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By The Neville Awards
Posted Mar. 5, 2008
Well she did it...she's back. As promised, we have posted her plan to save the world. It's just as grandios and rediculous
as Obama's and adds approximately $800 billion in new spending
So wade through all of her wonky word salad if you dare:
Hillary's Economic Stimulus Plan would:
- Establish a $30 Billion Emergency Housing Crisis Fund to assist states and cities mitigate the effects of mounting foreclosures
- Take bold action to stem tide of foreclosure, including a 90-day moratorium on subprime foreclosures and an automatic rate freeze on subprime mortgages of at least five years
- Provide $25 billion in emergency energy assistance for families facing skyrocketing heating bills
- Accelerating $5 billion in energy efficiency and alternative energy investments to jumpstart green collar job growth:
- Invest $10 billion in extending and broadening unemployment insurance for those who are struggling to find work:
Hillary's Agenda to Fight Special Interests and Restore Fairness to Our Economy
As President, she will again take on the special interests and restore the voices of working families. Hillary's plan to reign in the special interests will take back at least $55 billion per year from drug companies, oil companies, and firms that ship jobs overseas and invest those resources to improve the lives of Ohio families:
Hillary will end tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas and enact a bipartisan Corporate Subsidy Commission to eliminate corporate giveaways. This will raise at least $15 billion per year. Hillary will invest these resources in creating good high-paying jobs in the U.S., including by revitalizing the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and extending broadband to every corner of Ohio.
Hillary will create a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund by ending tax breaks and subsidies for the oil and gas industry and imposing a windfall profit tax on big oil companies. Hillary will invest these resources in clean energy technologies and creating green collar jobs. Hillary's plan to weatherize homes and retrofit buildings alone will create at least 20,000 green collar jobs each year here in Ohio.
Hillary will end giveaways to private student loan companies and create a Student Borrowers Bill of Rights to protect against predatory lending practices that are bankrupting students and mortgaging their futures. This will raise about $4 billion per year. Hillary will invest these resources in her College Affordability
Agenda, which will provide a new tax credit to 615,000 students in Ohio. In 2006, Sixty-five percent of Ohio students graduated with debt - an average of more than $20,000 each.
Hillary will force the drug companies to provide lower costs to consumers and reign in excessive payments to HMOs. She will end health insurance discrimination, so that no American is denied coverage or charged excessive insurance premiums. This will raise more than $20 billion per year. Hillary will invest these resources in providing quality affordable healthcare to every American, including the 1.1 million uninsured in Ohio.
Hillary will crack down on unscrupulous mortgage lenders to ensure that families are not lured into mortgages they can't afford. This is part of Hillary's comprehensive plan to end the housing crisis, with a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and a 5-year rate freeze on subprime mortgages, and a $30 billion fund to states and cities to help at-risk homeowners and address the impact of concentrated foreclosures. This fund will be particularly important for Cleveland, which has the 6th highest foreclosure rate of any metropolitan area and approximately 15,000 foreclosed, and now vacant, homes.
Hillary will enact a Fair Credit for Families Agenda to protect American families from abusive credit card practices like excessive fees and sudden rate hikes. She will impose a 30 percent cap on annual interest rates and work toward a lower cap that is linked to a standard benchmark. Average household credit card debt is nearly $10,000 in Ohio.
Hillary's five-point plan to increase production of biofuels to 60 billion gallons by 2030 includes:
- Extending Tax Incentives for Biofuel Production: Tax incentives for biofuels production are the foundation of support for the fledgling biofuels industry. By providing a per-gallon tax credit for corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, and biodiesel, the federal government has encouraged investment in biorefinery capacity, helping to bring about the rapid expansion in the industry. To encourage continued growth in the industry, Hillary would extend tax credits for these biofuels.
- Strengthening Ethanol Infrastructure and Flex-Fuel Vehicles: Automakers are expanding production of "flex-fuel" vehicles that can run on 85% ethanol blends (E85), but the total fleet of flex-fuel vehicles on the road today numbers only 6 million out of about 250 million cars in the US. In addition, of the 170,000 filling stations in the United States, there are fewer than 2,000 that have pumps that dispense E85 ethanol. As biorefinery capacity continues to grow, getting biofuels to market efficiently and putting them to use will depend on improving the distribution infrastructure and making sure that all of our vehicles can run on E85. To ensure that a growing supply can meet a growing demand, Hillary would: (A) require oil companies and other major gasoline retailers to have E85 pumps at half of their stations by 2012, and 100% by 2017; (B) require automakers to make all vehicles flex-fuel vehicles by 2015; (C) and invest in freight rail upgrades to bring biofuels more efficiently to market.
