The Corner

Economy & Business

Harris on the Economy

Sen. Kamala Harris speaks during the second night of the first Democratic presidential candidates debate in Miami, Fla., June 27, 2019. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

The senator’s longest statement on the economy started amid cross-talk. Here’s what she said, interspersed with my own comments.

Hey, guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we are going to put food on their table.

(APPLAUSE)

Most Americans, I hope, do not expect the next president to put food on their table.

So on that point, part of the issue that is at play in America today, and we have all been traveling around the country, I certainly have, I’m meeting people who are working two and three jobs. You know, this president walks around talking about and flouting his great economy, right, my great economy, my great economy.

You ask him, well, how are you measuring this greatness of this economy of yours? And he talks about the stock market. Well, that’s fine if you own stocks. So many families in America do not. You ask him, how are you measuring the greatness of this economy of yours? And they point to the jobless numbers and the unemployment numbers.

These seem like completely reasonable indicators to point to.

Well, yeah, people in America are working. They’re working two and three jobs.

So when we talk about jobs, let’s be really clear. In our America, no one should have to work more than one job to have a roof over their head and food on the table.

Bernie Sanders has said similar things about people who hold more than one job.

Let’s be even more clear: This is a ridiculous way to judge the health of the economy. Only 5 percent of people with jobs have more than one. That percentage has been dropping over the last generation, although it wasn’t very high to start. The peak rate was 6.5 percent, in November 1996. We don’t have any measure of what percentage of this subset of the population has to work more than one job to be able to afford the basic necessities of life. But if our standard is that it’s not a “great economy” so long as anyone has to work more than one job, then we have never had one.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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