Monday, July 1, 2019

The Economic Positions of Kamala Harris (And Her Father): What You Need to Know

Kamla Harris and father Donald Harris
When considering the economic policy positions of Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris (54), it should first be kept in mind that her father, Donald J. Harris, is Professor of Economics, Emeritus at Stanford University.

He is considered a post-Keynesian and should best be thought of as writing dense obscure papers from a post-Keynesian perspective that will have no impact on future economic thinking.

When he has taken a position on current day economic policy, it has been from an interventionist perspective. We are not dealing here with a Walter Block fellow traveler.

In 2008, he wrote an essay for the Stanford Daily supporting the presidential candidacy of Barak Obama because his "record bodes well for his ability to do an outstanding job as President and to secure passage of path-breaking healthcare legislation."

And in the March 1993 edition of The Review of Black Political Economy, he penned an article, "Economic growth and equity: Complements or opposites?," where he denies there are market mechanisms that work toward eliminating inequality (Though it is not clear whether he means eliminating inequality for doing the same type of work or a general lowering of unequal income). The paper's argument suggests he likely supports affirmative action and other government interventions to fix inequality.

The paper's abstract:
There is no automatic mechanism in a market economy to guarantee reduced inequality of income with growth. Some theories lead us to expect just the opposite. At best, there are self-limiting cyclical effects, associated with changes in unemployment. U.S. economic growth has actually been quite slow since the 1950s. Besides, there are structural barriers to reduced inequality that operate with or without growth. Historical evidence for different countries presents a mixed picture. For the U.S. economy, postwar growth has been associated with an upturn in measured inequality. Government intervention has been mildly equalizing, through transfers and expenditures but not through taxes.
It appears that his daughter, Kamala, has taken her father's general interventionist-leanings and run with them in exponential fashion.

She co-sponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare-for-All bill.

She has announced a plan to give the average public school teacher a $13,500 salary increase.

She has proposed the Rent Relief Act, which would offer tax credits to help with rents.

 She has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal.

There is no indication she has any strong positions on such important issues as the Federal Reserve, Social Security or growing government deficits.

Bottom Line: Her economic policies are all early-stage socialist and she has little to no focus at all on any important economic issues and developing economic crises. Her post-Keynesian interventionist father would probably be even less of a danger than her. The only thing going for her is that she is not Elizabeth Warren.


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