- Investing in Research to Accelerate Cellulosic Ethanol and Advanced Biofuels: Cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels technologies offer the promise of using many types of biomass as feedstocks. In Iowa, there are plans to make cellulosic ethanol from corn stover by adding capacity to existing corn ethanol plants, a step that could increase production by about 20%. Elsewhere in the country, grasses, wood chips and other feedstocks can be utilized to make cellulosic ethanol. Commercializing this technology and getting it rapidly deployed will require investments in research and financial support to build the first generation of plants. To accomplish these goals, Hillary will invest $2 billion in cellulosic ethanol research and provide loan guarantees to build the first two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol capacity.
- Starting the Next Generation of Energy Crops and Technologies: Moving to new energy crops will depend on farmers who take a risk on growing new crops. Hillary would create a new incentive program to reward farmers in the vicinity of planned cellulosic ethanol facilities to plant new energy such as perennial grasses and trees. This program will also provide conservation benefits and wildlife habitat. She would also establish a program to speed the development of harvesting, conversion and processing technologies needed to turn new feedstocks into biofuel.
- Ensuring Sustainable Biofuel Production: Hillary believes that we must achieve our biofuels expansion in a way that protects the environment, contributes to solving the climate change problem, and maximizes rural development. Hillary will set a greenhouse gas emissions target for advanced biofuels to ensure that they move over time towards a standard of emitting at least 80% less greenhouse gases as compared to gasoline. In addition, she would develop biofuels guidelines to take into account impacts on land and water resources, water supplies, food prices and wildlife. And she will challenge agricultural research universities across the country to solve major challenges to biofuel expansion - like doubling corn yields and reducing the amount of water used in the refinery process - through a new federal grant and research prize program. In addition to environmental sustainability, Hillary will ensure economic sustainability for rural communities. She is committed to helping rural communities capture a larger share of the economic benefits of the next wave of biorefinieries. Among other things, she will promote local ownership of biorefineries by giving priority in awarding grants and loan guarantees to plants that are locally owned.
- Expanding Biofuels and Other Renewables Will Help Create Clean Energy Jobs and Fuel Economic Growth
America's biofuels industry has grown rapidly over the past two decades, from producing only 175 million gallons in 1980 to more than 5 billion gallons today. Iowa has been at the forefront of this movement, and has reaped substantial economic benefits. At the end of 2006, the state had 26 operating ethanol facilities and 8 biodiesel plants, with many more under construction. The industry is growing rapidly; when all current construction projects are completed, Iowa will have doubled its ethanol production capacity and tripled biodiesel capacity.
- Biofuels support the creation of about 53,000 jobs in Iowa, including 30,000 jobs in ongoing operation and maintenance. [IRFA, 2007].
- Ethanol and biodiesel generate $1.8 billion in household income for Iowa households - that's $2,400 per family of four. [IRFA, 2007].
- Hillary's plan will build on these successes to catalyze a thriving renewables sector nationwide. The economic and employment impact of this effort are substantial.
- Hillary's plan to get on a path to produce 25% of our electricity needs from renewables by 2025 could help our economy create 2 million clean energy jobs over 10 years. [University of Tennessee, 25% Renewable Energy for the United States By 2025: Agricultural and Economic Impacts, November 2006]. This is a component of Hillary's energy plan, which aims overall to help create more than 5 million jobs over a decade.
- In addition, by strengthening the capacity of domestic manufacturers in biofuels and other renewable sectors, Hillary's plan will help spur additional job growth from accelerated exports. A recent study found that "a renewable energy industry servicing the export market can generate up to 16 times more employment than an industry that only manufactures for domestic consumption." [Environment California Research and Policy Center, Renewable Energy and Jobs, 2003]. The export potential and related job benefits are substantial in a global renewables market that is projected to quadruple, from $55 billion in 2006 to $226 billion in 2016. [Clean Edge, 2007].
- Combined with her efforts to promote energy efficiency, Hillary's plan will help transform our economy and create at least 5 million jobs from clean energy over ten years.
Hillary's plan to empower Americans with tools to address global warming and move us toward energy independence, includes:
- Asking Every American to Take a Pledge to Reduce Global Warming and Decrease our Dependence on Foreign Oil
- Issuing new "Energy Independence Bonds"
- Giving Individuals New Tools to Assess their Communities Fight Against Global Warming
- Helping Homeowners Improve the Energy Efficiency of Their Houses
- Calling on Colleges and K-12 Schools to Reduce Emissions on Campus and in Their Communities
- Supporting Healthy, High Performance Schools
- Create a "Climate Star" Program and National Clearinghouse to Help Consumers Evaluate the Global Warming Impacts of Products They Buy
- Using 21st Century "Smart Grid" Technology to Empower Consumers to Become More Energy Efficient
- Setting "Net Metering" Standards and Provide Tax Incentives to Helping Families and Small Business Generate Their Own Renewable Power
Powering our Future: Hillary Clinton's Plan to Provide Individuals and Communities with Tools to Address Global Warming and Energy Independence
On Monday, Hillary outlined her comprehensive agenda to address global warming and move us toward energy independence. At the core of Hillary's plan is the principle of shared responsibility. Her energy agenda spells out the roles of the federal government, state and local governments, utilities, oil companies, and businesses. Hillary understands that addressing the profound challenges of global warming and dependence on foreign oil is not just going to take a President and a set of policies, but action from all Americans.
