Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Spotlight: Hillary Clinton (and Your Wallet)

Hello everyone.
Tonight's post is going to spotlight Hillary Clinton. But before I talk about her virtues, I'd like to show my hand and tell you all who I'm going to vote for. I plan on voting for Barack Obama. Why? I'm not just going to vote for him because he's a Black male, although that does play a role. I plan on giving him my vote because I feel like he has the international experience necessary to do the job and as a person of color, he can truly empathize with the disenfranchised in our nation and around the world. He is also a centrist who attempts to unify and not divide. Most importantly, he was a community organizer in his 20s and has devoted his whole life to public service. He's not just some Wall Streeter who got it in his head to run for political office because he's tied of making money. By the way, I'll be spotlighting his economic policies tomorrow.

Now, onto Hillary's economic policies. Hillary Clinton has proposed something very radical. She proposed that federal minimum wage increases be tied to congressional pay raises. In January 10, 2007, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation that would increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over the next two years. Over the next two years?! This is the first raise in the minimum wage in over a decade, and it has to be phased in over two years? Meanwhile, Congress voted itself a pay raise of $4,400 recently, taking their pay to a whopping $170,000 a year! If Clinton's legislation was enacted, every time Congress wanted to keep up with the "cost of living", the little guy/woman would be lifted up too.

Another issue that Clinton has taken on is the issue of student loans. This is a sorely underdiscussed topic among all of the candidates - both Democratic and Republican. But Clinton advocates creating the "Student Borrowers' Bill of Rights". This bill would cap the rates that private lenders can charge on private student loans. Currently, rates on private loans can go as high as lenders please and are largely determined by a borrower's credit history - just like credit card rates.

Also, back in the early 90s, Hillary Clinton was already on the ball with the idea of universal health care and increasing its affordability. Unfortunately she did not have enough political muscle to get the idea passed (perhaps because it was brought to a largely Republican Congress). Clinton is aware of the fact that more than 45 million Americans - approximately 15% of the U.S. population - are uninsured and 9 million of these are children. Millions more are underinsured, which means that their insurance companies refuse to pay for certain critical procedures. Underinsurance is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in this country. And according to Clinton's campaign site, more people went bankrupt last year than graduated from college. Under a Clinton administration, no one would be left out in the cold and insurers would be required to pay for medical emergencies. They also would not be allowed to deny someone insurance because of a pre-existing condition.

Lastly, you might remember that under the last Clinton administration, the economy experienced an unprecedented expansion. We balanced the federal budget and from 1992 to 2000, more and more jobs were created. Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly use Bill as an economic advisor and hopes to create the same sort of economic expansion her husband achieved.

Before I go though, I'd like to say that this is not a political blog, by any means. But it's important to think about the merits of each candidate and how he or she will shape America's moral, cultural, and financial future. This is why I'm putting these ideas out there. Thanks for reading and until next time...

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