Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Incredibly Interventionist Economic Direction That a Hillary Clinton Administration Might Go In

Hillary is being influenced by the Roosevelt Institute (See: Where Hillary Would Get the Lefty Wackos to Fill a Clinton Administration). They recently published, Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy.

NYT reports on the interventionist insanity in the report:
“Rewriting the Rules” then moves on to 37 policy recommendations. Some seek to reduce concentrated power via changes to the tax code, financial reform and labor-market interventions: enacting financial-transaction taxes; taxing corporations on global income; strengthening the right to collective bargaining; and rewriting laws — on intellectual-property rights, lending practices, health care — that present unfair opportunities for monopoly profits. There is a parallel pocketbook agenda: a Fed policy of full employment, via low interest rates and access to credit markets, rather than one designed to control inflation; higher living wages; gender and racial equality in pay; affordable child care. Last is infrastructure: public spending for public goods, and not just roads and bridges but also broadband, high-speed rail, smart grid, green buildings — and especially investments in schools and housing that might end racial segregation. All three categories rest in part on public options. The role of an activist government, as Roosevelt sees it, is not to monopolize any given service, on a command-economy model, but to exist as a permanently nonextortionate market player. The report calls for a postal bank, which would expand access to banking services to the underserved; a public option for mortgages; Medicare open to all; and an expansion of Social Security via voluntary public investment accounts modeled on I.R.A.s.
From a budgetary perspective, at least, the report takes care to present its recommendations as feasible and responsible, imagining that all of those public options (for example) would be run as break-even enterprises. “Rewriting the Rules” does call for an increase in top individual marginal tax rates to perhaps 45 percent, a substantial increase by today’s Republican standards but well in line with contemporary Europe or 20th-century America. What was novel was that, unlike the usual centrist Democrat call for more job training and an expansion of the earned-income tax credit, this was not about tinkering with the old tax-and-transfer liberalism but about changing the fundamental structure of the economy. Their demands were vaulting, but they held that an agenda offering freedom from exploitation (rather than freedom from regulation), and insisting that greater fairness would benefit everyone, would resonate with all Americans....
Unlike the myriad other white papers that each week were drafted, edited, somnolently received at other think tanks and shelved without fanfare, this report — original not so much in its ideas as in its clarity and vigor — had captured wide and consequential attention. In the months leading up to its publication, the Roosevelt team was in close touch with Clinton speechwriters and advisers, and in subsequent rallies the candidate continued to draw upon the report, even at the level of explicit language; calls to “rewrite the rules” found their way into more of her addresses. 
But maybe it won't get that insane and just go crony Wall Street. NYT continues:
The story goes that there were two distinct factions in the Clinton White House: the free-market, centrist, “neoliberal” wing that we now associate with such figures as Larry Summers and Robert Rubin and such institutions as the Democratic Leadership Council; and then people like Stiglitz — who was head of the Council of Economic Advisers for two years — and Robert Reich. The Summers/Rubin wing largely prevailed. An approach to crime and poverty was engineered to win back Reagan Democrats so they could pass a deregulatory program that would appeal to emerging managerial wealth. The party’s Rubinite/Citigroup lineage extended through Rubin’s protégé Michael Froman, who as part of Obama’s transition team helped usher Tim Geithner into the Treasury Department. It was this legacy that had, throughout the primaries, prevented so many people from taking the former first lady — especially as she tied herself to Obama’s tenure — as a credible voice for the economic reforms of “Rewriting the Rules.”
This Manichaean story is a vast oversimplification for a variety of reasons, but it did inform the way many voters, especially on the left, viewed the primaries. The fight between Clinton and Sanders often seemed like a choice between a repudiation of the long 1990s entirely (Robert Reich has been an outspoken Sanders supporter) or an avowal that this time the party will choose the vision of Stiglitz. The obvious mystery then becomes: Where does Hillary Clinton herself stand? ...
One way that Clinton could signal that she really is serious about the remediation of inequality is through the decisions made by her transition team on personnel. In July, The Boston Globe reported that Roosevelt had been leading a campaign to help staff the economic-policy positions in future presidential administrations. The Clinton campaign appeared to be lagging in this regard behind Trump, who had long before named Chris Christie transition chairman. It seemed to Wong that appointments — especially as a proxy for the candidate’s relationship with Wall Street — were being taken as a matter of considerable seriousness, and, she told me, “everyone is watching.”

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