Throughout our history, America has always risen to meet big challenges, thanks in large measure to the commitment of its citizens. In that spirit, Hillary is issuing a call to action to all Americans to take concrete steps to help meet the twin challenges of global warming and dependence on foreign oil, and she is offering specific policies to empower individuals to do their part.
Hillary's Plan to Catalyze Individual and Community Action
Hillary has a specific plan to encourage individuals, families, and communities to reduce their demand for energy and to promote a culture of accountability for confronting these pressing challenges. As President, Hillary will:
Ask Every American to Take a Pledge to Reduce Global Warming and Decrease our Dependence on Foreign Oil: If every American replaced one traditional light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb, we would save enough energy to light three millions homes for a year. A home energy audit can help families reduce their global warming pollution by 1,000 pounds. A simple task like wrapping a water heater in a blanket can also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 pounds. Planting one tree would absorb one million pounds of carbon dioxide over the course of the tree's lifetime. Hillary has proposed on her website a list of 10 action items to help people determine the easy but important steps they can take to reduce their carbon emissions. She is asking people to go to: http://www.hillaryclinton.com/feature/poweringamericasfuture/ to take the pledge and learn how they can do their part for America's future. Hillary will also invest in tools to help individuals measure their greenhouse gas emissions, so they can track their progress in reducing their emissions. And Hillary believes that individuals should hold their local leaders accountable to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the community, state, and federal level, and challenges all Americans to do so.
Issue new "Energy Independence Bonds:" After 9/11, President Bush asked everyone to go shopping. Hillary wants to harness Americans' patriotic impulses in a movement for energy independence. In order to encourage broad citizen participation in the effort to move toward energy independence, Hillary will direct the U.S. Treasury to issue new "Energy Independence Bonds," a limited series of U.S. Savings Bonds. She will ask Americans to invest the money saved from reducing their energy use in these Bonds. A large-scale, sustained advertising campaign will promote the Bonds, similar to the way war bonds were promoted during World War II. She will enlist community teams of volunteers to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint and spend energy savings on the Bonds. Hillary will set a goal of selling 50 million bonds over 10 years and will invest the proceeds in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in communities across America through the Strategic Energy Fund.
Empowering Individuals with New Tools to Assess their Communities' Fight Against Global Warming: As President, Hillary will invest in new technology that will allow local communities to measure their progress in lowering green house gas emissions. For example, researchers have now created instruments that are placed on existing towers to track greenhouse gas emissions at the local and regional level. California has trail-blazed in this area by creating a pilot project called CALGEM: the California Greenhouse Gas Emissions Project. Hillary will invest in new and upgraded measurements of greenhouse gas emissions at the community level, so that individuals can hold their community leaders - and themselves - accountable for lowering emissions annually.
Helping Homeowners Improve the Energy Efficiency of Their Houses: Hillary is proposing a new "Carbon Reduction Mortgage Association," or "Connie Mae," pioneered by Vice President Gore, which would directly assist homeowners in making their homes more energy efficient. This program would direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to facilitate the origination of energy efficiency improvement loans in order to help homeowners with the additional costs of investing in energy efficiency. Individual loans will be capped at the greater of 5% of the property's value (up to $10,000) or $5,000, and tough efficiency standards will apply. An energy audit of the home will determine the size of the improvement loan needed, and the energy bill savings that will result. Borrowers will not be required to make down payments on the loans. And the energy bill savings will ultimately offset the cost of the loan. Hillary will commit up to $1 billion per year to the program, assisting upwards of 100,000 homeowners. The program will target lower- and middle-income homebuyers.
Calling on Colleges and K-12 Schools to Reduce Emissions on Campus and in Their Communities. Student activists have sounded the alarm bell about global warming and campuses across the country are leading the way by investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, habitat restoration and awareness projects. In 2006, the College of the Atlantic in Maine became the first to vow to become a zero-emissions school. Since then 270 more have taken the same pledge. Hillary wants to harness the excitement, energy, and activism of young people by calling on them to lead the way for our larger communities. As President, she will establish a set of awards through the Department of Energy to recognize the most outstanding climate achievers among K-12 schools, colleges, and communities large and small. These national awards will be competitive and prestigious and will help inspire more institutions, towns, and cities to act.
