Senator Klobuchar’s Plan for the Future of Work and a Changing Economy

Amy for America
Dec 5, 2019 · 20 min read

In America, no matter where you come from, who you know, or where you live, if you work hard, you should be able to make it in this country. But that’s not the case for too many people in today’s economy. Senator Klobuchar is committed to championing economic policies that give all Americans an opportunity to succeed. That means connecting our students and affordable education to the jobs of today and tomorrow, increasing wages and respecting the dignity of work, making health care more affordable, ensuring a secure retirement, investing in our infrastructure and creating jobs, focusing on economic justice and shared prosperity, and budgeting responsibly for our future. And it means a Competitive Agenda for America to ensure that America continues to be a country that thinks, that invents, that makes stuff, and that exports to the world.

Address Digital Disruption

Senator Klobuchar believes we need to start tackling the challenges presented by digital disruption and a changing economy. The future of work is changing, which is putting stress on the social contract we’ve had in this country when it comes to job training, employment, and retirement. Senator Klobuchar’s plan is a plan for the future: offering stronger worker protections, reasserting protections for consumers in a digital world, investing in cybersecurity across the economy to prevent crippling attacks on infrastructure and commerce, and taking on consolidation which is threatening to take us into a new Gilded Age.

Renew the Social Contract for the Gig Economy. Senator Klobuchar believes we must update our laws to reflect the evolving nature of work.

  • Invest in education and job training, including for workers at risk of losing their jobs to automation. Senator Klobuchar is committed to creating new opportunities and ensuring a just transition for workers who have been displaced by the changing economy. She believes the federal government has an important role to play during economic transitions. As President she will take action to ensure that workers can pursue additional education and can do so without a financial burden at any age. She will also create a new tax credit for employers that invest in training for workers at risk of being laid off through on-site training programs or provide paid time off for off-site retraining.
  • Make it easier to save for retirement. The retirement system we have today wasn’t designed for today’s economy where workers stay in a job for an average of four years and more than 57 million Americans are working in the gig economy. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to create innovative, portable personal retirement accounts called UP-Savings Accounts. Under her plan, employers will set aside at least 50 cents per hour worked, helping a worker build more than $600,000 in wealth over the course of a career.
  • Invest in quality, affordable child care and create a national paid family and medical leave program. As President, Senator Klobuchar will create a national paid family leave program to provide workers with 12 weeks of paid leave per year to care for a new child, a family member with a serious health condition, or their own serious health condition. She will also create a new federal-state partnership to make child care more affordable by capping spending on child care at seven percent of income for families making up to 150 percent of their state’s median income, invest in expanding the availability of child care, and work to raise wages for caregivers and early childhood teachers. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s child care and paid family leave policies here.
  • Give workers access to a non-profit public option for health insurance. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass legislation to create a non-profit public option that expands Medicare or Medicaid. She will also build on the Affordable Care Act to help bring down costs to consumers, including expanding premium subsidies, providing cost-sharing reductions, making it easier for states to put reinsurance in place, and continuing to implement delivery system reform. And she will take on the other health care challenges we face including the price of prescription drugs, mental health care, addiction and long-term care. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s health care policies here.
  • Allow gig workers to organize and prevent employees from being misclassified as independent contractors. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass Senator Patty Murray’s Protecting the Right to Organize Act — a bill Senator Klobuchar co-sponsors in the Senate — that protects gig workers by preventing employers from misclassifying their employees as independent contractors.
  • Update the tax code to work for gig workers. Gig workers face additional challenges in properly tracking earnings and expenses and calculating and paying taxes. As President, Senator Klobuchar will simplify withholding for self- employed workers. Giving workers the option of having their self-employment taxes withheld directly from their 1099s would reduce the burden of quarterly tax filing and help smooth irregular incomes. She will also lower the 1099-K threshold for gig economy platforms, so workers have more information about their earnings, and consider creating a gig worker standard business deduction to simplify the calculation of business expenses for gig workers.

