Hillary Clinton on Budget & Economy

Democratic Jr Senator (NY); Secretary of State-Designee

Government action to tackle recession, not tax cuts

Q: Why would you be better fit than the Republican nominee to turn this economy around as we seem to be headed for a downturn, if not a recession?

A: Well, it is the case that the economy is becoming a greater and greater concern because, obviously, itís not working for the vast majority of Americans. Iíve been out there since March talking about this mortgage crisis and urging much more aggressive action to stem the foreclosures that are beginning to cascade around the country. But at some point youíve got to have government action to really tackle these problems. The stimulus package is a start, but itís not nearly enough. What we have to do is have an economic policy that once again creates jobs with rising incomes. Obviously, I disagree with the Republicans about the tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year. I think we should let those expire and use that money on universal health care and other needs that people have that are really directly related to the state of the economy.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: ďChoosing the PresidentĒ series Feb 3, 2008

The economy is not working for middle class families

Tonight President Bush claimed that the state of our union is strong. But for too many American families, the true ďstate of their livesĒ is one of economic anxiety and uncertainty.

After seven years of stagnant wages, declining incomes and increasing inequality, our families are working harder and harder and still falling behind. President Bush had one final chance tonight to acknowledge what the American people have known for years: that the economy is not working for middle class families. Unfortunately, what he offered was more of the same--a frustrating commitment to the same failed policies that helped turn record surpluses into large deficits, and push a thriving 21st century economy to the brink of recession.

We need a President who understands the urgent economic challenges our families face and who will work as hard for middle-class families as they work for America. I intend to be that President for the American people.

Source: Response to 2008 State of the Union address Jan 28, 2008

We need immediate relief for home heating & housing crisis

While I was heartened to hear the President acknowledge the need for immediate actions to jumpstart our economy, it will take more than tax rebates to fix our economic crisis and rebuild our economy for the future. We need immediate relief for people who are losing their jobs and facing skyrocketing home heating costs. And we need a comprehensive solution to the housing crisis. Every housing proposal the President made tonight, I made several months--and hundreds of thousands of foreclosure notices--ago. For example, I have proposed to enable the Federal Housing Administration to function as an alternative to the subprime market; and I have proposed to empower state housing finance agencies to help families refinance unworkable mortgages. But more is needed. So I have also called on the mortgage industry to observe a 90-day foreclosure moratorium on subprime mortgages and a 5-year freeze in rates on subprime loans.
Source: Response to 2008 State of the Union address Jan 28, 2008

Voted to limit credit card interest to 30%

Clinton and Obama battled over their votes on bankruptcy bills and an amendment to cap interest charged on credit. Clinton said, ďThere was a particular amendment that I think is very telling: to prohibit credit card companies from charging more than 30% interest. I voted for limiting to 30% what credit card companies could charge. Senator Obama did not.Ē Obama responded, ďI thought 30% potentially was too high of a ceiling.Ē

Obama did vote against--and Clinton voted for--an amendment that would have placed a 30% cap on the interest rate that could be charged on any extension of credit. The amendment failed by a vote of 74 to 24 in 2005. When the amendment came up for a vote, Obama was standing next to Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-MD, the senior Democrat on the banking committee and the leader of those opposing the landmark bill, which would make it harder for Americans to get rid of debt. As for whether the 30% cap was too high, thatís certainly a matter of opinion.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Dem. Debate Jan 21, 2008

FactCheck: Consistently against making bankruptcy stricter

Clinton also said she had opposed the overall bankruptcy bill, which made it more difficult for consumers to erase debt by declaring bankruptcy; Obama opposed it, too. She didnít vote on the final bill, which passed by a 74-25 vote, because it was the day of her husbandís heart surgery.

Obama mischaracterized Clintonís comments on her vote for an earlier, 2001 bankruptcy bill. Obama said, ďSen. Clinton said she voted for [the 2001 bill] but hoped that it wouldnít pass. Now, I donít understand that approach to legislation.ď

Thatís not exactly what Clinton said. When asked if she regretted voting for the 2001 bill, Clinton answered, ĒSure I do. It never became law, as you know. It got tied up. It was a bill that had some things I agreed with and other things I didnít agree with. I was happy it never became law. I opposed the 2005 bill as well.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Dem. Debate Jan 21, 2008

2005 bankruptcy bill was by big credit cards & lenders

OBAMA: When we talked a while back, we talked about the bankruptcy bill, which had been pushed by the banks and the financial institutions, that said, basically, it will be harder for folks who have been lured into these teaser rates and then see their credit cards go up to 30%, that they would have a tougher time getting out of bankruptcy. In the last debate, Clinton said she voted for it but hoped that it wouldnít pass. Now, I donít understand that approach to legislation.

