Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, when in fact the results never change, is one definition of insanity. That goes for economics, too.
Over the past seven and a half years, President Obama has maintained a steady course of burdensome new regulations, significant tax increases and massive federal spending on so-called infrastructure. He has unconstitutionally ordered executive actions, favored labor over business, attacked banks, insulted successful corporate leaders and backed federal government mandates on business.
And with all this, strong economic recovery from a deep recession -- which has been an American tradition — never came to pass.
A recent Wall Street Journal news headline read, “The Worst Expansion Since World War II Was Even Weaker.” The story proclaimed that this lackluster economic expansion is actually getting weaker.
Another recent Journal column titled “Productivity Slump Threatens Economy’s Long-Term Growth” asserted that output per hour is experiencing the longest losing streak since 1979. The U-6 unemployment rate stands twice as high as the traditional unemployment rate, the U-3.
Yet Obama has continued to do the same thing over and over again.
And now comes Hillary Clinton’s economic plan, which will deliver more stagnant growth, falling wages, dropping productivity and depressed investment.
Her program would raise the estate tax and taxes on so-called rich people, corporations, capital gains and stock transactions. She would spend massively on infrastructure and again mandate rules for private businesses. Remarkably, she has no corporate tax reform (even Obama had a plan) to revive corporate investment and boost productivity, wages and living standards.
Now, here’s the question: By repeating Obama’s policies, how does she expect the economy to do any better than it has during his presidency?
Clinton’s goal is not economic growth but reducing inequality and social injustice in the name of “fairness.” But she never tells us what “fair” means, although we know it’s code for higher taxes and larger government.
Let’s bring in Donald Trump. He wants to lower taxes across the board for individuals and large and small businesses, significantly reduce burdensome regulations and unleash America’s energy resources. (Clinton would end coal and fracking.) Trump’s corporate tax reform would restore America’s position as the most hospitable investment climate in the world. For a change, businesses and their cash would come back home.
The contrast between the two economic-policy strategies couldn’t be clearer. Clinton has a recession strategy; Trump has a recovery strategy.
Clinton derides Trump’s plan as more “trickle-down economics.” But she forgets something. Post-war economies prospered most following President John F. Kennedy’s and President Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts. In fact, in his second term, President Bill Clinton followed the incentive model of growth by reducing taxes and reforming welfare, with excellent economic results.
So why not give tax and regulatory relief a try? It’s been missing for seven and a half years. Why not do something different for a change?
When you read Hillary Clinton’s Detroit economic speech you see repeated references to making sure the top 1 percent pays its fair share. Ditto for corporations.
But here’s a big factual mistake. A recent CBO study shows that “’the rich’ don’t just pay a ‘fair