Hillary Clinton

Hillary Forgets the Growth Lessons of Bill's Presidency

In order to appease far-left voters, she's abandoning economic literacy.

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Hillary Clinton
Morgen Schuler The Photo Access/Newscom

For the past year, the Republican Party has behaved as though it is determined to abandon its best principles and alienate voters for years to come. The derailment has been so spectacular that it's easy to miss that Democrats are also veering in a direction that is ominous for both themselves and the country.

Though Bernie Sanders lost the presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton, her victory came through capitulation. On issue after issue, she did her best to defuse his appeal by embracing his ideas and his rhetoric. That strategy worked in the primaries and, thanks to the self-destructiveness of Donald Trump, probably won't keep her from winning in November. But it promises to be a burden on her presidency and her party's future.

It also neglects the lessons taught by another Clinton, Bill. Partly because his administration was so successful, Democrats have won the popular vote in four of the five presidential elections since his 1996 re-election. The thriving economy of his era created nearly 23 million jobs, cut the unemployment rate below 4 percent, kept inflation low, rescued 6.3 million Americans from poverty and set a record for the longest peacetime expansion in U.S. history.

Clinton knew that a booming economy is the closest thing to a cure-all. He pursued it with a combination of fiscal discipline, free trade and a light regulatory hand. Jimmy Carter, a Democratic president synonymous with economic chaos, had proved the folly of federal interference in wages and prices. A big part of Clinton's wisdom lay in what he didn't do.

But Hillary Clinton, pushed leftward by Sanders, has forgotten what fueled that prosperity. Her husband signed NAFTA, reached free trade agreements with Israel and Jordan, induced Beijing to submit to the rules of the World Trade Organization, and rebuffed demands for new import restrictions.

Hillary opposes the trans-Pacific free trade deal—but it was Bill who originated the idea, over objections from the leftists of his day. He thought global integration would foster global growth, and he was right.

During his first term, Clinton resisted demands to increase the minimum wage. In 1996, he acceded to an increase of 21 percent—but when Democrats led by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., proposed another 40 percent increase, the president helped scotch it.

He feared that even with the economy humming, a boost of that size would destroy jobs. Hillary Clinton, however, is willing to sign a bill raising the minimum wage to $15, more than double the current $7.25—at a time when the economy is less robust than when her husband balked.

She also shows no inclination to restore the balanced budget that Bill did so much to attain. It was an achievement that had not been realized in nearly three decades—and has not been duplicated since.

Although her fiscal plans are much more restrained than her opponent's, she would raise the total federal debt by 50 percent over the next decade, according to the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. (Trump would more than double it.)

It's not just her specific policies that would hobble growth; it's also her broad approach and her eagerness to indulge the Sanderistas. The Progressive Policy Institute, a centrist Democratic think tank once known as "Bill Clinton's idea mill," has warned of the dangers of depicting "working Americans as pitiful victims of stock villains like Wall Street, giant corporations, China or illegal aliens."

In a report published in March, PPI urged Democrats to "reject magical thinking," as well as European-style fixes. "A progressive government's job is not to direct the private economy or shield people from market competition—from which mass prosperity arises—but to equip them to manage economic change," it argued, in terms that echo Bill Clinton.

This is a sound approach as economic policy. It's also good politics in a country that is dominated by Republicans at every level but the presidency. Only 18 governors are Democrats. The GOP controls the legislatures of 31 states and both houses of Congress.

Aggressively liberal remedies and rhetoric may work in Democratic presidential primaries. But they're mostly an albatross in other elections, where voters are rightly wary of government-heavy solutions. They're also a drag on the economy.

Bill Clinton did a huge amount to advance liberal goals by refusing to lurch to the left. What part of that does Hillary Clinton not understand?

© Copyright 2016 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. Hillary’s so unlikable she’s scared to death the base isn’t going to show up, even running against Trump.

    That’s what she understands.

    She’all be channeling Elizabeth Warren until November.

    1. It does not matter what HRC says; there are many options including:

      1. I misspoke…

      2. I’m finding my voice on the issue…or

      3. You know, I’ve evolved…and possibly

      4. I didn’t say everything I said [no disrespect to the great Yogi intended]

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  2. Rufus J. Fears, in his course “The Wisdom of History” (thegreatcourses.com) has “10 fundamental lessons of history.” The first is, “We do not learn from history.” Notice that this does not say that “those who do not learn from history…” This is a statement that WE DON’T learn from history. No matter how much the US and the rest of the West may think they are exempt from this law, all one needs to do is listen to these lectures and see how we’re going down the very same path as others have gone before.

    I highly recommend this course, although don’t be looking for consolation.

