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Hillary Adviser: ‘Long Ways to Go’ on Econ Policy Details, Can’t Say What Min Wage She Supports

Gene Sperling, former Director of the National Economic Council and current adviser to Hillary Clinton said that while Hillary believes in a “higher” national minimum wage as he does, he can’t say what level she would raise it to while admitting “we’ve got a long ways to go” in terms of getting the details of her economic policies on Monday’s “MSNBC Live.”

Sperling was asked, “a lot of people would say that she’s been running for president since 2008, so, let’s say for instance, what would level would the national minimum wage be?” He answered, “Well, you know, Thomas, I’m not going t get ahead of the person that I advise. And I don’t think it’s right to say in July of 2015 that you — it would not be a very smart candidate, it would not be a smart campaign, if they, in July, in one speech, put out all the details. Of course, she’s going to put out very detailed speeches on things like higher education, on things like profit sharing, on things like how to reform our tax code to encourage long-term investments. So, wait and see. But of course, you’re not going to put out the details of every proposal right at the start.”

Later, when asked on what he would advise Hillary regarding the national minimum wage, Sperling answered, “I think it needs to be higher. I live out in Santa Monica, and I think there’s communities where locally, we should fight to be at $15 an hour. When you do a national minimum income for the country, you’ve got to look at what makes sense. I think it absolutely should be higher. I think she supports that. She’s going to fight for that. She’s going to support local communities who can take it up as high as $15. But, I’m not going to get ahead of her  in telling you what her exact proposals are. But, I think if you look today, this was important. This was about the defining difference in this election, and I think if a person went out with a lot of specifics, you’d rightly ask, ‘Yeah, but what’s your overall campaign about? What defines you? What animates you?’ And I think it’s important that she come and have a goal that distinguishes her from those like Jeb Bush, who talk about just having a growth measure, and not talking about whether — what the test is for middle income families. I think it’s important for her to say her test is what this does to middle class incomes.”

Earlier he said of Hillary’s economic policies, “In terms of the details, we’ve got a long ways to go, and what she was doing in this speech was putting out the fundamental frame that will define the overall distinction between her and the Republican approach you hear. And it is one where they are talking about whether workers are working hard enough, they’re putting out unrealistic growth targets and not even asking or defining how it will the middle class. Where she’s saying the defining goal and test of everything she does from soup to nuts, from start to finish, is, is it growth to raise middle class incomes and benefit the middle class? … And she’s putting very specific policies, even today, she is suggesting areas, she’s going to be announcing more details on — like changing our tax code to incent more profit sharing so companies are sharing their profits with workers, giving them those incentives, giving them a chance to get higher wages and higher incomes, if things go well.”

He added, “It is July of 2015, and she is putting — she’s already put out some specifics. You’re going to see more details and specifics.” And “you want to make sure that when you do put out those details you have a national discussion on that issue. Each issue is so important. And I think that it’s important to put out what your defining frame is. So, I don’t think it’s fair, Thomas, to say that it would be smart to put out every detail now. The question is, wait and see, watch what you see. You will see that this is one of the most detailed and substantive and specific campaigns and that she will be putting together very specific proposals and substantive proposals about how we grow the economy, how we make it fairer, how the we make sure the investments are long term and steady and actually rebound to the investments of middle income families.”

Sperling concluded, “One policy that she said she’s going to talk about later this week, is to change our tax code to encourage more profit sharing. That’s a very specific proposal. She mentioned very specifically that she’s going to give details out on how to reform capital gains taxes, so that it encourages long-term investments instead of allowing the most well-off people to pay very low rates for investments that may be just 12 or 13 months. And more importantly, why we want to change our corporate system and our tax code to move away from quarterly capitalism, and move more towards long-term investment, and investment that adds value to our economy and to our workers.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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