Haven’t we been here before? All those shovel-ready infrastructure projects to be funded by Obama’s $830 billion stimulus? Where did the money go? Yet the one area of agreement among all candidates of all parties is that our infrastructure is crumbling still.
Defending the status quo today is a thankless undertaking. It nearly cost Clinton the Democratic nomination. Bernie Sanders campaigned loudly and convincingly against the baleful consequences of the Obama years — stagnant wages, income inequality, and a squeezing of the middle class. Clinton was forced to echo those charges while simultaneously defending the president and policies that brought on the miseries.
Not easy to do. She is left, therefore, with a pared and pinched rationale for her candidacy. She promises no fundamental change, no relief from the new normal of slow growth, low productivity, and economic stagnation. Instead, she offers government as remediator, as gap-filler. Hillaryism steps in to alleviate the consequences of what it cannot change with a patchwork of subsidies, handouts, and small-ball initiatives.
Hence the $30 billion she proposes to soften the blow for the coal miners she will put out of business. Hence her cure for stagnant wages. Employers are reluctant to give you a wage hike in an economy growing at 1 percent. So she will give it to you instead by decreeing from Washington a huge increase in the minimum wage.