Andre Hebron | Economics Editor | Thursday 4 August 2016 | GMT 16:00 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Hillary Clinton is a strong and formidable female politician. Yet, despite her experience, is despised by a large proportion of the American populace. One poll reports that 61% of voters think she’s dishonest. Yet like or loathe her, she is the presidential nominee of the Democrat Party, following Bernie Sanders’ graceful exit from the nomination race. Some might wonder whether Clinton really deserves to be President of the United States or whether she’s just the only alternative to the controversial Donald Trump, the Republican’s presidential nominee.
Some say it will be ‘business as usual’ if Clinton becomes President, which for others makes Trump seem somewhat more appealing. While there is no doubt in how qualified she is for the job, having been US Secretary of State between 2008 and 2012, a law professor and activist, I will argue her credibility as President from an economic standpoint.
A key theme of Clinton’s economic policy is raising the wages of the middle class. Decades have seen the gap between the richest and poorest in society widen to unfathomable levels, with many Americans having had their wages and salaries stagnate since the financial crisis. Rightfully, Clinton intends to reduce this pay gap by forcing corporations to share profits and raise pay. But whether she will actually be able to do this is another question.
Considering the US – with the purest form of capitalism for centuries – has a habitual nature of maximising profits regardless of the circumstances, Clinton faces an uphill battle. Sadly in the US, the less well-off in society are left behind, having to deal with economic conditions taking a downward trajectory and very little or no reform to the banking system. With Chief Executives earning at least 25 times the average salary of many hardworking Americans, clearly the system isn’t working for everyone.
To enable fairer and sustainable economic growth, Wall Street needs major reform and it needs to happen now. Clinton has pledged to take on Wall Street, stating that the banking system is still too complex and too risky. And she’s right. However, it’s worth mentioning that some voters are sceptical at her taking on big business given her various ties with Wall Street, doubting her worthiness to implement the necessary reform.
Officers high up the corporate ladder tend to get away with mischief with minimal penalties. The phrase “insider trading” is far from alien to speculators on Wall Street and is becoming common practice. The fact is banks need to be regulated in such a way that they cannot grow to a size that proves to be unmanageable, but whether or not Clinton will be able to clamp down on these issues remains to be seen. At the end of the day, Clinton and her husband have earned $153 million combined in paid speeches since 2001, giving at least 39 speeches to big banks like Goldman Sachs and UBS. And she did collect at least at least $1.8 million for at least eight speeches to Wall Street banks. Tut tut Hilary.
If Clinton is to have any success in getting the US economy working again, one of her priorities will have to be manufacturing. Manufacturing is vital to the US economy, but it has also been on the decline, with the rise of China and India as economic powerhouses changing the face of the global manufacturing industry. During the campaign, Clinton promised a $10 billion investment in partnerships with business, universities and governments to regain the US’ manufacturing prowess and rebalance the economy. With the likes of Apple moving production to China, inevitably impacting jobs and livelihoods in the US, Clinton’s investment will be more than necessary. With technology increasing at an exponential rate, America needs a reconfiguration of the sector.
Clinton also intends to provide corporations with incentives to bring jobs back to the US. One of these could be tax breaks, although I feel various multinational companies pay too little tax to begin with, funnelling profits through the Camaan Islands or Switzerland (where I incidentally wrote this article from – but no I’m not funnelling profits if that’s what you’re thinking). But this is the Hilary paradox – clamp down on big business by giving them tax breaks. No wonder so many Americans simply don’t trust her!
Clinton evidently has robust economic policies and reforms in place. However, it’s a matter of implementing these to the benefit of the US economy. There is no straightforward answer to the question I raised at the beginning of this article. America has become a nation where ‘survival of the fittest’ has become more important than the American dream. In my opinion, capitalism isn’t working and this is not only true in the US, but the UK also. The outcome of the US election in November will change economic and political history for the foreseeable future. As Obama’s final term rapidly comes to an end, America faces a huge decision: vote Clinton or vote Trump. The question is: who do you trust more?