Supporting Healthy, High Performance Schools: Our nation's schools spent over $8 billion on energy costs last school year, an increase of $2 billion in just four years. These skyrocketing energy prices are forcing officials to make very difficult decisions, such as cutting back on academic programs in order to keep the heat and lights on in schools. In 2001, Hillary created a federal program called Healthy, High Performance Schools (HHPS) to provide information and technical assistance to school districts to help them implement plans reduce energy use in schools by 30 percent and to meet federal and state health codes. The Healthy, High Performance School program will allow many schools to achieve energy-efficiency, potentially saving over $1.5 billion for schools nationwide. Healthy, High Performance Schools will also improve children's health. President Bush has failed to provide funding for this important program. As President, Hillary will fully fund Healthy, High Performance Schools.
Create a "Climate Star" Program and National Clearinghouse to Help Consumers Evaluate the Global Warming Impacts of Products They Buy: The highly successful "Energy Star" program provides valuable information to consumers about the energy performance of appliances, home electronics, office equipment, and buildings. The "Energy Star" label tells a shopper that a product is a superior performer in terms of energy efficiency. Hillary would expand this program to include both new products and new information about how a product stacks up in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Hillary will also expand on EPA's existing web-based tool that enables people to calculate their household's emissions. And she'll create an easy-to-use, national clearinghouse containing local information and resources for making homes more energy efficient.
Use 21st Century "Smart Grid" Technology to Empower Consumers to Become More Energy Efficient: Our electricity grid is antiquated, resulting in costly blackouts, the overbuilding of generation capacity, and large losses in energy during transmission. Consumers face unnecessary obstacles to reducing their energy use. We need to move aggressively toward a smart grid -- a web-enabled, digitally controlled, intelligent power delivery system that efficiently distributes electricity and protects against blackouts, brown-outs and excess energy use. With smarter two-way communications, consumers will get more control over consumption, improve energy efficiency, and save money. For example, a smart grid could enable consumers to get better rates in the summertime by allowing utilities to cycle their air conditioner off while they are at work during the day, when electricity demand is highest. It would enable people to set dishwashers to turn on when demand for power is less and the cost lower. Smart grid technology would also help with "net metering" of renewable power produced by rooftop solar. And when "plug-in" hybrids electric vehicles become available, smart grids will enable people to charge their cars in their garages at night, and then sell power back to the utility when their car is parked at work during the hours of peak energy demand. To accelerate the deployment of smart grid technology, Hillary will fund 10 "Smart Grid Cities." These public-private partnerships between states, cities, utilities, automakers and battery makers will deploy smart grid technology and plug-in hybrid vehicles on a large scale. These projects will provide a market for cutting-edge smart grid technology and would demonstrate and prove the benefits. Hillary will also require state utility commissions to consider incentives for utilities to deploy smart grid technology in order to promote its broad adoption.
Set "Net Metering" Standards and Provide Tax Incentives to Helping Families and Small Business Generate Their Own Renewable Power: Hillary will establish national "net metering" standards to make it easier and more economical for families and businesses to generate their own renewable power and sell it back to their utilities. Net metering simply means that those who produce more electricity than they take from the grid, get credits to offset electricity they use at other times. For example, if a household's solar panels generates 800 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in August, but the family uses only 500 kWh of electricity, they would get a 300 kWh credit on their bill to count against future electricity use. Many states have some kind of net metering rule, but they vary widely. Hillary will set national standards to ensure that families and businesses everywhere can sell power to the grid on fair terms. Hillary will also provide tax incentives for families and businesses to install small-scale renewable energy such as rooftop solar panels. Getting more small scale solar and other renewable energy in place will reduce pollution and reduce the need to build new power plants.
Hillary is a leading champion of election reform. She has introduced the Count Every Vote Act to avoid repeating the problems of the past and ensure the integrity of our elections. Her bill:
- Provides a paper trail for every vote cast.
- Designates Election Day as a national holiday.
- Allows same-day registration.
- Minimizes long lines at the polls.
- Makes sure that impartial officials administer our elections.
- Allows the attorney general to bring suit against anyone using deceptive practices (like distributing flyers with incorrect information about voter eligibility) to keep voters from voting.
- Helps states invest in better voting technology.
Early Childhood Education
Hillary knows that parents are our children's first teachers, and the early years have a tremendous impact on their lives. That is why she will invest heavily in proven strategies to get all children ready for school, including:
- Nurse home visitation programs to help new parents develop parenting skills.
- Quality child care and Head Start.
- Pre-kindergarten for all four-year olds.
Hillary also knows that we have to improve our K-12 system in order to ensure that every child is prepared to compete in an increasingly global economy. As president, she will:
- End the unfunded mandate known as No Child Left Behind.
- Meet the funding promises of IDEA to ensure that children with special needs get the attention and support they deserve.
- Recruit and retain thousands more outstanding teachers and principals, especially in urban and rural areas.
- Cut the minority dropout rate in half.
