Jan 21, 2008

Stop the Presses! Hillary...A Fiscal Conservative, Purveyor of Meritocracy?

From today's NY Times, Senator Hillary Clinton: "The American dream is premised on a growing economy where people are in a meritocracy and, if they’re willing to work hard, they will realize the fruits of their labor."

Sounds to me like Hillary supports the idea that free people participating in free markets is essentially the American dream. Is Hillary actually a closet libertarian, espousing the ageless wisdom of Adam Smith, Hayek, Friedman, and Von Mises?

Furthermore, regarding fiscal policy her unnamed surrogate says, "Republicans say that her tax increases on the affluent and her spending proposals would increase the deficit, but Mrs. Clinton’s advisers respond that she, like her husband, is a fiscal conservative."

If she thinks she's fiscally conservative then I guess we'll have to take her word for it. All financial estimates attached to socializing the nation's health care delivery system are in the neighborhood of a trillion dollars. Is there a possible funding mechanism that would allow a semantically gifted politician a reason to call that fiscally conservative?

Clinton's advisers suggest that an immediate fiscal stimulus is needed to prime the pump of the American economy, as any self-respecting Keynesian would espouse. But not even Bill's former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reisch--a Hillary economic policy adviser--would consider himself a fiscal conservative.

Lest I become confused about what Senator Clinton's true economic beliefs entail she clarifies things a bit, "If you go back and look at our history, we were most successful when we had that balance between an effective, vigorous government and a dynamic, appropriately regulated market. And we have systematically diminished the role and the responsibility of our government, and we have watched our market become imbalanced.”

That clarifies everything. To summarize her view of markets and individual liberty, Hillary believes in a meritocracy, by definition the ability for individuals to sustain themselves through talent and hard work rather than by class or wealth--unless you're wealthy; lack government contracts; contribute to a 401k; drive an unregistered Taxi cab; practice, invest in, or provide medical care; or manufacture cars, drugs, or electricity.

This leaves me wondering if Senator Clinton and the presumptive First Lady avoid the topic of economics around the dinner table. Bill might invoke the benefits of free trade and NAFTA, assuming there were no salary cap and he couldn't be assigned to the minor leagues; and, of course, a no-trade clause would be unacceptable. America is a meritocracy after all!

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