Hillary Clinton on Wednesday bashed Wall Street and large U.S. corporations for holding back economic growth and taking advantage of middle-class workers, vowing that, if elected president, she’d force companies to share profits with employees and slap new taxes on firms that try to move overseas.
During a speech in Raleigh, North Carolina, Mrs. Clinton continued to shift left on the economy, peppering her speech with shots at the wealthy, Wall Street, hedge funds, large corporations and a tax code she says is riddled with loopholes for the rich. Her move comes as progressive groups have become increasingly excited with the economic plans they’re hearing from the former secretary of state, who still is trying to reunite a Democratic party split during the nasty primary fight between Mrs. Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders.
As she laid out her own economic plan, Mrs. Clinton had harsh words for both business leaders and elected officials in Washington.
“It is wrong to take taxpayer dollars with one hand and give out pink slips with the other,” she said to a raucous crowd. “And no company should be moving their headquarters overseas just to avoid paying their taxes here at home.”
She went on to blast the connection between Wall Street and Washington that she says is keeping middle-class wages low and hampering widespread economic growth.
“They let Wall Street banks take big risks with unregulated financial activities, they skew our tax code toward the wealthy, they fail to enforce our trade rules, they undermine workers’ rights,” she said. “They have forgotten we are all in this together, and we are at our best when we recognize that.”
Mrs. Clinton specifically said she’d work to force more companies to share profits with their employees. She also said she’d institute an “exit tax” on any firm that tries to move its operations abroad to avoid U.S. tax bills.
The focus on new business regulation is a clear olive branch to supporters of Mr. Sanders, Democrats who clearly favor a more heavy-handed government approach to reining in Wall Street and many of whom remain skeptical of Mrs. Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton will continue trying to shed her image as part of the political and financial establishment Monday when she campaigns in Ohio with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat and populist progressive hero.
Mrs. Clinton also voiced support for debt-free college, instituting paid family leave nationwide, major investments in infrastructure and job training, and other issues.
Progressive leaders say Mrs. Clinton’s new tack will be a winner in the general election and could stop Mr. Trump from siphoning off frustrated middle-class Americans.
“Elevating progressive ideas is smart way for Clinton to unify with Sanders supporters and fend off Donald Trump’s attempt to woo swing voters with faux economic populism,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the liberal advocacy group the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.