Pointing to the need to boost middle-class wages, Hillary Rodham Clinton is laying out her most concrete vision for the U.S. economy on Monday in a pitch to Democrats who are being wooed by Clinton's chief rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and a larger electorate assessing the 2016 presidential field.
The Democratic presidential front-runner is outlining the themes of her economic agenda in a speech at The New School in New York, where she will emphasize the need for policies to increase real income of everyday Americans. Clinton is also expected to use the speech to portray a large field of Republicans as beholden to tax cuts and quick fixes that will fail to jumpstart wages.
Clinton will encourage companies to offer profit-sharing with their employees, and will point to potential changes in the tax code to help workers benefit, her campaign said Monday. "That will be good for workers and good for business. Studies show profit-sharing that gives everyone a stake in a company's success can boost productivity and put money directly into employees' pockets. It's a win-win," Clinton says in remarks prepared for delivery.
Clinton's high-profile economic speech coincides with a courting of labor groups and Hispanic officials by Clinton, Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. Clinton received the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers union on Saturday and both Clinton and Sanders were holding private meetings with labor leaders later in the week.
Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist who has risen in recent Democratic polls, said in an interview with CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he planned to address poverty in the coming weeks and reach out to voters in conservative states in the South.
The three Democratic contenders were addressing the National Council of La Raza conference in Kansas City later Monday, appealing to members of the nation's largest Latino advocacy organization.
In her New York address, Clinton will point to the economic progress during her husband's two terms in the 1990s and more recently under President Barack Obama. But she will note that globalization and technological changes require the next president to take steps to help middle-class Americans participate in economic prosperity.
"She's clearly saying, `Look, things have changed.' We've gone through financial crises, globalization and technological changes creating inequality," said Jacob Hacker, a Yale University political scientist who has advised Clinton's campaign. "We need a robust approach."
In framing an economic vision, Clinton will also attempt to meet the demands of liberals within her own party who are wary of her willingness to regulate Wall Street. Some of those Democrats have rallied behind Sanders, who has made economic inequality the central focus of his campaign.
Republicans said Clinton was simply offering a prescription for a bigger government role in the economy. "Every policy she is pursuing will make income inequality worse, not better, crony capitalism even worse, not better," said Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina in an interview with ABC's "This Week."  "And meanwhile, we will continue to crush the businesses that create jobs and middle class families."
Clinton was expected to assail Republicans for supporting "trickle-down" economic policies that she contends have led to the wealthiest Americans benefiting the most from the economy.
In recent speeches, Clinton has sought to undermine the entire Republican field, including Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, as supporters of "top-down" economic policies and large tax breaks for the wealthy. Bush has said he would set a goal of 4 percent economic growth, including 19 million jobs, if elected president. But Clinton will say that economic progress should be measured by middle-class incomes rising, not specific rates of growth.
"They're back to the trickle down, cut taxes on the wealthy and everything will be fine," Clinton said last week in Iowa. "This will be the biggest economic debate, because they know the only way they can win the White House back is to somehow convince voters that what we have done didn't work."
Aides said she would outline plans for more public investment in infrastructure projects like the construction of roads and bridges, advancing renewable energy and tax cuts for small business owners. Clinton is also expected to support an increase in the federal minimum wage, an overhaul to the tax code and note upcoming policy proposals related to child care, paid leave and paid sick days.
Clinton's economic framework will be followed by a series of speeches this summer to outline a number of economic proposals, including wage growth, college affordability, corporate accountability and paid leave.

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