Five takeaways from Hillary Clinton's economic speech

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Paul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book MORE highlighted wage inequality as the “defining economic challenge of our time” during an address in New York meant to highlight her economic platform.

The expansive address — delivered the day before she visits Capitol Hill to meet with Democrats — included a litany of policies that Clinton said would boost economic growth and have a tangible impact on income inequality.

Here are the top five takeaways from Monday’s speech:

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She’s co-opting Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants MORE’s message

Clinton didn’t mention the Vermont Independent by name, but her populist rhetoric is a clear sign her liberal challenger for the Democratic nomination is edging her toward the left.

A central part of her speech was profit-sharing, as Clinton promised later this week to offer tax proposals that would encourage companies to share profits with their employees.

“Hard-working Americans deserve to benefit from the record corporate earnings they helped produce,” she said.

She called for “defending and enhancing Social Security,” going “beyond Dodd-Frank” with additional measures to clamp down on banks that are “too complex and too risky” and again signaled support for increasing the federal minimum wage.

Sanders is clearly to her left on the economy, but Clinton is trying to make sure liberals feel that they can trust her on financial issues.

—Kevin Cirilli

Clinton is leaving the specifics for later

Clinton’s platform touched on a slew of economic policies and general solutions, but she didn’t specifically articulate her plans on some of the issues she mentioned.

On Social Security and the Dodd-Frank financial law, she talked of action but didn’t specify what she would do as president. She also signaled support for raising minimum wage but didn’t specify how high it should be.

She also made the oft-cited pledge for tax reform that’s become a fixture on the campaign trail.

While Clinton did touch on policy prerogatives — including closing loopholes to force businesses to pay taxes and stimulate job growth in the U.S., as well as a higher tax on millionaires — she didn’t outline specific tax rates or other central pieces of tax reform.

—Ben Kamisar

Clinton is moving toward Warren, away from Obama on Wall Street

Clinton took direct aim at the notion that she is too close to Wall Street with Monday’s remarks, sounding remarkably like Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFederal Reserve officials' stock trading sparks ethics review Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (D-Mass.) at points while implicitly jabbing a White House many liberals see as weak-kneed on the matter.

While she did not detail any specific plans, she called banks “still too complex and too risky” and aired concerns about the “shadow banking” system consisting of hedge funds and other financial players that are not traditionally regulated.

But she also pulled a page from Warren’s playbook in lamenting the fact that banks and the people who run them can engage in “shocking” misconduct with “limited consequences.”

Warren has frequently blasted the Justice Department and regulators under Obama for refusing to take banks and bankers to court on criminal charges, and Clinton placed herself squarely in that camp Monday.

“This is wrong and, on my watch, it will change,” she said.

She further distanced herself from the current White House and moved closer to Warren by declaring that “‘too big to fail’ is still too big a problem.”

While the White House has maintained that current financial rules ensure no one bank threatens to take down the entire financial system with its collapse, liberals and some conservatives have said more should be done.

While stopping short of calling for a breakup of the big banks, Clinton indicated she believes more intervention is needed when it comes to the titans of Wall Street.

—Peter Schroeder

Clinton is focused on Jeb

While Clinton didn’t mention Sanders, she sharpened her focus on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the current leader of the GOP presidential pack . 

She panned Bush’s recent assertion that Americans “need to work longer hours” to spur economic growth, a comment that’s dogged him over the past few days.

“Let him tell that to the nurse that stands on her feet all day or the teacher who is in the classroom or the trucker that drives all night,” Clinton said. “They don’t need a lecture, they need a raise.”

Taking a veiled jab at Bush, who has touted a plan to increase economic growth to 4 percent, Clinton argued that economic success must be measured by tangible wage increases instead of “some arbitrary growth target untethered from people’s lives and livelihoods.”

While she offered brief criticism of GOP contenders Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right GOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization MORE (Fla.), the stronger focus on Bush shows that the campaign is already preparing for the potential general election match-up.

  —Ben Kamisar

She wants to be a player in the new economy

Clinton took note of Uber, signaling she is aware of how businesses in the “on-demand economy” are changing the labor market.

She stopped short of attacking Uber or Airbnb, even as she signaled she would look to protect workers.

“This on-demand or so-called gig economy is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation, but it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future,” Clinton said.

The tenor of her comments suggests she wants to wade into the policy debate about the effect the on-demand economy has on workers without alienating the companies. The startups have political heft, with former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe working as a senior adviser at Uber.

Clinton’s approach follows the lead of others in Washington.

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerAdvocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Democrats draw red lines in spending fight Manchin puts foot down on key climate provision in spending bill MORE (D-Va.) has said that lawmakers should work to build a safety net for on-demand economy workers without shoehorning them into existing frameworks. And even Warren declined to directly attack Uber when asked about the issue earlier this year.

— David McCabe