Update Consumer Protections for the 21st Century Economy. Advances in technology have opened new opportunities for consumers, entrepreneurs and businesses, but they have also created new threats to privacy. Consumer protection laws have not kept pace with these technological advances. As President, Senator Klobuchar will update consumer protections so they work in the 21st century economy.

  • Strengthen consumer privacy protections. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass legislation similar to the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act, which she leads with Senator Maria Cantwell. The bill would establish strong privacy rights for consumers including the right to access their data and greater transparency, the right to prevent data from being distributed to unknown third parties, the right to delete or correct their data and the right to take their data to a competitor. It would also establish a “duty of loyalty,” which would prohibit companies from engaging in deceptive and harmful data practices. In addition, the legislation would require companies to implement strong data security policies, receive affirmative consent from consumers for collecting sensitive information, and give consumers, states, and the Federal Trade Commission new enforcement authorities. Senator Klobuchar will also work to pass legislation based on her bipartisan Protecting Personal Health Data Act to create protections for new health technologies not covered by existing privacy laws.
  • Increase rights for consumers after data breaches. As more personal information is collected and stored online, consumers are increasingly vulnerable to having their data exposed in a data breach. As President, Senator Klobuchar will push for legislation similar to her bipartisan Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act to require companies to notify users within 72 hours when their data has been breached and offer meaningful remedies for people whose data has been compromised.
  • Empower consumer protection agencies. Without effective enforcement, fraud and scams — like robocalls, senior fraud, identity theft, and predatory student loans — have become problems for too many Americans. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make sure that the federal agencies charged with protecting consumers have the tools they need to be effective cops on the beat, including personnel, technological expertise, and strong enforcement authorities.
  • Tackle new forms of discrimination. As President, Senator Klobuchar will update our laws to counter new forms of discrimination, like digital redlining and racial bias built into algorithms that are playing a larger role in everything from hiring decisions to medical care.
  • Provide access to a free and open internet. Consumers and businesses deserve a level playing field on the internet. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to codify strong net neutrality principles and make immediate progress in her first 100 days by using federal contracting requirements to encourage broadband providers to honor net neutrality principles and promote a free and open internet.

Invest in Cybersecurity That Protects Our Economy and Our Democracy. Our economy increasingly relies on internet-connected devices and infrastructure and this trend will only accelerate in the coming years. This creates opportunities for terrorists, foreign governments, and competing firms that could severely damage our economy. And we already know that our election infrastructure is vulnerable to cyber attack and foreign governments are working to interfere in our elections. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s plans to protect our democracy here.

  • Build the cybersecurity workforce our economy needs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the United States will add over 550,000 new information technology jobs to our economy over the next 10 years, including in big data and information security. As President, Senator Klobuchar will expand STEM programs, including for women and traditionally underrepresented minorities, and invest in apprenticeships so students and workers can get on-the-job training in the technology jobs of the future, and she will expand access to credentials through tuition-free one- and two-year degrees, technical certifications, and tuition-free community college.
  • Protect critical infrastructure against cyberattacks. Cyberattacks on our electric grid, transportation infrastructure, or water management systems could be devastating to our economy. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to build federal partnerships with the private sector to implement NIST’s cybersecurity framework. She will make sure the federal government is assisting companies in addressing global supply chain risks and increasing the security of emerging technologies. Senator Klobuchar will also improve federal preparedness for responding to cyber incidents.
  • Increase cybersecurity expertise in the federal government. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make cybersecurity an immediate priority. She will issue an Executive Order launching government-wide cybersecurity initiatives, fast- tracking and streamlining procurement of modern information technology across agencies. She will also work to pass legislation similar to her bipartisan Cyber Security Exchange Act to provide a path for cyber experts at private firms or academia to work for federal agencies for up to two years. Federal workers will also be given the opportunity to work in the private sector to develop their skills in the latest cybersecurity practices.

