SOURCE: The Associated Press
By Holly Ramer
Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Democratic presidential hopeful, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, of New York, meets people at Martha's Exchange Restaurant on Main Street in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, May 29, 2007. Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity. ——— AP Photo / Nashua Telegraph, Emily Berl
MANCHESTER — Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.
The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an "ownership society" really is an "on your own" society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.
"I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society," she said. "I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none."
That means pairing growth with fairness, she said, to ensure that the middle-class succeeds in the global economy, not just corporate CEOs.
"There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed," she said. "Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies."
Clinton spoke at the Manchester School of Technology, which trains high school students for careers in the construction, automotive, graphic arts and other industries.
The school highlighted one of the nine goals she outlined: increasing support for alternative schools and community colleges.
"We have sent a message to our young people that if you don't go to college ... that you're thought less of in America. We have to stop this," she said. "Our country cannot run without the people who have the skills that are taught in this school."
Beyond education, Clinton said she would reduce special breaks for corporations, eliminate tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas and open up CEO pay to greater public scrutiny.
In 1965, the average corporate chief executive earned 24 times as much as the average worker, she said.
By 2005, it was 262 times as much. In the last six years, productivity has increased, but family incomes have gone down, she said, leading to rising inequality and pessimism in the work force.
"It's not as if America hasn't been successful these last six years, but the measure of success does not relate to what's happening in households across our country," she said. "It's like trickle down economics, without the trickle."
Clinton also said she would help people save more money by expanding and simplifying the earned income tax credit for low-income working people; create new jobs by pursuing energy independence; and ensure that every American has affordable health insurance.
With his detailed plans on health care, energy and reducing poverty, fellow Democrat John Edwards has been trying to position himself as the party's true progressive in the race. But Clinton indicated she too wants that title, calling herself a "thoroughly optimistic and modern progressive," and quoting President Theodore Roosevelt, who said, "The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us."
"Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, it's time we remember those lessons," Clinton said. "So many people I talk to just want to hit the re-start button on the 21st century and do it the right way, and I agree."