CLINTON: I regretted voting for the bankruptcy bill and I was happy that it didnít get into law. By 2005, there was another run at a bankruptcy reform, motivated by the credit card companies and the other big lenders. I opposed that bill. There was a particular amendment that is very telling. It was an amendment to prohibit credit card companies from charging more than 30% interest. It was one of the biggest lobbyist victories on that very bad bill that the bankruptcy bill represented.

Source: [Xref Obama] 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Dem. debate Jan 21, 2008

No evidence as to how Obama would pay for new programs

CLINTON: Obama has said that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years, and we can give you the exact quote. They were bad ideas for America. They were ideas like privatizing Social Security, like moving back from a balanced budget and a surplus to deficit and debt. Obama have a lot of money that you want to put into foreign aid, a very worthy program. There is no evidence as to how you would pay for it. Itís important because elections are about the future.

OBAMA I did not compliment Republican ideas. That is not true. What I said was is that Reagan was a transformative political figure because he was able to get Democrats to vote against their economic interests to form a majority to push through their agenda, an agenda that I objected to. While I was working on those streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, Clinton was a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart. What I said had nothing to do with their policies.

Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate Jan 21, 2008

Foreclosure moratorium mitigates agony; doesnít prolong it

Q: Does your plan prolong the subprime agony?

A: No. I think it helps to mitigate the agony. What I hear as I go in and out of peopleís homes and talk to so many who have already lost their homes, theyíre in foreclosure, they see these interest rates that are about to go up and they know they canít pay them, is that we take action now. Iíve been calling for action since last March. When I first started calling for it, a lot of the same economists who now say donít do anything about it said, it wonít be that bad. The mortgage crisis is not only destroying home ownership, it is having a ripple effect across the world. So my moratorium for 90 days is a work-out. Itís not a bailout. I want people to be able to see whether they can stay in their homes paying a rate that is affordable for them. The interest rate freeze is merited. If youíre a homeowner who has been at the bottom of this incredible scheme that was established, youíre left holding the bag and you donít have the house anymore.

Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate Jan 21, 2008

90-day moratorium on foreclosures; freeze interest rates

A lot of our big financial institutions made these bets on these subprime mortgages. They helped to create this meltdown that is happening, that is costing millions of people who live in homes that are being foreclosed on or could be in the very near future because the interest rates are going up. And what they did was to take all these subprime mortgages and conventional mortgages, bundle them up and sell them overseas to big investors. So weíre getting the worst of both worlds.

This administration canít figure out what we should do. I have a plan: a moratorium on foreclosures for 90 days, freezing interest rates for five years, which I think we should do immediately. What we now see is our financial institutions having to go hat in hand to borrow money from foreign government funds. Iím very concerned about it. Iíd like to see us move much more aggressively both to deal with the immediate problem with the mortgages and to deal with these foreign funds.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 15, 2008

Call for a moratorium on housing foreclosures for 90 days

We need urgently to have bankruptcy reform in order to get the kind of options available for homeowners. In addition to what I want to do, which is the moratorium on foreclosures for 90 days to see what we can do to work them out, and freezing interest rates for five years, and making the mortgage industry more transparent so we actually know what theyíre doing. Countrywide gets bought and the CEO, who was one of the architects of this whole subprime mess, is sent off with $110 million in severance pay The priorities and the values are absolutely wrong. So what weíve got to do is move urgently. In addition to what Iíve proposed, weíve got to reform the bankruptcy law right now going forward so that people who are caught in these subprime and now increasingly conventional loans that they canít pay because of the way the interest rates are going up, and many of the fraudulent and predatory practices that got people into them in the first place, will have the option of getting relieved of this debt
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 15, 2008

Freeze mortgage interest rates for five years

Q: How do you pay for stimulus to the economy?

A: This stimulus shouldnít be paid for. The whole point of stimulus is going to require an injection of federal funding. And I would start with the mortgage crisis. I want to have a moratorium on foreclosures for 90 days so we can try to work them out. I want to freeze interest rates for five years, and I want to have a $30 billion package that will go in and try to stabilize the housing market and stabilize communities that are going to be affected by that.

Q: But many people couldíve had a fixed mortgage at a higher rate, but they opted for a cheaper one. Should they not bear some responsibility?

