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Hillary on redistribution and unemployment

(Needless to say, by "redistribution" I mean the "redistribution" of wealth upward -- like the bailouts, which were the largest upward transfer of wealth in world history.) David Sanger saw Hillary Clinton at the Brookings Institute, and she had this to say:

[CLINTON] The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [that confront the United States and other nations,] whether it is individual, corporate, whatever the taxation forms are....

Brazil has the highest tax-to-G.D.P. rate in the Western hemisphere. And guess what? It’s growing like crazy. The rich are getting richer, but they are pulling people out of poverty. There is a certain formula there that used to work for us until we abandoned it — to our regret, in my opinion. My view is that you have to get many countries to increase their public revenues.

No shit. This is, again, a marginal difference, a softer neo-liberalism. But, again, again, again, marginal is not insignificant (and it would be nice if some MMTer got through to the Clinton's inner circle, just for grins).

This being Izvestia, and Sanger being a fully paid up Versailles courtier, the obligatory framing follows:

[T]here has been speculation about whether, after her days as a diplomat are over, Mrs. Clinton might try once more for the presidency. If so, her opponents are bound to reach for the Brookings tape.

No doubt, at which point -- especially if the depression goes double dip -- I would expect Hillary to stomp her opponents into dust. Hillary did, after all -- arguably, after being cornered into it by the collapse of the initial, Mark Penn-style apparatus in February 2008 -- win a majority of the D popular vote in the 2008 primaries with a cell phone-based, policy-oriented campaign, in the face of WWTSBQ opposition from our famously free press and most of the D apparatus, including the grotesquely misogynist career "progressives," the access bloggers, and the Web 2.0 widget-enamored "net roots." There's no reason that couldn't happen again. I doubt very much I'll be part of it, since I think the rot in the legacy parties has gone too far, but I'd wish a campaign like that a lot less ill than I'd wish others -- Obama's campaign for re-election, for example. No doubt, by that point, Obama will have made his deal with a major network, so he'll be out of the way.

NOTE Via Avedon.

UPDATE Atrios, who is always a good leading indicator, knows the ruling elite is morally and intellectually bankrupt. So how about throwing the blog that everybody hates and nobody reads a link, every so often? Especially on the MMT stuff? After all, if it's good enough for Yves...

UPDATE And then there's this. The comments section, interestingly, is less hilarious than usual, though the old familiar enforcers are still doing their thing.

No votes yet


madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

And if he does, you'll see an influx of trolls like you haven't seen since the primaries. Believe me, I know.

I think it's misleading to call Hillary a neo-liberal. She is a New Dealer at heart, even more so than her husband.

The only thing "wrong" with her thinking is that the New Deal was created when we were still on the gold standard (If I'm getting my MMT concepts right). But she is about as far from Obama domestically as FDR was from Reagan. Marginal difference? Not in my book.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Like everyone else, Clinton is too much in the thrall of "the need for endless more" school of economics as far as I'm concerned. However, you're right, some of what she says sounds pretty good** when contrasted with what we are hearing from the Democratic standard bearer. In fact, the particular passage that Lambert quoted sounds better than what we were hearing from candidate Clinton. (I take it she's not just talking about raising the top tax bracket from 35 to 39.6 per cent. I'll have to look into what's she referring to when she cites Brazil.)

About the New Deal, J. M. Keynes thought FDR never got it about the need for spending in excess of government revenues. However, Roosevelt did take steps to get the U.S. off the gold standard immediately upon taking office.

Wikipedia says:

Economic historians, such as UC Berkeley professor Barry Eichengreen, blame the gold standard of the 1920s for prolonging the Great Depression...

Great Britain, Japan, and the Scandinavian countries left the gold standard in 1931.

...Recovery in the United States was slower than in Britain, in part due to the Federal Reserve's reluctance to abandon the gold standard and float the U.S. currency as Britain had done. It was not until 1933 when the United States finally decided to abandon the gold standard that the economy began to improve.

Krugman says [I've cleaned up his text a bit]:

Barry Eichengreen pointed out years ago that major economies went off gold in the following order: Japan, Britain, Germany, US, France. The correlation between going off gold and recovery is in fact perfect. And here’s what happened to their industrial output:

[At this point Krugman posts a graph with the caption: All that glitters went off gold.]