    1. Truth is seldom a source of consolation.

  3. Hillary will say anything to get elected. There is no reason in hell to assume she cares what she is saying or will follow through on any of it (just like George W. “Humble Foreign Policy” Bush or Barack “Imma close Gitmo” Obama). She’ll throw a few bones to the base but mostly do whatever her cronies want to pay her for.

    1. clarification: what her cronies HAVE paid her for.

    2. she’ll keep the promises she intends to keep.

  4. If it weren’t for the Republican Congress, the Clinton presidency would have turned out to be much more unfortunate.

    1. And that they spent much if their time and effort on Hilarycare in the first two years and it did not come to fruition. If it had passed, most of he stifling regulation would have come from that. Much like Obamacare.

      Also, the 2016 Democrat base is much more homogenous, and bat guano insane then the 1992 edition.

  5. Voters are wary of government-heavy solutions? Is this reticence related to the Social Security checks they are cashing or the kids they are sending (much fewer under Obama, thank God) to some oil war in the ME?

    I count all government expenditures as the same type of parasitic activity on the actions of fund managers who collectively can’t beat the performance of an index fund so I haven’t gotten around to examining whether giving great-grandma a check so that she won’t be kicked to the curb or whether bombing desperately poor peasants in the 3rd world is a better utilization of the taxes that Vanguard fund managers must pay to the moocher class. Any opinions?

    1. So when someone refuses to contribute to a fund manager, that manager will send out men with guns to lock that person in a cage and kill them if they defend themselves?

      No?

      Oh. Well then I guess there isn’t any comparison between government expenditures and fund managers.

      Just more ignorant tripe from our resident moron.

    2. How about sending in SWAT teams against people who build guitars out of the wrong type of wood? Or choking people to death because they failed to pay cigarette taxes? Are those good uses?

      1. #TheThingsWeChooseToDoTogether

      2. To be fair, dude wasn’t choked for failure to pay taxes. He was choked for failure to obey. Remember that law enforcement is simply an euphemism. They don’t enforce the law. They enforce compliance. They enforce their will. Obey or die. The law doesn’t matter a whit.

        1. Unfortunately, the majority of people have been successfully fooled into thinking that the hammer is only dropping on people with whom they have no positive interactions, if they have any. The heat isn’t omnipresent enough, or rather, people aren’t recognizing it as all parts of the same problem.

    3. Except Great-Grandma is wealthier than the workers paying for her check. The least they could do is means-test SS, explicitly breaking the myth that you only get back what you put in.

    4. So the government takes our earnings by force when we are young on the promise that it will give it back when we are old, and if we take it back we lose our right object to whatever other harebrained schemes the pols come up with?

      That is an incredibly passive- aggressive form of tyranny.

    5. I count all government expenditures as the same type of parasitic activity on the actions of fund managers who collectively can’t beat the performance of an index fund so I haven’t gotten around to examining whether giving great-grandma a check so that she won’t be kicked to the curb or whether bombing desperately poor peasants in the 3rd world is a better utilization of the taxes that Vanguard fund managers must pay to the moocher class. Any opinions?

      Opinion: sentence unclear and excessively long.

  6. I think you can go after Clinton on many things. How come the Right is going after her for having meetings with… Gasp… Donors. Isn’t that what politicians do? Besides, as libertarians we’re against campaign finance laws of all sorts. If she had a meeting with a wealthy Saudi man who was willing to buy a million mosquito nets for villagers in Mozambique that should be counted against her? Porqui?

    http://www.rollcall.com/ne
    ws/opinion/meetings-right-thistown-city

    Slap the handcuffs on. Lock Hillary Clinton up without trial! Maybe, as one Donald Trump ally suggested, just summarily execute her for treason.

    What’s the charge? She had ? (cover the children’s ears) ? meetings! And some of them ? fewer than two a month ? were with Clinton Foundation donors.

    There are private meetings between donors and officeholders? Right here in #ThisTown city? Someone tell members of Congress! They’ll want to act immediately to ban ? er, take advantage of ? this egregious system of pay for play.
    Oh wait, they already do. They all meet with donors. That’s how they get their money. But rather than having meetings with people who also make philanthropic contributions to major international charities, they tend to insist that donors show up at fundraising events so that a campaign check can be handed over person-to-person. Some have even been known to pass each other checks on the House floor or in a little computer closet called the “red room”…

    1. “…having meetings with… Gasp… Donors.”

      And then giving them what they want. The nicety ‘pay for play’ has been tossed around a lot but I prefer the old fashioned term for corrupt politicians that can be bought; bribery.

      People are making a big deal out of it because it is a felony.

