From Day 1 of her candidacy, Hillary Clinton has made clear she favors a number of measures that, if passed, would have a clear and immediate impact on U.S. businesses. Among them: She favors raising the minimum wage, overhauling the country's immigration system, and establishing mandatory paid family and medical leave.
Whether she'd actually be able to achieve any of these goals as president is hard to judge, as so much hinges on what happens in congressional elections. But taking stock of her priorities is a worthwhile exercise, since the prospect of another Clinton in the White House looks increasingly likely. The former First Lady is now enjoying a slight lead over Donald Trump, with most of the polls putting her ahead by a median of 3 percentage points.
For starters, though, here's a tally of the economic changes a President Clinton will hope to make:
Immigration: Clinton plans to push for comprehensive immigration reform within her first 100 days in office. Her plan would include a path to citizenship for undocumented people. It would also free up the visa backlog and improve border protections.
That, though, would be an extremely tough (read: impossible) sell should the G.O.P. hold onto the House of Representatives, as is widely expected. Failing this, she'd keep Obama's executive actions relating to immigration in effect. She'd also allow for those with so-called "sympathetic cases" to vie for deferred action. That would include parents of so-called "DREAMers," or unauthorized youth brought to the U.S. as children who already qualify for deferred action.
Infrastructure: Besides immigration reform, she has stated that proposing a $275 billion, five-year infrastructure-spending program would be key to her presidential agenda. In addition to tax reforms to help pay for the measure, she'd develop a national infrastructure bank to help shore up private investment in federal projects. This, she says, would help upgrade U.S. roadways, bridges, airports, and public transit systems, while also creating jobs.
Working Families: As you might expect from the first female candidate from a major political party running for president, Clinton has strongly advocated supporting women and families in the workplace. Specifically, she has called for shoring up spending for early childhood education and capping families' costs for it at no more than 10 percent of their income. She'd also use federal dollars to fund a national paid family and medical leave program, which would give every worker some portion of their paycheck for up to 12 weeks.
"This is a pro-business issue," says Dean Baker, co-director of the nonpartisan Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. "You have a lot of firms that lose workers; making child care accessible and affordable can increase the labor pool."
Wages: Clinton would push for raising the federal minimum wage. While she has expressed support for raising the national rate to $12 an hour, up from the current $7.25, she has said that she'd support going further. If a bill passes that raises the prevailing wage to $15 an hour, for instance, she said she'd sign it.
"In a sane and rational world, I would have expected that to happen sooner," says Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, nonpartisan economic policy think tank in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, referring to a rising minimum wage. "When you poll voters, they want that. Maybe it's not $15 an hour but it's $10."
She'd also advocate for the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill she first introduced when she was a senator in New York. The measure would make it easier for people to challenge gender-based pay discrimination.
Trade: As Secretary of State, Clinton helped negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement involving 12 Pacific Rim nations. Congress is expected to vote on the measure before the end of 2016. If it fails to gain passage, it's not likely to pass under a Clinton Administration, either. On the campaign trail, she announced her opposition to the deal, citing failings such as its lack of support for U.S. workers. During her administration, she might work to change the deal, suggests Baker. "I wouldn't be at all surprised if she were to get to the White House, tweak the pact, and reintroduce it."
Taxes: Clinton has called for closing loopholes and raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. While she'd keep the tax code mostly the same, she'd look to levy a 4 percent "Fair Share Surcharge" on those earning more than $5 million. She'd also raise capital gains rates on profits stemming from short-term trading and she'd limit the ability of the super wealthy to avail themselves of tax advantage retirement programs.
She would rein in companies that shift profits overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes, and she'd revoke the tax breaks given to U.S. companies that export jobs. (Though look for a G.O.P.-controlled House to block any tax increases.)
For smaller companies, she'd look to simplify filing requirements, as well as create a new standard deduction and expand the startup tax deduction to reduce the cost of starting a business. Businesses can typically deduct up to $5,000 of their startup costs in the first year.
Health Care: "I don't think there is much doubt as to where Senator Clinton is on the issue of health care," says Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, a small-business advocacy group based in Vienna, Virginia. "You could argue that she and her husband got the ball rolling in the '90s," he adds, referring to Clinton's push for a universal health care program when she was First Lady.
She plans to revisit the idea once in office, with an eye to addressing some of the failings of the current law, which allows for private insurers to vie for customers on federal and state-run health insurance exchanges. To tamp down on costs, her plan calls for giving consumers the choice between private insurers and a government-backed plan (a.k.a., a public option).
Though, as with many presidents, Clinton may soon learn what happens with best-laid plans--particularly when dealing with a Congress that has its own priorities.