- Create "Green Schools" in order to reduce energy costs and eliminate environmental hazards that can hinder children's development.
- Expand early-intervention mentoring programs to help one million at-risk youth aspire for college and job success.
- Identify at-risk youth early on and provide $1 billion in intensive interventions, such as early college high schools and multiple pathways to graduation, to get them back on track.
- Double the after school program to ensure that 2 million young people have a safe and stimulating place to go between 3 and 6 p.m.
- Invest $100 million in a new public/private summer internship program.
- Provide opportunity for 1.5 million disconnected youth in job programs linked to high-growth economic sectors.
In the 21st century, a college education is more important than ever. Hillary believes it's time for a new bargain with the American people -- a bargain that gives all Americans willing to work hard the tools they need to get ahead. Her plan will make college more affordable and accessible so that every American who has earned it and wants to go has the chance to get a college degree. As president, she will:
- Create a new $3,500 college tax credit.
- Increase the maximum Pell Grant.
- Strengthen community colleges through a $500 million investment.
- Create a graduation fund to increase college graduation rates.
- Increase to $10,000 the college scholarship for those who participate in AmeriCorps full-time for one year.
- Get rid of the red tape in financial aid.
- Hold college costs down and hold colleges accountable for results though an online college cost calculator, a college graduation and employment rate index, and truth in tuition disclosure.
- Challenge selective colleges to expand access for students from low-income communities.
As President, Hillary will make college more affordable and accessible by:
- Lowering the cost of college through a $3,500 tuition tax credit, enough to cover more than 50% of the cost of tuition at the average public institution for many families.
- Increasing the Pell Grant.
- Strengthening community colleges and training programs.
- Improving college graduation rates.
- Providing additional aid for people who do public service.
- Simplifying student aid.
- Providing clear information about the real cost of college well in advance to help families plan.
Hillary's Plan to Make College Affordable for America's Families, which she released in October. In that agenda, Hillary proposed to:
- Create a new $3,500 College Tax Credit - She proposing to more than double the HOPE tax credit, raising the maximum amount of benefits that students and their families can receive from $1,650 to $3,500. This new credit will cover more than 50% of the typical cost of public colleges and universities and more than the full cost of tuition of community colleges.
- Increase the Maximum Pell Grant - When the Pell Grant was implemented, it covered 99% of the full cost of a two-year college, 77% at a four-year public school and 36% of a private school. Today, it has fallen to half that (62%, 36%, and 15%, respectively). The College Cost Reduction Act significantly increased the Pell Grant to $4,800 in the 2008-2009 school year. As President, Hillary is committed to maintaining the value of the Pell Grant by annually adjusting it to take account of rising college costs.
- Simplify Student Aid - The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is longer and more complicated than the typical tax form. All told, Americans spend 100 million hours filling out financial aid forms - the equivalent of 55,000 full-time jobs. Hillary will eliminate this burdensome process and allow people to apply for financial aid by checking a box on their income tax return. This new system will be much simpler and, according to one estimate, increase the college-going rate by 5 to 7%.
- Create a Truth in Tuition Disclosure - Students and their families should be able to make educated decisions about where to spend their money. As a condition of federal financial aid eligibility, state and local institutions of high education will be required to set multi-year tuition and fee levels for each cohort of students at the beginning of each student's freshman year so that students and their families will have a sense of how much their costs will be in the following years.
- Create a Graduation Fund - The United States used to rank first in the world in our percentage of young people with a postsecondary degree; now, we have fallen to seventh. Today, 25% of students drop out of college after their first year, and every year half a million students who start at a four-year institution fail to earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Hillary will create a $250 million Graduation Fund that will provide incentive grants to four-year colleges to launch performance-based efforts to improve their graduation rates, especially among low-income and minority students.
- Strengthen Community Colleges - Forty-three percent of undergraduates start their postsecondary education at community colleges. They give students the core tools they need to pursue further education or enter well-paying occupations. Hillary's plan will provide $500 million in incentive grants for investments by community colleges to ensure that students complete their degrees and, in partnership with four-year colleges, to increase graduation rates and promote smooth transfers to a four-year college or university.
- Provide Public Service Scholarships - Hillary will increase the Segal Education Award to $10,000 to get it back on pace to covering a meaningful portion of the cost of going to college for people who devote a year or two of full-time public service through AmeriCorps.
Call on private colleges to increase spending on low-income students - While many of the most selective colleges and universities in the country have been real leaders in the fight to expand access to low-income students and students of color, there is still a lot of work to be done. Hillary issued a challenge to the most selective institutions in the United States to further expand access for low-income and minority students by spending a greater percentage of their endowment annually on recruiting and supporting these students. In recent months, several schools have met that challenge.
