Those just old enough to vote in their first election this November probably have no way of knowing what a real American economy looks like.
They were just 10 years old, or so, before the crash of 2008 and the presidency of Barack Obama.
Since then, as was recently pointed out elsewhere:
• Employer-based family health care premiums have gone up an average of $4,170 – after Mr. Obama promised, repeatedly, they would go down by an average of $2,500 per family. That’s a nearly $6,700 swing for your family.
• Median household income has actually gone down $185 a year.
• Home ownership is at its lowest rate in over half a century.
• The number of Americans on food stamps has exploded, from 32 million when Obama took office to over 44 million this year.
• We hit the lowest labor participation rate – the percentage of working-age civilians either working or looking for work – since the 1970s. Many millions of Americans have simply given up looking for work.
The malaise has washed over nearly everyone, but has hit the African-American community with a particular cruelty: For African-Americans, food stamp dependence has risen 58 percent; poverty is up 8.2 percent; home ownership is down 4.6 percent; median income is down 1.5 percent.
This isn’t “hate” or “bashing.” These are cold, hard facts. Yet, sadly, we appear to be accepting this stagnation as the “new normal.”
To our young, we simply say: This is not normal. Don’t accept it.
While Mr. Obama inherited an acute fiscal crisis, he’ll be handing off a chronic one: After the feeblest “recovery” since the 1940s – plus anemic, near-recession 1-percent economic growth this year and the “longest slide in worker productivity since the late 1970s” – Americans are worse off in almost every measurable way.
Why? Largely because Mr. Obama’s approach is government-centric.
Obamacare. Regulations. Some of the highest corporate taxes in the developed world (you’ll be glad to know Chad and the United Arab Emirates have higher). Mr. Obama is simply trying to direct and guide and order the entire economy.
And, in fact, Mrs. Clinton promises more of the same if elected.
That’s all been tried before elsewhere, to bitter failure.
As recounted by The Washington Times this past week, John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, argues that socialism “sounds good in theory,” but “in reality never works.”
“I want to make the world a better place. But you have to do that in a sort of pragmatic fashion, not a utopian transformation.”
Economist Adam Smith, who wrote the legendary book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations – published, appropriately enough, the year this country was born – talked about the “invisible hand” of individual self-interest that drives free economies as the moon influences the tides.
It is, in short, human nature that directs the economy of a free people. Not the government. This is the pure folly of socialists and communists and American politicians who deign to control the country rather than simply run the government.
In contrast to all this, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s economic policy speech to the Detroit Economic Club Aug. 8 should be required reading.
“When we abandoned the policy of America First,” he said, “we started rebuilding other countries instead of our own. The skyscrapers went up in Beijing and in many other cities around the world, while the factories and neighborhoods crumbled in Detroit.”
Yet, of Clinton’s notion that she can improve the economy through higher taxation, Trump notes, “The one common feature of every Hillary Clinton idea is that it punishes you for working and doing business in the United States.”
How can it improve the economy to take more money out of it? That’s just irrational. Indeed, as Trump noted, The Washington Post reported recently that despite Clinton’s promise as senator to create 200,000 jobs in upstate New York, “upstate job growth stagnated overall during her tenure, with manufacturing jobs plunging nearly 25 percent … Multiple analyses of its New York data show that upstate actually lost jobs during Clinton’s first term.”
Instead, Trump proposes tax cuts that will leave more money in private hands – though, as was proved in the Reagan years, that stimulates the economy and actually increases revenues flowing to the government.
Meanwhile, overregulation, he says, “is costing our economy as much as $2 trillion a year.”
“As The Wall Street Journal noted,” Trump said, “President Obama has issued close to four hundred new major regulations since taking office, each with a cost to the American economy of $100 million or more.”
And while Clinton now says she opposes the leviathan Trans-Pacific Partnership, that goes against character: She’s been there to cheer on every other job-killing trade deal our leaders have force-fed us. Trump is emphasizing smarter trade – and enforcement of trade deals, particularly with double-dealing China.
As we noted recently, we wonder if policy even matters to voters anymore.
If it does, then the choice has just become crystal clear: More
of the same job-killing globalism, or policies that put America