Economics

A Conservative Vote for Hillary Clinton

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Columnist and sometime Reason contributor Bruce Bartlett gives thumbs up to the prospects of Sen. Hillary Clinton's likely economic plan as president:

On economics, it is reasonable to assume that Mrs. Clinton's policies would not be altogether different from Bill Clinton's. This is not a bad thing. On trade, his record was outstanding and on the budget was far better than George W. Bush's. While Mr. Clinton raised taxes in 1993, it should be remembered that he cut them in 1997, including a cut in the capital gains tax. On regulatory policy, Mr. Clinton was no worse than the current administration and probably better on net.

Democrats know all this, which is why our most liberal pundits, like Bob Kuttner, are attacking Mrs. Clinton for being a clone of her husband on economics and attacking her support for "Rubinomics," named after former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin. Its essential elements are a commitment to deficit reduction and globalization which are both anathema to the Democratic Party's liberal base. It wants a hard-line against imports to save jobs and an expansive fiscal policy to pay for a wide range of new social programs.

More here.

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  1. Sounds to me like Bruce Bartlett is conceding that socialized medicine is inevitable in this country by implying that a Democrat will undeniably win the white house.

    Maybe it is.

  2. Maybe it is

    I fear you are right. Even if we escape Clinton II, I don’t see any alternative that doesn’t suck.

    Nick! Please tell me again how things are getting better all the time. It’s way too early on a Monday to start drinking.

  3. As a Democrat, this reads like a DARE pamphlet describing what “drug people” are like.

    Deficit reducation is anathema to liberals?

    The guy who co-sponsored the Don’t Bother Going Back To Congress, Mr. President Sir AUMF bill (Edwards) is more liberal than the guy who opposed the war from the beginning?

    What is this guy talking about?

    I’m sure Boston Globe editorials about the Republican primaries look the same way to youze guys.

  4. On economics, it is reasonable to assume that Mrs. Clinton’s policies would not be altogether different from Bill Clinton’s.

    Unlike Hilary will if she’s elected, Bill Clinton also had a freshly-elected Republican Congress to deal with. Does Babbitt really think that Clinton’s economic policies would have been the same with a Dem Congress?

  5. Clinton’s economic/deficit reduction/tax bill passed a Democratic Congress, crimethink, in 1993. Not a single Republican voted for it.

    And as a matter of fact, he fought off a large segment of the Democratic Congress, and his own cabinet, who wanted a “stimulus package” instead.

  6. Clinton’s economic/deficit reduction/tax bill passed a Democratic Congress, crimethink, in 1993. Not a single Republican voted for it.

    I forgot about that. It’s amazing how ungrateful we were as a nation to the Democrats the very next year.

  7. It was 14 years ago when all of this was going on.

    50-50 in the Senate with Al Gore breaking the tie.

    No repub voted for it, several dems voted against.

    218-216 in the House. No Repubs voted for; 41 Dems voted against. 1 Ind voted for (hi Bernie).

    Google, “Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993”.

    The Wikipedia article on it, hier, has the usual biases of Wikip, so read it at your own peril.

  8. Unlike Hilary will if she’s elected, Bill Clinton also had a freshly-elected Republican Congress to deal with.

    How is that neccesarily so? It’s possible that either the House or Senate or maybe both will swing back to the Republicans in 2008.

  9. Even if we escape Clinton II, I don’t see any alternative that doesn’t suck.

    What about Arnold Kling’s suggestions? Very very briefly, (1) government-paid care for the very poor, (2) high-deductible private insurance for everyone else, and (3) making employer-provided insurance taxable as income.

  10. “and on the budget was far better than George W. Bush’s”

    Clinton didn’t have anything to do with creating the budget surplus. It was the additional tax revenue generated by the economic expansion that began before he took office in his first term and ended before he left it in his second. And the credit for that good economy (as it is for ALL good economies) goes entirely to the private sector.

  11. He didn’t spent it, Gil.

    Hence, the contrast with George W. Bush.

  12. There was also the small matter of the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1991, which led to a large reduction in the DOD budget, making balancing the overall budget far easier. Whatever happens in Iraq, I doubt we will see a replay of that phenomena.

  13. It should also be noted that Clinton’s economic policies (and those of the Gingrich Congress) followed the blueprint laid down by George H.W. Bush and the Democratic Congress.

    So much of the credit should go there, too.

  14. “He didn’t spent it, Gil.”

    Ha, Clinton didn’t decrease spendng during his 2 terms. In fact the ONLY thing that kept him from spending more than he did was the Republican takeover of Congress in the mid-term elections.

  15. And of course, Clinton tried to wreck the whole health care industry by letting his wife nationalize it. Smarter folks had to stop him on that one too.

  16. What about Arnold Kling’s suggestions? Very very briefly, (1) government-paid care for the very poor, (2) high-deductible private insurance for everyone else, and (3) making employer-provided insurance taxable as income.

