We’ve been so focused on the bête noire of the two candidates for president that actual issues have largely been ignored in favor of prescriptive curatives, broad brush strokes, burning straw men and red herrings.
But now that the nitty gritty is very quickly approaching, we had better get back to some real checkbox items lest we find ourselves mere parodies of conservative thought (or simply cheerleaders for one jersey over another like Breitbart became). Clinton has some very specific policy goals based on her progressive, liberal worldview. Some of these have consequences beyond simplistic “Supreme Court!” and “gun control!” reflexive responses.
The short answer to a Clinton presidency is simply this: hold on to your backsides, tighten your seatbelts, and don’t look down. Because it’s going to be a rough ride.
As bad as Donald Trump was at communicating his economic plan, which was mostly nothing more than impossible promises, word salad, and slogans, the actual plan he proposed wasn’t all that bad, if his growth assumptions actually materialized. But that’s mostly moot now given the electoral situation. But at least Trump was focused on growth–getting America back on track for 3 to 4 percent GDP growth versus the flaccid 1 to 2 percent we’ve seen.
Hillary’s economy is not focused on growth. It’s focused on the doctrine of opportunity through fairness. Everything she has proposed is to shuffle the deck and pull up the have-nots by the country’s bootstraps while the haves pick up the slack. Winston Churchill offered the best insight into what happens when a country accepts no growth to focus on fairness of distribution:
I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
On one hand, Clinton talks a good game about simplifying the tax code, but on the other (which is much more well defined), she wants to increase regulation and oversight drastically for larger firms. The result will be more capital flight from America and more tightfisted lending policies by banks, as they struggle for their piece of a shrinking pie.
We should expect a Moore’s Law effect on federal regulation: a doubling of the regulatory load and lawmaking by bureaucratic fiat every year. By the time 2020 comes around, all Congress will do is pass a budget (or more likely a series of continuing resolutions), argue over federal appointments, and shuffle a shrinking pool of discretionary spending while entitlements continue to grow on a logarithmic curve.
Clinton has no intention of shrinking the national debt, which stands at $19.7 trillion. Her plan is to do what liberals do: tax and spend, but put the burden on the super-rich to keep the debt down. It’s not the smartest plan in the world given that we can only tax our own residents (see Churchill’s quote above).
A large chunk of Clinton’s debt-management plan is to reduce the rich’s take-home income by about 7.4 percent, for those one-percenters who earn at least $699,000 per year. Ironically, while the Clinton soak-the-rich plan would hit service workers, financial traders and other highly compensated people hard, it wouldn’t have stopped someone like Trump from deducting commercial real estate losses because those were business losses. So it’s likely Trump’s $900 million tax writedown would remain.
The other chunk is simple confiscation upon death.
It would expand the estate tax in three significant ways. First, the tax would apply to all bequests larger than $3.5 million ($7 million for married couples), whereas the current system exempts bequests up to $5.45 million ($10.9 million per married couple). In addition, Clinton would eliminate the “step-up in basis” loophole, which allows heirs to avoid paying capital gains tax on assets that have appreciated in value under the ownership of the deceased. And, third, Clinton recently adopted a proposal from Bernie Sanders to impose higher tax rates on very large bequests. Right now, the estate tax rate is forty per cent, no matter the size of the bequest. Clinton wants to introduce a graduated rate, which would start at forty-five per cent and rise to sixty-five per cent for estates worth more than $500 million (or a billion dollars for a married couple).
The solution? Don’t become super-rich and then die while Clinton is in office. Or rather, we will probably see a boom in estate lawyers who craft living trusts and other artifices for the wealthy to help them make that last river crossing (for their money, not their souls) less uncertain.
If you’re a miner, an energy-sector worker, a truck driver, or a factory worker, it’s too bad. Clinton wants to make America the “clean energy superpower” of the world. Of course, the price and availability of fossil fuels, the liberal schizophrenia of planning large-scale green energy facilities then punting because of NIMBY, and just good old graft and inefficiency will keep this from becoming a reality.
Instead what we’ll get is a lot of “cash for clunkers” ill-thought-out plans, plenty of forgiveness for college debt (which itself will become the pin to burst the bank-killing and school-eating bubble), and other plans to move America to a “future in caregiving and services are good-paying jobs, recognizing their fundamental contributions to families and to America.”
In other words: the baby boomers will continue to age, young people who aren’t already working in healthcare and other service jobs will get free college as long as they work to take care of the aging boomers and their progeny, and everyone else will end up working for foreign multinational corporations who move their profit overseas (despite the fact that Hillary pledges to stop corporate inversions).
But look for more regulations about how much companies can pay employees, who is allowed to sue for wage discrimination, and the emergence of “fairness police” to keep companies in line. Goodbye startups, goodbye Silicon Valley, because your hiring practices are a diversity nightmare. Again, it’s not about growth, it’s about fairness, so everyone gets less.
