- - Thursday, August 11, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It’s too bad that Ronald Reagan is not around today to say, “Well, there she goes again.” Hillary Clinton’s much-anticipated economic policy speech was full of fluffy rhetoric, stale proposals for rebuilding the middle class that Barack Obama peddled eight years ago. Those were the ideas that tanked the middle class.

She promised a jobs program in her first hundred days that would cost $250 billion.

But wait. That’s precisely what Barack Obama promised exactly eight years ago. Remember the “shovel-ready jobs” that would turn the economy around? We would fix the bridges, fill the potholes, upgrade the ports, and build thousands of miles of new highways. Spend the president did, $750 billion, which was more than twice what Dwight Eisenhower spent, adjusting for inflation, to build the entire Interstate Highway System.

The result was the weakest jobs recovery in 75 years, flat wages, and roads still likely to ruin a new car. What happened to all that money? A lot of that “infrastructure stimulus” money went instead for food stamps, unemployment benefits, green energy, and Medicaid spending. There were fewer jobs, with all that spending, than if the country hadn’t spent a dime. Small wonder that she never mentioned the president once in her speech at a factory in Warren, Mich.

Hillary resurrected tired television sound bites about creating more “clean energy jobs,” a slight variation of the “green energy” jobs Mr. Obama promised. Instead, the nation got Solyndra and multiple other embarrassing business bankruptcies as the government kept picking losers. With $150 billion spent on “clean energy,” it supplies a meager 4 percent of the nation’s power. The House Oversight Committee found that some of the programs spent more than a stunning $1 million for every job created. Hillary and her acolytes rail against natural gas, the cleanest and most reliable energy source, of which America has a gracious plenty.

Hillary touts trillions of dollars of new government spending as the way to 10 million new jobs with the same old Keynesian rhetoric of a “multiplier effect.” It’s deranged logic. The government spends a dollar, and the money recirculates throughout the economy and presto! the economy produces $2 or $3 of increased output. By her telling, the more the government spends the more the economy grows. But before the government spends a dollar, it has to take in a dollar — from a taxpayer.

There is no multiplier effect. The hocus-pocus doesn’t work. Japan, for an example, has tried several multiplier schemes to revive its moribund economy and it has only prolonged stagnation to show for them.

Hillary’s other “new” ideas are equally stale. Raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour will price young Americans out of the workforce entirely, and most of them will be young black men, who already suffer an unemployment rate of 25 percent. She would make the tax code “fair” by taxing the rich. She would raise the capital gains tax that finances small businesses and income taxes on “the rich” though “the rich” are mostly business owners. The Tax Foundation says the Clinton tax increases would “lead to lower wages and 311,000 fewer full-time equivalent jobs.”

She promises lots of “free stuff.” College educations, child care, pre-K education, and other “free” goodies. Mr. Obama’s similar college affordability programs didn’t work. The more money the federal government spent on student loans and grants, the more the universities raised the price of tuition. The dog was chasing its tail. Many schools now charge $50,000 or more for room, board and tuition. Some economists say such tuition could rise to $100,000 a year once Hillary makes it “free.”

Hillary asked in conclusion a question that all Americans will answer on Election Day: “Which candidate do you trust to go to bat for working families?” She’s likely to get an answer she won’t like. Most voters feel poorer, not richer, after eight years of Obamanomics that Hillary wants to keep. That’s not good news for anybody.

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