On Feb. 18 Clinton released a 13-page blueprint for fixing the economy that reads like a manifesto for working- and middle-class voters and against corporate interests. As Clinton stresses on the campaign trail, her health-care plan would mandate coverage for every American, with those who can't afford it eligible for government subsidies. To address the home foreclosure crisis, she pledges to freeze home foreclosures for 90 days and subprime, adjustable-rate mortgages for five years. She also pledges massive government investment in job creation for infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges, including the creation of at least 5 million new "green collar" jobs in cleaner and renewable energies.
The blueprint also takes a swipe at certain industries that she says are making outsize profits. She says she plans to "take back at least $55 billion per year from drug companies, oil companies, and firms that ship jobs overseas" and invest those resources in job creation and health insurance coverage. For example, her plan includes a "windfall profits tax" on large oil companies to help pay for the Strategic Energy Fund.
She also talks in general terms about regulation, saying she favors "a regulatory framework that protects against the excesses that have led to the current housing crisis." Equally important, Clinton would work to take away some of the advantages business enjoyed under the Bush administration, such as the Bush tax cuts, and free trade agreements that don't impose core labor and environmental protections on the low-cost countries eager to cut trade deals with the U.S.
One thing here that really excites me is the attention to infrastructure. As we've seen recently, there has been a major lack of attention to the nations bridges, dams, and highways. Three years ago, at one of my former university jobs, I watched a fantastically presented senior project that an environmental engineering student had done on the state of dams in Massachusetts. Many are in great disrepair and threaten homes and roads, on the verge of collapse.
I'm also enthusiastic about repealing the Bush tax cuts, which make no sense to me. Go ahead and call me a "tax and spend Democrat," but the way a country runs on the most basic level is by government spending based on taxes collected from its citizens. And with the economy in its current condition, more tax breaks and refunds aren't going to spur the spending frenzy that Bush is hoping for--people are too afraid of losing their homes to foreclosure, of paying for outrageously priced healthcare and drugs, of not being able to feed their families, and so forth. The New Yorker last week ran a page on the way to properly use refunds as economic stimulus--and the Bush option is listed under "how not to".
As I see it, Hillary Clinton offers a sensible plan for stimulating the economy using something more substantial than randomly issued checks. Jobs with a focus on fixing a widespread problem that will also work toward a more sustainable form of engineering and technology--Clinton has picked out the key issues and interlocked them in her plan; this means each idea supports the other, instead of focusing on a small issue and leaving everything else to fall by the wayside.