Hillary Clinton has rebooted her campaign as a classic Democrat liberal, with a 45-minute policy speech on New York City’s Roosevelt Island last week, named for President Franklin D. Roosevelt who launched the social welfare state. Income inequality, higher minimum wage, pre-kindergarten education, and tax credits were on tap, and it’s anticipated her campaign will roll out new policies in stages in coming months.
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The former secretary of state is racing across the country with her policies in hand, with more than 20 fundraisers scheduled through July 3, as Vermont’s socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders threatens to undercut her progressive leanings.
But as Hillary Clinton declares war on the billionaire class, her six-figure speeches, deep pocket donors on Wall Street and corporate America from places like Citigroup (C) and Goldman Sachs (GS), already has the presidential hopeful talked about as a “LINO”—a liberal in name only.
Clinton really isn’t running for a third term of an Obama presidency, an Administration that, it turns out, relied on what I called back in 2010 on Forbes on Fox “trickle down government” (which GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney quoted two years later).
One thing Hillary Clinton is that President Barack Obama was not—a deal maker just like FDR, Ronald Reagan (who both cut and raised taxes), and her husband Bill Clinton. Republicans in control of Congress often depict Clinton as someone who listens and is willing to horse-trade just like her husband, who cut deals on financial deregulation (hotly debated), a balanced budget, welfare reform, and trade.
Hillary Clinton’s progressive leanings are there. Clinton now decries President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy in favor of tax cuts for the middle class. Clinton is also taking a page from her husband who campaigned on a middle class tax cut, but instead delivered a child care tax credit (and cut capital gains taxes).
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Clinton now wants tax credits for things such as student loans, and repeatedly voted against repealing the estate tax on millionaires, which slams small business. Clinton backed Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, fought for a nationalized health insurance system, and comprehensive immigration reform.
But Clinton’s business leanings are also there, with speeches talking of the need for a strong private sector that’s necessary to create jobs. Bubbling up, too, is the still serious controversy about her State Dept. email server and the Clinton Foundation, with “pay to play” charges over cash donations from companies and foreign donors.
As secretary of state, Clinton worked on behalf of the private sector, for companies like American Airlines (AAL), General Electric (GE), Microsoft (MSFT), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Corning (GLW), FedEx (FDX), and Boeing (BA). Nearly five dozen companies donated more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation also had lobbied the State Department during her tenure, says the Wall Street Journal. Other outlets put the number as at least 181 Clinton Foundation donors that lobbied the U.S. State Department while Hillary Clinton was in charge.