by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republicans should listen to Hillary Clinton when she talks about the economy.
Her diagnosis of America’s economic maladies is largely correct and politically powerful. The Republican who acknowledges the problems she notes — such as the stagnation of middle class wages despite a booming stock market — will benefit.
Even better for the Republican who accepts some of Hillary’s criticisms of the U.S. economy: her solutions are dead wrong and easy to pick apart. …
… Things are coming apart, Clinton charges. She’s basically right. Conservatives can dispute some of the finer points — liberals often exaggerate the increase in inequality since relative economic mobility, it appears, is flat, not falling — but there’s a lot of truth to Clinton’s diagnosis.
The problems she articulates, though, demand answers that are the opposite of the policies she proposes.
High corporate profits and slow business formation are the fruits of overregulation, overtaxation, too much complexity, and too many favors for the big guys. In her speech, Clinton gave lip service to tax simplification and regulatory reform, but her more concrete policy proposals cut in the opposite direction.
She proposed cracking down on Uber, an amazing innovation for allowing people to work flexible hours — perfect for a stay-at-home mom or a second job. Her tax proposals never touch on the payroll tax or the self-employment taxes. Her proposals for equal pay mandates and a higher minimum wage add to the costs and litigation worries of anyone considering hiring employees.
Clinton, like all Democrats, assails Republican policies as “trickle down” economics. “Republicans have argued that if we give more wealth to those at top by cutting their taxes and letting big corporations write their own rules, it will trickle down, it will trickle down to everyone else.” This is a lazy attack that probably applies more to Hillary than to any Republican presidential candidate.