About FDR and Keynes, Robert Saunders writes:

[p. 97]

Keynes urged FDR to stress recovery over reform, proposing a series of steps to bring about recovery within six months. He contended that the NRA by stressing reform "probably impeded recovery." Keynes maintained that only government action and not consumers or businessmen, could get the economy rolling again. To do this, the government had to create additional income through the expenditure of borrowed or printed money, and not by taxes. Thus, deficit spending was the only sure means of increasing output at rising prices...

In his first State of the Union address in early 1934, a few weeks after Keynes's letter in the New York Times, FDR completely ignored Keynes's advice. On the contrary, FDR stressed reform, contending that the NRA was making "great strides" in combating unemployment and in creating a new system that allowed "reasonable profits" for business. He also praise the AAA, suggesting that it reinforced his belief that efforts to balance production and consumption "were succeeding."

...Not one to give up after a rebuff, Keynes came to the United States in early June for a personal conference with FDR at the White House. By all accounts the meeting was a disaster. Keynes presented a mathematical analysis of the depression [p. 98] that left FDR "uncomprehending." FDR informed his secretary of labor, Francis Perkins: "I saw your friend Keynes. He left a whole rigamarole of figures. He must be a mathematician rather than a political economist." Keynes also expressed his misgivings about the meeting, telling Secretary Perkins that he had "supposed the president was more literate, economically speaking."

**Damn, that link went down and it's to the only complete video of that question and Clinton's answer that I could find. Maybe it'll come back. Anyway here's that site's transcript of Clinton's answer:

Below is a partial transcript of the above video:

I also believe you put your finger on one of the biggest international problems we have, and I’ll just -- you know, this is my opinion; I’m not speaking for the administration, so I will preface that with a very clear caveat. The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues, whether it’s individual, corporate, whatever the taxation forms are. And I go back to the question about Brazil. Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere. And guess what, it’s growing like crazy. And the rich are getting richer, but they’re pulling people out of poverty. There is a certain formula there that used to work for us until we abandoned it, to our regret in my opinion.

So, my view is that you have to get many countries to increase their public revenue collections in order to make investments that will make them richer over the long run. You have to work hard on the innovation, new technology agenda to try to create new forms of jobs. You have to strike the right balance, which is not easy, and different countries probably require different approaches between stimulus and restraint. I think you have to, even during crisis periods, you know, look at big works projects in order to employ people. But it’s difficult to do that in some of the advanced countries because the kinds of jobs that those works projects produce are not always the jobs that people are willing to take.

And one of the things that benefited the United States dramatically in the ’90s and the first decade of this century was immigration. I mean, you know, we filled a lot of jobs that really fueled the economy as a lot of our population aged. And so immigration has to be somehow in the mix, but it is becoming an increasingly volatile subject, not just here, but everywhere.

So there is no, like, one perfect formula, but we know the elements that are necessary. And trying to get that right balance is very challenging.

And I think that we have to also work on changing attitudes, and that requires leadership. We need a robust market economy that is truly as free as possible everywhere, but with appropriate and effective regulation everywhere. And we need rich people everywhere to understand that many of them benefited greatly by the investments of prior generations and their own families or their own countries, and that they have to be part of helping to keep that growth rate and that economic progress going for future generations. And we have to change attitudes among individuals.

You know, Nick Kristof wrote a column last week sometime talking about how a lot of really poor people around the world have money, but they don’t choose to spend it on educating their children. And he talked about one family in a poor African village that had enough money to pay the $10 a month cell phone bill for the husband and the wife, but not enough money to keep their son in school.

So we have to have leaders in countries and companies and religions who focus on the needs of children, the next generation. Because educating kids, keeping them healthy, family planning, these are all part of dealing with the long-term economic imbalance in the world.

