Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Answer Your Questions
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD | October 18, 2016 | SOURCE: The New York Times
In a campaign season in which public insults, tweets and political gaffes grab the biggest headlines, many of the issues and challenges the next president will face are being pushed aside. We asked readers to choose which of 15 questions for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the most important to them. Nearly 90,000 readers responded, and they chose the three questions below, in order of popularity:
• It is widely accepted scientific fact that climate change is real and potentially catastrophic. What specific action will you take in the next four years?
• What would you do to reduce the extreme income inequality in this country?
• What would your administration do to reduce gun violence and mass shootings?
The Times’ Editorial Board posed these three questions to Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump. Here are the answers from their campaigns.
1. It is widely accepted scientific fact that climate change is real and potentially catastrophic. What specific action will you take in the next four years?
Hillary Clinton: Climate change is real, and we have a moral obligation to leave our children and grandchildren a better planet. I believe we can fight climate change and create millions of good-paying jobs at the same time.
Some nation is going to be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century. It’s either going to be Germany, China or us, and I want to make sure that it’s us. And we can do it in a way that means no one gets left out or left behind.
I’ve laid out specific plans to modernize our electric grid with enough renewable energy to power every home in America within a decade, including 500 million solar panels by the end of my first term. I want to launch a Clean Energy Challenge to partner with cities, states, and rural communities that are ready to lead on clean energy, clean transportation, and energy efficiency, and help them go further.
We’ll invest in resilient infrastructure that will protect communities like those in North Carolina, Iowa, and Louisiana that have seen terrible floods just this year. We know that low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by pollution and by extreme weather, and climate change is only going to make that worse. So I will make environmental and climate justice a priority, including eliminating lead as a major public health threat within five years.
We’re already less dependent on foreign oil than we have been in decades, but we can go further, reduce oil consumption by a third, and do more to power America with home-grown wind, solar, and advanced biofuels.
And I have a real plan to invest in creating jobs and building stronger economies in coal country. America’s coal communities have kept our lights on and our factories running for generations, and I won’t let them be left in the dark.
Finally, I believe the United States needs to continue to lead the global effort to combat climate change. I will fulfill the pledge President Obama made in the Paris Climate Agreement and seek to go further by cutting emissions up to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. We need to implement the breakthrough we achieved just last week in the Montreal Protocol to phase down super-polluting HFCs and avoid as much as half a degree of warming.
Not only does America need to lead, we need to do more to work with our neighbors. We trade more energy with Canada and Mexico than with the rest of the world combined. That’s why I want to negotiate a North American Climate Compact to cut emissions and accelerate the clean energy transition across the continent.
I won’t let the climate deniers stand in the way of progress, or let us give in to the climate defeatists who say this challenge is too big to solve. We can and will take on climate change, build a clean energy economy, and leave our kids and grandkids a safe and healthy world—because there is no Planet B.
Donald Trump: Unlike Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump does not believe global warming is the most serious threat we face as a nation. Hillary Clinton supports a climate plan that costs our economy $5 trillion, while China—the world’s largest polluter—actually continues to increase its emissions for at least 14 more years. Because of policies like hers, our country has lost countless jobs to China, Mexico, and other nations. From an environmental standpoint, it is much better to manufacture products here in the U.S. where we care about the environment, as opposed to countries like China where environmental standards are very low.
2. What would you do to reduce the extreme income inequality in this country?
Hillary Clinton: Too many hardworking Americans have the deck stacked against them. No one who works hard should have to raise their kids in poverty, or worry they won’t be able to retire with dignity.
But the majority of the income growth since the Great Recession has gone to people at the top. Working people haven’t gotten a raise in 15 years. Right now, the top one-tenth of one percent of Americans own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent combined. We haven’t seen this level of wealth inequality since right before the Great Depression.
We need an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. For starters, I’ll raise the federal minimum wage and guarantee equal pay for women. And we’ll promote profit-sharing—the workers who help make their companies profitable should be able to share in that success the way executives do.
We need to create more good jobs that pay enough to raise a family. So we’ll make the biggest investment in good jobs since World War II—jobs in infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, and clean energy. We need to make sure that jobs in home health care, child care, and other fields provide good pay and good benefits, and make it easier for workers to organize and bargain collectively in all industries. We need to do more to support small businesses that create so many new jobs. And we need to make it easier for people to be good employees and good parents by guaranteeing 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for every worker.
