Jacob Sullum

When it comes to fiscal policy, Clinton seems to see herself as a kindergarten teacher "fairly" doling out cupcakes, giving no thought to who baked them in the first place. In a recent New York Times interview, she worried that "inequality is growing" and waxed nostalgic for the "confiscatory" tax rates of the post-World War II decades.

Clinton would use higher taxes to pay for universal preschool, universal college, universal health care and universal high-speed Internet access, among other taxpayer-funded goodies. These she calls "the investments we make in each other," and they are just like investments except that there is no reliable test of whether they make sense since the people paying for them have no choice in the matter and are not the ones who stand to benefit.

There's a similar problem with Clinton's proposal to "create millions of new jobs by investing in clean energy" through a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund. When a politician talks about the jobs government spending will create, it's usually a signal that the spending cannot be defended on its own merits. A Strategic Thumb Twiddling Fund could create millions of new jobs too.

In the Times interview, Clinton suggested that as president, she would be prepared to ram through her economic program on straight party-line votes. "If you really believe you have to manage the economy," she said, "you have to stake a lot of your presidency on it."

The history of central planners and their failures suggests a different lesson: If you really believe you have to manage the economy, you shouldn't be president.

Jacob Sullum

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a contributing columnist on Townhall.com.
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