If you want a good job with a hot startup, move to Tel Aviv (but the Israelis have a very strict immigration policy so you probably can’t).
As for foreign policy–it’s best not to even go there, mostly because of what is written below.
The end of Federalism
We could spend another 10,000 words detailing all the consequences of Hillary’s social, economic, and regulatory plans, but it all boils down to this: Mother Government is always right, and more of it is always better.
See, the bulwark of liberty and democracy (small “d”) in America has always been the 10th Amendment, which gives states the power to do everything except the small list of powers specifically delegated to the federal government. Note the word “delegated.” To delegate, you must have authority. The Constitution provides that authority to the states–to prohibit the federal government from doing those things reserved to themselves, or to the people.
However, as the federal government has quickly filled up the space between Washington, D.C. and your front door like a gas expands to fill a vacuum, the states are left with less and less to prohibit. The federal/state/local money pipelines are so critical to our everyday lives that the federal government can very effectively deploy massive leverage over the states to overcome those “prohibitions” and force the states to delegate powers to Washington (and the White House) which should not be delegated.
Transportation was the first lever in the 1950’s. Certainly the Interstates are a great idea, but they come with a price tag that is never marked paid, and federal DOT funding packages that states really need lest their roads become like I-10 in Louisiana. Then there was research and development funding, that Eisenhower warned us about. Then there was the EPA (the worst idea ever). Then there was the Department of Education. Then there was Obamacare.
The alphabet soup of federal agencies which have to coordinate (and provide funding) for their state counterparts is simply dazzling. And each one is a capillary that the feds can use to squeeze more blood and force compliance from the states.
Hillary Clinton will take what Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Bush 43, and Obama (note I left Kennedy, Reagan, and Bill Clinton off the list–they were actually the least offensive) have done and use that leverage to effect almost a complete takeover of everything by the federal government.
From state sales taxes, energy taxes, environmental regulations, law enforcement, elections, use of technology, and the freedoms many of us take for granted, Clinton will concentrate as much power as she possibly can into her office. And Congress won’t be able to stop it all, although they may be able to stop some of it.
The main areas we will see fall further under the heavy federal hand:
- Law enforcement: local law enforcement will be more and more dependent on federal assistance, databases, and technology. From body cameras, to national crime databases, firearms regulations, equipment, and use of RF spectrum, the feds will creep into our state and local departments (they largely already have in many ways). By the way, the best way to prevent corruption in our law enforcement is to keep it local. A federal police force for your town is just what Clinton’s tribe would love (in the name of racial harmony).
- Justice: look for the feds to keep a closer eye on groups and cases that might have “hate crime” written on them, or high profile victims who can be used as an example. Anything remotely related to LGBTQ, anti-Muslim, racial profiling, or Christian free speech in the public square is going to be ripe for DOJ/FBI/DHS interference, at every level.
- Corrections: the feds will insert their runny noses into our state prisons, dealing with privatization, punishments, releases, and cherry-pick their issues like Obama has done. Friends of the Clintons can expect to get whatever special deals they want.
- Healthcare: 16 percent of the economy is not enough, so it will have to expand. If you think Obamacare is bad, it’s just a prelude to Hillarycare 2.0 (which may not be much different from Trumpcare 1.0, actually). It’s single-payer all the way, or we can look for 20+ percent premium increases ad infinitum.
- Technology: climate change, green, environmentally safe, and hacker-proof (aka government snoop-enabled) are the watchwords here. Anywhere the federal government can latch on to a regulation to keep you from using, manufacturing, inventing, or otherwise doing what the Constitution says you have the right to do, Hillary will have something for you to ponder.
We can expect Clinton to create more czars than a Russian Matryoshka doll factory specializing in royalty. She’ll have czars within czars, offices within offices to manage policies, and advisers of advisers to obfuscate the origin of various decisions that have the effect of a papal bull.
The death of federalism means only one thing. With such a maze of regulations, federal oversight, and special conditions placed on everything we do, merely by breathing the air, you can be brought up on some kind of felony charges, or forced to defend yourself (with your own money, and forget about using crowdsourcing because it will also be regulated) until you comply or are ruined–or jailed.
Clinton wants to be the Queen of America, and there’s precious little to stop her from trying.
That’s what we’re up against.
P.S. The Trump supporters are going to say it’s all the fault of us who didn’t vote for Trump. Well, we warned you–and warned you over and over–that Trump would hand the election to Hillary. And you didn’t believe us.
You probably still don’t believe us until November 9 when you wake up and it’s not a bad dream. We who opposed Trump from the start do not own this. Those undecided voters, women, minorities, and voters of conscience who didn’t vote for Trump don’t own this. You, who supported Trump from day one–or climbed aboard the Trump train in willful ignorance, or for personal gain: You own it.
But we will still stand with you against Queen Hillary, if you will stand with us.