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Hillary Clinton has an uphill struggle to win the Democratic nomination for President. But she is still battling, so I have a few questions for her, as I've had for John McCain and Barack Obama.
Clinton's economic agenda, like Obama's, is built on health care reform, higher taxes for the wealthy and lower taxes for others, and new government programs. She is focused on what she sees as the growing economic insecurity of the middle-class. Here are seven questions for her:
- You criticize "the Bush Administration's lack of fiscal discipline," and promise to extend "paygo" budget rules. Yet, you vow to "extend middle-class tax relief, the child credit, and marriage penalty tax relief, and reform the AMT." You also propose major new spending initiatives for health care, energy conservation, education, and more. How would you pay for all of this?
- You would discourage use of fossil fuels with a combination of government mandates (cars would have to get 55 mpg by 2030) and $70 billion in new subsides for energy research, alternative energy producers, and automakers. Why not just let fuel prices rise or even tax energy consumption? Won't higher prices accomplish your goals without massive new government rules?
- Your ambitious health plan would mandate coverage for all. How would you penalize people who do not buy insurance?
- Your health plan would require insurance companies to sell to any buyer and renew coverage regardless of health status. Yet, you also promise to limit premium payments to a percentage of income. What will you do if premiums turn out to be more expensive than you expect (which is what happened with Massachusetts' health reform)?
- When House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), an early supporter of yours, proposed a tax-reform plan last year, all you could say was that he was a great American. Kind of you to say so, but do you support his plan? If not, what would you change?
- What would you do about Social Security? Other than saying you oppose both Bush's private accounts and Obama's plan to raise the cap on earnings subject to the payroll tax, you've been nearly silent about how you would close the gap between what the government has promised Baby Boomers and its ability to meet those promises.
- Back in May, in New Hampshire, you said, "if managed properly, globalization may offer the promise of new markets, new growth and new opportunities." Today, you are sounding like John Edwards and calling for a rewrite of trade agreements like NAFTA. What happened?
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