Hillary Clinton

“Sen. Hillary Clinton” by Roger H. Goun — Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr Creative Commons – https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1153/836612585_79e3ec6b35_o.jpg

Hillary Clinton has held many esteemed titles such as lawyer, professor, First Lady of the United States, New York State Senator, Secretary of State, and now Democratic Presidential Candidate for the 2016 election. Clinton’s mother realized she had to become independent early on to succeed, and she — as well as Martin Luther King, Jr. — influenced her daughter to fight for children’s needs and social justice at an early age. Clinton graduated from Yale Law School, worked for the Children’s Defense Fund, and became the First Lady of Arkansas when her husband, Bill Clinton, was elected governor of the state. In that position she worked toward improving public education. During Clinton’s time as First Lady of the United States and afterward, she was a proponent for healthcare reform and strived to make care more easily accessible and affordable [1].

Clinton’s presidential campaign centers around her environment, economic, military, and education policies. As president, Clinton would maintain those programs and regulations instituted during the Obama administration, namely the smart pollution and efficiency standards. Clinton also hopes to make America the clean superpower [2] of the world by increasing the amount of renewable energy in the nation and decreasing our oil consumption, thereby bringing greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below what they were in 2005 and combating climate change. Further, she promotes the installation of over half a billion solar panels to make up for the decreased use of oil.

Turning to the economy, Clinton aims to increase the minimum wage to prevent the degradation of the middle class, which used to comprise the majority of Americans until recently. Furthermore, she plans to cut taxes for the middle class and invest in infrastructure and education [3]. Clinton also wants to increase the number of weapons manufactured in the US to be sold to the Syrian government to combat ISIS, which would avert the need to expand the military budget or send any American troops over to fight.

Having paid off college loans by herself, Hillary Clinton knows the difficulty and stress that debt adds to the already tiring life of the average college graduate. She proposes a “no loan” program for tuition, books, and other fees in public universities at the expense of students contributing their earnings for ten hours of work per week along with family contribution [4]. Clinton also wants the government to begin supplying grants and cutting interest rates for those people who are currently in student debt, a program that would cost $350 billion dollars over ten years. For future college students, she proposes paying back loans through an income-contingency repayment, which would take a percentage of income and put it toward student debt.
Ross Reggio

As the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton is the smart choice of anyone looking for an experienced, liberal president. Her advocacy for immigration reform, rigorous gun control, raising the minimum wage, and women’s rights make her the best candidate on the ticket.

Clinton advocates strongly for comprehensive immigration reform. Her plan includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that would require paying a fine and filing taxes from previous years [5]. Not only does this improve the circumstances for some of our hardest-working residents, but by paying the taxes from years past, undocumented immigrants benefit current American citizens. As Mr. Brown alludes to here, undocumented immigrants take more from public spending than they put in. By creating a system where undocumented immigrants are required to pay taxes, we benefit by increasing tax revenues. Furthermore, Clinton has said that if Congress remains inactive, she will not only defend President Obama’s executive actions, but “go even further” to keep families together [6]. She plans to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  (a policy which allows undocumented immigrants that entered the U.S. under 16 years of age and meet other key criteria to stay in the U.S. for a renewable two years without being granted citizenship) to keep parents with deep American roots in the U.S. as well. Clinton’s immigration platform is extensive and shows that the U.S. is open to immigrants in general, something that the conservative candidates have belittled.

Clinton’s long-standing support of gun control shows her understanding of America’s irrefutable gun violence problem. When the Columbine school shooting occurred, and Congress was unable to pass strict gun control laws, Hillary became determined to run for the Senate [7]. During her time as Senator, she supported legislation that would allow gun violence victims to hold manufacturers accountable [8]. She called for strengthening background checks, without precluding the right to gun ownership, and compared the direction America’s gun culture is going in that of a lawless country [9]. “I don’t know how we keep seeing shooting after shooting, read about the people murdered because they went to Bible study or they went to the movies or they were just doing their job, and not finally say we’ve got to do something about this,” she said at a speech in Ohio [10].  As opposed to her counterparts on the right, Clinton comprehends the magnitude of our country’s gun problem.

