Below is the unofficial transcript of an interview with Senator Hillary Clinton on CNBC's "Street Signs" today.
Senator Clinton discussed a broad range of topics including her economic plan and her reaction to the GOP debate with CNBC's John Harwood and Erin Burnett.
Erin: it's a great point and one we hope our next guest will address and Mr. Donahue, I believe, will be able to listen to what senator Clinton has to say and john Harwood is with the senator this afternoon, john?
Harwood: thanks, Erin, I’m with senator Hillary Clinton in Plymouth, New Hampshire, thank you for joining us, Senator.
Clinton: Thank you, John.
Harwood: We're going to kick it off by asking, as you know republicans have been criticizing your campaign broadly saying you'd raise taxes and raising spending for programs you've outlined and increase regulation with healthcare with your mandate. At our debate of republicans Rudy Giuliani said by interfering in the free market this way that you would place a lid on the success of the nation as a whole. Can you respond to that?
Clinton: well, obviously, I disagree profoundly. What I have proposed would be fiscally responsible. I have put forth the way that I would pay for everything, that I believe we need to do in our country. I am concerned that our great economic engine, this incredible middle class that has been the heart and soul of America and the American dream, is under stress and even under attack. You know, the average family has lost a thousand dollars in income in the last six years, but the costs of what make up a middle class life style, education, energy, housing, healthcare, all of that has gone up. So a lot of American families feel like they're actually standing on a trap door, they're one pink slip, one mortgage payment, one diagnosis of falling through. I see a history of our government being a good partner with business, with families, to make sure that we make investments in people and that's what i proposed so that we can get back to having a strong and prosperous middle class.
Harwood: Could your tax increases stall that economic engine that you referred to?
Clinton: I don't believe that's the case. We hear a lot from the other side about taxes, but as I recall in the 1990's when my husband did raise taxes on the upper income Americans who are the most well off, we got 22 million new jobs. President bush has tried to slash taxes as much as he could over the last six and a half years, we haven't seen jobs increases the way that we should have. If cutting taxes is supposed to be a job generator. I think you have to be balanced about this. No one wants to overburden our economy with regulation and taxation. On the other hand though, we've always had a pretty good sense of how to make it work for everybody. How do we move towards shared prosperity, how do we have an increasing pie that more people get their slice of? That is not happening today. So, I think we have a stark choice. We can continue with the supply side trickle down economics which have been really elevated by the current administration and those running for president on the republican side or we can get back to what previous presidents did that was more in balance and that's what I intend to do.
Erin: Senator Clinton, I wanted to ask you a few questions if I might about healthcare. I'm at the CEO summit. As you know some of the the biggest companies in the nation, the CEO's are all here, usually they talk about three or four issues, today they're talking about just one, seven straight hours talking about healthcare. It's an amazing thing, they think it's the biggest issue facing their companies, about half of them or slightly more, say that they are willing to consider getting rid of employer-based healthcare. Is that something you would consider?
Clinton: Well, Erin, my health-- American health choices plan builds on what works in our country's healthcare system, and tries to fix what doesn't. I start from the fact that we do have an employer-based system, but I give employers and individuals much more choice than we have in the current market. By opening up the congressional health plan, the federal employees health benefit plan, so that businesses could go in and shop there, to get a better deal because they now would have a much greater bargaining power than they do on their own. Companies, particularly small businesses, that don't now provide healthcare, might decide they could afford it under those circumstances, and I would help them with a healthcare tax credit. And individuals would also be able to have a healthcare tax credit. Because my goal is to move towards shared responsibility and choice, because in our system many businesses, no matter how large they are, cannot effectively bargain at the level that they need to try to get costs under control and they have tried really hard, so, under my plan, if they want to stay in what they're doing, if they're satisfied with it totally approved, that's fine. If they want to try something different, but still stay in the business of providing healthcare to their employers, employees, then that will be open to them. But if they want to get out of the business, they're going to have to pay into a fund. If they're large enough and if they're small enough, they will get a healthcare tax credit to help them if they decide to offer healthcare, this is not government run insurance, I’m not creating a single new bureaucracy, but I think we can get the costs down and that's what business leaders tell me they're desperately looking for.