This was the same long-ranging interview for which Bernie Sanders got so much grief, after not being able to provide details of his plans to break up the banks and admitting he hadn't studied the legal implications of a relevant case.
The contrast in Clinton's responses on the economic questions are striking. She is, as always, the biggest nerd (which naturally I intend as a compliment; I mean, "So in that tripartite prescription..." has to be some of the all-time greatest nerdery I've ever read!) and her answers are suffused with precisely the kind of detail we've come to expect from her—and which were sorely lacking in Sanders' answers.
The thing that stuck out most to me was the impressive level of sophistication in her analysis, embedded throughout the economic portion of the interview, of the changing modern economy.
It's not just that she has detailed economic plans, but also that she has a remarkable grasp on the emergent problems for working people in the current economy. And I don't mean just compared to Bernie Sanders; I mean that I've rarely seen this sort of detail from any presidential candidate, ever.
This section, where she talks about the "gig economy," and how companies conspire to keep employees under the number of hours above which they'd be obliged to provide benefits, is great:
Daily News: So how do you get raises for people? How do you do that?Emphasis mine. Immediately following came this section, in which there are lots of highlights, but I particularly liked the bit on "quarterly capitalism," which is a fundamental change in modern business, because I haven't heard that yet from her in this campaign (which doesn't mean she hasn't spoken about it elsewhere, but it was new to me):
Clinton: Well, I think several things. There is an uptick right now. In the latest reports, we're seeing a slight uptick because the labor market is getting somewhat tighter. I am withholding judgment about, you know, how strong it is because I think I see more indicators that we're heading in the right direction. I will always be alert to those that are not. But when it comes to how we get raises, we have got to take a hard look at how work is being performed today and what are the drivers of companies cutting hours back.
And a lot of people say it was the Affordable Care Act, because above 30 hours, there's going to be certain expectations. Well, it's also because a lot of companies don't want to pay benefits of any kind, so trying to keep employees below whatever the threshold is. We have to take a hard look at that. That is just making it nearly impossible for so many working families to get ahead.
And look at what's happening with scheduling. And I'm particularly sensitive to this because I hear about it from a lot of young people. They are having to take one, two, sometimes three jobs, and they're at the mercy of unpredictable scheduling. So I think the federal government, through the Department of Labor, we have to look at how we enforce the existing laws. Overtime laws are a perfect example. And then, what do we need to do to try to adjust our laws to the so-called gig economy, which is ripping away the safety net from so many working people?
Daily News: But going back to something more basic, I think your theory is: promote growth, increase growth, will increase employment, will increase the upward pressure on raises, on salaries, right?So great.
Clinton: Yes, right.
Daily News: That I think is the fundamental theory of your economic plan.
Clinton: Right, but I also want to change...I didn't get to the long-term part, but let me just finish on fairness quickly. I support the increase in minimum wage. I supported the Fight for 15. I think the way New York has done it makes a lot of sense, because, you know, applying it more quickly in New York City, having a more phased-in application upstate, keeping an eye out for unintended consequences. California's doing something similar.
So I think raising the bottom historically has meant you also bump up those above the bottom. We also have to guarantee equal pay for women. And you know, people look at me when I say this like, "Well, that's a luxury." It's a necessity. It goes into the wage base. It goes into the pocket book, and we have a continuing big problem about unequal pay for women. And the women's soccer team is just the latest example. There's a lot of issues around this because we have a lack of transparency.
So this is a big deal to me. I point out all the time, because when I'm speaking to big crowds, I say we have to guarantee equal pay for women. The women all applaud wildly, and a lot of the men are just sort of looking at me. And then I quickly say this is not just a women's issue. It's a family issue. If you have a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter who is not being paid fairly, she does not get a gender discount when she's checking out at the supermarket. You're a white woman, therefore you only have to pay 78 cents on the dollar, or you're an African-American woman, you only have to pay 68 cents, or you're a Latin[a], you only have to pay 58 cents. That doesn't happen, so it is a family issue and it's a broader issue of economic fairness and I would argue growth.
And then long-term, we've got to look at capital gains as well as corporate tax. I want to reward patient capital. I think the more we can try to nudge our business leadership into looking at what will grow their companies and grow their employment base.
And the final thing I'll say about this, because I could talk on for a long time. When I was giving one of my economic speeches and I was looking through a lot of the reporting, there was a survey that had been done with leaders of major American corporations, people in the top 100, right? And they were asked a question, to paraphrase, that went like this, "If you could make an investment today in plant and equipment, in research, in training and education for your workforce and you could be guaranteed it would pay off in five to 10 years in your bottom line, but it would knock a penny off your share price, would you do it?" To a person, they said no. And I guessed that one of the people saying no is somebody I know who heads one of these big corporations. So I called that person up. I said, "Were you part of this?" "Yes," the answer was. I said, "You really said no?" and the response was, "You have no idea. The activist shareholders, the market would destroy me. I can't make those kinds of long-term investments."
So we're looking at the incredible cost that quarterly capitalism is imposing on our economy. And if we aren't smart enough to figure out how to look at that and deal with it, shame on us.
There's a lot more in the interview; I'm sticking to the economic stuff because that was on what I primarily focused in Sanders' interview, too.
Basically, the juxtaposition of these two interviews is exactly why I am supporting Clinton. It's not that I hate Bernie Sanders. I just think that Hillary Clinton is better prepared for the job.
[Relatedly, I've got a new piece up at Blue Nation Review: Report: Hillary Was Much More Effective in the Senate than Bernie.]