Okay, so Douglas Holtz-Eakin thinks that proposing policies that have been proposed before but have not been adopted (or are no longer in force) is the same as proposing policies that have been adopted and are still in place. Seriously, he completely conflates the two.
Many conservatives breathed a sigh of relief after the speech, having feared a fresh set of innovative proposals that might have required serious responses. “I think it’s a horse race between what’s more tired, her or the material,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “There really isn’t anything new here. It’s really more of the same, and I don’t understand how that would produce an outcome different from the last six or seven years.”
— Clinton speech react: ‘Is that it?’, Ben White, Politico, today
Okay, I realize that the Republicans have settled on a tactic of pretending that Democratic economic policy proposals that either never were in place or that have been repealed (e.g., Glass-Steagall) or have been dramatically altered (a progressive income tax system; e.g., large government expenditures for infrastructure, college funding, science and medical research) don’t work because they currently aren’t working.
But if Douglas Holtz-Eakin truly doesn’t understand how implementing policies that have never been implemented, and reimplementing ones that worked very well during their existence, might produce an outcome different from the last six or seven years, he’s not very smart.
The subtitle of White’s article is “The Democratic front-runner manages to underwhelm both Wall Street and its reformers in her signature economic policy speech.” And I myself certainly would like to see an end to what feels like a repeated tease. It’s past time for her to stop announcing (or hinting) that she’ll be announcing specific policy proposals on such-and-such day, and actually announce specific policy proposals. The generics phase of her campaign has more than worn out its welcome, I think.
I, of course, hope that the Republicans actually expect to convince people that the George W. Bush administration’s and current Kansas’s, Wisconsin’s, New Jersey’s detaxification/disinvestment policies—the ones that were enacted, not just proposed—worked, and that earlier, far more progressive tax policies didn’t, and that the deregulation of the finance industry was a good thing and the laws that the deregulation juggernaut repealed held back the economy of the postwar decades. That way they’ll keep up their Mad Hatter routine long enough for someone—Bernie Sanders, if not Clinton—to ask them, rhetorically, which of the policies Clinton and other Democrats are proposing are currently in place. And which of the policies that the Republicans are proposing more and more and more of worked during the Bush administration.
Or, for that matter, during the Hoover administration. Jeb Bush has said that the way to raise GDP substantially is for people who have part-time jobs and want, but can’t find, full-time jobs to get full-time jobs. Isn’t that similar to what Herbert Hoover’s economic plan was in 1930, and in 1931, and in 1932? The way to end the Great Depression was for the unemployed to get jobs?
Maybe not. Maybe Hoover just never thought of that plan. Jeb Bush, though, has thought of it. And if he’s elected, we’ll see how it works.