WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton’s job-killing “growth and fairness” plan that calls for higher taxes certainly isn’t fair and will only further weaken the Obama economy.
If anyone really thought she could come up with a plan to move the economy in a stronger direction, they were sorely disappointed.
Large parts of her plan came from Obama’s long-stalled agenda that is going nowhere in his remaining term, and from his previously failed proposals.
The economic agenda she delivered Monday called for raising the minimum wage, raising taxes on the wealthy to make them pay their so-called “fair share,” imposing new overtime rules and other federal regulations on employers to boost incomes, and spending billions more dollars on infrastructure projects that Obama tried at the beginning of his presidency with little to show for it.
After months of discussion with 200 economic advisers, Clinton’s plan had all the markings of a political document aimed at women, the middle-class, minorities, labor unions and other parts of the electorate that form the base of the Democratic Party.
Her speech was filled with political lines about “upward mobility,” “equal opportunity” and “trickle-down” attacks on Republicans, but it was far short on specifics about how to create more jobs, boost incomes and economic growth.
Advisers like former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich were not happy with the politically loaded themes that she struck in her speech.
“Upward mobility, equal opportunity — those are safe phrases and safe aspirations. I don’t want to minimize their importance, but they obscure the real issue,” he told The New York Times.
For many economists, the salient issue facing the U.S. economy today is economic growth, barely creeping along in the 2-percent range last year, and plunging into the zero-growth range where the economy was actually shrinking.
One of the problems Clinton faced in fashioning her economic campaign agenda is that, by sounding a clarion call for sweeping policy changes to boost wages, jobs and restart a stalled economy, she’s implicitly acknowledging that Obama’s economic policies were not working.
Yet, incredibly, she blamed all of our economic troubles on Republicans and “trickle-down” proposals that would cut tax rates and reduce government regulations.
“Twice now in the past 20 years, a Democratic president has had to come in and clean up the mess,” she said.
She never mentioned that her husband, Bill Clinton, cut the capital gains tax in his second term, triggering soaring economic growth and pounding the unemployment rate to 4 percent.
Entirely absent from her remedial remarks were policy initiatives to boost economic growth, new job creation, business expansion and higher incomes.
That requires unlocking investment capital — a term she doesn’t understand and never uses — by cutting capital gains tax rates that Obama raised. And by lowering the top corporate tax rate that is the highest in the industrialized world and has sent jobs overseas.
There is no hint of this in any of her proposals. Instead, it’s full of sweeping government regulations of businesses, new rules to encourage shareholder activism that will raise their costs, kill jobs and further reduce new business start-ups.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which crunches the costs of all proposed legislation, warns that raising the minimum wage — as Clinton proposes — would kill between 500,000 to 1 million jobs among struggling employers who would be forced to reduce their work forces in order to stay in business.
If you had to choose just one word that would perfectly describe the Obama economy, it would be “uncertainty.”
And it is that uncertainty that has locked up capital, which is the mother’s milk of business expansion, job creation and economic growth. The biggest complaint in the business community today is the decline in capital investment.
The Democratic Party today has become anti-business, anti-wealth, and certainly anti-capitalism in a free-market system that has made America the richest economy in the world.
What has happened to the party of John F. Kennedy, who ran for president on an economic agenda for across-the-board income tax cuts to “get America moving again”?
When the anti-capitalism zealots in his party said his tax cuts would only enrich the wealthy, he replied, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
There were those who said the tax cuts would balloon the deficit, but at the end of the 1960s, the government was running a budget surplus as a result of much stronger economic growth.
As the years wore on, just the mention of tax cuts drew angry responses from rank-and-file Democrats. At a 2008 party gathering of presidential candidates in Washington, D.C., New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson mentioned he had cut taxes and was booed.
Such is the tax-crazed disease that now infects every nook and cranny of the Democratic Party’s base.
The economy we suffer from today is shrinking, both in terms of its growth rate and work force where millions of discouraged, unemployed workers have stopped looking for a job and are no longer counted as unemployed.
Now Hillary Clinton says she wants to raise tax rates even more — the modern-day equivalent of bleeding sick patients to make them well — and thus further weakening our nation’s fragile economy and putting more people out of work.
A presidential candidate who needs 200 economic advisers to help her decide how to fix a failing economy shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House.