James Pethokoukis of U.S. News and World Report has written an examination of the likely economic agenda of a Hillary Clinton Presidency, and it’s a must-read. Short version? Don’t expect a third term of Bill Clinton’s policies.
Some key points:
But after listening to Hillary’s inaugural campaign video and perusing her recent speeches, it seems as if she’ll be campaigning not so much as Clinton 3.0 but more as Clinton 1.0, the “putting people first” Beta version from Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign that got tossed overboard in the early months of his first term. While candidate Bill campaigned on a Main Street-friendly program of increasing public investment in human capital–aka workers–President Bill shifted to a Wall Street-friendly strategy of cutting the budget deficit so the Federal Reserve and bond market would lower interest rates. (The theory was that out-of-control deficits would devalue the dollar and create higher inflation down the road.) As former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has written:
… the administration was unable to increase public investment. It had to cut the budget deficit it inherited so that Alan Greenspan and his colleagues at the Federal Reserve, plus bond traders on Wall Street, would feel confident enough to reduce interest rates. But even when the economy soared in the late 1990s and deficits turned into large surpluses–that is, even when we could afford it–Clinton and the Democrats were reluctant to push an investment agenda. Instead, they admonished Congress to “save Social Security first,” a stopgap strategy that left the surpluses on the table.
…Maybe the most interesting tidbit from her April speech–one I am sure the GOP will hammer her on if she is the Democratic nominee–is her apparent belief that the Kyoto treaty, meant to reduce global-warming emissions, is a “great organizing principle” for a national economy.
On a related note, Hillary Spot reader Michael asked whether I can create a macro on my computer so that every time some Democratic candidate mentions the Kyoto Treaty, my computer will automatically point out it was rejected 95-0 in the Senate.