Submitted by hipparchia on

she's to the left of obama [that's not hard to do these days] but she's still mostly just the left wing of the dlc, with obama representing the right wing of the dlc.

holc? yes, that's very new deal.

gas tax holiday and a windfall profits tax on oil companies? that would have been excellent.

health care? her plan was still the same insurance industry protection act as all the other 'serious' dems.

abortion? she's better than obama, that's for sure, but she's still all for safe, legal, and rare, and describes it as a wrenching moral choice that the woman has to make [um, no, not according to the women i know who have had abortions, and not according to reputable studies either. most women feel relief at being able to get an abortion when they need one, they don't generally wrestle with moral demons and have lifelong crippling regrets].

so yes, i think she would have brought us corporate health whatever reform, and would have allowed at least some further restrictions on abortion if that would have been the price of getting health whatever reform.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

Clinton is as hardcore pro-choice as it gets. She'll use whatever rhetoric is necessary to protect choice.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

And yes, Clinton is a New Dealer. She's probably the farthest left candidate we've had since FDR. You have to actually look at her record rather than read what other people write about her.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i read her website, listened to her speeches, read the legislation she sponsored, corresponded with her campaign staff....

she's waaaay better than most of them, but still ...

Q: Are there circumstances when the government should limit choice?

LAZIO: I had a pro-choice record in the House, and I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I support a ban on partial-birth abortions. Senator Moynihan called it “infanticide.” Even former mayor Ed Koch agreed that this was too extreme a procedure. This is an area where I disagree with my opponent. My opponent opposes a ban on partial-birth abortions.

CLINTON: My opponent is wrong. I have said many times that I can support a ban on late-term abortions, including partial-birth abortions, so long as the health and life of the mother is protected. I’ve met women who faced this heart-wrenching decision toward the end of a pregnancy. Of course it’s a horrible procedure. No one would argue with that. But if your life is at stake, if your health is at stake, if the potential for having any more children is at stake, this must be a woman’s choice.

the fact that she's willing to go along with a ban on late-term abortions, with only some exceptions, says that ultimately, no, she does not trust women to make their own decisions. in spite of what she says here:

I have met thousands and thousands of pro-choice men and women. I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is trusting the individual to make the right decision for herself and her family, and not entrusting that decision to anyone wearing the authority of government in any regard.

and there's this on parental notification, as before, better than most, but still ...

If you can presume that a child is competent to make a decision, you still want that child to have parental guidance whenever possible. But realistically, we know that in many cases that is not possible.

I believe in parental notification. I think there are exceptions. There are situations in which the family is so dysfunctional that notification is not appropriate. In general, I think families should be part of helping their children through this.

that all sounds good and reasonable, and in theory i'd like for parents to know what's going on with their kids, but let's be realistic, some parents are dangerous assholes, and so are some judges, so i'm opposed to parental notification laws of any kind.

and sorry, but this just makes me want to barf:

We come to [the abortion] issue as men and women, young and old, some far beyond years when we have to worry about getting pregnant, others too young to remember what it was like in the days before Roe v. Wade. But I think it’s essential that as Americans we look for that common ground that we can all stand upon. [Our] core beliefs and values. can guide us in reaching our goal of keeping abortion safe, legal and rare into the next century.

she did vote no on the partial-birth abortion ban, kudos to her for that, but it still passed into law, and without much in the way of opposition that i remember.

then there's all this on social security, even back in 1999 she was talking about making bold decisions on social security, not lift the cap on salaries, no cuts for CURRENT beneficiaries [but no word on what she would do for future beneficiaries], no privatizing ss [but yes to somehow providing additional opportunities for people to invest beyond their ss accounts], these are all the kinder, gentler form of neoliberalism, but they're all still neoliberalism.

and ALL of her proposed healthcare solutions have been about keeping the private insurance market as the central core of the system. bah, more neoliberalism.

i do still love her madly for this:

HILLARY CLINTON: I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

and the future fertility of the mother. You said "some exceptions" - what else would there be? Why else do women in the third trimester have abortions? Tell us who would be impacted by that restriction.

Which legislation that she sponsored are you concerned about?

Her healthcare proposal contained a Medicare-like entity that would have allowed people to purchase insurance at cost from a public insurer. That tilts the playing field towards single payer because eventually most everyone will wind up buying from the insurer.

The fact of the matter is that the insurance companies had a war chest of $600 million dollars to defeat any serious threat to their profitability. They don't have to use that $600 million to convince EVERYONE in the US of the danger of single payer - only a handful of swing voters in swing states.