A: The bankers, the mortgage lenders, the brokers, all bear a lot of the responsibility, because many of the practices that were followed were just downright predatory and fraudulent. There is no doubt about that. A lot of people got into subprime loans who frankly couldíve been in a conventional fixed-rate loan.

Source: Meet the Press: 2008 ďMeet the CandidatesĒ series Jan 13, 2008

Look back to 1990s to see how Iíd be fiscally responsible

Q: Would it be a priority of your administration to balance the federal budget every year?

A: Well, fiscal responsibility is a very high priority for me. We donít have to go back very far in our history, in fact just to the 1990s, to see what happens when we do have a fiscally responsible budget that does use rules of discipline to make sure that weíre not cutting taxes or spending more than we can afford. I will institute those very same approaches. You canít do it in a year. Itíll take time. But the economy will grow again when we start acting fiscally responsible. And then we can save money in the government by cutting out private contractors, closing loopholes, getting the health care system to be more efficient. Weíll do all of this at the same time, but the results will take awhile for us to actually see.

Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic debate Dec 13, 2007

Help people facing foreclosure; donít just bail-out banks

Q: Weíve seen all this turmoil in the markets caused by the credit crunch and the crisis in the mortgage markets. The Federal Reserve lowered the discount rate for banks. Should they lower rates for everyone else, yes or no?

A: Iím glad they did what they did. But it canít be just left to a bail-out for the banks. Weíve got to figure out how weíre going to figure out people facing foreclosures. And I have recommendations on that, that do not lend themselves to an easy yes or no

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on ďThis WeekĒ Aug 19, 2007

Balanced budget replaced with rising costs & falling wages

Families are struggling with rising costs and falling wages. Theyíre working harder than ever in the last six years. Productivity has gone up 18%, but the average family income has fallen $1,300. We have now more than 45 million people living without health care, and millions more who are underinsured. We have 12 million children living in poverty. We have more people going bankrupt last year than graduating from college. Yet these are all invisible to the president and his administration.

And we know that for those who worry about passing on this huge debt that has been blown up in the last six years--because remember, six years ago we had a balanced budget and a surplus--well, if youíre a grandparent worried about passing that debt on to your grandchildren, youíre invisible.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference Jun 20, 2007

Last six years were challenging; letís try a new direction

Q: How would you work to reinvigorate this regionís economy?

CLINTON: Six years ago, we didnít yet have a recession. We didnít have the 9/11 attack. We didnít have high deficits. We didnít have the Bush policies. Thankfully we escaped a plague of locusts, but weíve had some challenges in the last 6 years. So Iím not discouraged Iím just changing direction, trying to work in different ways to help people right here at home create these opportunities for themselves.

SPENCER: Well, if we did have a plague of locusts, you know whoís fault it would be, right? George Bush. Heís responsible for everything. When are you responsible, Sen. Clinton? When are you responsible, after 6 years? You pledged 200,000 jobs. If youíre not responsible, then youíre ineffective. Youíre ineffective as a United States Senator from New York.

Source: NY 2006 Senate Debate, at University of Rochester Oct 20, 2006

Co-sponsored bills totaling $502B in spending thru 2005

While opposing tax cuts, Clinton has supported hundreds of bills boosting federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars. During her first two years in office, Clinton sponsored or co-sponsored 169 bills increasing spending by a total of $124 billion, while failing to sponsor or co-sponsor a single bill to reduce spending.

In 2003 and 2004 Clinton grew even more generous with the taxpayersí dollars. She sponsored or co-sponsored 211 bills to increase spending and just three bills to reduce it, yielding a total net cost of $378 billion. This made Clinton the second most ďexpensiveĒ senator during that time.

Source: Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, by Amanda Carpenter, p. 55-56 Oct 11, 2006

Use tax dollars to upgrade infrastructure, not for stadium

Q: Should taxpayer money should be used to build such a stadium in Manhattan?

CLINTON: I donít think thatís a good use of that space or of taxpayer dollars. There is work we need to do to upgrade the infrastructure. Thatís why I support the Second Avenue subway. Thatís why I support the East Side connector, a rail link to La Guardia and to JFK. I will go to the Senate to continue the work on Penn Station and others that Senator Moynihan has started.

LAZIO: I think itís important to get the Jets and Giants back. This is not just a plan for a stadium; itís also a plan for expansion of convention space. I donít think this should be funded with public money entirely. But I believe that this is an important initiative to build jobs for New York.

Source: Senate debate in Manhattan Oct 8, 2000

Pay down debt & cut taxes within balanced budget

Q: How will you pay for all the new programs youíve proposed?

