Clinton focuses economic plan on middle class

Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) laid out her economic plan in New Hampshire Tuesday, stressing “economic growth and fairness” and accusing the Bush administration of not caring about the middle class.

“It’s time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few and for the few, time to reject the idea of an ‘on your own’ society and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity,” Clinton said. “I prefer a ‘we’re all in it together’ society.”

While she acknowledged that the United States has been economically successful recently, Clinton lamented that the robust economy has not trickled down to the average middle-class family. Instead, she said, the rich have become richer and the poor poorer.

“In 1970, the top 1 percent of households held roughly 9 percent of our nation’s income,” she said. “In 2005, they held 22 percent, the highest level since 1929, a year that isn’t exactly one of our best years in American history.

“I believe people are fed up with the policies of the past six years,” Clinton added. “So many people I talk to just want to hit the restart button on the 21st century and redo it the right way. And I agree with them.”

Clinton lashed out at the Bush administration for giving “massive tax breaks to oil companies, no-bid contracts to Halliburton, tax incentives to corporations shipping jobs overseas, tax cut after tax cut to multimillionaires” and “ignoring the needs and aspirations of tens of millions of working families.”

The senator outlined her plan for turning the economy around, saying that she would reduce special breaks for big corporations to “level the playing field.” Clinton also stated that she would allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies and require oil companies to invest in alternative-energy research.

As president, she would also get rid of “incentives for American companies to ship jobs and profits overseas” and improve governance of corporations.

Clinton went on to say she would work to restore fiscal responsibility in the government, commenting that she wants to “get back to balanced budgets and save Social Security instead of running up our deficits.”

“Let's recommit ourselves to the idea that every young person in America who wants to should have the opportunity to attend college,” Clinton added, turning her attention to education. “A 21st century education starts early in life and continues well into adulthood.”

The senator stressed making college affordable and providing support for community colleges and programs where workers can update their skills for “good, high-paying jobs.”

Finally, she said the government should help middle-class families save for the future and stay above the poverty line.

“I do not believe anyone who works full time in America should draw a wage that puts that person below the poverty line,” Clinton said. “If you’re a full-time worker, you should make more than poverty.”