Dems Offer Populist Take on Economy on Presidential Campaign Trail

Ann All

I blogged last month about the Democratic presidential candidates' increasing focus on the economy, and particularly global trade issues. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continue to tout populist themes that should strike chords on the campaign trail in places like Pennsylvania, which has suffered deeply from the decade-long migration of manufacturing jobs to low-cost countries.


In fact, their messages on the economy sound awfully similar. This similarity, combined with the candidates' new tendency to aim negative remarks at Republican candidate John McCain rather than each other, have led some to speculate that the two could still end up on a combined ticket in November.


At what she referred to as "a 21st-century jobs summit" in Pennsylvania, Clintoncalled for $7 billion a year in new tax benefits and investments for companies that create jobs in the U.S., reports Reuters. She proposed an additional $500 million in investments devoted to creation of jobs in clean-energy technologies. Clinton's money quote:

I believe our government should get out of the business of rewarding companies for shipping jobs overseas, and get back into the business of rewarding companies that create good, high-wage jobs -- with good benefits -- right here in America.

Unfortunately, press coverage of Obama's swing through the state has focused less on the issues and mostly on his dismissals of Clinton's comparisons of herself to movie pugilist "Rocky." Obama also made pro-labor union statements and indicated his desire to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was introduced during Bill Clinton's term in office.


Interestingly, according to, the issue of vocational training came up during Clinton's jobs summit. Responding to remarks from a vocational education teacher about the shortage of students interested in skilled trades, Clinton said:

What we do is to devalue everything except going to college, and, frankly, that's not a smart approach for America.

I blogged about this same issue earlier this week, prompted by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson's recent remarks about his company's inability to find qualified high school graduates to fill contact center positions it hoped to move from India to the U.S.

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