Even as I was writing yesterday's post about Bernie Sanders' destructive economic policy prescriptions, Madame Hillary was down in my neighborhood at the New School (Motto: "Where Marxists went when they fled from the Nazis") giving her own major address on economic issues. Prior to this she's been more or less mum on this subject, but now we at least have something in writing to look at. Does she have any idea what she is talking about?
As I said yesterday, Hillary definitely tries her best to stick to gauzy generalities, and to avoid specifics. I will make life more fair! You deserve to be paid more! The greedy corporations and banks are taking all the money! Still, there's plenty here to definitively prove that this woman has absolutely no idea how an economy creates wealth. In fact, there's plenty here to conclude that she can't do basic arithmetic.
But before getting into the details of the speech, let me remind you of Hillary's prior big foray into economic policy. I'm talking of course about her efforts as Secretary of State and then with the Clinton Foundation to provide aid intended to raise hundreds of thousands of Haitians out of poverty in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Her signature initiative is the Caracol industrial park in Northern Haiti, supposedly to provide some 60,000 jobs. Here is a link to the blurb on the Clinton Foundation website boasting about their role in the project. Here is a picture of Hillary leading the photo op contingent at the official opening in 2012.
The project is a complete and unmitigated disaster. Three years later, with at least $70 million committed by aid organizations, the project has been completely stalled by corruption and obstructionism of the Haiti government. Here is a link to my prior coverage. More generally, tens of billions in aid to Haiti have gone into a complete black hole, and the country is as poor as ever. Don't you and Bill have some ownership of this?
Memo to Hillary: all wealth is created by the private sector in the presence of private property rights and the rule of law. Does Hillary know this at all? Well, her Foundation web site still touts her involvement in Caracol. Draw your own conclusions.
Now to the speech. Here's a transcript. I'll take some key quotes and follow with pithy comments.
Wages need to rise to keep up with costs. Paychecks need to grow. Families who work hard and do their part deserve to get ahead and stay ahead. The defining economic challenge of our time is clear: We must raise incomes for hard-working Americans so they can afford a middle-class life.
"Wages need to rise"? That's nice. What exactly do you plan to do about it? There's precisely one thing that will work, which is to create a good business climate and let the people get to work on creating their own wealth. Is it possible that Hillary will stand back and not meddle? "We must raise incomes for hard-working Americans . . . ." She views it as the job of the government, "we," the great and the good, to provide for the unwashed. How's that working out in Haiti?
And really there’s no excuse not to make greater investments in cleaner, renewable energy right now. Our economy obviously runs on energy. And the time has come to make America the world’s clean energy superpower. I advocate that because these investments will create millions of jobs, save us money in the long run, and help us meet the threats of climate change.
Really, if you don't know that government subsidization of more expensive energy to replace cheaper energy is wealth destruction, how can you possibly even remotely be considered qualified to be President of the United States? Have you noticed that both Australia and the UK have announced just within the past few days that they are getting out of subsidizing the wind power business because of the unjustifiable costs? Do you know that California has managed to raise its electricity prices by about 30% over the rest of the U.S., and Germany to double the U.S. average, by forcing consumers to pay for these "renewable" energy schemes? Think about this Hillary: doubling electricity prices is the same thing as a huge wage cut for Americans.
And while we're talking about huge wage cuts, try this:
You know last year while I was at the hospital here in Manhattan waiting for little Charlotte to make her grand entrance, one of the nurses said, “Thank you for fighting for paid leave.” And we began to talk about it. She sees first-hand what it means for herself and her colleagues as well as for the working parents that she helps take care of. . . . Fair pay and fair scheduling, paid family leave and earned sick days, child care are essential to our competitiveness and growth.
Paid leave! Fair scheduling! Earned sick days! Child care! Hillary, don't you know that all of those things are going to come straight out of wages? These things are just totally inconsistent with the idea of encouraging employers to pay higher wages. It's one or the other. This is why I think that Hillary does not have the ability to do basic arithmetic.
Or is the plan to raise wages by a big government redistribution program? Well, I have news for you on that one too: In any massive government redistribution program that includes most everybody, the middle class is going to be on the paying end, not the receiving end. Without hitting the middle class to pay, there's not enough money to make a big redistribution go. Sorry.
Shall we turn to her prescriptions for the financial industry? Try this:
Too many of our financial institutions are too complex and too risky. . . . We also have to go beyond Dodd-Frank. . . . I will offer plans to rein in excessive risks on Wall Street. . . .
I like that "go beyond Dodd-Frank." Wasn't Dodd-Frank the "plan to rein in excessive risks on Wall Street"? I have a copy of Dodd-Frank here on my desk, and it's about 2000 pages long. You mean they left something out? I'll bet you can't name it! As far as I know, Dodd-Frank is the main driver behind all the little banks disappearing and our getting left with a handful of gigantic behemoths. Since when can a community bank afford a compliance staff of 400 lawyers? With your new crop of say 200,000 pages of regulations, they'll need 1000 lawyers per bank to try to comply. That'll teach 'em!
I could go on. As I said, it's mostly generalities, but there's plenty here to conclude that she has absolutely no idea what she's doing in this area. But I guess we already knew that.