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Hillary Clinton's answer to the wage gap: Profit-sharing? (+video)

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Charlie Neibergall/AP

(Read caption) Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a house party in Ottumwa, Iowa, July 7. Mrs. Clinton will lay out her economic policy in a speech in New York Monday. She is expected to make boosting middle class income and wages the focus of her economic agenda.

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Jobs and the economy remain the most critical issues for candidates of the 2016 elections, and on Monday Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton will reveal how she plans to address them.

The former US senator and secretary of State is set to give her first major speech on economic policy on Monday at the progressive New School in New York City’s Greenwich Village. In it she will emphasize middle-class incomes and wages, as well as detail what she calls a “win-win” plan to encourage profit-sharing between companies and their employees, her campaign said Monday.

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Mrs. Clinton will also call for changing the tax code to help workers benefit, increasing investment in infrastructure projects, boosting the power of unions, and lowering costs of health care. She will also advocate for raising the federal minimum wage.

“Hard-working Americans deserve to benefit from the record corporate earnings they helped produce,” Clinton will say, according to excerpts of the speech obtained by Bloomberg.

Greater corporate profit-sharing “will be good for workers and good for business,” because “studies show profit-sharing that gives everyone a stake in a company’s success can boost productivity and put money directly into employees’ pockets,” Clinton is expected to say. “It’s a win-win.”

The speech, a product of consultation with more than 200 domestic policy experts over the course of several months, is part of Clinton’s bid to define herself against rivals in her party – particularly Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Both candidates have tried to position themselves to the left of Clinton: Sen. Sanders has been working “to ignite a grassroots fire among left-leaning Democrats” who may be wary of Clinton, the Associated Press reported in May, while Mr. O’Malley shot to the spotlight early in July with his open letter against what he called the “too-big-to-prosecute and too-big-to-jail” megabanks on Wall Street.

All three candidates have also been actively wooing Hispanic officials and labor groups – an effort that for Clinton bore fruit Saturday, when she received the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers union, which represents more than 1.6 million teachers and school personnel nationwide.

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Clinton’s New York address is also meant to portray her Republican opponents as beholden to tax cuts and quick fixes that will fail to revitalize stagnating incomes.

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GOP candidates have tried to portray Clinton as out of touch with the electorate she is courting, and said her policies are simply a prescription for a bigger government role in the economy.

“What I will continue to point out is the fact that every policy she is pursuing will make income inequality worse, not better – crony capitalism even worse, not better,” Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett Packard chief executive officer and Republican presidential hopeful, said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday. “And meanwhile, we will continue to crush the businesses that create jobs and middle class families.”

Clinton also got into a Twitter tiff with former Florida governor Jeb Bush after Mr. Bush suggested that Americans need to work more hours to increase economic growth.

“Anyone who believes Americans aren't working hard enough hasn't met enough American workers,” Clinton posted on the social media site.

Bush shot back: “Anyone who discounts 6.5 million people stuck in part-time work & seeking full-time jobs hasnt listened to working Americans.” 

This report includes material from the Associated Press.