Today, Hillary Clinton gave her first major speech on her economic policy. “Blah blah working families,” she said. What did she really say?

Talk is cheap. This speech was amply hyped as Hillary’s big, progressive statement—one that would establish once and for all that she is liberal enough (and fiery enough) to be an acceptable choice for the Democratic party’s left wing, which has spent the past several years appropriately raging over America’s growing economic inequality. This speech, in other words, was Hillary’s chance to convince the Bernie Sanders demographic that she, too, can be their champion.

Anyone who wants to call themself a progressive in this country today must grasp how entrenched, pervasive, and harmful our inequality is. The worst since the Great Depression. A simple plan for addressing this issue should include things like, A) Higher taxes on the very wealthy, including estate taxes and capital gains taxes; B) Addressing systemic concentration of power in “too big to fail” institutions; C) Raising wages for low-income workers by a significant amount; and D) Expanding and strengthening the government programs that constitute the social safety net. Just to begin with! Patter about “growing the economy” and “creating jobs” “strengthening small businesses” is meaningless campaign rhetoric mouthed by Democrats and Republicans alike. What we really need to know is, does Hillary Clinton actually have any proposals that might resemble something so gauche as an ideal?

Once you scroll past the large amount of “I care about you, the average worker” filler, the answer is: meh. Here are the things that could be construed as real progressive economic proposals by Hillary Clinton** (**Subject to change by 2016):

I’ll also push for broader business tax reform to spur investment in America, closing those loopholes that reward companies for sending jobs and profits overseas.

Promising, but desperately vague.

You know, when we get Americans moving, we get our country moving. So let’s establish an infrastructure bank that can channel more public and private funds…channel those funds to finance world-class airports, railways, roads, bridges and ports.

A new WPA? Perhaps? Who can tell?

Fair pay and fair scheduling, paid family leave and earned sick days, childcare are essential to our competitiveness and our growth. And we can do this in a way that doesn’t impose unfair burdens on businesses, especially small businesses.

Promising, but desperately vague.

So, we do have to raise the minimum wage, and implement President Obama’s new rules on overtime, and then we have to go further. I will crack down on bosses who exploit employees by mis- classifying them as contractors or even steal their wages.

Raise the minimum wage by how much? Hillary Clinton does not say. And she certainly does not say “I support the ongoing effort to raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour.” And the “crack down” she offers here amounts to saying, “I will enforce current law.”

First, hard-working families need and deserve tax relief and simplification. Second, those at the top have to pay their fair share. That’s why I support the Buffet Rule, which makes sure millionaires do not pay lower rates than their secretaries. I have called for closing the carried interest loophole, that lets wealthy financiers pay an artificially low rate.

Piss poor and lacking in specifics. The Buffet Rule is rather weak sauce for a “progressive.” Closing the carried interest loophole, which would make a relative handful of fantastically wealthy money managers pay more, is good; raising the capital gains tax rate, which would compel millions of investors to pay a fair tax rate, would be much better.

[Evidence] shows that the decline of unions may be responsible for a third of the increase of inequality among men, so if we want to get serious about raising incomes, we have to get serious about supporting union workers.

Promising, but desperately vague.

Over the course of this campaign, I will offer plans to rein in excessive risks on Wall Street and ensure that stock markets work for everyday investors, not just high-frequency traders and those with the best or fastest connections. I will appoint and empower regulators who understand that too big to fail is still too big a problem. We will ensure that no firm is too complex to manage or oversee. And we will also process individuals as well as firms when they commit fraud or other criminal wrongdoing.

Promising, but desperately vague.

The rest of the speech was feel-good pap.

In essence, Hillary Clinton is asking America’s progressives to trust her. She is offering sentiment without specifics. For the voting bloc that does not have enough money to make campaign donations large enough to whisper in Hillary Clinton’s ear, that is not going to be enough.

[Photo: AP]