Clinton: Tax, Health-Care Plans Won't Hurt Economy

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton rebuffed Republican criticism of her proposals to tax the rich and guarantee health coverage for everyone, saying neither program would hurt the economy.

"No one wants to overburden our economy with regulation and taxation," the Democratic front-runner for president said in a live interview on CNBC. "On the other hand, we've always had a good sense of how to make it work for everybody."

Clinton also pledged fiscal responsibility when addressing issues like Social Security and criticized President Bush for creating huge deficits and not funding the war in Iraq.

“I am stressing fiscal responsibility, because we could have been so much further down the road of ensuring solvency (for Social Security) for the 21st century,” Clinton said. “My principal objective is to get back to fiscal responsibility and I want America to know that we will do that.”

Clinton Speaks

Clinton also said her health-care plan, while mandating coverage for everyone, could ease the burden on businesses and allow insurance companies to remain profitable but wouldn't create a new federal bureaucracy.

Under her plan, she said, insurance companies would be required to work with the government, corporations and individuals and would imitate the health plan given to federal employees and members of Congress.

To the insurance companies, she said, “We’re going to ask you to guarantee coverage to everyone, including pre-existing conditions, and we’re going to ask you to compete on cost and quality.”