In addition to immigration and gun control, Hillary rises above every other Republican candidate with her $12 minimum wage plan. Proposing to bring the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 instead of a radically detrimental $15, Hillary indicates her moderate approach to the issue [11]. This realistic plan does not have as many opponents as the $15 plan, and would create a more gradual increase in wages as it allows the market to properly adjust [12]. It represents a clean-cut compromise between the poles of zero increase and Bernie’s proposal, which would more than double the current minimum wage. Moreover, Hillary supports President Obama’s expansion of overtime rules for millions of workers. Proponents of raising the minimum wage argue that no one should need public assistance and regular employment just to survive.

Hillary plans to ensure equal pay for women, defend women’s health care, and fight for paid family leave. To close the pay gap between females and males, Clinton presented the Paycheck Fairness Act as a Senator. She hopes to add procedural protections to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, giving women the tools to ask for what they deserve. Women’s issues are, as Clinton remarks, “family issues, economic issues, and crucial to our future competitiveness” [13]. She champions women’s health and reproductive rights by arguing that women’s health decisions should be made by women, which is apparently a novel idea for some right-wing candidates. While congressmen debate the morality of Planned Parenthood, and reproductive health is discussed in courtrooms, Clinton rises above the rest to ensure that the matters of half our population are the matters of all our population [14].

Through her decades of experience in federal and international politics, sharp mind, and use of moderate policies that actually stand a chance of passing through the U.S. legislative branch, Hillary Clinton has shown she’s the only candidate with the skill and mindset to drive America in a direction to which citizens of either party can agree.
Melia Wong

While I agree with Ms. Wong that Clinton often takes the middle ground, many of her moderate policies fail to ground themselves in real reform and often don’t even tackle the issue at all.

Clinton’s immigration plan, for instance, doesn’t add to Obama’s plan; it entirely changes it. Ms. Wong argues that Clinton’s plans to expand DACA and include parents of DREAMers takes the next logical step in Obama’s plan to enact real immigration reform. Unfortunately, the Obama administration already tried what Clinton’s proposing but concluded internally, while collaborating with the Department of Justice, that such steps would be holistically illegal and not within the mandate of their office [15]. As Esther Lee of ThinkProgress elaborates, Clinton has received significant criticism for tenets of her immigration plan in that they are politically and legally not feasible. As Theodore Schleifer of CNN also points out, it should be noted that in 2007 Clinton voted for “the poison pill amendment that stopped immigration reform in its tracks” and in 2014 she asserted that “she believed the unaccompanied minors ‘should be sent back’ to their home countries” [16]. This presidential cycle, “she is now running further to the left on immigration policy than even President Obama’s White House believes is legally feasible.” Clinton’s credibility on the immigration issue is far from clean and her immigration plan is even farther from reality.

Looking to her minimum wage plan, Clinton also fails to make any marks for real reform. Clinton’s “middle-ground” stance to phase in a $12 minimum wage over five years has been cited as more detrimental than Bernie’s $15 minimum wage plan for several reasons. First, Clinton claims that this $12 minimum wage compromise will be better for lower-income families because she will encourage states to raise their minimum wage above the $12 federal minimum. Unfortunately, as the New York Times explains, the historical evidence for state minimum wages doesn’t follow the narrative she’s selling. 21 states don’t have higher minimum wage laws above the federal minimum and out of the 29 states that do “none have minimums high enough to cover local living expenses for an individual worker” [17]. Furthermore, Clinton’s minimum wage plan stands at a stark disadvantage to Sanders’ plan. Sanders claims that he’s willing to fight for a $15 wage phase-in over the same time for which Clinton advocates. Many liberal economists have cited his plan as one that could be vitally more beneficial for lower and middle class families than Clinton’s lackluster $12 plan [18].

All in all, Clinton’s policies don’t represent a candidate willing to hold a strong stance on the issues; rather, it signifies a candidate willing to sacrifice hard-hitting and credible policies for moderate ones that garner votes rather than solutions.
Nova Quaoser

With the ceremonial ribbon of her weighty government titles in tow and a somewhat enthused and loyal Democratic National Convention following closely behind, Hillary Clinton seemed unbeatable six months ago. With the rise of the radical upstart Bernie Sanders, however, Clinton has been forced to not only reevaluate her platform and her “progressive” beliefs but also her public persona in light of criticism on her use of government emails, her real beliefs on her husband Bill’s policies, and her lackluster performances on SNL and social media. Jokes aside, Clinton’s behavior each presidential run seems to follow a recurring pattern. Michael Moore, a liberal documentary filmmaker, once remarked that in almost every election cycle you could count on Hillary Clinton to take the latest poll numbers to “evolve” her platform and then perform a presidential coin flip on the issues no one cared about. Putting Moore’s hyperbolic cynicism aside, there seems to be a grain of truth in the trivially moderate nature of Clinton’s policies.

