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Invest in a 21st Century Safety Net for Working Families

The fundamental economic challenge of our time is to reverse widening inequality and lift up working families. While the cost of living is rising, paychecks have stayed the same. My economic plan for working families will raise wages, invest in opportunity, and support working families in this 21st economy.

As president, I will ensure our economy and our country works for working people.

Workers First Policies


People First Economic Plan for Working Families

My grandmother worked her entire life as a maid, a cook, and a babysitter. She raised my mom on her own, and helped care for my brother and me, always putting other folks ahead of herself. She sacrificed for our family, and while she could not pass on wealth or power, she did entrust us with an inheritance of hard work.

This plan is for the working families of America just like mine.

Our economy today is not working for working people, the way it did in the past. The costs of caring for your family are rising year after year, while your paycheck is staying the same. The wealthy few have set up the rules to work for themselves, while working families who labor for a living are left behind. Our economy has changed with technology and automation, but our policies have not kept pace to empower working families with a fighting chance for a better future.

Why in the richest nation on Earth should we tax work more than wealth?

Today, I’m proposing an ‘Inherited Wealth’ tax that ensures folks who receive income in the form of inheritance pay a fair share of taxes, like the rest of us. Income from capital gains and income from labor should be treated the same way: as income. That’s why I’m advocating that we raise the capital gains rate to match the marginal income tax rate for the wealthy. In my plan, I’m also supporting a ‘Wealth Inequality’ tax through mark-to-market system for the richest one-tenth of 1 percent that would tax their capital gains annually. Wealth inequality is a fundamental challenge to our economy, and we must address it. Under my plan, 99 percent of Americans would see their taxes go down or stay the same.

We can ensure that the wealthy pay their fair share and then invest that revenue into relief for working families.

My ‘Working Families First’ Credit includes a universal child credit of $3,000 per child for every family of modest means and a major expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit. As I’ve previously proposed in my “People First Education” platform, we will provide universal pre-K education, and now I propose expanding that to include universal child care; these programs will lower the cost burden on working families and increase wages for child care workers. Together, the new credit, pre-K education, and child care will help us achieve a bold new goal to reduce child poverty by two-thirds. Furthermore, the foundation of strong working families is gender pay equity, and that’s why my plan includes paid family and medical leave and an equal rights amendment.

This plan is based on the principle of putting working families first and ensuring the wealthiest folks pay their fair share. We can raise wages, reduce inequality, and invest in working families for a thriving middle class and a better future for us all.


Ensure the Wealthy Pay their Fair Share

1. Create an “Inherited Wealth” Tax

A new inheritance tax¹ will ensure wealthy heirs pay their fair share of taxes on inherited wealth, just like they would any other source of income, and also prevent the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a privileged few. Less than 1 percent of the wealthiest heirs would be affected, yet it would raise over $250 billion in revenue over 10 years, consistent with 2009 estate tax levels.

2. Treat Income from Capital and Labor the Same

Whether you earn a living as a Wall Street banker with capital gains or a public school teacher with bi-weekly checks, we should tax income the same way. It’s time to end the tax preference for capital over labor and respect the dignity of work.

3. Repeal the Trump Tax Bill

The American people were promised tax reform, but instead President Trump and the Republican Party enriched their donors, big corporations and the very wealthy. Twenty-eight percent of all the benefits went to just the top one percent. The Trump tax scam is a failed promise that we will repeal in my first 100 days.

¹ The ‘Silver Spoon’ Tax: How to Strengthen Wealth Transfer Taxation (October 31, 2016). Washington Center for Equitable Growth, Delivering Equitable Growth: Strategies for the Next Administration (Fall, 2016). Available at SSRN:


Invest in Relief for Working Families

1. Create a “Working Families First Credit”

Families are working harder than ever for less and less. Real wages are stagnant, and folks are needing to work multiple jobs just to pay the bills. Almost 10 million children, 13 percent of kids residing in the world’s wealthiest nation, live in poverty. This is not just immoral and shameful, but it’s also a policy failure. Our economy is $1 trillion smaller than it could be because of this lost potential. In 2015, Congress tasked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine with studying how we could reduce the number of children living in poverty by half within ten years, and the experts recommended a policy like this one. While Trump and the Republicans have refused to act, we will use proven policy tools to raise incomes and reduce inequality.

The program would additionally allow for monthly payment of credits, the use of Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITINs) to qualify for the credit and be paired with efforts to reduce the costs and complexity of tax filing, including through offering free and autonomic filing services by the Internal Revenue Service for individuals who qualify for the credit.

For example, under the ‘Working Families First’ Credit:

2. Implement a $15 Living Wage

​Right now, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump could increase incomes for over 35 million working families — more than 1 in 4 American workers. For over a decade, we haven’t raised the minimum wage, which has been losing purchasing power every year. It would be worth over $19 an hour if we had kept pace with productivity growth. That’s why organizers, cities, and states have taken action in places like Chicago, Arizona, and Michigan. That’s why I stood with fast food workers in Durham, North Carolina and the Quad Cities in Iowa as they demanded a raise to at least $15 an hour. We need to fight for $15 but also be ambitious for more.

3. Ensure Gender Pay Equity

The foundation of strong working families is equal pay for equal work. We achieve this by expanding workplace protections for paid family and medical leave, passing the Equality Act, and fighting for an Equal Rights Amendment. We need to break down barriers that prevent pay parity between men and women.

4. Invest in Universal Child Care and Universal Pre-K Education

Quality daycare and preK education is expensive, and it’s not a luxury in a 21st century economy. The typical family spends 10 percent of their income paying for child care, and the two million mostly women workers who care for over ten million children are underpaid. Moreover, the best return on investment of public dollars is to invest in our youngest learners. For every one dollar dedicated to high-quality early childhood education, we receive nine dollars in long-term benefits.

I believe that we can be the smartest and the most prosperous nation on earth if we invest in universal child care and pre-K education for all.

5. Build Inclusive Communities

Your zip code should never determine your destiny. The promise of America is that no matter who you are or where you live, if you work hard you can achieve your full potential. For far too many families of modest means, the American dream is not a reality. My People First housing and education plans work together further to advance equality of opportunity. No one should have to leave the community they grew up in to pursue their future.