Opinion

opinion | Tom Rogan

Hillary Clinton’s money problem

Hillary Clinton.

Getty Images

Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton has a message for parents providing for their kids, for service workers earning money on the side, for students saving for school, for otherwise unemployed Americans. On Monday, the Democratic presidential candidate outlined her plan for the US economy. More government regulation and further obstacles to social mobility. Consider some key Clinton proposals.

Entrepreneurship

Clinton promised to support Americans “going to college without drowning in debt . . . starting that small business they’ve always dreamed about . . . getting a job that pays well enough to support a family and provide for a secure retirement.”

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But then Clinton called for new regulations on those same Americans. She said, “This on-demand or so-called gig economy is creating exciting opportunities . . . but it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protection. . . . I’ll crack down on bosses who exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors.”

Here, Clinton is endorsing a recent San Francisco Labor Board ruling that Uber drivers are employees entitled to associated benefits. But this is absurdity. Uber drivers use their own vehicles, work when they choose, and for how long they choose. Supporting the opposite conclusion, Clinton is saying that Uber, etc., must incur employee-labor costs on behalf of those drivers. What Clinton neglects to mention is that Uber would have to mitigate these costs by lowering its driver (‘‘employee”) numbers and passing on higher prices to riders.

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Clinton says she supports workers, but she’s siding with taxi unions that despise competition.

Entitlement costs

Modern liberalism’s silent motto: Steal from the young to give to the old.

“I’ll protect the Affordable Care Act — and build on it to lower out-of-pocket health care costs and to make prescription drugs more affordable,” Clinton said.

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Building on Obamacare might sound good to some, but as Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Jared Mayer have explained in their book “Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America’s Young,” Obamacare is a plague upon the young. It demands sky-high premiums, sky-high deductibles, and a plethora of worthless coverage. And it’s getting worse. As CNN recently noted, Obamacare 2016 is going to gut American families.

Clinton also promised to “help families look forward to retirement by defending and enhancing Social Security.”

“Defending” and “enhancing.” Translation: “no reforms” and “expanded benefits.” The Congressional Budget Office projects Social Security will go broke by 2029. And the poorest Americans have most to lose. America’s unresolved debt crisis will eventually cause a prolonged spike in interest rates. At that point, those who most need affordable loans will be least able to access them.

Regulations

Clinton said, “I’m going to be talking about how we empower entrepreneurs with less red tape, easier access to capital, tax relief, and simplification.”

Now read this quote: “We also have to go beyond Dodd-Frank.”

Somehow, Clinton believes that doubling down on regulations will lead to increased lending and new capital investment. But we know where this regulatory fetishism leads: major banks, community banks, and low-asset account holders gutted alike.

Energy reform

On the clean energy revolution, Clinton said, “These investments will create millions of jobs, save us money in the long run.”

Save us money? That’s ridiculous. Thanks to California’s waltz in green pastures, for example, Californians are now likely to pay an inflation-adjusted 47 percent more in energy bills over the next 15 years, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. In contrast, America’s true energy boom — born of fracking and liquified natual gas — offers long-term employment and serves key US foreign policy objectives.

Ultimately, amidst all its contradictions, this speech had one defining problem — money. Clinton says she’ll “propose ways to ensure that our fiscal outlook is sustainable.” But there’s only one way the sums are possible. Young Americans will have to pay ever increasing taxes for the prized inheritance of a bankrupted nation. The urgency of conservative methods of governance that center on empowering human capital has never been more profound.

It’s the empowerment economy versus the statist economy, stupid.

Tom Rogan is a columnist for the National Review Online and a panelist on the McLaughlin Group. Follow him on Twitter @TomRtweets.

Related:

Scot Lehigh: The Bernie Sanders surge

Editorial: Democrats need Elizabeth Warren’s voice in 2016

Jeff Jacoby: Clinton ropes reporters

Meredith Warren: US president needed; some experience required

Joan Vennochi: It’s all about Hillary Clinton, not the country

John E. Sununu: Clinton’s candidacy could sink

Editorial: Democrats shouldn’t let Clinton coast to nomination

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