Strengthen Antitrust Enforcement. U.S. firms have engaged in $10 trillion worth of acquisitions during the past decade. Senator Klobuchar believes we need to do more when it comes to taking on monopoly power and promoting competition not just for our consumers but for our businesses. Competition does more than just lower prices. It improves quality, spurs innovation, makes it easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses, and creates better jobs. As the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, Senator Klobuchar has been a leader in taking on this new Gilded Age. She leads the Consolidation Prevention and Competition Promotion Act to make sure our antitrust laws adequately promote competition and protect consumers, the Merger Enforcement Improvement Act to give antitrust enforcement agencies the tools they need to be effective, and the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act to update merger filing fees.

  • Investigate monopolization claims and review mergers that have already taken place. As President, Senator Klobuchar will harness the power of investigations to look at acquisitions that have already occured and investigate monopolization claims, including whether the integration of services insulate tech companies from competition.
  • Strengthen merger enforcement. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make sure that our antitrust agencies have the resources they need to be aggressive and effective, updating the outdated merger filing fees so that the merging parties of the largest deals start paying their fair share. She will also give the agencies tools to analyze the effectiveness of merger conditions so they can make better and stronger enforcement decisions.
  • Give antitrust agencies and courts the legal tools necessary to promote competition. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass legislation creating a more stringent legal standard to protect competition, shifting the burden of proof for mega-mergers from the government to the parties to demonstrate that their mergers do not reduce competition, and clarifying that existing antitrust laws should take into account more than price and that they should also consider vertical integration, harm to innovation, as well as monopsony — a market condition where there is only one buyer.
  • Create a new competition advocate. As President, Senator Klobuchar will create a new position to oversee the effectiveness of merger enforcement. The Office of the Competition Advocate would help consumers raise complaints about anti- competitive activity, encourage antitrust investigations, and analyze and publish reports on merger activity.

Respect the Dignity of Work

Senator Klobuchar believes that everyone who works hard should be able earn enough to care for and support their family. Respecting the dignity of work means raising the minimum wage, providing paid family leave and child care and making sure people have a secure retirement.

Raise the Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour and Enforce It. As President, Senator Klobuchar will push for legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and eliminate the tipped minimum wage. To make immediate progress toward this goal, she will increase the minimum wage for federal contractors to that threshold. She will also immediately strengthen enforcement and expand investigations to make sure that our wage laws are properly enforced and that workers are able to recover back pay when the government rules in their favor.

Create a National Paid Family and Medical Leave Program. The United States is the only industrialized nation without a national paid leave program, and only 19 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave through their employer. As President, Senator Klobuchar will create a national paid family leave program to provide workers with 12 weeks of paid leave per year to care for a new child, a family member with a serious health condition, or their own serious health condition. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s plan for paid family and medical leave here.

Invest in Quality, Affordable Child Care. Senator Klobuchar believes that early, quality child care and education is one of the most important public investments we can make as a country. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to create a new federal- state partnership to make child care more affordable by capping spending on child care at seven percent of income for families making up to 150 percent of their state’s median income and invest in expanding the availability of child care and raising wages for caregivers and early childhood teachers. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s plan for child care here.

Make It Easier to Retire. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to create innovative, portable personal retirement accounts called UP-Savings Accounts. Under her plan, employers will set aside at least 50 cents per hour worked, helping a worker build more than $600,000 in wealth over the course of a career. She will continue to push for legislation to protect retiree pensions. Senator Klobuchar will also work to strengthen Social Security, and she believes that this program must remain solvent for generations to come and she will fight against risky schemes to privatize it. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to lift the Social Security payroll cap. Currently the payroll tax only applies to wages up to $133,000. Senator Klobuchar supports subjecting income above $250,000 to the payroll tax and extending the long-term solvency of Social Security. And Senator Klobuchar will make sure people are treated fairly by the current Social Security system. As President, she will work to strengthen and improve Social Security benefits for widows and people who took significant time out of the paid workforce to care for their children, aging parents, or sick family members. Senator Klobuchar also opposes cuts and risky schemes to privatize Medicare and will take action to strengthen Medicare and find solutions so it remains solvent. She will improve Medicare for current beneficiaries by reforming payment policies through measures like site neutral payments and providing incentives for getting the best quality health care at the best price, including bundled payments and telehealth. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s policies for seniors here.

