Economy, Regs, & Taxes

Clinton Says Businesses Don't Create Jobs

Echoing Barack Obama's "you didn't build that" line, Clinton tries to flank Elizabeth Warren.

Oct. 28, 2014

While campaigning in Massachusetts for gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley, Hillary Clinton inadvertently revealed exactly how she views American free enterprise. During the rally, the soon-to-be presidential candidate declared, “Don’t let anybody tell you that, uh, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

Oh how wrong she is.

After catching heat for sounding eerily reminiscent of Barak Obama and his infamous “you didn’t build that” line, Clinton clarified her comment. According to one of her aides, she had meant to “talk about tax breaks for corporations and businesses in that sentence, which led into a line about how trickle-down economics had ‘failed spectacularly’ – a sentiment she has long held.”

Despite that “clarification,” Clinton’s rhetoric on economic policy is in line with what the Left wants to hear. Supposing that Clinton will seek the Democrat nomination for president in 2016, she might have to contend with a challenge from her left by progressive populist Elizabeth Warren. According to columnist Timothy Carney, “Clinton is a corporatist,” while “Warren is a populist.” In order to head off Warren’s challenge, Clinton will have to say populist things.

In the same speech, Clinton derided the economic policies of Ronald Reagan, which were the main reason for the economic boom and prosperity enjoyed during her husband’s tenure. “Trickle-down economics,” she sneered, “failed rather spectacularly.”

The truth is just the opposite. Reagan successfully reversed Jimmy Carter’s economic malaise. Reagan wanted government to get out of the way so companies and individuals could prosper. To do that, he implemented massive tax reductions, deregulation and anti-inflation monetary policies, which brought inflation down to 3.2% by 1983 and unleashed a historic period of economic growth.

Instead of learning from the economic success during the Reagan years, however, Clinton advocates the opposite. If she wins the Democrat nomination and, heaven forbid, is elected president, we can expect a continuance of Obama’s failed economic policy. Yet she’ll no doubt say one of her goals will be to “fix” the economy, which has suffered immensely under Obama. That will require more skillful navigation than she has so far shown ability to accomplish.

She and her leftist cronies believe that one way to create jobs is by increasing the minimum wage. Clinton asserted, “Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990’s … and millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure.”

But the facts show otherwise. James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute notes, “From 1981 through 2007, the US economy created 50 million jobs. (Also the jobless rate fell from a high of 10.6% to 4.4%). Over that same time span, the minimum wage declined in value – using the consumer price index – by 30% since it only rose to $5.35 an hour from $3.35, while to stay even with CPI inflation it needed to rise to $8.43.” He further notes that, while the minimum wage was declining, there was an incredible surge of job growth, and median incomes rose by 40%.

Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office released a report earlier this year projecting that Democrats’ desired 40% minimum wage hike would kill 500,000 jobs.

Clinton didn’t touch on the issue of extending unemployment benefits. Perhaps she heard about a recent study showing that after extended jobless benefits were ended, “The number of new jobs that came open each month exploded by 20 percent to 4.7 million by June.”

One thing is certain from Clinton’s comments: She is a statist uninterested in laissez-faire economics. She advocates higher but job-killing wages coupled with higher taxes that will likewise kill jobs, all in service to the expanding power of the government. And, as yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” speech, it’s clear another such time is upon us.

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