Hillary Clinton is a walking, talking cliche who spouts decades-old sound bites that were bad enough when her husband first delivered them but are painfully anachronistic today. Same old material, same old demagoguery.
You would think a self-styled "progressive" would be less regressive and reactionary, but this woman apparently believes that the Clinton magic of the '90s can be dusted off and resurrected without the slightest rhetorical modification. The problem with that is that Clintonomics only works on the heels of Reaganomics and liberals have been squeezing every last ounce of Reaganomics out of our system.
In her first major economic policy speech at The New School in New York, Hillary made clear that she wants to revive the shamefully populist Clinton-Gore trope of "trickle-down economics." This hackneyed slogan is grounded in the lie that Republicans believe that only by stacking the deck in favor of the wealthiest people will the rest of America be able to do better, and then only by catching their breadcrumbs as they trickle down into the general economy.
Hogwash. First, neither conservatives nor Republicans advocate special advantages for the rich. Most propose some level of progressive income taxes, which means stacking the deck against the higher-income groups, not in favor of them. Even those who support a flat tax, by definition, are not favoring the rich over the poor.
Second, conservatives don't argue that the non-rich succeed only by licking scraps from the rich. They do say that freer markets are conducive to economic growth across the board. Yes, opening up the markets and reducing onerous taxes provide incentives for risk-taking and spur economic growth, and when big and small businesses grow, they have more jobs to offer and people have more money to spend. It's not a matter of trickling down; it's that a rising tide lifts all boats. The policies that are conducive to rich people's succeeding are the same ones that lead to lower- and middle-income earners doing better as well.
Conservatives don't favor the rich, but liberals discriminate against them and all who succeed or who aspire to achieve. Roughly half of income earners in the United States don't pay income taxes now, and higher-income earners are responsible for paying a wildly disproportionate share of federal revenues. To claim they don't pay their fair share is objectively dishonest, and no one with half the brains Clinton's admirers attribute to her could possibly believe it.
What's more, President Obama has been in charge for 6 1/2 years now, imposing income tax increases, endless regulations and his beloved Obamacare -- all of which Clinton supports with a vengeance -- and we have almost 100 million people out of work. You want to talk about heartless, Hillary?
You glibly say that Americans need a raise? How about getting your intrusive government off their backs so they can first get a job? Then we'll talk about a raise. But when we do, we'd best remember basic laws of economics, which tell us that workers aren't going to do better as a result of government coercion. Government cannot and does not create wealth, but it does destroy it, and Obama's time in office has demonstrated that. Yet Clinton wants to double down on it.
Clinton says the government needs to do more to help middle-class families -- and in the next breath lauds Obamacare. So are we to assume that her idea of helping middle-class families is not only eradicating America's workforce but also increasing people's health insurance premiums, reducing their quality of health care and ending their freedom of choice in health care decisions?
Clinton says she will "defend and enhance" Social Security. Catchy platitude, but what does it mean? Well, math doesn't lie, and it says Social Security is doomed for insolvency. As Clinton's Democratic Party has blocked entitlement reform, we see that "defending Social Security" is an Orwellian term for "destroying Social Security" and thereby threatening the solvency of the United States. Clinton would "enhance" it? That can only mean she wants to bankrupt it more quickly. How can Washington Democrats claim they care about people when for the sake of their own political power they lie to them about the financial implications of blocking entitlement reform?
The bottom line is that liberals have no constructive economic solutions to offer. They mock "trickle-down" economics but advocate policies that purport to accomplish two conflicting goals: to stimulate economic growth on the one hand and to punish productivity and success, reward and incentivize unemployment, and forcibly redistribute wealth on the other.
The dirty little secret, which would not be secret if liberals didn't rewrite history, is that socialism, forced redistribution of income and assets, and pumping government money into the economy ostensibly to stimulate growth destroy not only liberty but also wealth. If they have any effect at all on making income more equitable, it is because they spread the misery and make all people -- except perhaps the very wealthiest, ironically -- poorer.
Conservatives don't claim that everyone will do the same under capitalism. But they do say that more people will prosper under free markets than any other economic system and that efforts to make us obsess over whether others are doing better than we are not only are destructive of liberty and wealth but also are detrimental to society's moral fabric.