Stand up for Our Unions. As the granddaughter of an iron ore miner and the daughter of a union teacher and a union newspaperman, Senator Klobuchar knows firsthand how unions give Americans and their families the opportunities they need to succeed. As President, she will support real labor law reform, ensure free and fair union elections, protect collective bargaining rights, roll back Right to Work laws, and make it easier — and not harder — for workers to join unions. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s labor policies here.

Invest in America’s Future

Right now, our economy is stable thanks to the efforts of our workers and our businesses. Senator Klobuchar believes that real leaders use times of stability to take on the challenges before them and invest for the future. As President, Senator Klobuchar will strengthen our economy by empowering small businesses and entrepreneurs and expanding exports, get our fiscal house in order and tackle the big challenges we face as a country.

Empower Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs and Expand Exports. Senator Klobuchar knows that small businesses and entrepreneurs help power our economy and create jobs. Supporting small businesses is one of the best ways to maintain a dynamic economy. And in an increasingly global economy, she is committed to giving more businesses the opportunity to export and reach customers across the world.

  • Expand access to capital for small businesses. Lack of access to capital is one of the biggest obstacles to starting a small business. As President, Senator Klobuchar will expand Small Business Administration (SBA) lending programs and make it easier for small businesses to get the loans and technical assistance they need to grow. She will also work to increase small dollar lending by the SBA, which can be particularly important for women and people of color seeking to start a small business.
  • Promote entrepreneurship and reverse the “startup slump.” New businesses drive economic growth, but fewer startups are launched every year. Startup rates have fallen to near 30-year lows. Senator Klobuchar recently launched the bipartisan Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus with Senator Tim Scott to address the most pressing issues facing entrepreneurs. As President, she will build on her work through the America COMPETES Act to close the gap between innovation and commercialization, help colleges and universities partner with entrepreneurs, accelerate the commercialization of federally funded research and update regional innovation programs at the Economic Development Administration. To reverse the startup slump she will also tackle unprecedented corporate consolidation, make it easier to export, simplify small business rules, expand access to capital, as well as promote incubators, mentoring and training.
  • Make it easier to export, especially for small businesses. Ninety-five percent of the world’s potential customers live outside of the U.S., but less than one percent of American businesses export. As President, Senator Klobuchar will restart the President’s Export Council, which brings together business, labor, and agricultural leaders with Members of Congress and key Administration officials to help promote a comprehensive export and trade strategy. She will also work to pass legislation based on her bipartisan Promoting Rural Exports Act to establish a Rural Export Center to help rural businesses export their products to new international markets. And since international tourism is one of our top exports, she will work to reauthorize Brand USA so the United States can compete to attract foreign visitors.
  • Support small manufacturers. As President, Senator Klobuchar will support and expand the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, which the Trump Administration has tried to eliminate. The program helps small manufacturers innovate, upgrade their technology and improve production. She will work to create a manufacturing tax incentive to encourage investment in rural communities or communities that have faced or are about to face manufacturing job losses. She will also support our small manufacturers by expanding guaranteed loan programs that make it easier for rural manufacturers to access capital, pushing for a new tax credit for manufacturers to hire registered apprentices, providing financing and grants for equipment and technology upgrades, and working with states, localities, research universities and community colleges to promote workforce development, apprenticeships, and innovation in manufacturing.

Govern with Fiscal Responsibility. In less than three years, President Trump has added $4 trillion to the national debt. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2029, the national debt will be higher than it has been at any time since 1946, right after World War II. And each year over the next decade the federal government will spend an average of about $1.2 trillion more than it collects in revenue. As President, Senator Klobuchar will reverse this trend with the goal of lowering the debt to GDP ratio by the end of her first term and putting our country on a sustainable fiscal path.

