Secretary Clinton delivered a major domestic economic policy speech yesterday – important enough for the NY Times to feature it on its front page. The title of the Times article is, “Hillary Clinton’s Message: Yes, the Economy Is Messed Up. But I Can Fix It.”
In fact she has no specific plans to fix anything or at least no plans that make much economic sense. Nor did she remotely suggest the truth about our economy.
She did not say that 1) real average take home pay, according to the BLS, is no higher than it was in 1965, 2) that Social Security is, according to the Social Security Trustees, 31 percent underfunded and facing a $26 trillion shortfall, measured in present value even taking account of the system’s trust fund, 3) that based on the CBO’s latest forecast, the entire federal fiscal system is 53 percent underfunded and faces a $199 trillion shortfall (This is the present value U.S. fiscal gap. See www.theinformact.org for economists’ endorsement of this method of accounting.), 4) that Obamacare is leaving 20 million people uninsured, putting tens of millions into 20 to 25 percent higher tax brackets (due to losing subsidies and higher premiums from earning extra money), and propelling, due to adverse selection, major insurers to leave the exchanges, 5) that our country’s 40 different federal and state tax-benefit systems are collectively locking millions into poverty by taking away in extra taxes or lower benefits almost everything they earn at the margin (see this paper for confirmation), 6) thanks to “use it or lose it” incentives of dirty energy producers, our energy policy is going to heat up, not cool down the planet and that what’s needed to achieve a slow rather than rapid burn of fossil fuels is a very high carbon tax rate starting today that declines, not increases through time, 7) that the real problem with banking is leverage and opacity, not the size of banks, and that equity-financed mutual fund banking with full, government provided disclosure on line and in real time can keep fix our financial system for real and for good and do so overnight, 8) that Dodd-Frank has raised, not lowered the chances of another financial collapse, 9) that our tax system is a terrible disgrace, which lets the super rich borrow against their wealth, never realize capital gains on their assets, use “step up in basis” to avoid capital gains taxation at death, use fancy trusts to avoid estate taxes, and pay nothing or next to nothing in taxes over their entire lives, 10) that we are producing a population explosion with our legal immigration policy that will increase our nation’s population by one third by 2060, add 100 million people (the size of today’s Philippines), dramatically worsen our carbon footprint and make driving in major cities impossible, 11) that we need to cut our legal immigration roughly in half and right away, not just for our cities and our carbon footprint, but also to preserve the middle class, 12) that we are engaged in a long-term Ponzi scheme that continues to systematically take from young people to give to old people and promise the young their chance to expropriate their own children, 13) that this take-as-you-go policy, 6 decades in the making, has dropped our national saving and domestic investment rates from 16 percent in the early 1950s to 4 percent today, 14) that the U.S. is driving out foreign investment in our country with the highest effective marginal corporate income tax rate in the developed world, 15) that our education system has failed and is getting worse and that we can and need to use online technology to equalize education, 16) that we need to let students borrow for college at the government’s short-term borrowing rate and limit the extent of their repayment if they can’t find good paying jobs, and 17) that we are at a war with smart machines and need to think hard and fast about how to make new technology that displaces workers a win-win for everyone in the country.
Real and simple solutions are available to each and everyone of these problems in my platform book at www.kotlikoff2016.com. What Secretary Clinton did was make vague promises to fix everything somehow. This is no different from Mr. Trump’s “Trust me, I’ll fix it.”
Yesterday, Secretary Clinton said, “It takes more than stern words or a flashy slogan. It takes a plan, and it takes experience and the ability to work with both parties to get results.”
Let’s get real. You can search high and low on her campaign website. Hillary Clinton has either no domestic economic plans or no domestic economic plans that make real sense to address any of the 14 points listed above. And the idea that she has the experience and ability to work with the Republicans boarders on the ludicrous. The Republicans in Congress hate Hillary Clinton possibly more than they hate the President and Bill Clinton. Of she is elected, they will go to political war with her on day one and she will get nothing done. She hasn’t helped this relationship. Indeed, she publicly declared Republicans to be among her worst enemies, up there with Iran.
Stokely Carmichael, the great advocate for social and racial justice, used to say, “If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” Hillary Clinton is not part of the solution. Donald Trump is not part of the solution. Both Clinton and Trump as well as their parties are the problem.
If you want to fix our country, stop listening to fairy tales, do your homework, read the book at www.kotlikoff2016.com, forward it to everyone you know, donate to our campaign, volunteer for our campaign, get others to do the same, and, on November 8th, don’t pull a lever for Clinton or Trump President. Instead, write Laurence Kotlikoff for President and Edward Leamer for Vice President on your ballot.
It’s that easy to really save our country.