Hillary Clinton Flunks Economics

She says we’re better off with Democrats in the White House. Is that so?

There can be no doubt now: The U.S. economy is struggling, inequality is on the rise and too many Americans feel uncertain about their future.
On the campaign trail, I have met many of these men and women, who sit at the kitchen table each week, straining to stretch their dollars from shrinking paychecks. Families who can’t save for retirement with near-zero interest rates. Young parents who are being crushed by their student debt. Shop owners who can’t get a loan because their community bank went out of business.
We’ve had more than six years to watch the left’s prescriptions in action and the verdict is in: They don’t work. Under President Obama, the economy has been hobbled. The 73,000-page tax code is too complex to navigate without an army of accountants. The administration has added $7 trillion in new federal debt, and has doubled down on environmental regulations that crush business owners and farmers while raising energy prices.
And yet Hillary Clinton said on Oct. 13 in the first Democratic presidential debate, “The economy does better when you have a Democrat in the White House,” and she offers variations on that line when campaigning.
Whose economy is she talking about? The middle class has shrunk under the Obama administration. According to government figures and industry analyses, median-income households have lost nearly $1,300 after inflation, while the prices of food, health care and college tuition have risen almost twice as fast as inflation.
Those struggling to find work are increasingly out of luck: Labor-force participation for working-age Americans has fallen to 62.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a level last seen in the Jimmy Carter-era recession. Millions have given up looking for work, and millions have fallen into poverty as a result.

While Mrs. Clinton touts her gender to bolster her campaign, 92% of the jobs lost during Mr. Obama’s first term—when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state—belonged to women, according to the BLS. The National Women’s Law Center reports that the poverty rate among women is 16.1%—the highest level in 20 years—and the extreme poverty rate among women the highest ever recorded.
African-American unemployment is almost twice as high as the national average. The median household net worth for black families fell by 33% from 2010 to 2013. The left continually urges more spending for the Education Department, yet the achievement gap between black and white students has stagnated and remains far too wide—and only half of black male high-school students graduate on time. Meanwhile, liberals pander to the teachers unions while blocking merit pay and shutting down school-choice programs.
But maybe those aren’t the Americans Mrs. Clinton is talking about.
People at the top seem to be doing just fine under the policies she extols. As this newspaper reported last year, in the period 2009-12, 95% of income gains went to the top 1%.
That’s because big government only works for big business, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected. Consider the 2010 Dodd-Frank law: Under that legislation passed by a Democrat-led Congress, “too big to fail” banks got even bigger, while 1,500 community banks—the source of half of all loans to local businesses—reportedly have been destroyed. The remaining community banks have had to hire 50% more compliance staff just to keep up with the regulations.
Only big businesses can manage the weight and complexity of today’s regulatory regime. The small businesses that are the real engine of growth—they create two-thirds of new jobs—are being crushed by costly new rules and regulations that they must understand and navigate.
Mrs. Clinton stunned listeners earlier this year when she admitted being “surprised” to learn that small businesses are struggling. Since the Obama tenure began, the Gallup organization reports, America has seen a net total of 70,000 more small businesses closed than startups begun—reversing a growth trend that had lasted a decade.
The Republican debate on Wednesday will focus on the economy. America needs someone in the White House who actually understands how the economy works—and who knows what it will take to get it going and growing again. We have to reverse the government-driven decline of small businesses. That means radically simplifying the tax code, shrinking the bloated federal bureaucracy and rolling back a complex, corrupt regulatory regime.
Hillary Clinton talks a good game against crony capitalism, large banks and income inequality. She just doesn’t mention that all three have flourished during the Obama years.
Ms. Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.




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