    Still sucks if you ask me, JP. As for part (2), is that mandated that everyone accept some high-deductible private insurance? I fail to see why we need some plan to provide health insurance. People will do with their bodies as they will, and it is neither my right to stop them nor my responsibility to compensate them for what they do to it.

    I would rather see someone who’s capable of critical thinking in the white house. I seem to remember Obama sounding intelligent when I listen to him speak, instead of Hillary’s shrill voice spewing talking points… but then again, I also seem to remember Obama becoming more of a politician lately. In short, we’re screwed.

  17. What about Arnold Kling’s suggestions? Very very briefly, (1) government-paid care for the very poor, (2) high-deductible private insurance for everyone else, and (3) making employer-provided insurance taxable as income.

    Assuming we’re going to end up with some kind of Federal health care program:

    (1) What about taxpayer-paid low-deductible health insurance for the poor. And set it up so the poor aren’t automatically consigned to receiving treatment at a second-rate tier of hospitals.

    (2) Leaving the middle and upper classes out of the whole scheme.

    (3) Leaving the employer tax break alone, and giving individuals similar breaks. Hell, why not let people keep a realistic cut off the top of their own incomes to pay for the basic necessities of life before you start taxing them?

    Of course, the cynic in me knows that the poor will end up in separate hospitals, the program will be geared towards the middle class, and tax credits are rarely more than token amounts.

  18. “Ha, Clinton didn’t decrease spendng during his 2 terms. In fact the ONLY thing that kept him from spending more than he did was the Republican takeover of Congress in the mid-term elections.”

    Back in the real world, Clinton reduced spending below the increase in revenue, committed to doing so in his very first economic bill (which, once again, the Republicans had nothing to do with), and included Pay-Go rules for appropriations, which limited federal spending.

  19. Bartlett is right. And we should add, as Michael Crowley did recently in a cover story for the New Republic, that Hillary “has always been more comfortable with the military than many of her liberal boomer peers.” She comes from the Truman-Kennedy foreign-policy wing of her party, and despite enormous pressure from her base, she refuses to recant her vote authorizing the Iraq war. She is also cosponsoring a bill to sanction U.S. companies that do business with Iran.

    Equally to the ire of primary and caucus voters, Hillary deplores violent and sexual content in video games-though because she’s not a knee-jerk leftist, she has proposed a voluntary ratings system rather than a mandatory one. Indeed, she talks more about our national morale and faith, which are far common from the mouths of Republicans than Democrats, than she does about gay marriage and abortion. A few months ago, she even declared that the latter is a “sad, even tragic choice.”

    In short, Hillary has left behind her HillaryCare days and embraced the political center. She focuses more on consensus than partisanship. And if you think I’m exaggerating, well, just ask such adversaries-turned-allies as Rick Santorum (on restricting graphic media for children); Sam Brownback (protecting refugees fleeing sexual abuse); Lindsay Graham (expanding health care services for the National Guard); and Newt Gingrich (reforming health care).

    And yet, pace Bartlett, Hillary is not the most conservative Dem. That honor belongs to Bill Richardson, about whom you, Nick (with Dave and Jesse?), summed up the case nicely:

    “[As governor] Richardson cut New Mexico’s income tax from 8.2 percent to 4.9 percent, halved the capital gains tax, and eliminated the gross receipts tax. He frequently and explicitly drew a link between lower taxes and economic growth. . . . [He] not only supports the right to carry a concealed weapons but holds a concealed-carry permit himself. He . . . endors[es] charter schools (but not vouchers) and medical marijuana (but not decriminalization).”

    And in case you think a presidential run has caused Richardson to revisit his views, as it has done to others, two things he said last week should quell your fears. First, on taxes: “Democrats, whenever we have a solution, we want to tax. I’m different. I’m a tax cutter.” Second, on guns: “I’m a Westerner. . . . The Second Amendment is precious in the West.” In fact, Richardson has the highest rating from the National Rifle Association of any candidate for president, Democrat or Republican.

  20. “Back in the real world, Clinton reduced spending below the increase in revenue”

    In the real world, only an ACTUAL spending reduction – where less total dollars are spent in the currrent period being measured than in the prior one – counts as a spending reduction.

    Clinton didn’t do that. And, as I said before, the revenue increase came in due to the economic boom and he get’s zero credit for any of that.

  21. “In the real world, only an ACTUAL spending reduction – where less total dollars are spent in the currrent period being measured than in the prior one – counts as a spending reduction.”

    Uh huh. Let’s level-fund the military for a decade and see how long it takes Gilbert Martin to use the term “slash.”

  22. Jonathan Rick –
    Bill Richardson 4EVR!
    But seriously, I do like him over any other candidate on the Dem side. Unfortunately, he has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the nomination.

  23. “Uh huh. Let’s level-fund the military for a decade and see how long it takes Gilbert Martin to use the term “slash.”

    No, when it comes to financial terms, I use the words that actually describe what happened.

