Hillary Clinton is playing the American voters for fools. Her much-anticipated economic policy speech on Thursday was full of fluffy rhetoric and ideas to rebuild the middle class that are reruns of Barack Obama’s promises of eight years ago — the same Obama agenda that has tanked the middle class.
She promised that she would launch a major jobs initiative during her first 100 days through a massive infrastructure program that will spend some $250 billion.
But wait. That is precisely what Barack Obama promised eight years ago. Anyone remember the “shovel ready jobs” that were supposed to turn the economy around? We were going to fix our bridges, fill our potholes, upgrade our ports, and build new highways.
More than $750 billion was spent — or more than twice (after adjusting for inflation) what Dwight Eisenhower spent to build the interstate highway system.
The result: the worst jobs recovery in 75 years, flat wages, an unemployment rate of close to 10 percent (when correctly measured), and yet our roads are still in terrible shape. What happened to the money? A lot of that “infrastructure stimulus” went instead for food stamps, unemployment benefits, green energy, and Medicaid spending. It turns out there were fewer jobs with all that spending than the White House predicted we would have if we hadn’t spent and borrowed a dime.
Hillary even dredged up the tired Obama soundbites circa 2008 of creating more “clean energy jobs,” which was a slight variation of the “green energy” jobs Obama promised. Instead, we got Solyndra and multiple other embarrassing business bankruptcies as the government kept picking losers. We’ve already spent $150 billion on “clean energy” and it supplies a meager 4 percent of our power.
The House Oversight Committee found that some of the programs spent more than $1 million for every job created. Meanwhile, one of the cleanest and most reliable energy sources, natural gas, Hillary and her green allies oppose.
Hillary is hoping that trillions of dollars of new government spending will lead to 10 million new jobs. It’s the same old Keynesian non sequitur of a “multiplier effect.” It’s a deranged logic. The government spends a dollar, and the money recirculates throughout the economy and… presto… the economy spits out $2 or $3 of increased output. The more the government spends and borrows, the more the economy grows, according to Hillary’s economic mindset. She keeps leaving something out the equation: before the government spends a dollar, it has to take a dollar from us (taxpayers). So there is no multiplier effect. The hocus pocus doesn’t work. Just look at Japan, which has tried multiple infrastructure programs to revive its moribund economy that have only prolonged stagnation.
She is promoting many other dead ideas. Raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour? This will mostly price young Americans out of the workforce entirely, as research from the Heritage Foundation has documented. Most hurt will be young black males. Their unemployment rate is already 25 percent. Why make it worse? Incidentally, the minimum wage has been raised three times since 2007.
She also proposes to make the “tax code fair” by taxing the rich. She wants to raise the capital gains tax, which will make small businesses smaller, and increase income taxes on “the rich” even though most of them are business owners.
The top 1 percent already pay about 40 percent of income taxes, but that isn’t enough, apparently. Obama already did raise taxes on the rich multiple times and inequality went up and growth went down to one percent. Been there, done that. The Tax Foundation says that the Clinton tax hikes would “lead to lower wages… and 311,000 fewer full-time equivalent jobs.”
Then there are all Hillary’s free giveaways: college, child care, pre-K education, and so on. Spending on social and education programs like these surged in Obama’s first term. Obama’s college affordability programs backfired. The more money the feds threw at the universities for student loans and grants, the more the university presidents raised their tuitions on working families. The dog was chasing its tail. Federal intervention in higher education was supposed to make it all more affordable. Now many schools are charging $50,000 or even $60,000 for room, board, and tuition. Don’t be surprised if we see tuition costs rise to $100,000 a year once Hillary makes it “free.” This just means families will pay through higher taxes, instead of higher tuitions.
Hillary ended her speech with a question that all Americans will answer on election day: “Which candidate do you trust to go to bat for working families?” Her problem is that the number of Americans who consider themselves middle class has shrunk from more than 60 percent when Obama and Hillary came into office to closer to 50 percent today. Most of these voters today feel poorer, not richer, after eight years of Obama and Hillary economics. Unfortunately, for Hillary, it’s because they are.
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