We also need to go after intergenerational poverty. Every child in America should be able to live up to his or her God-given potential, no matter who your parents are or what ZIP code you grew up in. That’s why I’m going to make pre-school universal for every four-year-old in America.
It’s also why we’re going to embrace approaches like South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn’s 10-20-30 plan, where 10 percent of federal investments are made in communities where 20 percent of the people have been living in poverty for the last 30 years. Let’s address the systemic problems that have kept too many in poverty for far too long.
Lastly, we need more fairness in our tax system. By closing the loopholes and requiring those at the top to pay their fair share in taxes, we can help cover the cost of vital investments that will create jobs and opportunity for middle-class families and help lift millions out of poverty. Around two-thirds of the burden of my tax plan falls on the highest earning 0.1 percent of taxpayers.
Here’s what we won’t do. We won’t raise taxes on people making less than $250,000. And we won’t spend trillions of dollars giving huge new tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations. They’ve seen the gains in recent years—they should pay their fair share to make the investments that will grow the economy for everyone.
Donald Trump: As the WikiLeaks documents prove, Hillary Clinton is an extreme globalist. Under her plan, wealth is raided from workers and transferred to wealthy transnational elites who have no borders, and can move capital freely from one country to another. This vision of open borders and offshoring embraced by Hillary Clinton drives down living standards and wages for workers, and enriches only the select few. Mr. Trump is going to put American workers first, control our borders, negotiate fair trade deals, fix NAFTA or leave it and start over to get a better deal, stop the TPP, and he is going to massively reduce taxes, regulations and energy costs so America becomes the great jobs magnet of the world.
3. What would your administration do to reduce gun violence and mass shootings?
Hillary Clinton: We lose an average of 90 Americans every day because of guns. Since I launched my campaign for the presidency in April of 2015, that means more than 50,000 people have been killed by gun violence in America.
I’ve met some of their families, and countless others whose lives have been forever changed by gun violence. I’ve traveled the country with mothers like Lucy McBath, whose 17-year-old son Jordan was shot and killed for playing music. I’ve been inspired by advocates like Erica Smegielski, whose mother Dawn died trying to protect her students at Sandy Hook School. And I’ve prayed with residents in cities like Charleston, one of the many communities across our country that have been devastated by this epidemic.
For decades, people have said this issue was too hard to solve and the politics too hot to touch. But as I’ve listened to the stories in every corner of our country, one question has stayed at the front of my mind: How can we just stand by and do nothing?
That simple answer is: We can’t.
So here’s what I think we need to do. First, we need to expand background checks to include more gun sales, like those at gun shows and over the Internet. There’s no reason a domestic abuser should be able to go online and buy a gun with no questions asked. And we need to close other loopholes, like the so-called “Charleston Loophole” that allows dangerous people to buy guns without a background check if that check isn’t completed within three days.
Second, we need to hold the gun industry accountable, and end laws that shield them from liability when they break the law. We saw that just this month, when one of those laws was used to block the families of the Sandy Hook shooting from having their day in court.
Finally, we need to keep military-style weapons off our streets. They are a danger to law enforcement and to our communities.
By taking these common sense steps, we can keep our children safe and respect the Second Amendment. The vast majority of Americans support measures like these. So our challenge isn’t finding common ground. It’s getting politicians to listen to their constituents rather than the gun lobby.
For that to happen we need to say, loudly and clearly, that gun violence is an issue that matters. And we need to vote accordingly.
Donald Trump: The Obama Administration has reduced prosecutions of criminals with guns. A Trump Administration would target criminals who use guns, and get guns out of the hands of felons and gang members. A Trump Administration would also improve our mental health laws to make it far easier to prevent tragedies from happening in the first place. The policies of the Democratic Party have created chronic violence in cities like Chicago, and we need change - and we need it fast. Rebuilding and repairing our inner cities is an absolutely top priority for a Trump Administration - including bringing back jobs from other countries. Hillary’s solution is to disarm law-abiding Americans, which leaves good people defenseless while criminals will continue to commit crimes against the innocent.
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