    And speaking of actually portraying reality, I will point out that the actual liabilty created by all those entitlement programs that are beloved of the liberal dems calculated on an accrual accounting basis (as the government requires corporations to do it) is an astronomical amount. The very act of EVER creating any of those type programs in the first place is massively fiscally irresponsible to begin with. Oh and of course, they are all unconstitutional as well, since there isn’t a one of them that is pursuant to any ennumerated power delegated to the federal government in the text of the Constitution.

  24. Reinmoose — Just to clarify, Kling’s high-deductible-private-insurance proposal is not intended as a mandate. People would be free to buy or not buy whatever kind of insurance they want and can get. He sees high-deductible as a good outcome that the insurance market would reach on its own if the government allowed it (and did away with the current perverse incentives).

    BTW, his book, to which I’m probably not doing justice, is very short, readable, and worth taking a look at.

  25. I’ll make a note of the book. However, I’m one of those members of the marketeers club, and really have no interest in government programs for anything. That being said, I realize that the likelihood of health care being entirely left up to the private sector is approaching zero, and that it’s good to find alternatives to support.

    If we’re going to give the poor health insurance, can we please also mandate, pay for, and control what they eat? Cheap food and sedentary lifestyle leads to fatness and health problems.. I’d rather pay for people to be healthy enough not to need health-care than to pay for ridiculous levels of care for unhealthy people. I saw this poor, obese woman at the grocery store the other day buying cheap processed foods to feed her and her 1-year old. I felt like giving her a $20 and asking her to please go buy some produce. This is a problem.

  26. Reinmoose wrote, “I realize that the likelihood of health care being entirely left up to the private sector is approaching zero,”
    You know people used to say that Germany will never be re-united at that people ought to accept that fact and learn to get along with all of Eastern Europe and accept the fact it will always be dominated by the Soviet Union.
    Thank god Ronald Reagan didn’t have that atittude.
    Reinmoose your a jerk. Nationalizatiion of health care is not inevitable if people don’t act like a stupid loser like you.

  27. Terry –
    yore a jerk too!

    Since the two issues (Healthcare in the United States and German reunification) are two completely different issues, I don’t even know how you even began to draw a paralell. Do you think that some maverick president from a country without nationalized healthcare is going to diplomatically work with the United States to ensure that we don’t develop socialized medicine? Really now, where is the comparisson? This is a self-inflicted ill that even Republicans are talking about.

  28. “Clinton’s economic/deficit reduction/tax bill passed a Democratic Congress, crimethink, in 1993. Not a single Republican voted for it.”

    But, joe, do you think we would have had such a good economy if Hillarycare had passed?

  29. “It’s possible that either the House or Senate or maybe both will swing back to the Republicans in 2008.”

    Very unlikely, as long as the Republican Party insists on supporting an unpopular war.

  30. “He didn’t spent it, Gil.”

    He didn’t spend it because the Republican Congress didn’t allow him to. They acted more responsibly then than they have lately. One big reason they were voted out in 2006.

  31. “Still sucks if you ask me, JP. As for part (2), is that mandated that everyone accept some high-deductible private insurance? I fail to see why we need some plan to provide health insurance.”

    If we can sell the public on a completely free market in healthcare. The problem is, people tend to think some degree of government is necessary. Kling’s proposal is better than a complete government takeover of healthcare.

  32. Rattlesnake Jake –
    I agree it’s better than a complete government takeover of healthcare, as I later articulated.

  33. “And in case you think a presidential run has caused Richardson to revisit his views, as it has done to others, two things he said last week should quell your fears. First, on taxes: “Democrats, whenever we have a solution, we want to tax. I’m different. I’m a tax cutter.” Second, on guns: “I’m a Westerner. . . . The Second Amendment is precious in the West.” In fact, Richardson has the highest rating from the National Rifle Association of any candidate for president, Democrat or Republican.”

    If only he stood a chance.

  34. “BTW, his book, to which I’m probably not doing justice, is very short, readable, and worth taking a look at.”

    It’s on my “to read” list.

  35. Anyone voting for Hillary Clinton thinking she is a closet conservative will be grievously dissapointed. The only ideology Hillary Rodham Clinton adheres to is selfish self-interest.

  36. Sheldon is right. How can we trust Hillary. She will say anything to get elected. She is positioning herself as a centrist, looking ahead to the general election assuming she’s going to get the Democrat nomination which I hope she doesn’t. Obama’s also a leftist, but at least he strikes me as basically honest, unlike Hillary.

  37. Rattlesnake Jake,

    “He didn’t spend it because the Republican Congress didn’t allow him to.”

    No, that’s not true. The budget rules written into the 1993 Democratic bill are those which wre followed throughout the 1990s. We don’t have to guess at how Clinton would have spent if he’d had a Democratic Congress – he would have followed the budget rules in his own bill, and would have spent roughly the same amount.

  38. Am I the only one that finds the assumption that Hillary would simply take after Bill to be ridiculous?

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