Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hillary News & Views 1.5: Autism Works Initiative and a "Shrewd" Wall Street Reform Plan

Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with Clinton’s plans to address autism through what she is calling the Autism Works Initiative.

Alabama Live reports:
Alabama is only one of seven states that don't require private health plans to cover services to treat autism, but Hillary Clinton is unveiling a plan later Tuesday that would force the state and the six others to make autism coverage mandatory if she's elected president, a Clinton campaign official told AL.com.
"As president, I would work with leaders in Alabama to remedy this situation as quickly as possible," the former secretary of state said in a prepared statement. "This is a sensible, cost-effective way to show that Alabama stands with families across the state that are coping everyday with autism."
In Iowa, Clinton is expected to talk about the high costs incurred by families to treat a child with autism, the campaign official said.  Her plan includes a nationwide early screening outreach campaign so children from underserved backgrounds can be properly diagnosed. African-American and Latino children and girls of all backgrounds are the groups most likely to receive late diagnoses.
Clinton is also expected to unveil the Autism Works Initiative, which would create public-private partnerships that helps transition children out of school-based programs after they graduate, as well as supporting legislation that would ban restraints and bullying against autistic children in schools.
The former secretary of state will also call on the government to enforce a federal law from 2008 that treats mental illnesses and physical illnesses the same for insurance purposes.

Bloomberg View analyzes Clinton’s “shrewd” plan to stop Wall Street inversions:
Political campaigns are not generally known as ideal laboratories for devising sensible, innovative policies. Yet Hillary Clinton’s proposals to combat corporate inversions -- in which U.S. companies move their tax homes abroad -- are just that. They would largely eliminate the tax incentives to invert.
A U.S. company currently has many such incentives. It can lower its taxes by creating a home base in a low-tax country, even if it leaves its headquarters and other operations in the U.S., and even if the U.S. operations represent as much as 79.9 percent of the new combined company (though the rules are stricter if the share is 60 percent to 80 percent). In many cases, the re-domiciled company can avoid tax on profits that it accumulated tax-free abroad while it was still a U.S. company. And it can further reduce its U.S. taxes through “earnings stripping,” in which the U.S. company loads up on debt owed to the parent; the payments on such debts are deductible in the U.S., even as the corresponding income is received in the low-tax country.
Clinton would do three things. She would drop the 80 percent threshold to 50 percent. That means that U.S. companies wanting to invert would have to find a foreign partner that's at least as large as the U.S. company. She would also impose an “exit tax” on profits that the U.S. company had accumulated tax-free abroad -- so that it would be taxed just as money that accumulates tax-free within retirement-savings accounts is taxed upon withdrawal. And she would make it harder to strip earnings, even if that means acting without Congress via executive authority.
Taken together, those three targeted steps would effectively eliminate the tax incentives for inverting. And they could be done without major legislation. Indeed, they would combat inversions more effectively than many if not most comprehensive reforms would. So we have a choice: We could spend the next several years debating big reforms while inversions continue -- or we could adopt Clinton’s proposals now. 
Clinton and her campaign know they have the better Wall Street plan and aren’t afraid to say it.

CNN reports:
At a town hall in Keene, New Hampshire, on Sunday, a voter told Clinton he was supporting Sanders because of the senator's stance on lifting up the middle class and combating Wall Street. Clinton responded to the man by saying she has "just as much passion and just as much frustration" with Wall Street and that her "proposal is a better way of dealing" with the industry.
"I have the greatest respect for Sen. Sanders and he makes a passionate case against the big banks and his solution is recitation of Glass-Steagall, which would, in his view, lead to the breaking up of the big banks," Clinton said. "That leaves out a huge part of the financial system. I don't want them to get away with that."
She added, "You will not find a president that will be tougher on making sure that doesn't happen and doesn't bail them out and no bank is too big to fail and no banker is too important not to jail."
The Hill reports:
Gary Gensler, chief financial officer for the Clinton campaign and former top regulator at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, panned Sanders' "hands-off" stance on regulating risky hedge funds and investment banks.
"Senator Sanders should go beyond his existing plans for reforming Wall Street and endorse Hillary Clinton’s tough, comprehensive proposals to rein in risky behavior within the shadow banking sector.
Clinton's plan calls for greater transparency from financial institutions to measure risks, higher collateral and margin requirements for short-term borrowing and make sure new financial regulations adequately protect taxpayers.
Yahoo! News reports:
Clinton’s chief financial officer, Gary Gensler, a former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said in a statement that Sanders should “go beyond his existing plans” to break up too-big-to-fail banks and endorse a risk-based approach that also deals with non-bank financial institutions.
“Any plan to further reform our financial system must include strong provisions to tackle risks in the ‘shadow banking’ sector, which remains a critical source of instability in our economy,” Gensler said.
“This includes certain activities of hedge funds, investment banks like the now-defunct Lehman Brothers, and insurance companies like AIG,” Gensler added, calling them some of the “biggest culprits” of the 2008 financial crisis.
The Sanders campaign has rejected endorsing Clinton’s plan, but has chosen to do so by attacking Gensler’s resume instead of actually addressing the merits of Gensler’s argument.

