Hillary Clinton is not a fan of the sharing economy, but she does want companies to share more profits.  

In her first major economic speech in New York City on Monday, the Democratic presidential frontrunner made small businesses and startups the centerpiece--specifically singling out sharing economy companies.

"This on-demand, or so-called 'gig economy', is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation," Clinton said. She added that it's also responsible for new business conflicts, such as the wrongful classification of employees as independent contractors, a dispute that recently played out between ride-sharing company Uber and its drivers

"I'll crack down on bosses who exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors or even steal their wages," Clinton said in the speech.

One change that Clinton believes will help raise middle-class incomes and promote long-term economic growth involves increased profit sharing for companies of all sizes. "Hard-working Americans deserve to benefit from the record corporate earnings they help produce, so I will propose ways to encourage companies to share profits with their employees," Clinton said. She noted that she'll provide details of her plans in speeches later this week in New Hampshire. 

While Clinton declined to get into specifics, she did cite studies that show profit-sharing both boosts productivity at companies and puts more money in employees' pockets. Not to be outdone by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who announced his candidacy for president via Twitter Monday, she also deeply criticized the labor policies she accused Walker and other Republicans of using to take away workers' rights.

"Republican governors like Scott Walker have made their names stomping on workers' rights, and practically all the Republican candidates hope to do the same as president," she said. "I will fight back against these mean-spirited, misguided attacks."

In a bid to appeal to America's entrepreneurs, Clinton recalled her upbringing as the daughter of a small business owner and cited the fact that small businesses create more than 60 percent of new American jobs.

"I want to be the small business president," she said. "I'm going to be talking about how we empower entrepreneurs with less red tape, easier access to capital, tax relief and simplification."

Clinton also positioned herself as an advocate of small businesses by criticizing the current economy's "short-termism" that focuses too much on the share price of large public companies and the next quarter's earnings reports.

"The result is too little attention on the sources of long-term growth: research and development, physical capital, and talent," she said.

Among the specific reforms Clinton shared pertaining to investing in workers is a $1,500 apprenticeship tax credit for companies that train their own employees. She also outlined a plan to encourage longer-term investing by restricting stock buybacks designed for short-term boosts in share prices, one of several criticisms aimed at Wall Street.

"I know first-hand the role that Wall Street can and should play in our economy--helping Main Street grow and prosper and boosting new companies that make America more competitive globally.  

Published on: Jul 13, 2015