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Waking Up to Hillary's Big-Government Nightmare


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April 20, 2006

By Lawrence Kudlow


The ballroom was packed with a who's who of business when Sen. Hillary Clinton addressed the Chicago Economic Club last week. No doubt about it, this was the address of a presidential hopeful. But unfortunately for Mrs. Clinton, the eyelids grew heavy as she droned on and on.


Sleep, it seems, was the better option to suffering through this odd and curious presentation. On the one hand, Clinton acknowledged a growing economy, a stock market at historic highs, strong productivity and profits, and low unemployment, while on the other she called for big-government investment in infrastructure and heavy spending on health care and education. These two hands don't go together.


The senator argued that "tax cuts are not the cure-all for everything that ails the American economy," and that instead we need the "right tax system (and) the right investment, including infrastructure ... decisions and policies that only all of us acting together through our government can make to set the stage for future prosperity." The italics, unfortunately, are mine.


So what we have here is a strong plea for a government-directed economy. This is something that used to be called industrial planning and targeting, at least until the dismal economic performances of France, Germany and Japan totally discredited those terms. But for Sen. Clinton, government planning is back.


Citing a recent report by New York financier Felix Rohatyn and former Sen. Warren Rudman, Clinton is calling for a "national investment authority" to rebuild the nation. This, in her view, will solve all our problems related to airports, highways, bridges, hurricanes and lord knows what else.


She speaks as though Congress didn't already spend a fortune on the recent highway bill, replete with corrupt budget earmarks that totaled a cool $30 billion in 2005.


Ironically, while Clinton wants to revive big-government spending, a number of respected policy analysts are writing about making public highways private. Topping their list are the Chicago Skyway, the Indiana Turnpike, toll roads in Texas and Oregon, and toll truck lanes in Virginia and Atlanta. These private ventures would pay for themselves and would substitute market decisions for government planning.


The Reason Foundation is chock full of similar ideas, including private-sector road and highway plans in California, where voters just rejected a $68 billion infrastructure package because of a political history of pilfered taxpayer funds.


In Chicago, Clinton also engaged in a bit of class warfare, telling the assembled businesspeople: "America did not build the greatest economy in the world because we have rich people. Nearly any society has some of those." Without exactly saying it, she clearly implied tax hikes on the rich and a large-scale redistribution program worthy of any centrally planned economy.


Hasn't Clinton noticed the worldwide spread of free-market capitalism that has become such an enormous wealth creator across the globe -- including Eastern Europe, India, China and the rest of Asia? The economic growth principles of higher after-tax returns for work and investment, deregulation to limit government's reach, and the privatization of government-run companies have become almost commonplace following the Reagan-Thatcher revolution of 25 years ago.


But Clinton would have us turn the clock back in ways that even her husband didn't support. She defines her goals in terms of "a middle-class life, education, health care, transportation and retirement." But all this is nothing more than a massive dose of government spending and regulating -- a sure prescription for humongous taxes and a declining economy.


No wonder the Chicago ballroom started to snooze. Clinton's ideas electrified the audience about as much as a broken plug attached to an old landline phone.


Why not employ the tax code to reward success rather than punish it? What about investor-owned savings accounts for health care, retirement and education? Why not put pro-market consumer choice, rather than government, at the center of the 21st century economy? How about setting the fiscal stage so the non-rich can get rich?


Two weeks ago, I was in the Oval Office with President Bush and a handful of financial journalists. The president spoke to us about his growth policies and priorities, such as making tax relief permanent, keeping the tax rate on dividends and capital gains low, maintaining lean budgets and expanding free trade.


This vision is in deep contrast to the one being set forth by Hillary Clinton. The president places the risk-taker and the entrepreneur at the center of economic growth; the presidential candidate sees government as the driving force of the economy.


It may well be that the booming American economy is still the greatest story never told. But the reality is that low-tax, free-market policies are triumphing here and around the world. It makes one wonder, What planet is Hillary Clinton living on?


Lawrence Kudlow is a former Reagan economic advisor, a syndicated columnist, and the co-host of CNBC's Kudlow & Company. Visit his blog, Kudlow's Money Politics.

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Wait a second here...is a Bush Republican accusing someone ELSE of being 'big government'????


Hasn't our domestic spending and government programs increased out the wazoo under Bush?


At least Clinton's policy had some way to PAY for all the spending. You can't have it both ways.

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You are right, Bush has not been as much a fiscal conservative as most of us would have liked. I'm not happy about it either. In his defense, a lot of his spending has been for military and security reasons, not to mention costly responses to 9/11 and natural disasters. It hasn't just been for social programs like Shrillary would spend your tax dollars.


Bush has also cut taxes and proven once again that's the primary reason for increased revenue and a stimulated the economy. Hillary would just tax and spend and ruin the booming economic. Liberals have never learned you can't tax the economy into growth, it doesn't work that way although the media doesn't get it either! I just shake my head in disbelief how liberals and the media get away with saying we can't afford these tax cuts while ignoring the economic facts like ostrichs with their heads in the sand. What's worse is they get millions of gullable people to believe their lies! :whistle:

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I don't know if you are aware of the way government works, but Congress (the lawmaking body of the United States) would have to approve any raise in taxes. So Hillary couldn't just tax us into oblivion. And the Bush government is bigger than any government we had under Clinton.

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Originally posted by BoBellCrew

And it didn't work what... once? Under Carter?

What didn't work once . . . raising taxes to stimulate the economy? :w00t:


You can't be serious. Government taxing and spending mostly on social programs does nothing to stimulate the economy except provide a few more social services jobs to keep track of all the government hand outs! :whistle:

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