17 Things Hillary Says She Will Change About the Economy

Hillary Clinton speaks at the New School in New York City on July 13, 2015. The Democratic front-runner put the fight for higher wages for everyday Americans at the heart of her economic agenda on Monday, in the first major policy speech of her White House campaign. Mike Segar/Reuters

In a speech designed to float ideas for raising incomes for "hardworking Americans," Hillary Clinton says she'd make some changes if elected president.

Clinton, considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, used her appearance July 13 at the New School in New York's Greenwich Village to outline an economic message organized by what she called "strong growth," "fair growth" and "long-term growth."

"We can't create enough jobs and new businesses without more growth, and we can't build strong families and support our consumer economy without more fairness," she said, adding:

The defining economic challenge of our time is clear: We must raise incomes for hardworking Americans so they can afford a middle-class life. We must drive strong and steady income growth that lifts up families and lifts up our country.

Much of what Clinton advocated—from family-friendly leave to equal pay for women—reflected familiar liberal or progressive goals, including tweaks of programs installed by President Barack Obama.

Here are 17 specific things the former first lady and secretary of state said she would do if she returns to the White House as president:

  1. Achieve "comprehensive immigration reform" as an engine of growth. "Bringing millions of hardworking people into the formal economy," she said, "would increase our gross domestic product by an estimated $700 billion over 10 years."
  2. Set up an "infrastructure bank" that channels public and private funds to finance "world-class airports, railways, roads, bridges and ports."
  3. Spend more on "scientific and medical research that spawns innovative companies and creates entire new industries."
  4. Provide "quality, affordable child care" as a "growth strategy." Clinton said it could be done "in a way that doesn't impose unfair burdens on businesses—especially small businesses."
  5. Change "the current rules for our economy" so that jobs such as "actually building and selling things" don't pay so much less than work such as financial trading. She would not only raise the minimum wage but "go further," Clinton said. "I'll crack down on bosses who exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors or even steal their wages."
  6. Propose ways to "encourage companies to share profits with their employees."
  7. Ensure that tax reforms target "hugely successful companies," which "should not be able to game the system and avoid paying their fair share." She decried the fact that "companies who can't afford high-price lawyers and lobbyists end up paying more."
  8. To reverse the decline of unions in the private sector, "stand up to efforts across our country to undermine worker bargaining power."
  9. Ensure that, in the next 10 years, every 4-year-old has access to "high-quality preschool." She added, "I want to call for a great outpouring of support from our faith community, our business community, our academic institutions, from philanthropy and civic groups and concerned citizens, to really help parents, particularly parents who are facing a lot of obstacles."
  10. To revitalize poor neighborhoods, embrace conservative ideas such as "reviving the New Markets Tax Credit and Empowerment Zones" to create greater incentives for private investors.
  11. Promote "clear-eyed capitalism," which she said is not charity. "Many companies have prospered by improving wages and training their workers that then yield higher productivity, better service and larger profits." One proposal: a $1,500 apprenticeship tax credit for every worker trained and hired by an employer.
  12. Change capital gains taxes "to reward longer-term investments that create jobs more than just quick trades" and propose other ways "to help CEOs and shareholders alike focus on the next decade rather than just the next day."
  13. Impose regulations on financial institutions that "go beyond Dodd-Frank" and "rein in excessive risks" identified by the government. "Too many of our major financial institutions are still too complex and too risky," she said.
  14. Appoint regulators "who understand that [the philosophy of] 'too big to fail' is still too big a problem" and who will "ensure that no firm is too complex to manage or oversee."
  15. Prosecute individuals and companies suspected of fraud or "other criminal wrongdoing" and funnel any recovered damages into a trust fund "to benefit the public."
  16. "Make sure Washington learns from how well local governments, business and non-profits are working together in successful cities and towns across America."
  17. "Drive progress" without passing bills and making rules. "As president, I'll use the power to convene, connect and collaborate to build partnerships that actually get things done."

Ken McIntyre is chief White House correspondent at The Daily Signal and the Heritage Foundation's Marilyn and Fred Guardabassi fellow in media and public policy studies. This article first appeared on The Daily Signal.