Debate moderator Chris Wallace was widely praised for his performance in Last Weeks Final debate, praise that he richly deserves if for no other reason than that he finally forced Hillary Clinton to defend her economic plan. Clinton’s response was incoherent and downright dishonest.
A key exchange in the debate came when Wallace pressed Clinton to explain how her economic proposals were different from President Obama’s failed stimulus plan. She couldn’t.
Wallace asked: “So is your plan basically more — even more of the Obama stimulus?” To which Clinton responded “Well, it’s a combination, Chris.”
Clinton can’t say anything else because, in point of fact, just about every one of her proposals has already been tried during Obama’s first two years in office, when Democrats controlled the White House and Congress, and was found wanting.
Tax hikes on the rich? Check. A huge increase in infrastructure spending? Check. More college aid? Check. “Advanced manufacturing”? Check. Green energy subsidies? Check.
The result is the worst recovery since the Great Depression.
Beyond that, Clinton simply peddled misleading claims and outright falsehoods about what she’s proposing.
She said, for example, that “independent experts … said that it could produce 10 million new jobs.” She’s referring to a Moody’s analysis of her plan, which said under Clinton’s plan the economy could create 10.4 million jobs, but noted that this would be only “3.2 million more than under current law.”
While wildly exaggerating Moody’s job impact, Clinton entirely ignored Moody’s finding that her tax-and-spend plan would add $700 billion to already-rising deficits over the next decade.
In fact, no independent group supports Clinton’s claim that her plan “will not add a penny to the debt.”
Likewise, Clinton’s promise that only the rich and corporations will pay for all her grand spending schemes — which Moody’s estimates will add $2.2 trillion in outlays — is equally unbelievable.
She keeps saying that she’s going to “go where the money is” (apparently without realizing that the origin of that phrase came from a bank robber). By this she means “the rich” and “corporations.”
Clinton either ignores, or doesn’t understand, that at least a portion of corporate income taxes gets paid by workers in the form of lower wages, and by consumers in the form of higher prices, or by future retirees in the form of lower returns on their investments.
Even the liberal Tax Policy Center admits that 20% of corporate taxes are paid by workers in the form of lower wages.
“As a result, workers, as well as shareholders and other owners of capital, would benefit from any cut in the corporate tax,” explained senior fellow Howard Gleckman in a 2012 note. “Similarly, both would take a hit if corporate taxes are hiked.”
Memo to Hillary: Those wage-earners are the very middle class people you claim you will protect from tax hikes.
Saying that the rich don’t “pay their fair share” is wildly misleading, too, since while the top 1% account for 22% of all taxable income, they pay 38% of all federal income taxes.
This also means that 62% of income taxes are paid by those who aren’t members of Hillary’s 1% club. So “going where the money is” means, by definition, going after middle-class families.
It’s worth remembering that Hillary’s husband also promised to raise taxes only on the rich while hiking them on the middle class once he got into office. Obama’s tax-hiking frenzy also hit families making less than $250,000.
While Trump’s economic proposals are far from perfect — his trade policies and his unwillingness to tackle entitlements are two big drawbacks — at least he’s focused on accelerating growth in the private sector through tax cuts and regulatory reform.
Clinton continues to labor under the delusion that prosperity comes only from a much bigger federal government.