  • Move to a biennial budget process. Senator Klobuchar will push to overhaul the way Congress budgets federal dollars to strengthen oversight of government spending and move the country forward when it comes to tackling the nation’s debt. She is a co-sponsor of Senators Johnny Isakson and Jeanne Shaheen’s Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act, which would create a two-year budget and appropriations cycle with the first year dedicated to appropriating federal dollars and the next year dedicated to conducting oversight of how those federal dollars are being used. Senator Klobuchar also supports moving from a 10-year forecasting window to a 25-year forecasting window for Congressional Budget Office and Joint Tax Committee scores, as the expanded window will better capture the long-term fiscal impact of federal policies.
  • Establish a dedicated fund to tackle the U.S. debt and support our economy. Senator Klobuchar will establish a dedicated fund to make a down payment to tackle the U.S. debt and protect our economy. She will initially seed the fund with $300 billion by raising the corporate tax rate and dedicating savings from the government-wide budget review. When the economy is doing well, the fund will finance deficit reduction. When specific economic indicators show our economy is in a recession, the funding will automatically be diverted to increase spending on programs that are effective at stimulating the economy like infrastructure spending, increased unemployment and nutrition assistance, and an increased federal share of Medicaid and CHIP spending. As tax changes are implemented and as departments complete Senator Klobuchar’s government-wide review, she will invest additional government-wide savings towards expanding the fund to decrease the deficit and support our economy.
  • Eliminate duplicative government spending. Senator Klobuchar will immediately order all cabinet secretaries to undertake a comprehensive review of their department’s budget and identify a list of duplicative and unnecessary programs as well as potential gaps in spending. When it comes to our nation’s defense, Senator Klobuchar is committed to maintaining and extending our military superiority over any adversary that would challenge us. She will ensure that our troops are the best-trained and best-equipped in the world, while also providing for their families at home. Yet virtually every analysis of the Pentagon’s budget has found duplicative and unnecessary programs — so she will ask her Secretary of Defense and other cabinet secretaries to take a close look at how money is being spent with an eye towards eliminating duplicative and unnecessary spending.

Tackle Today’s Challenges for a Stronger Future. Senator Klobuchar believes we need to govern from opportunity, not chaos. And governing from opportunity means meeting the challenges we face head on.

  • Build a 21st century workforce. Senator Klobuchar believes we should align our education system with the needs of our economy. As President, she will champion tuition-free one- and two-year community college degrees and technical certifications, expand apprenticeships, and make it easier for Americans who need help to afford four-year degrees. She will work to reduce the burden of student loans, support our Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and expand Pell Grants. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s post-secondary education policies here.
  • Pass comprehensive immigration reform. Senator Klobuchar believes that comprehensive immigration reform is crucial to moving our economy and our country forward. As President, she will push for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes the DREAM Act, targeted border security and an accountable pathway to earned citizenship.
  • Invest in our infrastructure. Senator Klobuchar has proposed a bold plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure, invest in our future, and create millions of good- paying American jobs. Her plan includes repairing and replacing our roads, highways and bridges as well as building smart climate infrastructure, ensuring clean water, modernizing our airports, seaports and inland waterways, expanding reliable public transit options, rebuilding our schools, overhauling our country’s housing policy, and connecting every household to the internet by 2022. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s policies to build America’s infrastructure here.
  • Make housing more affordable. Senator Klobuchar believes everyone deserves a safe and affordable home. As President, Senator Klobuchar will expand the Housing Choice Voucher program to make vouchers available to all qualifying households with children, increase access to homeownership while investing in neglected neighborhoods, tackle homelessness, and increase affordable rental housing in rural communities. She will also fight housing discrimination and invest in providing access to counsel in civil cases involving basic human needs. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s housing policies here.

Focus on Economic Justice and Shared Prosperity

Senator Klobuchar believes that right now the Trump economy works for President Trump and his wealthy friends, not for everyone else. As President, she will take on structural racism and remove barriers to success and support communities at risk from being left behind in the new economy.

Address Structural Racism and Barriers to Success. Senator Klobuchar is committed to addressing the structural racism in our society and making sure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed. She believes that no matter where you live, who you know, where you come from, or what you look like, you should be able to make it in this country.

