October 30, 2014 | Commentary on Economy, Bailouts, Taxes, Corporate Income Tax

Hillary Clinton's Anti-Business Rhetoric Shows Her Radical Roots

Hillary Clinton is getting deservedly attacked for her imbecilic statement at a Democratic political gathering in Massachusetts on Friday about business and jobs.

"Don't let anybody tell you that, ah, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs," she preached, to loud applause. "You know that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly."

It may not be too surprising that Hillary can't connect the dots that it takes an employer to create an employee to create wages and salaries.

That's how some 150 million Americans get paid every week. Ms. Clinton has made her millions in the cattle futures market, as a government employee and giving speeches for fees of $250,000 a pop. Nice work if you can get it. The rest of us mere mortals need a paycheck.

Hillary's witless statement might be written off as campaign hyperbole, and some might think the Democratic front-runner for president simply got carried away speaking to her "progressive" base and didn't really mean it. Sometimes Republicans get into the act, as when Mitt Romney's GOP rivals attacked him in 2012 for being rich and a successful investor.

But the scary thing is she really DID mean it. Her sophomoric comment, alas, reflects a long-simmering ideologically driven war against business that has become a central platform of the modern-day Democratic party.

Her remarks were simply an extension of President Obama's "you didn't build that" statement denigrating businessmen and women who have created companies — large and small.

In the left mindset, economic output and jobs are achieved collectively and thanks to the beneficence of government, not because of the ambition, drive, vision, risk-taking and guts that it takes to start a new enterprise out of nothing.

Political observers have noted that Clinton has been prodded to the left in recent months by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the leaders of the increasingly influential Sandinista wing of the Democratic Party. Warren has shown off her ignorance of the ABCs of how the economy works with similar and routine rants against business, free enterprise and the profit motive.

Seven years ago Clinton got knocked off her high horse by an untested political novice and left-wing ideologue named Barack Obama, and she's hell-bent on not letting that happen again.

It says a lot about the state of the Democratic Party that Hillary Clinton is viewed by many as "too moderate." Many "progressives" lean toward Warren's more radical ideas — superminimum wages; tax rates of 50% or more; wealth taxes; stifling regulations on businesses and new means for people to sue businesses.

There's something retrograde about a major political party today that believes our wealth producers are wealth destroyers and that the more you bash business, profits and success, the grander your appeal to your "base."

When was the last time Obama — or any leading Democrat for that matter — said anything positive about business?

Democrats hate big businesses except when they lose money and then the politicians want to rush in and bail them out. The unions drove the auto industry to its knees and then suddenly realized, uh oh, without GM, Chrysler and Ford we don't have jobs.

To say Democrats hate business may seem harsh. But is it? The one industry booming today and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs is oil and gas. But the left despises it and seemingly every day conspires to tax, regulate and otherwise drive it out of business.

Or consider the Democrats' class warfare theme, which isn't so much meant to help raise the poor out of poverty (as we all want to do), but to tear down the rich purely out of envy.

But who are these evil rich? Only a small percent become millionaires by giving political speeches as Hillary does or making a movie like Alec Baldwin. Most are small-business owners and operators. And as their business succeeds and they start to get rich, guess what? They hire more workers. Not too many Americans are hired for long by businesses that lose money — except for federal employees.

We have a corporate tax system that is driving American corporations out of this country. Rather than fix the anti-growth tax code that takes one-third of their profits off the top, Democratic leaders trash companies that may leave as anti-American "deserters" and "Benedict Arnold companies."

But at its core, what could be more anti-American than to be anti-business? It was Calvin Coolidge who famously said "the chief business of America is business."

Today Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and so many of the rest have come to believe that it's their business to destroy business.

That is a sad state of affairs, and it would be refreshing and even heroic for some prominent Democrat on the national stage to denounce Hillary Clinton's demagoguery.

But none has and none will.

Interestingly, if Clinton were to make this statement in the world she ostensibly desires, perhaps it indeed would not be businesses and corporations who provide jobs; we'd all be in thrall to the state.

Maybe that was a time traveler from the future on stage last Friday, describing personal experience. If the speech were longer, she probably would have allowed that she had sworn off corporate boards and speaking fees and Gulfstreams permanently.

 - Stephen Moore is chief economist at The Heritage Foundation.

About the Author

Stephen Moore Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Project for Economic Growth

Originally appeared in Investor's Business Daily