at 55 instead of 65. She also wants to make it easier for states to expand Medicaid (government health care for low income people).

Climate change and energy.

Clinton’s climate change is actually more ambitious than President Obama’s in terms of how aggressively she wants to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Her biggest targets are boosting solar energy (she wants to be able to power every home in America with solar within 10 years) and increasing fuel efficiency by over one third.

Financial reform.

Hillary Clinton has a reputation for being pretty cozy with Wall Street, but her financial reform plan has actually be described as “one of the most progressive financial regulatory plans in presidential history”. The main idea is to reign in the biggest banks by creating a new ‘risk fee’, and by making it easier for regulators to break up  that are too big and complex. She also wants stricter regulation of the so called ‘shadow banking’ sector, which is basically anything that acts like a bank but isn’t regulated like a bank.

But how is she going to pay for all this fun?

Clinton’s tax plans hardly affect anyone earning under $250,000 and instead focuses on raising money from the rich with things like a cap on how many tax breaks you can receive, a hike in the inheritance tax for people leaving over $3.5 million to their children and a 4% tax increase on incomes over $5 million. The Washington Post said the plan was “likely the most explicit and ambitious plan to tax the rich ever laid out by a major-party presidential nominee”.

Estimates from tax researchers say the plan could decrease after-tax incomes for the top 1% (people earning roughly $430,000 a year) by between 2% and 5%. Basically all of Clinton’s new proposals are paid for by tax increases (assuming of course that her full plan is passed).

...And is any of this actually going to happen?

A lot of people are skeptical that a President Clinton would actually do the things she says she would – partly because of a distrust in her as a politician, and partly because politicians have a bad rep for not doing what they say they will. That’s fair, but it’s good to keep in mind that previous presidents have been remarkably true to their initial campaign promises...so it's worth getting familiar with what she's claiming to do, on the off chance that she does indeed become the next prez of America.


Want to know what President Trump would do about the economy? Check it out here

Recent articles

Reader Comments