      1. And,Sec. State should not have ‘donors’.

        1. And then take specific actions in response to said donations, like covering all but about 20% of UBS depositors from the IRS, and allowing Russian acquisition of uranium rights, just to name a couple

      2. Just so I know I’m up to date, lemme make sure I’ve got this:

        1. Corporations are evil because they make money
        2. Capitalism is evil because corporations
        3. Citizens United is evil because corporate money in politics
        4. The Clintons receiving money from interested parties and foreign governments through the Clinton Foundation and multi-million dollar speaking fees in exchange for access and favorable treatment is a fake scandal.

        The modern left truly is a nuanced, complex bunch.

        1. “The modern left truly is a nuanced, complex bunch.”

          You misspelled “morons.”

    2. “Between 2009 and 2012, the Clinton Foundation raised over $500 million dollars according to a review of IRS documents by The Federalist (2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008). A measly 15 percent of that, or $75 million, went towards programmatic grants. More than $25 million went to fund travel expenses. Nearly $110 million went toward employee salaries and benefits. And a whopping $290 million during that period ? nearly 60 percent of all money raised ? was classified merely as “other expenses.”

      Mosquito nets. I suppose they do have to make some kind of symbolic gesture.

      1. Add in the fact that Hillary had a appointed position. This is not like a congressmen meeting with donors. Department heads should never take donations from anyone.

    3. Hey AmSoc, where were you yesterday for the excellent Root article on Frederick Douglas? Hiding under your rock no doubt.

    4. Re: American Stultified,

      I think you can go after Clinton on many things.

      Yes, hence the article.

      How come the Right is going after her for having meetings with… Gasp… Donors.

      Not the “Right” exclusively. And once she’s Secretary of State, she shouldn’t have… Gasp… Donors, because she’s on the taxpayers’ payroll doing a specific job.

    5. think you can go after Clinton on many things. How come the Right is going after her for having meetings with… Gasp… Donors. Isn’t that what politicians do?

      At the time, she was part of the executive branch.

      Besides, as libertarians we’re against campaign finance laws of all sorts.

      First, we are not against corruption laws. Campaign contributions from American individuals or groups to the campaigns of elected officials are fine. Donations to the family foundations of politicians or members of the executive branch, excessive speaking fees, and donations from foreign governments, on the other hand, are simply corrupt.

      Second, regardless of the legality, the primary way libertarians deal with corrupt conduct is through speech. In this case, the fact that Hillary has acted contrary to her stated political beliefs after receiving large donations from foreign donors, billionaires, and foreign governments is something people need to know and judge her by as a politician.

      Finally, the only reason that these issues matter in the first place is the excessive amount of power Washington has. That is, libertarians advocate greatly reducing the power of government; once reduced, issues of campaign contributions become much less important. Democrats and progressives want to continue the system of massive crony capitalism we currently have, and then peddle the fiction that they can create fairness through regulation.

      1. Being a socialist, AmSoc doesn’t see a distinction between politics and corruption.

      2. the primary way libertarians deal with corrupt conduct is through speech.

        The primary way to deal with corruption under a libertarian philosophy is to remove the incentives. If a politician does not have the power to grant favors, bribery is rather pointless.

        1. I think that giving bribes should be legal but accepting them should required a jail sentence. In that way once a politician is “bought” he stays bought since if he tries to screw over his buyer, his buyer can threaten to expose the crooked politician with no fear of jail himself.

          Right now, politicians can sell themselves over and over to contrary interests. It’s like “The Producers”, they are selling 25,000% of their souls figuring that by the time people realize what’s happening they can retire.

        2. The primary way to deal with corruption under a libertarian philosophy is to remove the incentives.

          That was my point 3. Did you bother to read until the end?

      3. Indeed, Hillary wasn’t campaigning for anything, she wasn’t an elected official but rather an appointed one, so what Amsoc thinks campaign finance laws have to do with it is a mystery.

    6. Besides, as libertarians we’re against campaign finance laws of all sorts.

      It’s cute that you’re pretending to be a libertarian.

    7. Over half her meetings were with donors.

      Average price of a meeting with Clinton was $2M.

    8. “Donors”, haha.

      You must hate Frank Serpico for getting in the way of New York’s finest being able to accept “donations” from “clients” with impunity.

  7. I don’t think it’s a matter of the Dems “also” veering off the rails – it’s the Dems going so hard-left socialist that allows a moderate Democrat like Trump to present himself as a right-wing conservative by comparison. Trump’s supporters aren’t the GOP base, they’re moderate Democrats abandoned by their party. The new populist GOP that emerges from the flaming wreckage of Trump’s campaign won’t be any place for libertarians or conservatives or anybody who doesn’t believe the solution to all life’s problems begin and end with a government program.