Let’s look first to Wall Street, for instance, and the proposed reforms in which Clinton has promised of preventing another 2008 recession. Clinton touts her intention to strengthen Dodd-Frank, signed into law in 2010 by President Obama, and points to the fact that she has always advocated for strengthening the Volcker Rule, a fee on banks that make speculative bets in the market from their own funds [19]. Clinton has repeatedly railed against what she describes as the “shadow banking” system – a system she defines as facilitators of creation of credit in the banking system not subject to governmental oversight or regulation [20]. With all these talking points, Clinton would have voters believe that she has the get-tough solutions on the regulation of Wall Street and cracking down the massively influential and feared U.S. banking institution.

Unfortunately, the broad consensus of political scientists and economists begs to differ. Among the 170 economists who signed a letter calling for more radical reform in Clinton’s approach to Wall Street, Robert Reich – former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton – described Hillary’s plan as lacking teeth and only “invit[ing] more dilution and finagle”. He cites Hillary’s refusal to support the Glass-Steagall Act, which aims to break up the biggest banks on Wall Street, as one of the greatest weaknesses of her plan. He further elaborates that Clinton’s system of incentives and punishments are “watered-down” so significantly they would have little to no effect in stopping the same type of behavior that led up to the crash of the big banks in 2007 [21]. Besides Reich, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research also voices concern regarding Clinton’s economic proposal. He describes Clinton’s plan as wholly ineffective and losing significant ground to Sanders’s plan, namely because it lacks a financial transaction tax [22]. He claims that this aspect renders Clinton’s plan merely a matter of laid-back oversight rather than real reform.

Another layer of concern on the lack of teeth in Clinton’s policies lies in her long past with Wall Street. Politifact recently revealed that Clinton received the most money, out of nearly all of the presidential candidates, from Wall Street bankers and corporations. Eight out of the ten on Clinton’s top ten donor list are major investment groups or large-scale banks [23]. This fact raises serious questions as to the validity of Clinton’s claims and to whether she can remain true to her apparent objective of cracking down on Wall Street, given her financial coziness with such market actors.

Coincidentally, the story for Clinton’s healthcare plan is bizarrely similar to that of her Wall Street reform. Noam Scheiber of the New Republic describes PPACA (Obamacare) as the paver for a single-payer healthcare system [24]. He claims that the single-payer system is the next evolution of Obamacare; an integral stepping stone that is both natural and necessary to fulfilling its original role. Obama and other Democrats initially needed to make the bill more palatable to insurance companies and Republicans, resulting in the elimination of the single-payer clause [25]. As ThinkProgress further elaborates, Hillary Clinton’s criticism and rejection of the single-payer system have missed the mark entirely. Many liberal economists and political scientists are baffled by Clinton’s outright dismissal of what is largely seen as Obamacare’s next step. Clinton criticizes the single payer system for taking all types of insurance and “roll[ing] it together”, causing millions to lose their health insurance. While it is true that a single-payer healthcare system would replace all different types of insurance, this is actually the whole point of a single-payer healthcare system. Through consolidation, applying a universal healthcare plan would be more efficient, less costly for consumers, and expand coverage to most Americans [26]. Elisabeth Rosenthal of the New York Times further elaborates that a single-payer healthcare system would vastly decrease costs for consumers to acquire and keep healthcare. In fact, most of the costs of implementing this system have already been incurred because of Obamacare and the drastic changes involved in insurance infrastructure in the healthcare market [27].

Clinton has also claimed that it is because of these drastic changes that the single-payer healthcare system becomes politically impractical. This logic flies in the face of what we’ve seen during the Obama administration and in the history of policy change. From President Bill Clinton’s welfare restructuring to Obamacare, real reform has always seemed impractical from the get-go. Furthemore, impractical policies haven’t been the problem in recent presidential terms but rather staunch partisan divides. To enact real reform we need a presidential candidate who can break the GOP’s stranglehold on the legislatures, not purely a set of practical political policies [28].

Hillary Clinton will most likely claim the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, but the questions she will face on her path to the White House will be frequented and fraught by concerns over her involvement with the health insurance lobbyists and big banks. Clinton’s moderate policies raise even bigger questions as to her real commitment to progressive reform and the presidential vision she wishes to craft for the nation. As it stands, her promises reflect a presidential term that looks stagnantly abiding to the status quo, not quite progressive for the future of America.
Nova Quaoser

The majority of Mr. Quaoser’s argument against Hillary Clinton resides in the idea that she is too moderate. According to Mr. Quaoser, her feeble attack on big banks and refusal to adopt single-payer healthcare reveal the “trivially moderate nature of Clinton’s policies.”