Submitted by hipparchia on

Tell us who would be impacted by that restriction.

why have the restriction at all, except to pander to the religious bigots?

Which legislation that she sponsored are you concerned about?

actually, she sponsored and/or wrote some legislation that i liked, which is one of the reasons why i decided i liked her better than obama.

Her healthcare proposal contained a Medicare-like entity that would have allowed people to purchase insurance at cost from a public insurer. That tilts the playing field towards single payer because eventually most everyone will wind up buying from the insurer.

medicare-like entity, public option, wev, it's still a neoliberal solution to the problem.

first, why not just make the option medicare itself, instead of putting non-old people into a separate pool? it wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that old people [and some of the disabled] can be very very expensive, would it? keeping them in their own high-risk pool [which is what that arrangement would amount to] is not the same thing as putting all the sick people and all the healthy people into the same pool. high-risk pools are always the first to be attacked [cutting benefits, keeping people out, charging more for premiums, co-pays, deductibles, etc] when somebody decides we're spending too much.

second, buying into either medicare itself or a medicare-like entity "at cost" means what, exactly? would people buying into this plan be further divided into groups with the young and healthy paying less and the older and sicker paying more? even if everybody is charged the exact same premium, regardless of age or health or sex or weight or ... and even without the insane markups the insurance companies tack on, this is expensive, and prohibitively so for lower-income people. why not just have a simple payroll tax like we do for medicare?

a medicare-like entity would tilt the playing field toward single payer? only if the insurance company lobbyists can't buy off enough congress critters to design a meant-to-fail entity. that's what happened to the public option, even if it had survived the legislative process, the final form was structured so that very few people were likely to end up in the new public plan.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Maybe an edit is in order Basement Angel.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

You're locked out. (That's why I didn't click on the "reply" link at the bottom of your comment.) Anyway, I'm sure you and Hipp will work things out.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'm not at all offended by impassioned language.

i like hillary clinton far more than i like barack obama, and i'm convinced that had she been elected, the self-styled "progressives" [who all think she's somehwere to the right of attila the hun] would have howled like hyenas, demanding all kinds of liberal policies be put in place nownownow, and given that kind of national dynamic we would probably have got something closer to a new new deal than the crap we're getting now.

i also think that obama has a big enough ego that had the progressives made the same leftist demands of him that they would most likely have made of hillary, that he also could perhaps have been swayed by the opportunity to be seen as the next fdr, and might have been persuadable enough to have done a better job on health care, the stimulus, etc.

Cleaver's picture
Submitted by Cleaver on

I guarantee... (4.00 / 2)
That her negatives will skyrocket if she ever runs again. She's just kind of "out of sight" right now!

Yeah, she's never in the papers or on the teebee or anything. She's practically wearing a burka. That must explain her skyrocketing popularity at the moment. People just loves them some Hillary when she's kind of out of sight. I guarantee. 4.00.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Hillary Clinton has faced a machine (one that exploits the widespread misogynistic frenzy that is alive and well in our society, even amongst the "enlightened" ones) that has smeared her and her husband for twenty years and still she's popular. I'd like to see Obama withstand that for just a year and simply not buckle under the pressure.

And I don't know why Bowers (or anyone else) would list her resume as a way of showing why she wuold be in good shape to win the presidency (assuming she even wants to after 2008). The presidential campaign showed me that it simply doesn't matter what she actually does or says or who she actually is as a person or a politician when facing the buzzsaw of all-out bigotry.

Remember, everyone: JUDGMENT.

Submitted by hipparchia on

Remember, everyone: JUDGMENT.

i did forget this one, actually. thank you for the reminder.

S Brennan's picture
Submitted by S Brennan on

Clearly the administration has her delivering these talking points...

Let's increase and Barack, Larry & Timmy say "give it to the girl"

"...but she's the Secretary of State...surely somebody will think that's weird, no Secretary of State has ever been asked to support a domestic tax increase"

but Barack chimes in "hey she's more popular than me, it's time she take one for the team..heh..heh"

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

Clearly the administration has her delivering these talking points...