    I’m starting to feel a hell of a lot more sympathy for women who have to go through nine months of pregnancy in order to go through childbirth because I don’t know if I can stand another two months of this shit and it’s merely an abortion.

    1. The new populist GOP that emerges from the flaming wreckage of Trump’s campaign won’t be any place for libertarians or conservatives or anybody who doesn’t believe the solution to all life’s problems begin and end with a government program.

      I have to disagree. The most distinctive feature of Trump’s run in that scenario is that it will have failed. If nothing succeeds like success, nothing drives people to the exits more surely than the stench of failure. If Johnson can cover the spread between Clinton and Trump, I suspect libertarian leaning candidates and policies are going to look a lot more attractive to the GOP.

  8. Hillary opposes the trans-Pacific free trade deal

    Surely everybody with more than 20 functioning brain cells can see it’s all empty rhetoric. The passage of the three T treaties (TISA, TTIP, TPP) are very much important to her high-level suporters.

    But then again, Reason (and a bunch of other libertarians) are incensed purely because somebody signalled the wrong values even if it is merely for political expediency.

    1. That’s only because its backers haven’t ponied up enough money….. yet….

  9. Hillary has no idea how the economy works. Her and Bill received government checks and lived in government housing for years. Bill gets the big ex president pay check now and they made their big money giving speeches to people wanting favors.

  10. Chapman realizes Hillary’s economic policies are a freaking nightmare?

    Wow, stopped clocks and all that….

  11. Of course she panders to economic illiterates. That’s most of the electorate.

    1. There’s no way to pander to intelligent, knowledgeable and principled people…except by lying to them, which is the same way you pander to economic illiterates. How many Republicans praise small government and balanced budgets but expand the government and spend money like there’s no tomorrow? All of them who rise within the party!

      Lying works because most people lie to themselves about what they want. They say they want the budget cut but are unwilling to cut anything except foreign aid. They say they want a less intrusive government but demand protection from an imaginary terrorist threat and accept any violations of their privacy.

      So the people lie to themselves and politicians simply help them sustain the lies.

  12. “She [or he] has capitulated to bad ideas in order to get votes.”

    There’s a subhead which gets quite a workout in election years.

  13. For all of Carters faults (I am not a fan) he actually undid a lot of the government meddling put in place by Nixon.

    1. But he also allowed the Fed to continue with its loose monetary policies that destroyed the purchasing power of money for untold numbers of registered voters.

      1. Carter put Volcker in charge of the Fed and it was Volcker that broke inflation by raising interest rates. Reagan was smart enough to let Volcker continue what he started under Carter.

        I always thought of Carter as an extremely poor president but after seeing Bush, Bush and Obama, I’ve lowered the bar quite a bit.

    2. Carter was/is wildly wrong about nearly everything but I never had the impression that he was an evil guy. I think he meant well but when your ideas about everything are wrong your solutions to problems just won’t work.

      The bunch we have now don’t quite fit that description.

      1. Like Carter, I think Obama honestly believes in his political program; Obama’s problem is incompetence and ignorance.

        Hillary, on the other hand, is not an honest fool, she is power hungry and manipulative.

        1. Obama seems sincere enough but recall that he is a Chicago politician.

          I think he is just playing at another level.

          Remember how we used to think that Bill had empathy?

          1. Obama seems sincere enough but recall that he is a Chicago politician.

            I think of him as a Chicago community organizer who can’t fill the boots he finds himself in. In fact, Obama’s approach to the presidency seems to have been primarily to talk to people about injustices, get them fired up, and try to get one group of people to pay for free shit for another group of people.

  14. Hillary is going to do to America what she did to Bill.

  15. Bill Clinton’s contribution to the economic boom of the 90’s was coincidentally being president when the internet was starting its explosive growth.

    1. He inherited Reagan’s economy.

  16. Only one mention above of the 1994 republican congress. Don’t forget Newt.

    Every thing good about the Clinton presidency is considered a capitulation by democrats.

  17. Hillary Clinton Panders to Economic Illiterates: New at Reason

    Something about this headline makes me laugh and laugh.

    I think it has something to do with the fact that “Pander to Economic Illiterates” is probably a good working definition of “Politics, Since Forever

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  19. Hillary opposes the trans-Pacific free trade deal?but it was Bill who originated the idea, over objections from the leftists of his day. He thought global integration would foster global growth, and he was right.

    The TPP is not a “Free Trade Deal”

    I’ll quote Cato =

    Like all U.S. free-trade agreements, the TPP is not free trade, but managed trade. It achieves reductions in many trade barriers, while creating and prolonging other forms of protectionism.

