Corporate tax reform with a catch: Hillary advisor

Overhauling the corporate tax code to give U.S. multinational companies a boost on the world stage could be done in combination with a "new, significant investment in infrastructure," Gene Sperling, an advisor to the Hillary Clinton campaign, said Tuesday.

"In some ways, we have the worst of all worlds. We have some companies that are not as competitive and we have other companies that are manipulating the tax code to pay virtually nothing," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Sperling formerly served as principal economic advisor to Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

"I think we need something where everybody pays their share," he said, "something that makes clear to people while we're bringing down ... the corporate tax rate … we're cutting out loopholes and cutting out tax evasion."

Both Democrats and Republicans often cite corporate tax reform as a top priority, but disagree on the execution. Republicans want at least a revenue-neutral approach, while Democrats generally seek new revenue in exchange.

Sperling, who served as director of the National Economic Council during the Obama and Clinton administrations, said Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with "tangible" solutions to spur economic growth.

"There are a lot of people diagnosing problems out there, but in the end, people want a solution," Sperling said, taking a veiled swipe at rival Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont.

While praising Obama for steering the nation away from a depression, Sperling said: "There's also the frustration that goes for at least 15 years that typical median wages are still down from 2000. They're down for households."

"A lot of young people entering the labor market in the last five, six years are being affected by the scars of the great financial crisis," Sperling said, acknowledging Sanders has been able to rally the disaffected with his "democratic socialist" message.

Sperling said Clinton, former Obama secretary of state, would be in a better position to boost the economy and narrow the wealth gap, because she "won't be dealing with the worst crisis since the Great Depression" on day one in the White House.

The Clinton-Sanders battle continues at the polls Tuesday, as New York holds its presidential primary. Both boast ties to the Empire State: Clinton was as a U.S. senator from New York, while Sanders grew up in Brooklyn.

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