This plan also builds on Hillary's work in the Senate to make college more affordable. As Senator, she has worked to enact an:
- Income contingent repayment option - Hillary successfully included a provision in the College Cost Reduction Act, which was signed into law in September, which would give student borrowers of federal loans the right to fair monthly payments that do not exceed 15% of the borrower's discretionary income. After 25 years of payments, the remaining balance will be forgiven.
- Reduction in the work penalty - Hillary authored a provision to allow college students to keep more of their income without losing crucial student aid by increasing the income protection allowance to $6,000 for dependent students; and $8,000 for independents students.
- Increase in the Pell Grant - Hillary introduced the Non-Traditional Student Success Act, which increased the Pell Grant significantly, and fought for increase in the College Cost Reduction Act. The final bill increased the Pell Grant by $500 a year, to $5,400 by 2012.
- Option for Year-Round Pell Grants - Hillary successfully fought to make it possible for students to receive three Pell Grants each year, so that non-traditional students who were attending college year-round could complete their studies more quickly.
Hillary's Plan to Make College Affordable and Accessible: Hillary will take action to put college degrees back in reach to for middle- and low-income families. Her plan will:
- Create a New $3,500 College Tax Credit. Hillary is proposing to more than double the HOPE tax credit, raising the maximum amount of benefits that students and their families can receive from $1,650 to $3,500. This new credit will cover more than 50% of the typical cost of public colleges and universities and more than the full cost of tuition for community colleges. Taxpayers will be able to claim 100% of the first $1,000 of college expenses and 50% of the next $5,000 under this new credit. This new credit will also be partially refundable in order to increase its value to low-income individuals. It will phase out in a manner similar to the current HOPE credit and will also be "advanceable" to allow families to receive the tax credit when their tuition bills are due instead of 16 months later.
- Increase the Maximum Pell Grant. The median income of Pell Grant recipients was $17,692 in 2003-04, compared with $55,287 for all other undergraduates. When the Pell Grant was implemented, it covered 99% of the full cost of a two-year college, 77% at a four-year public school and 36% of a private school. Today, it has fallen to half that (62%, 36%, and 15%, respectively).[v] The College Cost Reduction Act significantly increased the Pell Grant to $4,800 in the 2008-2009 school year. As President, Hillary is committed to maintaining the value of the Pell Grant by annually adjusting it to take account of rising college costs.
- Strengthen Community Colleges: Forty three percent of undergraduates start their postsecondary education at community colleges.[vi] Community colleges are on the cutting edge of most major workforce training initiatives around the country, and give students the core tools they need to pursue further education or enter well-paying occupations. Yet, too often community colleges are given second-class treatment in our postsecondary education system. They aren't ranked by U.S. News and World Report. And four year colleges and universities frequently refuse to accept course credits from community colleges, virtually ensuring that a great number of community college students will never receive their B.A. Hillary's plan will provide $500 million in incentive grants for investments by community colleges to ensure that students complete their degrees, and in partnerships between community colleges and four-year colleges to increase graduation rates at community colleges and promote smooth transfers from community colleges to a four-year college or university.
- Create a Graduation Fund to Increase Graduation Rates. The U.S. used to rank first in the world in our percentage of young people with a postsecondary degree; now we have fallen to seventh, not because our young people don't try but because too many don't finish. Today, 25% of students drop out of college after the first year,[vii] and every year, half a million students start college at a four-year institution and fail to earn a bachelor's degree within six years. We need to invest more in college, but we also need to hold colleges accountable for results. The income gap between college graduates and high school graduates has more than doubled since 1980. However, those with some college but no degree enjoy little of that advantage and have seen little gain. The $250 million Graduation Fund will set out to close the diploma gap with incentive grants that challenge four-year colleges to launch performance-based efforts to improve their graduation rates, especially among low-income and minority students.
- Support Apprenticeships and Workforce Training Initiatives. Apprenticeship programs that prepare specialty-skilled workers in manufacturing have decreased dramatically in number and size during the past 20 years, creating an urgent need for skilled workers, particularly in manufacturing. [viii] Hillary will provide $250 million to support innovative on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs that are aligned to the needs of the local economy. These programs, like the Machinists and Boeing Joint Apprenticeship program called "Quality Through Training," combine directly relevant skills development with academic training. Hillary wants to encourage more employers to develop demand-driven training programs that can prepare the next generation of skilled workers and grow our economy.
- Make College Affordable for Those Who Serve in AmeriCorps. When President Bill Clinton created AmeriCorps in 1993, the Education Award covered 47% of the total cost of a four-year public school. Today - 13 years later - the amount of the education award has stayed the same while tuition and fees have grown dramatically. Hillary will double the education award - now called the Segal Education Award - to $10,000 to get it back on pace to covering a meaningful portion of the cost of going to college for people who devote a year or two of full-time public service to our country.
