It must be somewhat disturbing to the less devoted supporters of Hillary! For President that she can’t seem to make a single public appearance without dropping a gaffe bomb that takes days to defuse. It’s a good thing that Democrats are given endless opportunities to “clarify” their remarks by their friendly media. Hillary spends as much time clarifying as she does speaking.
Our Lady of Dead Brokeness got into trouble most recently for her bizarre declaration that businesses and corporations don’t create jobs, obliging her online apologists to waste a few million pixels concocting elaborate theories about what she really meant, coupled with vein-popping tirades against anyone who dared to repeat her actual words verbatim. Eventually Clinton herself went for what CNN describes as a “do-over,” borrowing one of Barack Obama’s favorite verbal crutches to complain about all the people who won’t let her be clear.
“Let me be absolutely clear about what I’ve been saying for a couple of decades,” Clinton pronounced. “Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in an America where workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out — not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas.”
See, it’s your fault for thinking that when she croaked, “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs” – in a tone of voice that implied anyone who would tell you such a thing might also email you claiming to be a deposed Nigerian price with $30 million he urgently needs to deposit in your bank account – she was saying that corporations and businesses don’t create jobs. I gather, from her walkback, that she now believes you should let people tell you that corporations and businesses create jobs, provided they don’t want a tax break, or stash their profits overseas.
“It’s the second time Clinton has struggled to speak fluently in the economic vernacular of her party,” CNN notes dryly, looking back to her comments about being “dead broke” after she left the White House with only a few million bucks and a couple of mansions to her name.
That would be the “economic vernacular” of suckers – easily manipulated, deeply ignorant people who think jobs are like bread crusts tossed to happy peasants by the great and noble masters of a politicized, collectivist economy. Those wise demigods deserve millions of dollars, multiple mansions, exorbitant speaking fees tucked into their pockets by political supporters, and B.S. jobs for their progeny. The elite shouldn’t have to scrabble like dirty peasants in some capitalist machine that expects solid performance in return for fair pay. Why, just look how generous the elite are with other peoples’ money! They’re always saying that everyone deserves things – health care, condoms, a raise, what have you. Isn’t it fitting for people with such big hearts to travel in limousines and bask in the adoration of grateful peons?
Clinton shot herself in the foot because she only has the most crude and superficial understanding of the con game socialists play with their supporters. What she was building up to with her “businesses don’t create jobs” gaffe was the aging liberal’s favorite cobwebbed code phrase, “trickle-down economics,” an early prototype of the modern Left’s obsession with saying that all capitalist free-market success is automatically discredited if the wealth isn’t evenly distributed enough. Don’t hassle them with inconvenient facts, such as “income inequality” getting substantially worse under Barack Obama, the most left-wing President of the modern era. That only happened because he wasn’t given sufficient imperial power to level the playing field. So long as one capitalist remains free, and one Republican draws breath to argue for that freedom, no Democrat will ever be blamed for “income inequality.”
We’re in the midst of a long clash between two very different ideals for the relationship between government, capital, and labor. The traditional American view, harmonious with free-market capitalism, is that the government’s job is to keep things honest, enforcing evenly-applied laws and preventing criminal abuse. You might rephrase this as saying the government’s role is to keep compulsion out of the free market, therefore guaranteeing its freedom. Every economic offense citizens can perpetrate against each other, either individually or through their corporations, boils down to a form of compulsion. Fraud, for example, is an offense against free choice, replacing it with false choices.
The new model, espoused by the Left, puts the government above private enterprise in an activist, managerial role. The State is empowered to dictate outcomes, based on the Ruling Class’ notions of fairness and equality. Acting as the executor of popular will, the State seeks to engineer the best, fairest economic outcome. Of course, the ability to define what constitutes “best” and “fairest” confers immense power upon politicians. Indeed, it is the source of real power, because the Ruling Class abandons all pretense of duty or the zealous defense of individual rights, and it gets to measure its own success. Unsurprisingly, it always pronounces itself amazingly successful.
Many different names have been applied to systems where the State actually manages commerce between the people in accordance with political agendas, rather than keeping that commerce honest while refraining from passing judgment upon the outcome. The end result is usually violent oppression, because the State needs enemies to rile up the public and maintain political supremacy over its Little Partners in business. At the moment, we’re drifting through the stage in which people like Hillary Clinton get paid two or three hundred thousand dollars to babble about nonsense for twenty minutes by corporate supporters eager to curry political favor with the Ruling Class.
My friend Jason Mattera dubs this system “Crapitalism” in his latest book. The forms of capitalism are observed, and indeed the Ruling Class is very eager to appropriate its language – for example, by referring to Big Government tax-and-spend programs as “investment.” But beneath this free-market veneer is a squalid normalization of corruption, in which politicians confer billions from the Treasury upon those who donate millions to their campaigns. It’s not always a straight cash payoff (although if you haven’t read Jason’s book yet, you might be surprised to learn how often it is.) Often what crapitalists purchase from Big Government vendors is the incredibly valuable service of anti-competition – laws, and more often mere rules promulgated by the endless bureaucracy, that burden competitors and keep established, well-connected interests on top. A great deal of behavior that would have been dismissed as the most vile corruption a few generations ago is now standard operating procedure.
We haven’t degenerated to the stage where the political masters of the economy need to foment much violent hatred among the people to remain on top of the game, but they do peddle a great deal of fear. That’s what Hillary Clinton is selling: the fear that if you don’t give people like her vast power to protect you, see to your basic needs, and give you what you’re “entitled” to collect from society, you’ll be torn to shreds on the cold, hard tundra of the free market by predatory business interests. Hillary lacks her hubsand’s grace at sounding like she understands and sympathizes with the capitalists under her heel; when she gets lazy and distracted, as she did at that Martha Coakley rally where she said businesses don’t create jobs, she sounds like she’s absently reading from a certain Little Red Book. But when she gets back on her game, she’ll serve up a freshly-tossed word salad about how of course she loves free market job creators – they’re so cute she just wants to pinch their cheeks! – but not the scalawags who do legal things she disapproves of. Untrammeled liberty is too much for you chowderheads – you’ll just rob each other blind. You need long whips in strong hands to keep you in line, and make sure your dirty little profits are divided “evenly,” without paying undue attention to who actually earned the money… or, especially, who took the investment risk that made such earning possible.
There is evidence that young voters are breaking away from Democrats. It’s largely because they’re tired of the Fear Machine, the messages of despair and decay… the new mythology that says American prosperity was built by giants of yore, a people we can never be again – and who weren’t really that great, what with all their prejudices and insensitivity and such. There’s really only one thing that “creates jobs”: the opportunity for profit. Political parasites who siphon off profit reduce the value of opportunity. Central planners never invest money as shrewdly as entrepreneurs risking their own. Young people leaving college with six figures in debt to face the jobless wilderness of Barack Obama’s economy have a sense of what’s missing. Memo to Hillary Clinton: you won’t trick them into seeking answers from you with thirty-year-old political catch phrases you don’t understand, and lies about what happened when Americans were more free to discover and pursue opportunity.