WMUR reports:
Michael Briggs, a Sanders' spokesman, took aim at Gensler in his response.
"Sen. Sanders won't be taking advice on how to regulate Wall Street from a former Goldman Sachs partner and a former Treasury Department official who helped Wall Street rig the system," he said on Monday.
Briggs characterization of Gensler is not totally accurate, though. While Gensler did work at Goldman Sachs, a large investment bank, before working for the Obama administration, he was known in the White House for penning some of the toughest regulations into the Dodd-Frank reform bill, including tightening oversight of the trillion dollar derivatives markets.
What's more, Gensler was seen as one of Obama's fiercest Wall Street critics when he was hired by the campaign in early 2015.
As Dean Barker notes on Twitter:
Bloomberg Politics notes that while Clinton is continually attacked for her Wall Street connections, her plans have the specific details still lacking from her opponent:
Clinton faces the persistent notion that because she has many Wall Street donors and high-level advisers with ties to the financial services industry, she won’t be as tough on Wall Street as many Democratic voters would hope. But her campaign has pushed back by stressing that she has offered nuanced proposals that reach beyond simply regulating the big banks. She's been endorsed by former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank and Gensler has widespread credibility with the left after aggressively pushing for tougher regulations during his time in the Obama administration.
While avoiding direct attacks on Clinton, Sanders has stressed that he would be much more aggressive in his approach to the financial sector, thus far without the same level of detail in his proposals that Clinton has offered.
The Washington Post reports on Clinton’s New Year’s Resolution:
Hillary Clinton was Zen-like about nemesis Donald Trump on Monday, shrugging off a question about one of the Republican presidential front-runner's attacks on her by implying that some of what he says is divorced from reality.
"I've adopted a New Year's resolution," Clinton said at a question-and-answer session with voters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
"I'm going to let him live in his alternate reality," she said. "I'm not going to respond."
Clinton had been asked to respond to what the questioner said was Trump's charge that Clinton and President Obama had "created" the Islamic State militant group through their actions in the Middle East.
The Telegraph reports on Clinton’s continuing pushback against anti-Muslim rhetoric:
"You know one of the reasons that I've reacted so negatively to what I hear coming from the other side is not only what they are saying about Muslims is wrong and shameful, it's dangerous.
"Basically they're saying, we don't want your help stopping these terrorists, we want to treat you like you don't belong here.
"We want to make you feel uneasy about picking up the phone and calling the FBI or calling the local police.
"That's foolish, it's shortsighted and we need to have the kind of cooperation that will enable us to prevent attacks and that's why we all need to be united not divided to deal with the terrorist threat".
The New York Times reports on Clinton’s campaign stops in Iowa yesterday:
Mrs. Clinton focused her remarks on her plans to preserve, but improve on, President Obama’s sweeping health care plan.
“I want to bring costs down and make improvements to it,” Mrs. Clinton told a crowd in Davenport, Iowa.
She also reiterated her support for Mr. Obama’s proposed executive action on gun control and reminded the audience that a Republican president could easily undo the moves Mr. Obama is proposing. “They can be undone the first day,” she said.
“I am disturbed by the rhetoric I hear coming from the other side,” Mrs. Clinton said.
“It’s easy to tear down, it’s hard to build up. It’s easy to insult, it’s easy to criticize,” she continued. “But I don’t think you get much done if that’s the kind of rhetoric you use.”
With the Iowa caucus approaching, Mrs. Clinton, who also held an organizing event in Cedar Rapids and planned a “Get Out the Caucus” event in Des Moines on Monday evening, has shifted from generically extolling the virtues of the caucus system to delivering with each selfie she snaps an impassioned plea for her supporters to show up on Feb. 1.
“I need you,” she said over and over on the rope line in Davenport.
The Des Moines Register has more:
“We know what will happen if the Republicans take back the White House, don’t we? You don’t have to guess about it. You don’t have to imagine. Actually, don’t — it might give you nightmares,” she cracked to about 400 voters gathered at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. “… I am absolutely determined that we’re going to make sure we have a Democrat to succeed President Obama so that we don’t let the Republicans rip away the progress that we have made together,” she declared to cheers.
“They’re willing to turn their backs on 19 million Americans, turn our health-care system back to the insurance companies. If you have a pre-existing condition, it will be hard for you to afford health care. If you’re a woman, you will be charged more, because that’s what used to happen. And prescription drugs — hey, watch out. They’ll go as far and fast and high as the drug companies can take them.”
Several voters said afterward that they were pleased with Clinton’s talk. Steve DeHaven, 62, of Davenport, said her points and delivery cemented his decision to caucus for her Feb. 1. DeHaven said he noticed that she barely mentioned her Democratic opponents. “I think she’d have to if somebody was really challenging her,” said DeHaven, who repairs water softeners for a living.
DeHaven said he knows Sanders is drawing bigger crowds than Clinton is, but he said she appears to have a much better organization. He said he has had significantly more contacts from Clinton staff members and volunteers than he has had from other candidates’ campaigns. He believes the organization will carry her to victory.
The New Hampshire Union Leader has an endorsement from former NH Democratic Party chair Kathy Sullivan:
Hillary Clinton’s intelligence and empathy are two of the reasons I support her. I also support her because in a world with serious problems. I trust her to lead the United States more than any other candidate in either party. When she walks into the White House, she will be prepared. She dealt with crises as Secretary of State. She has experience bringing coalitions together. Also, she is committed to building an economy that will work for working and middle class people. It may be exciting to talk about revolution, but what we really need are concrete, practical policies and solutions that will create jobs and increase wages while protecting the economy from risky speculation and the bad judgment of financial pirates.

Here is my final reason for supporting Hillary Clinton: She has proven that she is tough enough to be President like no other Republican or Democratic candidate. She has been attacked, vilified, lied about and obsessed over by the media and extremists. Yet Hillary Clinton still stands, and she still is out there every day trying to make this a better country. That is the person I want leading our country.


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