  • Work to end child poverty. As President, within her first 100 days, Senator Klobuchar will put forward a plan to cut childhood poverty in half in ten years and end child poverty in a generation. The plan will be based on a National Academies of Science report and include expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Care Tax Credit, SNAP benefits and overhauling our country’s housing policy.
  • Eliminate the wage gap. Today, women working full-time earn 80 cents for every dollar paid to a man, and the gaps are even larger for women of color. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass Senator Patty Murray’s Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that employers pay employees equally for equal work — including by prohibiting employers from asking about the salary history of prospective employees.
  • Eliminate the wealth gap. Today, Black and Latino households have only about a tenth of the median net worth of white households. Senator Klobuchar’s proposal to establish portable, employer-funded UP-Savings Accounts for retirement savings will help address this disparity. She is also co-chair of the Diversifying Technology Caucus and the Entrepreneurship Caucus with Senator Tim Scott. As President she will work to get more women and people of color in STEM jobs and she will fully empower agencies to aggressively fight modern-day redlining that prevents businesses owned by people of color from getting loans and take on predatory lending that results in higher interest rates in low-income communities of color.
  • Make education the great equalizer. Senator Klobuchar believes a good education is one of the very best investments we can make in our country’s future. As President, Senator Klobuchar will help make education the great equalizer by increasing teacher salaries, investing in math and science to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow, and rebuilding our school infrastructure. She has proposed “Progress Partnerships” to help states take bold action to fund our public schools — including making sure infrastructure funding goes to high need areas and reviewing state funding formulas to improve equity. She will also put back in place guidance from President Obama directing schools to reduce racial disparities in how they discipline students.

Support Communities at Risk From Being Left Behind in the Changing Economy. As President, Senator Klobuchar is committed to providing additional support to at-risk communities so that no one is left behind.

  • Expand loans for and investments in local communities in need. For the past 40 years, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has encouraged financial institutions to make loans and investment in local communities, especially low- income and minority communities. Senator Klobuchar will protect the CRA and instruct financial regulators to conduct greater outreach to assess the true credit needs of their communities.
  • Support and strengthen the Economic Development Administration. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) works directly with communities and regions to promote competitiveness and innovation. It has a proven track record of success and on average every $1 of EDA infrastructure funding generates $15 in private investment. Still, the Trump Administration has repeatedly proposed eliminating the agency. Senator Klobuchar will ensure the agency has the resources to carry out its mission.
  • Bridge the rural-urban divide. Senator Klobuchar has proposed a plan for America’s Heartland that will strengthen our agricultural and rural communities, bridge the rural-urban divide, and make sure that kids who grow up in rural America can stay in rural America. This includes connecting every household to high speed internet by 2022. She knows that America’s prosperity depends on the success of our farmers and rural businesses and as a senior member of the Agriculture Committee, she’s been a champion for farmers and rural communities in the Senate. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s agriculture and rural policies here.
  • Fulfill our responsibility to our communities and workers who have helped power this country. As the granddaughter of a miner who worked 1,500 feet underground, Senator Klobuchar understands the hard work and sacrifice of those who built and powered our country. She is committed to supporting and creating new opportunities for workers and communities that have depended on the fossil fuel industry as our country transitions away from fossil fuels. Senator Klobuchar will work with the public and private sectors to attract new employers and maintain public services, while investing in infrastructure and educational opportunities in areas that experience job loss. As part of any carbon pricing system, she will create a significant manufacturing tax incentive to encourage investment in communities that have faced or are about to face job losses. To make it easier for workers to find new jobs, Senator Klobuchar will also create a new tax credit for companies that hire workers who have previously depended on the fossil fuel industry for employment.

Senator Klobuchar describes how she will pay for these plans and more here, here, here, here, here and here. To pay for her deficit reduction fund, Senator Klobuchar will increase the corporate rate by two additional points to 27 percent and initiate a government-wide budget review. To pay for her child poverty plan, Senator Klobuchar will repeal the regressive portions of the 2017 Republican tax bill.

Amy for America

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