So now, Hillary Clinton is saying: Never mind, I goofed.
The former senator, secretary of state and first lady on Friday declared that businesses and corporations don’t create jobs. Yesterday, she, ahem, clarified things.
“I short-handed this point the other day,” she said. “So let me be absolutely clear about what I’ve been saying for a couple of decades: Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in America, and workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out — not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas.”
It’s no wonder Clinton was forced to retract. Her statement about businesses and jobs may have been the most mocked utterance by a political leader since Al Gore boasted that he invented the Internet.
But her clarification lacks conviction. This business bashing has become a recurring theme of the left. It wasn’t so long ago that President Obama made his famous “you didn’t build that” statement that business owners have government to thank for their successful enterprises.
This isn’t just the mindset of Hillary Clinton but almost all “progressives,” who have come to regard business, profits and wealth creation as ignoble and even dangerous.
Of course, Clinton can afford to think that way. After all, she has become a millionaire, thanks to her careers as an author, ace cattle futures trader and government employee and her charging fees of up to $250,000 per talk on the speaking circuit. Nice.
But this is about the “progressive” mindset of liberal leaders today. We have seen the denigration of economic success in the war against the rich, the attacks against energy industry profits, tax increases on successful businesses and workers, and health care mandates on employers. Many wonder why businesses are so reluctant to reinvest profits and hire more workers. It is statements like Clinton’s that give employers pause.
Apparently, businesses are virtuous to liberals only when they lose money–in which case they deserve handouts and bailouts. Corporations that try to minimize their tax burdens are attacked regularly in the press and on Capitol Hill as “traitors.”
These days in Washington, the only good capitalism is crony capitalism–where businesses live off taxpayers, not customers. Tax rates of 50 percent, 60 percent or even 70 percent on those who do succeed and do hire people are seen as virtuous and “fair.”
One of the more noble and rewarding pursuits in life is to start a business. It takes drive, imagination and nerves of steel. Two out of three new businesses fail during their first 10 years. The business owner is the last to get paid, not the first. Only someone who never has started a business would disparage those who do and succeed at it.
Clinton also was wrong when she said Reaganomics–or what she calls “trickle down economics”–“failed spectacularly.” She need only ask her husband, who signed into law a capital gains tax cut in 1997 that created jobs and nearly doubled capital gains tax revenues from $62 billion in 1996 to $110 billion in 1999. Bill Clinton also promoted free trade. He reformed the welfare state; he didn’t grow it as this president has.
Under President Reagan’s supply-side policies, the economy grew twice as fast as under President Obama’s pro-government schemes. The economy would be more than $2 trillion larger today if Obama’s recovery had kept pace with Reagan’s. That is how much more output we produced at the greater-than-4 percent rate of the Reagan recovery versus 2 percent since the Obama recovery began. We also would have several million more people working.
But Hillary Clinton isn’t interested in that outcome because, after all, jobs are created by businesses and businesses are money-grubbing enemies of the workers they hire. Or something like that.
Clinton says she didn’t actually mean what she said. But actions speak louder than words. What has she ever done as first lady, senator or cabinet member under Obama to help businesses grow? The question answers itself.