Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton went after corporations she said were hurting the American economy and taking advantage of workers in an intense economic speech on Monday.
During a Monday speech in Toledo, Ohio, Clinton set her sights on a number of “unfair” economic and corporate trends and proposed policies that would purportedly support workers over corporate balance sheets.
“It is infuriating when [corporations] take tax break with one hand, and give out pink slips in America with the other hand,” said Clinton.
The Democratic nominee continued: “We’re going to close those loopholes, I’ve got a list of them. We’re going to make Wall Street, corporations, and the super rich pay their fair share of taxes.”
Clinton held up a few examples of recent bad corporate actors. She called out Wells Fargo over its recent accounts scandal, Mylan for the increased costs of emergency allergy drug EpiPen, and major health insurers for attempting to merge and decrease competition.
By using recent controversies, Clinton appeared to be courting the anti-corporate (and generally younger) wing of the Democratic Party that was partly responsible for the popularity of her primary opponent Bernie Sanders. Clinton touted her record, saying she “raised the alarm on subprime mortgages” that eventually caused the housing and financial crisis.
Clinton also addressed broader economic policies such as tax avoidance and lower wage growth that she said were part of “quarterly capitalism” that has overtaken the business environment of America.
“Today I want to send a message to every boardroom, every executive suite across America,” said Clinton in the speech. “If you scam your customers, exploit your employees, pollute our environment, or rip off taxpayers wer will find ways to hold you accountable.”
Clinton has previously made mention of the “quarterly capitalism” theme, saying that firms are too focused on meeting profit goals to appease shareholders that they have forgotten their responsibilities to their labour force and the US more broadly.
In terms of solutions, Clinton said that she would crack down on corporate tax avoidance through inversions, or the practice of merging with a foreign company to move to a country with a more favourable taxation rate, saying there will be an “exit tax” for those trying to move their headquarter out of America. Additionally, Clinton had strong language for corporations outsourcing jobs.
“If they try to outsource jobs, they’re going to have to give back every tax break they ever received in our country,” said Clinton.
She said her administration would crack down on mergers that decrease competition and hurt customers, while strengthening anti-trust measures.
In the speech, Clinton also took aim at Wall Street. The nominee attacked Wells Fargo for its recent fraudulent accounts scandal and decried the “cowboy culture” on Wall Street that caused the 2008 financial crisis.
“It is outrageous that eight years after a cowboy culture on Wall Street wrecked our economy that we are still seeing powerful banker playing fast and loose with the law,” said Clinton.