Hillary Clinton just delivered an economic policy address in Knoxville, Iowa that was, essentially, a not-even-thinly disguised criticism of Barack Obama’s level of governmental experience.
Standing in front of a sign that says “Rebuilding the Road to the Middle Class,” Clinton cast herself as a uniquely capable champion of the middle class who would create new jobs and restore fairness to the economy with more transparency and government regulation.
“More than ever before, our workers will need good job training for the jobs of this new century,” she said. “But there is one job we can’t afford on-the-job training for – our next president. That could be the costliest job training in history. Every day spent learning the ropes is another day of rising costs, mounting deficits and growing anxiety for our families. And they cannot afford to keep waiting.
“We need a president who understands the magnitude and complexity of the challenges we face – and has the strength and experience to address them from day one. A president who has faith that the American people and the American economy are up to the task. If you give me that chance, I will be that president.”
Clinton spoke critically about the growing divide between the rich and “everyone else.”
“That is not the America I grew up in,” she said.
She added, “I am not going to ask the middle class to do more than it’s already done.” She said that the middle class having “stayed afloat” was tough enough.
She looked back nostalgically at the Clinton administration, saying that President Bush inherited a “balanced budget and a surplus.” Now, she said there is a $9 trillion debt.
Clinton made proposals to meet the challenge of the current foreclosure and housing crisis by convening a conference of “stakeholders” in the crisis and doubling the Department of Housing and Urban Development housing counseling programs and making $100 million available to bail out people facing foreclosure.
She called for $1 billion in funds to be set aside to help families unable to pay their heating bills and for the distribution of “weatherization kits” to cut home heating costs by up to 20 percent.
And she called for more World Bank and IMF diligence in setting guidelines to make sovereign wealth funds more transparent.
“Finally, we need to start addressing the risks posed by derivatives and other complex financial products,” she said. “We can’t let Wall Street send the bill to your street,” she said.
Afterwards, Clinton spokesman Jay Carson explained the speech to me like this:
“She put out policy proposals today that he doesn’t have. The main point is that America is facing a potential economic crisis and it is the type of problem that you cannot risk entrusting to a president who needs on the job training.”