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New York Times reporter David Leonhardt asserts that “for all their similarities, Hillarynomics (the phrase “Clintonomics” is already taken) and Obamanomics will not be identical.”
Maybe not, but the piece makes me think they’ll be pretty darn similar. For instance: Like President Obama, Clinton may seek middle-class tax cuts and pay for them through higher taxes on the rich. Would those tax hikes come through higher rates or scaling back tax breaks? Obama has done both. Would Clinton want to take the top statutory income tax rate above the current 39.6%, the top rate during hubby Bill’s administration? Similarly, as Times reporter Josh Barro wonders, would she take the capital gains tax rate above 20%, the current rate (not counting the 3.8% Obamacare tax) and the top rate during Clinton I? Back during her 2008 presidential campaign she said she would not.
Leonhardt goes on to mention a recent report put forward by the Center for American Progress’s Commission on Inclusive Prosperity, “a group with close ties to Mrs. Clinton,” which contains a number of policy suggestions. It was co-written by Larry Summers, economic adviser to Obama and Bill Clinton, and focuses both on growing the economy faster and increasing labor’s share of the gains. (I would advise paying close attention to his writings for clues to how Hillarynomics might evolve.)
Among its suggestions (which I summarize broadly): (a) increase support for profit-sharing and employee stock ownership plans; (b) increase union power; (c) more infrastructure spending; (d) encourage home ownership through more Fannie and Freddie lending, plus principal reduction; (e) more public service jobs for young people; (f) “ensure a level playing field for global trade”; (g) raise effective tax rates on wealthier Americans; (h) more financial regulation; (i) “paid parental leave, paid caregiving leave, paid sick days, paid vacation, protections for part-time workers”; (j) more immigration at all skill levels; (k) more spending on early childhood education; and (l) executive pay reform.
Let’s say Clinton more or less adopts this “the era of big government is not over” agenda. Directionally, it seems in sync with Obamanomics, 2015 version, as seen in the president’s most recent State of the Union speech. That is to say, it would be to the left of Bill Clintonomics. It would be more skeptical of trade and Wall Street, more pro-union, and more redistributive. It would be where the Democratic Party is today, not where it was in 1999, even though candidate Clinton would surely recall the 1990s as a Clinton-led golden age. So Barack’s third term, not Bill’s, seems more likely. And the party’s slide to the left would continue.