A: We have a surplus after 7 years of good economic leadership in our country. We should pay down the national debt, secure Social Security, add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, and provide affordable tax cuts. I have been very careful to cost out my plan because I believe in a balanced budget. Thatís why I reject the large tax cut that independent experts have said is more than a trillion dollars that my opponent has proposed.

Source: Clinton-Lazio debate, Buffalo NY Sep 13, 2000

Stimulate upstate economy by more local decision-making

Q: Will you support measures that would be unpopular with state unions if they helped reduce the tax burden on upstate New York?

CLINTON: Iím a very strong supporter of these changes that are needed to stimulate the upstate economy. And many of those changes can only take place at the state and local level. Because what I have laid forth in my economic plan for upstate is a way to use tax credits to stimulate business, to expand the high tech industry that is coming to Buffalo.

LAZIO: I do believe that the upstate economy has turned the corner. It also needs new partnerships, alliances, something Iíve been doing down in Long Island. Creating technology incubators, building on our assets in the upstate economy. Making sure that we build good partnerships and a first-class educational system. One of the things you can do is to begin to address the issue of taxation. We need to make sure that people donít pay taxes on top of income that theyíve already paid taxes on.

Source: Clinton-Lazio debate, Buffalo NY Sep 13, 2000

Supports Niagara casino, but prefers job creation strategy

Q: Americans spend millions at the local casino in Niagara Falls, Canada. Why not have a casino built on this side of the border to help our economy?

LAZIO: I donít believe that itís a good idea for us to be building casinos. I would allow the state of New York to make these decisions. But in the end, Iím not a big fan of gambling. Economic development in the area is an important issue, but I would not focus on the quick hit, the cheap hit in gambling. Iíd focus on the kind of jobs where our children can afford to stay here, raise a family, buy their own home.

CLINTON: I know how hard the people in Niagara are working to try to turn their economy around, and if they believe that a casino would help attract more tourists back, I would support that. I leave that to their judgment. But there has to be more of a strategy about the upstate economy --tax credits to help jobs be created, creating the regional skills, alliances, commitment to work force development, etc.

Source: Clinton-Lazio debate, Buffalo NY Sep 13, 2000

Protect next generation by paying off national debt

Weíll never accomplish what we need to do for our children if we burden them with a debt they didnít create. Franklin Roosevelt said that Americans of his generation had a rendezvous with destiny. Well, I think our generation has a rendezvous with responsibility. Itís time to protect the next generation by using our budget surplus to pay down the national debt, save Social Security, modernize Medicare with a prescription drug benefit, & provide targeted tax cuts to the families who need them most.
Source: Address to the Democratic National Convention Aug 14, 2000

We have outlived the usefulness of Bretton Woods

We have lived with the benefits, for 50 years now, of the agreements that were made at the end of WWII, coming out of Bretton Woods to create new financial architectures. Today, we have outlived the usefulness of that particular set of arrangements. And we now have to face up to creating a new architecture that will help us tackle runaway global capitalismís worst effects; ensure social safety nets for the most vulnerable; address the debt burden that is crushing many of our poorest nations.
Source: Remarks at The Sorbonne, Paris, France Jun 17, 1999

The economy creates consumers but cannot create citizens

Some think that the market can do anything if left alone. Others undermine the benefits that free enterprise brings. We have to create a balance. How do we enjoy the benefits without suffering from the excesses? The economy can create the jobs... and wealth; it can create consumers and the producers of goods. But the economy cannot create citizens. Government can only respond to citizens, not create them. Only civil society can do that. And it is time for us to renew and expand civil society.
Source: Remarks at The Sorbonne, Paris, France Jun 17, 1999

Invest in people instead of ďsmokestack chasingĒ

Remember what we thought of as economic development. ďSmokestack chasingĒ is what it was called. If we could convince someone to get out of old dying Detroit and move to Arkansas, we were going to be moving right along. We have seen how many of those industries that we got to move from Detroit have moved to Bangladesh. We have seen that economic development cannot depend on what kind of jobs we bring as much as on what we do to invest in our people to generate more of our own economic opportunities.
Source: Unique Voice, p. 43-44 Feb 3, 1997

Voted YES on $60B stimulus package for jobs, infrastructure, & energy.

