Klobuchar warns of ‘gilded age’

  • U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks at a Dartmouth College event in Hanover, N.H., on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Ralph Epifanio photograph)

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 5/20/2019 10:45:25 PM

HANOVER — U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., focused on what she said were bipartisan and forward-thinking policy proposals on Sunday evening in a forum on the changing economy at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

The Democratic presidential candidate from Minnesota, a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, talked about her work on regulating mergers and mega-mergers.

“We are in a new gilded age,” said Klobuchar, who in her talk also cautioned against the “dangers of big” and called for a greater review of mergers, including some that have already taken place.

The third-term Democrat also said she is concerned about the future of Social Security and helping lower-income workers prepare for retirement and noted she and a Senate colleague have proposed an “UP-savings account” in which small businesses with more than 10 workers would be required to put 50 cents in every employee’s retirement accounts — contributing to a worker’s 401k would be one possibility — for every hour worked in exchange for tax incentives. The proposal, which would be funded by rolling back some tax cuts passed under President Donald Trump, would also cover part-time work and include automatic enrollment.

“Social safety nets are breaking down for new workers and it is hard to reach across the divide when a Fortune 500 CEO drags in 361 times the compensation of the average American worker,” she said.

Klobuchar argued that America needs to work towards “capitalism for shared prosperity” and that the country should be wary of backroom deals that diminish economic competition.

She cited an ongoing case in Connecticut where pharmaceutical companies have been accused of paying to keep generic drugs off the market and keep prices high.

Klobuchar supports legislation that requires parties involved in mergers to prove that they are not damaging competition and places a fee on mega-mergers. She also proposed stronger consumer protection policies that would rein in robocalls, senior fraud, and predatory student loans.

About 125 people attended the talk, which was moderated by Tuck School Dean Matthew Slaughter. The granddaughter of an iron-ore miner and the daughter of a second-grade teacher, Klobuchar said New Hampshire and Minnesota had some similarities, including the woods and a passion for hockey.

In regards to the digital economy, Klobuchar said the U.S. needs to help rural communities catch up on digital infrastructure such as broadband. She also noted that she couldn’t get cell service to send a tweet during her ride to Hanover.

After the forum, retired radio station owner Bob Vinikoor, who has a home in Norwich, said, “I thought she was absolutely brilliant” and said he would consider voting for her, but had yet to make up his mind.

Rohan Chakravarty can be reached at Rohanchak@gmail.com.




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