By James W. Kahn
Job-killing Trade Deals: During her presidential bid in 2008, Barack Obama called Clinton out during a debate for her opportunist flip-flop on NAFTA. “The fact is, she was saying great things about NAFTA until she started running for president,” he said. As Secretary of State, Hillary then went on to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has been called “NAFTA on steroids.” She has spoken over 45 times in support of TPP over a five-year period before recently changing her stance during the election after Bernie Sanders helped make TPP an electoral liability for Clinton.
Walmart Board Member: During her six years on Walmart’s Board of Directors, Clinton did nothing to fight poverty wages or union-busting. While Hillary would like to pretend her Walmart days are behind her, her current campaign treasurer, Jose Villarreal, is a Walmart insider who was on their Executive Advisory Council until 2013. Walmart heiress Alice Walton, a longtime Clinton supporter, recently donated another $353,400 to Clinton’s PACs. No wonder she refuses to back a $15/hour federal minimum wage.
Wall Street’s Candidate: In the 1990s Bill Clinton’s administration led the charge to deregulate Wall Street, repealing Glass-Steagall and other laws limiting banks’ size and financial risks they could take, all with Hillary’s support. This helped pave the way for the disastrous 2008 financial meltdown. Wall Street backed Hillary to the hilt when she was New York’s Senator, and has funded her subsequent career with extravagant speaking fees, donations to the Clinton Foundation, and funding for her Super PACs.
Destroying Welfare: Hillary publicly pushed the repeal of welfare under Bill Clinton’s presidency. She called welfare recipients “deadbeats,” painting them as lazy and undeserving to justify gutting the program. The reality is that 70% of the recipients of this program were poor children, who were left with limited or no benefits. Clinton’s “reform” erected humiliating, bureaucratic obstacles for low-income families. Today just 26% of those eligible for benefits receive them, compared to 68% previously. This one act, arguably, did more harm by throwing millions of families and children into poverty than any other policy in recent history.
Criminalizing Black Youth: Hillary helped Bill Clinton pass the “tough on crime” laws that led to mass incarceration and the militarization of the police. “We need more police,” she said in 1994. “We need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders… We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets” (Salon.com, 4/13/2015). Black Lives Matter activists have repeatedly challenged Clinton on her advocacy of the 1994 crime bill, especially her assertion that gang members are “often the kinds of kids that are called superpredators — no conscience, no empathy… we have to bring them to heel.”
Mass Incarceration: Bill Clinton’s tough on crime policies contributed to creating the highest prison incarceration rate in the world. There are almost six million ex-felons who are deprived of their voting rights and face discrimination when seeking jobs and housing. By the 2015 census a stunning 40% of working-age black men are either in prison or are ex-felons, relegating an entire generation to structural unemployment, poverty, and continuing the legacy of state-sponsored discrimination, violence, and collective trauma perpetrated on black people in the U.S.
LGBTQ rights: Clinton claims to be a supporter of LGBTQ rights, but as late as 2013 she maintained that marriage must remain between a man and a woman (The Atlantic, 6/13/2014). Only once popular opinion shifted decisively in favor of same-sex marriage did Clinton shift her stance on the issue.
Immigrant rights: Hillary now says that she supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but in 2006 she voted for a Republican-backed bill to build a 700-mile wall on the
War hawk: As a Senator, Hillary not only voted for Bush’s Iraq War, but distinguished herself as a fierce advocate for it, promoting Bush’s blatant lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s links to terrorists. She voted for the Patriot Act both times, laying the basis for the growing surveillance state. As Secretary of State, Clinton consistently supported U.S. “allies,” no matter how oppressive. During the Arab Spring, Hillary supported the brutal dictatorships of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Bahrain against the pro-democracy uprisings in those countries.