Congressional Summary:
    Supplemental appropriations for:
  1. Infrastructure Investments: Transportation: DOT, FAA, AMTRAK, and FTA
  2. Clean Water (EPA)
  3. Flood Control and Water Resources (ACE)
  4. 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities (ED)
  5. Energy Development (DOE)
  6. Extension of Unemployment Compensation and Job Training
  7. Temporary Increase in Medicaid Matching Rate
  8. Temporary Increase in Food Assistance

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. DAVID OBEY (D, WI-7): Congress has tried to do a number of things that would alleviate the squeeze on the middle class. Meanwhile, this economy is sagging. Jobs, income, sales, and industrial production have all gone down. We have lost 600,000 jobs. We are trying to provide a major increase in investments to modernize our infrastructure and to provide well-paying construction jobs at the same time.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. JERRY LEWIS (R, CA-41): Just 2 days ago we were debating an $800 billion continuing resolution. Now in addition to being asked to pay for a bailout for Wall Street, taxpayers are being asked to swallow an additional $60 billion on a laundry list of items I saw for the first time just a few hours ago. The Democratic majority is describing this legislation as a "stimulus package" to help our national economy. But let's not fool ourselves. This is a political document pure and simple. If these priorities are so important, why hasn't this bill gone through the normal legislative process? We should have debated each of the items included in this package.

It doesn't take an economist to tell you that the economy needs our help. But what does this Congress do? It proposes to spend billions more without any offsets in spending. The failure to adhere to PAYGO means that this new spending will be financed through additional borrowing, which will prove a further drag on our struggling economy.

Reference: Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act; Bill S.3604&HR7110 ; vote number 2008-S206 on Sep 26, 2008

Voted NO on paying down federal debt by rating programs' effectiveness.

Amendment intends to pay down the Federal debt and eliminate government waste by reducing spending on programs rated ineffective by the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART).

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

My amendment says we are going to take about $18 billion as a strong signal from the Congress that we want to support effective programs and we want the taxpayer dollars spent in a responsible way. My amendment doesn't take all of the $88 billion for the programs found by PART, realizing there may be points in time when another program is not meeting its goals and needs more money. So that flexibility is allowed in this particular amendment. It doesn't target any specific program. Almost worse than being rated ineffective, we have programs out there that have made absolutely no effort at all to measure their results. I believe these are the worst offenders. In the following years, I hope Congress will look at those programs to create accountability.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

The effect of this amendment will simply be to cut domestic discretionary spending $18 billion. Understand the programs that have been identified in the PART program are results not proven. Here are programs affected: Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, child abuse prevention, and treatment. If there is a problem in those programs, they ought to be fixed. We ought not to be cutting Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, and the rest. I urge a "no" vote.

Reference: Allard Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.491 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-090 on Mar 22, 2007

Voted NO on $40B in reduced federal overall spending.

Vote to pass a bill that reduces federal spending by $40 billion over five years by decreasing the amount of funds spent on Medicaid, Medicare, agriculture, employee pensions, conservation, and student loans. The bill also provides a down-payment toward hurricane recovery and reconstruction costs.
Reference: Work, Marriage, and Family Promotion Reconciliation Act; Bill S. 1932 ; vote number 2005-363 on Dec 21, 2005

Require full disclosure about subprime mortgages.

Clinton co-sponsored requiring full disclosure about subprime mortgages

Sen. DODD: Today we are facing a crisis in the mortgage markets on a scale that has not been seen since the Great Depression: over 2 million homeowners face foreclosure at a loss of over $160 billion in hard-earned home equity; over one out of every 5 subprime loans is currently delinquent. These high default rates have frozen the subprime and jumbo mortgage markets and infected the capital markets to the point where central banks around the world have had to inject liquidity into the system to avoid the crisis from spreading to other segments of the market.

One of the fundamental causes of this serious crisis is abusive and predatory subprime mortgage lending. The Homeownership Preservation and Protection Act of 2007 is designed to protect American homeowners from these practices, and prevent this disaster from happening again. The legislation will:

It is important to keep in mind that only about 10% of subprime mortgages have been made to first time home buyers. This market has not been primarily about creating a new set of homeowners; a majority of subprime loans have been refinances. While maintaining access to subprime credit on fair terms is important, too much of the subprime market has actually put the homes and home equity of American families at risk.

In the coming months, the housing crisis is going to get worse. We will need to continue to press lenders and servicers to provide real relief for homeowners threatened with foreclosure.

Source: Homeownership Preservation and Protection Act (S.2452 ) 2007-S2452 on Dec 12, 2007

Reform mortgage rules to prevent foreclosure & bankruptcy.

Clinton co-sponsored reforming mortgage rules to prevent foreclosure & bankruptcy

Source: Foreclosure Prevention Act (S.2636) 2008-S2636 on Feb 13, 2008

Other candidates on Budget & Economy: Hillary Clinton on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010