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Will President Clinton II stand up for working families?

By Tom Croft

August 13, 2015 — Now that former President Bill Clinton has apologized for some of his actions that hurt working people and the poor,* we're hoping that Hillary Clinton, if elected President, will protect workers as shareholders and stakeholders of the economy. 

Your loyal Heartland Thursday Espresso offers three interesting articles on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her early proposals to shape investment, economic and tax planks for her 2016 presidential bid.  

First up, Capitalism for the Rest of Us, by Joseph R. Blasi, Richard B. Freeman and Douglas L. Kruse 

In this op-ed by long-standing advocates for employee ownership and a fair economy, the authors recount Clinton's recent economic policy address where she proposes broader profit sharing for working families. 

The new Clintonomics shifts left

In this article by Harold Meyerson, the candidate is thought to be supporting new public policies that begin to move toward German-style works councils and other worker stakeholder measures. 

Hillary Clinton Aim is to Thwart Quick Buck on Wall Street

...In which Mrs. Clinton is said to jump on board the "long-term" shareholder bandwagon, joining BlackRock chief Laurence Fink (http://www.heartlandnetwork.org/blog/165-blackrock-s-fink-mckinsey-lead-group-fighting-wall-street-myopia) and others who have bemoaned the "quarterly capitalism" short-term trap. 

Enjoy, and have a great rest of Summer. 

* http://www.salon.com/2010/04/24/bill_clinton_s_contrition/ and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bill-clinton-is-sorry_55a83397e4b0896514d0e220

 

Capitalism for the Rest of Us

Retrieved from www.nytimes.com

By Joseph R. Blasi, Richard B. Freeman and Douglas L. Kruse

July 17, 2015  In her most detailed economic policy address so far, Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that she wanted “to give workers the chance to share in the profits they help produce” through a two-year tax credit that would encourage profit-sharing. As social scientists who have studied the issue for years, we were glad to see it get attention. 

The stagnation of earnings for most Americans, despite rising productivity, and the shrinkage of the middle class, because of soaring inequality, are without precedent in our economic history. 

Capital’s share of national income has risen, while labor’s share has fallen — even though it includes lavish compensation of executives who are paid disproportionately through stock grants, options and bonuses. To restore prosperity for all, we need to spread the benefits of economic growth to entrepreneurial citizens through profit-sharing and the ownership of capital. This isn’t some radical notion; it has a long tradition in America. 

Many of the founders believed that the best economic plan for the republic was for citizens to own land, which was then the main form of productive capital. 

Washington signed into law tax credits to help revive the cod fishery destroyed by the British during the revolution, requiring that everyone had a share in the profits, from the cabin boy to the captain. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 offered land cheaply to settlers. Jefferson concluded the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to help further the notion of “an empire of liberty” through broad land ownership. Lincoln’s landmark Homestead Act of 1862 gave federal land grants to settlers. (As a result of the Civil War, it was passed without representatives of the South, where land was concentrated in the hands of slaveholders.) 

As America industrialized in the late 19th century, the economy became dominated by big corporations. And yet some family-run businesses, and entrepreneurs who were concerned about the place of workers in an economy dominated by gigantic enterprises, sought to extend the benefits of capitalism to employees. Companies like Pillsbury, Kodak and Procter & Gamble introduced widespread profit-sharing and employee stock ownership. 

The economic boom after World War II solidified the view that regular increases in fixed wages and benefits could carry the burden of “sharing the wealth.” Sadly, since the 1970s, wages have stagnated, and the idea of profit-sharing has been largely forgotten in public debates. 

It’s time to revive it...

Read more...

The new Clintomonics shifts left

Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com

By Harold Meyerson

July 15, 2015  In case anyone entertained doubts, Hillary Clinton’s Monday speech on the economy offered proof positive that the center of the Democratic Party has moved left. Her address contained all the elements of the party’s analysis of 21st-century American capitalism: Economic rewards go only to the rich (“successful CEOs and money managers,” as she put it); corporations reward shareholders and top executives at the expense of investment and employees; the decimation of unions has left workers powerless to demand their share of the revenue they produce; the conjoined sluggishness of investment, worker income and consumption has made the recovery anemic. 

So, too, her proposed remedies — most to be fleshed out in subsequent speeches — make clear her party’s turn away from its Reagan-era tilt toward markets as the fix for markets’ problems. Systemic underinvestment and underemployment require setting up a public-private infrastructure bank and reforming the capital gains tax to better reward shareholders who hold their stock for the long-term while discouraging in-and-out “activist investors” who prompt corporate boards to buy back shares to boost stock prices. Americans’ incomes must be raised by higher minimum wages, corporate tax policies that encourage more profit-sharing with employees and laws that make it easier for workers to form unions. 

The roots of the new Clintonomics can be found in papers authored this year by economists and policy scholars who helped form the old Clintonomics: the more market-enamored policies that held sway during Bill Clinton’s presidency. In January, a commission convened by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and co-chaired by Lawrence Summers, who was Clinton’s treasury secretary when the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed, surprised some Summers-ologists by calling not only for more profit-sharing but also for stronger labor laws and even the establishment of works councils where workers, union or not, can confer with management on job-related issues. 

Read more...

Hillary Clinton Aim Is to Thwart Quick Buck on Wall Street

Retrieved from www.nytimes.com

By Andrew Ross Sorkin

July 27, 2015  While Washington and the media were worked up about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails last Friday, most of the nation seemingly missed — or at least largely ignored — what may have been her most important comments yet about how she plans to transform Wall Street and corporate America. 

If Mrs. Clinton becomes president, her remarks may turn out to be more than campaign talking points — and could radically change the way investors and chief executives behave. 

For those who were too distracted by the email controversy, here’s a brief recap of what she said: 

Speaking at N.Y.U.’s Stern School of Business, Mrs. Clinton announced a radical proposal to rewrite the tax code to empower “outside investors who want to build companies” and discourage “cut-and-run shareholders.” 

To end what she described as “quarterly capitalism” — meaning investors’ obsessions with quarterly earnings reports — she proposed extending the definition of the long-term holding period for the lower capital gains rate to two years from one, saying one year “may count as ‘long-term’ for my baby granddaughter, but not for the American economy.” 

But the real shift is a plan to introduce a “six-year sliding scale” for capital gains taxes. Individuals in the top bracket would pay ordinary income tax on the sale of investments — 39.6 percent — in the first two years and “then the rate would decrease each year” over the next four years until it returns to the current capital gains rate of 20 percent. 

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