Hillary Clinton’s “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda”: Revitalizing the Economy in Communities Left Behind

Hillary Clinton believes we need to break down all the barriers that hold Americans back and build ladders of opportunity for all our people. She and Senator Sanders agree that we have to get unaccountable money out of politics and stop Wall Street from ever threatening Main Street, but Clinton believes we can’t stop there. We need to focus on removing obstacles that keep wages down and make it harder for people to find good-paying jobs, especially young people. We also have to break down barriers of bigotry like the systemic racism that holds back communities of color. It’s outrageous that the children of majority ­black Flint, Michigan, have been drinking and bathing in poisoned water for almost two years because their governor wanted to save money. It’s outrageous that so many African American families live in pockets of extreme poverty and that so many families of color with good credit cannot get a mortgage. It’s outrageous that millions of undocumented workers live in the shadows. And we can’t allow rural communities from Coal Country to Indian Country to be further hollowed out by unemployment, abandonment, and addiction. We have to take on all these challenges—anything less just isn’t good enough.

At the core of Clinton’s agenda is a simple idea. Every child in America should be able to live up to his or her God-given potential. An African American child should have the same chance as a white child. Our cities should do as well as our suburbs. We don’t have a person to waste.

That’s why over the coming weeks Clinton will lay out components of a “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda” that she will fight for as President. This vision reflects her belief that we must confront all of our challenges together and deliver real results for every American by:

  • Revitalizing the economy in communities that have been left out and left behind.
  • Provide every child in America a world-class education.
  • Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.
  • Tackling disparities in health and nutrition.
  • Fighting for environmental justice.

These initiatives will build on Clinton’s broader agenda to break barriers holding Americans back by keeping immigrant families together, reforming our criminal justice system, ensuring full equality for LGBT Americans, expanding opportunity for women and girls, and more.

Today, Clinton is announcing the details of her $125 billion Economic Revitalization Initiative to create good-paying jobs, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, and connect housing to opportunity in communities that are being left out and left behind. She will pay for the new investments in this initiative through a tax on Wall Street—ensuring that the major financial institutions that contributed to the Great Recession are doing their part in bringing back the communities it hurt the most.

Despite the progress we’ve made under President Obama, too many communities have not seen the benefits of America’s recovery. From Flint to Albuquerque, Baltimore to El Paso, Cleveland to Chicago, there are still opportunity deserts—parts of cities, towns, and rural communities that have been cut off from jobs, investment and, all too often, hope. Clinton believes it’s time for that to change. She has been fighting for these communities her entire life, and getting results—but she’s just getting started.

As President, she will build on the progress President Obama has made and fight to empower communities with the tools they need to break the barriers holding them back by:

  • Supporting millions of new jobs and providing pathways of opportunity through a $50 billion investment in youth employment, reentry support for those formerly incarcerated, and small business. Roughly one in ten Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 is unemployed, more than twice the national average. And these numbers hide devastating racial disparities: the unemployment rate for African American teenagers is almost twice that of white teenagers, while the unemployment rate for Latino teenagers is roughly a quarter higher. Meanwhile, millions of Americans reenter society every year from our jails and prisons without the support necessary to find jobs and make a successful transition home. Clinton will invest $50 billion to create jobs in communities that are being left out and left behind. She will:
    • Invest $20 billion to support millions of youth jobs—providing direct federal funding for local programs that will put our kids to work.
    • Invest $5 billion in reentry programs for formerly incarcerated people—so that those who have made mistakes in the past have a fair shot at getting back on their feet.
    • Invest $25 billion to support entrepreneurship and small business growth in underserved communities—because small business is the engine of job growth for hardworking Americans all across the country, and that engine shouldn’t be limited by zip code.
  • Rebuilding our communities and creating good-paying jobs through a $50 billion Infrastructure for Opportunity Fund. In too many places, our neglected public transportation systems trap working families in deserts of opportunity. That means that millions of low-income Americans are burdened both by the lack of jobs in their communities and by the impediments they face in commuting to jobs elsewhere. And, as the water crisis in Flint makes so painfully clear, neglecting our infrastructure can result in tragedy for the very communities that are already being left out and left behind. Today, Clinton is announcing that she will dedicate $50 billion of her $275 billion infrastructure agenda to an Infrastructure for Opportunity Fund. Using these funds and others, Clinton will make significant new investments in public transit systems that connect the unemployed and underemployed to the jobs they need. She will rebuild crumbling water systems to safeguard the public health and save billions of gallons of drinking water. And she will work to ensure that these investments are creating jobs and opportunity for local residents and small businesses.
  • Lifting more families into sustainable homeownership and connecting housing to opportunity, through a $25 billion housing investment program. In too many communities, children walk to school down streets lined with decaying buildings or go to sleep at night under crumbling ceilings. Blight drives down home prices across the board and makes it harder to attract investment and new businesses. In others communities, skyrocketing rent weighs heavily on working families and displaces people who have lived there for generations. Across the country, many families with good credit find the door to sustainable homeownership closed. Clinton will tackle all of these challenges and empower communities with the resources they need to:
    • Support families as they save for sustainable homeownership. Clinton will support initiatives to match up to $10,000 in savings for a down payment for those who earn less than area median income. She will also reduce barriers to lending in underserved communities, support housing counseling programs, and police abuse and discrimination in the mortgage market.
    • Build more affordable rental housing near good jobs and good schools. Clinton will increase support for affordable rental housing in the areas that need it most and encourage communities to implement land use strategies that make it easier to build affordable rental housing near good jobs.
    • Overcome pockets of distress. Clinton will provide the resources necessary to overcome blight, giving communities a chance to rebuild and renew with new businesses, new homeowners, and new hope. And she will connect housing support in high-poverty neighborhoods to economic opportunity.

These proposals are motivated by Clinton’s understanding that reversing the legacy of racism and underinvestment in underserved communities will require directing more federal resources to those who need them most. That same understanding has motivated Congressman James Clyburn’s “10-20-30” concept—in which 10 percent of funds are directed at communities where at least 20 percent of the population has been living below the poverty line for 30 years or more. That’s why Clinton is committed to pursuing policies modeled on this approach.

For further detail on Clinton’s Economic Revitalization Initiative, click here.