Democratic presidential contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton proposed using massive means of government intervention and spending billions of taxpayer dollars to revive the economy in dueling economic speeches on Thursday.
Before voters in Greensboro, North Carolina, Obama focused on tightening regulations on the housing industry and giving $30 billion worth of assistance to help homeowners make mortgage payments.
Obama called for a six-pronged “21st-century regulatory framework” to address the housing crisis, which includes the creation of a “financial market oversight commission” and stronger controls on lending.
“Financial institutions need to do a better job at managing risk,” Obama said.
“Our free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it….each American does better when all Americans do better, that the well being of American business, its capital markets, and the American people are aligned.”
Obama blamed corporate America for the nation’s economic woes. “We’ve lost that sense of shared prosperity,” Obama said. “This loss has not happened by accident. It’s because of decisions made in boardrooms, on trading floors and in Washington.”
Shortly after Obama wrapped his speech Clinton proposed spending $12.5 billion over five years on “universal” job training at a stop in Raleigh, North Carolina. Earlier this week, Clinton delivered a speech in which she supported giving $30 billion in tax dollars to homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments, like Obama.
Clinton said her job training program would be “universally available” and would preemptively target manufacturing workers whose jobs were in peril.
“When it comes to retraining assistance, our government is more focused on how you lost your job than how you can find a new one,” Clinton said.
McCain senior policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin and RNC Victory Chair Carly Fiorina held a conference call to address the content of Obama’s speech.
Holtz-Eakin criticized Obama for not providing enough details about his six-point regulatory plan. When speaking, Obama said he would not try to “cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s” on it in a single speech.
“The devil will be in the details and as he will put forward more proposals we will look at them,” Holtz-Eakin said.