- Get Rid of the Red Tape in Financial Aid. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is longer and more complicated than the typical tax return. The 1040EZ has one-third of the FAFSA's questions and one fifth of its pages. All told, Americans spend 100 million hours filling out financial aid forms - the equivalent of 55,000 full-time jobs. Furthermore, once a person has completed the FAFSA, they still don't know how much aid they will receive or what they will be expected to pay. That information does not arrive until late spring, leaving very little time for families to figure out whether they can cover the cost. The complicated forms and lengthy procedures are not necessary. The federal government already has the vast majority of the information it asks for on the FAFSA, and the additional information requested on the FAFSA does not in most cases substantially alter the award. Hillary is proposing to eliminate this burdensome process, which turns students off from applying to college. Hillary will allow people to apply for financial aid by checking a box on their income tax return. Upon checking that box, they will receive a letter from the Department of Education with a coupon showing the amount of federal aid - grants and loans - to which they are entitled. They will then include their eligibility information on their college applications, and the schools will reach out directly to the Department of Education to collect the funds. This new system will be much simpler and, according to one estimate, will increase the college-going rate by 5-7 percent.[ix] Taxpayer privacy will be fully protected and the Department of Education will only have access to the financial data that it already collects on its financial aid forms.
- Hold College Costs Down and Hold Colleges Accountable for Results. Students and their families should be able to make educated decisions about where to spend their money. That is why Hillary will create:
- A new online Higher Education Cost Calculator. This calculator will provide an estimate of the amount of aid (from all sources - federal, state, local and the institution), a student is likely to receive. Under this proposal, colleges and universities will submit information about a typical range of low to high income students and their financial aid in their freshman and sophomore years to the Department of Education. The Department of Education will use it to develop a cost calculator, which students and families would be able to access online to find out roughly how much they should expect to owe out of pocket in their first and second years, if they chose to attend that institution.
- A College Graduation and Employment Rate Index. Hillary will also ensure that the Department of Education makes available information about the outcomes produced by all colleges and universities, including the four- year and six-year graduation rates and the percent of the senior class that is employed upon graduation or enrolled in further education, including information on earnings and field of employment."
- Truth in Tuition Disclosure. As a condition of federal financial aid eligibility, state and local institutions of higher education will be required to set multi-year tuition and fee levels for each cohort of students at the beginning of each student's freshman year, so students and families will have a sense of how much their costs will be in the coming years.
- Challenge Selective Colleges to Expand Access for Students from Low-Income Communities. Many of the most selective colleges and universities in the country have been real leaders in the fight to expand access to low-income students and students of color. For example, Harvard has eliminated tuition for all students from families earning less than $60,000. But there is still a lot of work to be done. Only 7% of Harvard's undergraduate population is eligible for Pell Grants.[x] Hillary is challenging some of the most selective schools in the U.S. to further expand access for low-income and minority students by spending a greater percentage of their endowment annually on recruiting more low-income students and students of color, supporting them so that they graduate and growing the pipeline of students that are prepared to compete for admission to the most selective schools. The endowments of the 12 wealthiest universities total $155 billion and in recent years and have gotten tax-free returns of almost 20%. These elite institutions benefit tremendously from their tax-exempt status as well as from federal student financial aid and research grants.
These proposals build on Hillary's work in the Senate:
- A Public Service Academy - Hillary has proposed legislation to create The United States Public Service Academy to tap into the renewed sense of patriotism and civic obligation among our young people. This academy will be like the West Point of public service, cultivating future leaders in the fields of education, government, public health, environmental conservation, and more by instilling in them leadership skills for the public sector.
- A New GI Bill - Hillary has proposed a new GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century. This bill would provide the full cost of tuition and fees, and a living allowance for 36 months of schooling for those who enlist for four years of active duty military service. Right now, the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) pays less than two-thirds of the average cost of attending a four-year public college. This legislation would also increase the basic benefit for those currently in the MGIB or who serve less than four years to $1,300 per month, and eliminate the current reduction in their basic pay to get the educational benefits.
- Student Borrower's Bill of Rights. Hillary has proposed this legislation to make it easier for students to repay loans and give them a basic set of enforceable rights. It would give student borrowers the right to fair monthly payments that do not exceed a percentage of their incomes, as well as access to fair interest rates and fees. The bill would also give students the right to shop in a free marketplace for their lender and to borrow without exploitation. Finally, the bill will give students access to better information about their loans to provide students with better options during repayment.
- Non-Traditional Student Success Act. This bill is aimed at expanding access to college for working adults, those who go back to school later in life, and first generation college students. This legislation increases the maximum Pell Grant. It also creates a pilot program to allow students attending college less than half-time to receive federal student aid. It increases the income protection allowance to allow working students to keep more of their income without losing crucial student aid. And it expands the Lifetime Learning Credit from 20 to 50% and allows students to receive the money in advance - when they need it to pay tuition.