    And their sales-pitch is effectively

    “All trade deals ultimately lead to more trade, which, whether ‘Free’ or not, allows for liberalizing forces to eventually succeed. So! LETS PRETEND”

    to wit =

    past agreements have reduced domestic impediments to trade, expanded our economic freedoms, and locked in positive reforms, even if only as the residual byproduct of an ill-premised mercantilist process.

    Pandering = “….the act of expressing one’s views in accordance with the likes of a group to which one is attempting to appeal”

    Who is the group that wants to be told the TPP shit-sandwich is pastrami on rye? Not us, i’m fairly certain. I presume its someone up the food chain.

    1. oh, and sorry – i was originally going to riff on the idea of Bill Clinton inventing free trade while Al Gore cooked up the internet on the back of an envelope.

      1. Yes, but the envelope was recycled and environmentally friendly.

  20. It’s almost as if something happened in 1994 that made Clinton’s presidency anything other than a disaster.

  21. Economic literacy and Hillary C. do not share the same plane of existence.

    1. I’m not even sure they share the same metaverse.

    2. Personalities, the mark of a brainwashed infiltrator…

  22. I challenge Mr. Chapman to show evidence that a balance federal budget will caused economic growth. A balanced federal budget – by itself – is neither good or bad. The same goes for federal deficit spending.

    There can certainly be economic conditions in which a balanced budget would be good for the economy – and there are instances where it would not. We’ve had federal budget surpluses a total of 7 times in our history. For the first 6, the economy fell in to economic depression within 3 years – each time. The 7th time was the Bill Clinton budget surplus. I would argue that the tech stock and real estate bubbles (helped along by bad monetary policy from the Fed) basically delayed the inevitable – then we had The Great Recession.

    Chapman likely has a poor grasp of how our fiat currency system actually works. None of this is to say I don’t agree with many of the Libertarian views on a smaller federal (and state and local) government. A much smaller federal government would certainly require less federal spending. A more robust private sector would likely replace that spending – as well as credit expansion. We live in a credit based economy. The money supply can and does grow through the private sector – loans create deposits.

  23. Economic literacy my ass. Clinton’s miraculous economy was fueled 100% by the dot-com bubble, which burst shortly after Bill left office. The revenue surge was fueled by hundreds of thousands of taxpayers receiving stock options. When their shares went south they owed taxes on their exercise price, not sale price. That’s the only way Clinton was able to balance the budget.

  24. “Clinton knew that a booming economy is the closest thing to a cure-all. He pursued it with a combination of fiscal discipline, free trade and a light regulatory hand.”

    OR! he didnt give a shit about anything but chasing intern-tail, and was just lucky enough to get elected during the internet expolsion he has fuck all to do with, and was too preoccupied with the definition of “IS” to get involved in it and fuck up.

    1. Mind-reading delusion–another mark of infiltrator castaways from the wreckage of the Kleptocracy…

  25. “she would raise the total federal debt by 50 percent over the next decade, according to the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. (Trump would more than double it.)”

    And everyone knows that is just made-up bullshit that came out of someone’s ass. Since Trump has no plan, and Hillary wants to give away anything that will get her votes (healthcare, college tuition, free money from her ‘infrastructure bank”, free Nike Air Jordans in return for your vote, and probably free email service on her home server since she can’t figure out how to firewall it) I suspect the error bars on these numbers to be within 500%.

  26. . . . and Kennedy, and Reagan . . It’s the votes, stupid.
    Hillary is so political – every rotten sense of the word – she makes Trump look good.

  27. Remember Bill Clinton saying “I may have raised taxes too much.” (‘course that was Congress, at his instigation). Nevermind that tax increase was also 100% unconstitutional because it was retroactive, or ex-post-facto.

    Ex-post-facto laws and bills of attainder are specifically called out in the Constitution as NOT ALLOWED.

  28. Holy War Bush invades the Ottoman Empire to save an oil-rich theocracy from a secular looter neighbor, so the voters throw his party out on its ass and elect Clinton. Meanwhile, contracts between Kuwait and Houston inject lots of cheap energy into the US economy. Shazam! Bill Clinton economic miracle! Today the economy is “less robust” after George Waffen Bush copied the Herbert Hoover technique of wedding prohibitionism and asset forfeiture. Hence the wave of legalization of marijuana. It is much like the wave of legalization of beer after the Hoover regime unleashed state and federal agents to jail and murder civilians. History rhymes.

  29. Corrected headline:

    “Hillary Doesn’t Give a Shit About the Growth Lessons of Bill’s Presidency”

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