Tuesday, April 21, 2015

GOP economics is "bulls---t": Can Hillary say that?

That's the essence of Greg Sargent's Washington Post piece yesterday morning (Apr 20). The point is that the 2016 election is likely to be dominated by economic issues.

The 2016 GOP hopefuls all know they have to acknowledge that the economy is rigged against lower-income and working Americans, in favor of those at the top. But all signs right now are that they will diagnose the reason for this very differently from how Dems will: The real structural obstacle to economic mobility is government; cut taxes from the top on down and sweep away regulations, and behold the unshackled private sector’s power to shower everyone with widely distributed gains from turbo-charged growth.

By contrast, Clinton has embraced the core policy mechanisms of Obamacare (Exhibit A in the GOP argument that government is the enemy of economic mobility). She will likely offer a broad-based governmental policy response on the economy: Various proposals designed to boost wages; policies designed to increase workplace flexibility, removing barriers to work for women; investments in education and infrastructure to crank up demand and arm workers to face the challenges of globalization and technological change. It remains to be seen what Clinton will support in terms of high end tax hikes, but she’ll probably call for, at a minimum, higher taxes on capital gains and inherited wealth.

Republicans have already telegraphed that they will attack such policies as a third term of Obummer Big Gummint. Clinton will surely deride the GOP economic agenda for its continued addiction to "trickle down" economic dogma. But it’s one thing to attack Republicans for their continued instinct to protect the wealth of the rich, and quite another to directly take on the GOP argument that government is the problem. The question is how, or whether, Clinton will find an effective way to, well, call "bull—t."

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