- Cost: The new college tax credit and other initiatives in this agenda will cost approximately $8 billion per year. These costs will be financed without increasing the deficit by eliminating the guaranteed student loan program and allocating a portion of the savings from freezing the estate tax at $7 million per couple rather than allowing it to be completely repealed. Freezing the estate tax at $7 million per couple will have no effect on 99.7% of estates. It will mean instead that the 10,000 wealthiest estates in the U.S. do not receive a further tax cut.
Hillary Clinton unveiled the third part of her plan to ensure that all Americans have affordable, quality health insurance. Building on her proposals to rein in costs and to insist on value and quality, her American Health Choices Plan will secure, simplify and ensure choice in health coverage for all Americans. This Plan covers every American - finally addressing the needs of the 47 million uninsured and the tens of millions of workers with coverage who fear they could be one pink slip away from losing their health coverage - with no overall increase in health spending or taxes. For those with health insurance, the plan builds on the current system to give businesses and their employees greater choice of health plans - including keeping the one they have - while lowering cost and improving quality. Specifically, the American Health Choices Plan will:
The American Health Choices Plan gives Americans the choice to preserve their existing coverage, while offering new choices to those with insurance, to the 47 million people in the United States without insurance, and the tens of millions more at risk of losing coverage.
- The Same Choice of Health Plan Options that Members of Congress Receive: Americans can keep their existing coverage or access the same menu of quality private insurance options that their Members of Congress receive through a new Health Choices Menu, established without any new bureaucracy as part of the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP). In addition to the broad array of private options that Americans can choose from, they will be offered the choice of a public plan option similar to Medicare.
- A Guarantee of Quality Coverage: The new array of choices offered in the Menu will provide benefits at least as good as the typical plan offered to Members of Congress, which includes mental health parity and usually dental coverage.
Americans who are satisfied with the coverage they have today can keep it, while benefiting from lower premiums and higher quality.
- Reducing Costs: By removing hidden taxes, stressing prevention and a focus on efficiency and modernization, the plan will improve quality and lower costs.
- Strengthening Security: The plan ensures that job loss or family illnesses will never lead to a loss of coverage or exorbitant costs.
- End to Unfair Health Insurance Discrimination: By creating a level-playing field of insurance rules across states and markets, the plan ensures that no American is denied coverage, refused renewal, unfairly priced out of the market, or forced to pay excessive insurance company premiums.
Relying on consumers or the government alone to fix the system has unintended consequences, like scaled-back coverage or limited choices. This plan ensures that all who benefit from the system share in the responsibility to fix its shortcomings.
- Insurance and Drug Companies: insurance companies will end discrimination based on pre-existing conditions or expectations of illness and ensure high value for every premium dollar; while drug companies will offer fair prices and accurate information.
- Individuals: will be required to get and keep insurance in a system where insurance is affordable and accessible.
- Providers: will work collaboratively with patients and businesses to deliver high-quality, affordable care.
- Employers: will help financing the system; large employers will be expected to provide health insurance or contribute to the cost of coverage: small businesses will receive a tax credit to continue or begin to offer coverage.
- Government: will ensure that health insurance is always affordable and never a crushing burden on any family and will implement reforms to improve quality and lower cost.
Senator Clintonís plan will:
- Provide Tax Relief to Ensure Affordability: Working families will receive a refundable tax credit to help them afford high-quality health coverage.
- Limit Premium Payments to a Percentage of Income: The refundable tax credit will be designed to prevent premiums from exceeding a percentage of family income, while maintaining consumer price consciousness in choosing health plans.
- Create a New Small Business Tax Credit: To make it easier-not harder-for small businesses to create new jobs with health coverage, a new health care tax credit for small businesses will provide an incentive for job-based coverage.
- Strengthen Medicaid and CHIP: The Plan will fix the holes in the safety net to ensure that the most vulnerable populations receive affordable, quality care.
- Launch a Retiree Health Legacy Initiative: A new tax credit for qualifying private and public retiree health plans will offset a significant portion of catastrophic expenditures, so long as savings are dedicated to workers and competitiveness.
- Most Savings Come Through Lowering Spending Due to Quality and Modernization: Over half the savings come from the public savings generated from Senator Clintonís broader agenda to modernize the heath systems and reduce wasteful health spending.
- A Net Tax Cut for American Taxpayers: The plan offers tens of millions of Americans a new tax credit to make premiums affordable-which more than offsets the increased revenues from the Planís provisions to limit the employer tax exclusion for health care and discontinue portions of the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000. Thus, the plan provides a net tax cut for American taxpayers.
- Making the Employer Tax Exclusion for Health Care Fairer: The plan protects the current exclusion from taxes of employer-provided health premiums, but limits the exclusion for the high-end portion of very generous plans for those making over $250,000.