When, I beg of you, did “moderate” become a dirty word? In our day and age, polarization threatens to dismantle the government we built to handle compromise. It rips apart friendships on campuses like our own, fostering the idea that you are either with someone or against them. Hillary is most certainly not the candidate farthest to the left in this race, nor did she ever claim to be. And that is not a bad thing.

My opponent surfaces a host of complaints, including Clinton’s refusal to support the Glass-Steagall Act. However, the Glass-Steagall Act only imposed a separation between investment and commercial banking. It was not the big bank-busting machine that many people placed on a pedestal. Even if the act had remained in place, the great recession probably would have happened anyway [29].

Many liberal people, Mr. Quaoser included, have voiced concerns about Clinton’s financial backers.
What people forget is that taking money from those who offer it has been the norm for previous election cycles. Clinton is guilty of something that nearly every other candidate has suffered from: patronage. While this doesn’t negate the argument against her, it certainly puts it in perspective. Clinton isn’t hiding. She’s doing what many candidates, including Kasich, Cruz [30] and even Obama, have also done.

A candidate shouldn’t have to alienate the opposition in order to be taken seriously. Hillary’s so-called “moderation,” which is actually quite liberal, is not a fault. On the contrary, it is most certainly a strength. Her ability to compromise and rally the legislature will benefit her. Her years of experience with foreign policy and congressional functions make her the best candidate in the pack.
Melia Wong
















[1] https://www.hillaryclinton.com
[2] http://www.theguardian.com/enviornment/2015/sep/24/hillary-clinton-unveils-her-materplan-to-make-us-clean-energy-superpower
[3] http://time.com/4126685/hillary-clinton-middle-class-tax-pledge /
[4] http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/10/politics/hillary-clinton-college-affordability/
[5] http://www.dailydot.com/politics/clinton-sanders-2016-issues/
[6] http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/hillary-clinton/clinton-willing-take-immigration-actions-even-further-n354281
[7] http://www.dailydot.com/politics/clinton-sanders-2016-issues/
[8] http://www.dailydot.com/politics/clinton-sanders-2016-issues/
[9] http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/hillary-clinton-gun-control-obamacare-106392
[10] https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/gun-violence-prevention/
[11] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-raise-federal-minimum-wage-to-12-per-hour_us_56394247e4b0411d306eca12
[12] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/06/22/a-15-minimum-wage-is-a-terrible-idea/
[13] https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/womens-rights-and-opportunity/
[14] https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/womens-rights-and-opportunity/
[15] http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2014/11/20/3594882/everything-you-need-to-know-about-obamas-executive-action/
[16] http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/09/politics/hillary-clinton-jeb-bush-immigration-flip-flop/
[17] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/17/opinion/hillary-clinton-should-just-say-yes-to-a-15-minimum-wage.html
[18] http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/feb/17/hillary-clinton/hillary-clinton-says-she-wants-return-real-minimum/
[19] http://www.thestreet.com/story/13423388/1/if-hillary-clinton-is-elected-president-here-s-what-will-happen-to-the-u-s-economy.html
[20] http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/shadow-banking-system.asp
[21] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/01/11/clintons-exaggerated-claim-about-endorsements-for-her-wall-street-plan/
[22] http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-and-cracking-down-on-wall-street
[23] http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/jul/07/facebook-posts/meme-says-hillary-clintons-top-donors-are-banks-an/
[24] https://newrepublic.com/article/116105/obamacare-will-lead-single-payer-michael-moore
[25] http://www.psmag.com/politics-and-law/team-hillary-and-the-insurance-lobby
[26] http://thinkprogress.org/health/2016/01/14/3739427/democratic-candidates-single-payer/
[27] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/health/paying-till-it-hurts.html
[28] https://theintercept.com/2016/01/13/hillary-clinton-single-payer/
[29] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/clinton-on-glass-steagall-right-or-wrong/
[30] http://claremontradius.com/ted-cruz/

image: “Sen. Hillary Clinton” by Roger H. Goun — Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr Creative Commons – https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1153/836612585_79e3ec6b35_o.jpg

Send a Comment

Your email address will not be published.