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Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign has had its struggles, but the candidate has consistently stayed on message with her proposals for America. The senator from New York discusses her plans for minority business, the economy, and social issues with BLACK ENTERPRISE.
Born: Oct. 26, 1947 in Chicago
Spouse: Former President Bill Clinton
Alma mater: Wellesley College; Yale University Law School
Profession: Junior U.S. senator from New York (since 2001)
Black Enterprise: The Senate recently abandoned the prospect of creating legislation that would eliminate carried interest for private equity and hedge fund firms. Where do you stand on this issue? And if you oppose carried interest, what would you propose to level the field?
Sen. Clinton: I do not believe that a Wall Street investment manager earning $50 million a year should pay a lower tax rate on his earnings than a teacher who earns $50,000. Earned income should be taxed as earned income, regardless of whether it is described as salary or as “carry.” I very much appreciate the valuable role private equity firms play in the development of American businesses. I believe that carried interest taxation should be reformed in a manner that comports with equity and in a manner that is sensitive to small, innovative companies. I applaud the progress that minority firms have made in the investment community. Their presence makes the field richer.
Q: News about the housing industry has been mostly bad. Do you think it is the federal government’s responsibility to help homeowners fight and avoid foreclosure? And should lenders be penalized for making enticing loans that were doomed for failure?
A: I am deeply concerned about the effect the foreclosure crisis is having on families and whole communities. I am especially concerned about subprime mortgages because they were disproportionately issued to low-income and minority families. I have announced a series of policies to reduce foreclosures, prosecute foreclosure rescue fraud, and to make sure that the abuses of recent years do not recur. Brokers and lenders who violated the law should be prosecuted. And the disclosure laws should be tightened to ensure that borrowers fully understand the obligations they are assuming. Federal regulators were asleep at the switch.
Q: How do you propose to address the deficit in public infrastructure such as the deteriorating condition of public school buildings, bridges, levees, etc.?
A: Something is very wrong when, at the dawn of the 21st century, in the richest country on Earth, people are actually nervous about driving over bridges for fear that the bridges will collapse. Or they’re worried that the levees near their homes may burst or that the highways they take to work may buckle. I believe the degradation of our infrastructure isn’t just a serious threat to our safety—it is also a grave threat to our economy.
My Rebuild America Plan includes the following initiatives to increase