This is from the paragraph just before what lambert quoted:

But soon she took herself to what she called “one of the biggest international problems we have,’’ and, pausing, added this perhaps important caveat: “This is my opinion, I’m not speaking for the administration.’’

[my emphasis]

S Brennan's picture
Submitted by S Brennan on

Would she say something like, this "I am speaking for the administration on tax policy" which would imply that Barack, Timmy & Larry were gutless works.

Parse the statement.

“This is my opinion" That's true, that is what Bill did when he first came into office

"I’m not speaking for the administration.’’

Of course not, because it would either be Secretary of the Treasury or the Admins spokesman if it was official and they are not saying squat. This just provides Barack, Timmy & Larry cover. If they didn't ask her to do it, she would have been fired for doing can count on that.

Submitted by lambert on

With her numbers where they are?

Obama and the administration may be stupid about a lot of things, but that's one thing they're not stupid about.

Submitted by lambert on

I know Hillary's numbers are high -- that's the point of this thread!

I think it's unlikely that they'd fire her when that was true.

That's not to say they wouldn't cook up something to make her numbers go lower (and gawd knows the Afghan war ought to be doing that for everybody concerned with it), but that's not the point you made ("she would have been fired").

NOTE Also, I consolidated the URLs in the subject lines since long ones could screw up the sidebar.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Kemal Derviş

currently Director of the Brookings "Global Economy and Development" program
former Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
former Minister for Economic Affairs in Turkey

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

To me, economics isn't gravity meaning that the need to justify economic policy with an ad hoc theory is a step we don't have to make. I think we should stick to the fundamental issue of justice and fairness. Period. I agree with MMT that monetary theory is a tool that sovereigns can use to better people's live. That should be our principle woth fighting for, not details of whether deficits are good or bad.

Hillary's statement seems like something so much more powerful than anything liberals are claiming. It mentions fairness explicitly and it provides counter-examples to conservative econimc theory. Justice is something that appears to resonate even with infants/toddlers. Hillary is being explicit about that. The discussion of MMT here seems to take away the most powerful arguments liberalism has against the current system.

I say this as someone who probably wouldn't do anything for Hillary (donate volunteer or vote) unless she left the Dems and exposed the election thievery of the current system. But justice to me is more important than an arbitrary monetary theory.

Submitted by lambert on

... is to understand and advocate that money, being created by the state, is there to serve a public purpose (and not for private interests). Surely that's a necessary precondition or at least a helpful argument for justice-based policies?

There is also the idea that MMT has the merit of being true....

Agreed that Hillary's claim is more powerful than most made. That's not a bad thing

caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

tax rates during the primary. The time I remember best was during her interview with Bill O'Reilly. Bill was doing his usual whining about the tax burden, and Hillary reminded him that during their childhoods (they are about the same age) in the '50s/'60s, the tax rates were significantly higher; the rich were rich but not insanely so; public schools provided a good education; government provided student loans were a realistic 2% interest; the infrastructure, built by tax dollars, was in good shape; many boats rose in that rising tide.

This is not new territory for the SoS. Happy to hear she's still making the point.

The scary thought, for me, is that if this is an Obama sanctioned comment, that it is part of the groundwork for his "Grand Bargain" wherein SS and Medicare are gutted in exchange for tiny and almost meaningless tax increases.

chezmadame's picture
Submitted by chezmadame on

The first one said:
Hillary looks really…old. And tired, too.

Another one, quoting an earlier, comment said:
"Frankly, this meme is so old and busted that Hillary’s attempt to use it practically qualifies as nostalgia."

Enough about Hilary’s vaj-vaj…
… What’s up with her face?

So the old crap continues. Is SOS (same old shit) in the Corrente glossary?

The remark about her "vaj-vaj" was kinda funny though, in an unintended way. Mr. Misogyny-is-Cool is so utterly clueless.

It's va-jay jay, not vaj-vaj.

Kinda like the "it's Tahiti not Haiti" moment from Ruthless People.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

Bush administration time and time again, it's amazing to me that these sullied brains think that Obama is governing right about where they expected Clinton to govern. So these yahoos were predicting that Clinton would be to Bush's right on important? yeah? I'd like to see that contemporaneous statement.

Obama - bringin' the stupid.