Clinton Jobs Plan: 'Deploy a Half a Billion More Solar Panels'

Susan Jones | September 27, 2016 | 5:23am EDT
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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters after the first presidential debate with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in Westbury, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

( - At Monday night's presidential debate, Democrat Hillary Clinton embraced climate change as the crux of her job-creation plan.

"Take clean energy," she said. "Some country is going to be the clean-energy superpower of the 21st century. Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it's real."

"I think the science is real," Clinton repeated. "And I think it's important that we grip this and deal with it, both at home and abroad. And here's what we can do. We can deploy a half a billion more solar panels. We can have enough clean energy to power every home. We can build a new modern electric grid. That's a lot of jobs; that's a lot of new economic activity.

"So I've tried to be very specific about what we can and should do, and I am determined that we're going to get the economy really moving again, building on the progress we've made over the last eight years, but never going back to what got us in trouble in the first place."

Trump, responding, noted that Clinton "talks about solar panels. We invested in a solar company, our country. That was a disaster. They lost plenty of money on that one," he said, referring to Solyndra, the solar panel firm touted by President Obama. Solyndra received $535 million from taxpayers in 2009, two years before filing for bankruptcy and laying off 11,000 employees.

Trump continued: "Now look, I'm a great believer in all forms of energy, but we're putting a lot of people out of work. Our energy policies are a disaster. Our country is losing so much in terms of energy, in terms of paying off our debt. You can't do what you're looking to do with $20 trillion in debt."

Trump said it's important to keep jobs in the U.S. "And we have to do a much better job at giving companies incentives to build new companies or to expand, because they're not doing it. And all you have to do is look at Michigan and look at Ohio and look at all of these places where so many of their jobs and their companies are just leaving, they're gone.

"And, Hillary, I'd just ask you this. You've been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now? For 30 years, you've been doing it, and now you're just starting to think of solutions."

"Well, actually--" Clinton started to say.

"I will bring -- excuse me," Trump said. "I will bring back jobs. You can't bring back jobs."

"Well, actually, I have thought about this quite a bit," Clinton said.

"Yeah, for 30 years," Trump shot back.

The very first question at Monday night's presidential debate focused on jobs: "Why are you a better choice than your opponent to create the kinds of jobs that will put more money into the pockets of American workers?" debate moderator Lester Holt asked Hillary Clinton.

"I want us to invest in you. I want us to invest in your future," Clinton said. "That means jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business. We also have to make the economy fairer. That starts with raising the national minimum wage and also guarantee, finally, equal pay for women's work.

"I also want to see more companies do profit-sharing. If you help create the profits, you should be able to share in them, not just the executives at the top."

Clinton also called for paid family leave, earned sick days and affordable child care and debt-free college: "How are we going to do it?" she asked. "We're going to do it by having the wealthy pay their fair share and close the corporate loopholes."

For his part, Trump said the U.S. has to stop jobs from leaving the country in the first place: "We cannot let it happen," he said. "Under my plan, I'll be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses. That's going to be a job creator like we haven't seen since Ronald Reagan. It's going to be a beautiful thing to watch.

"Companies will come. They will build. They will expand. New companies will start. And I look very, very much forward to doing it. We have to renegotiate our trade deals, and we have to stop these countries from stealing our companies and our jobs."

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