Hillary Clinton’s national debt evasion

At a political event in New Hampshire, someone asked Hillary Clinton to state with specificity what she would do as president to bring down the national debt. Instead of answering, Clinton offered a self-serving history lesson, praising her husband’s record (about which more below) and criticizing George W. Bush for starting two wars (both of which she voted for) without paying for them ( The Washington Post’s fact checker has debunked Clinton’s suggestion that the Democrats had a plan that would have paid for these wars and prevented the debt from soaring).

Clinton never got around to saying how she would tackle the debt. Instead, she referred the questioner to her campaign website. (The video is below).

The Clinton campaign website features an issues section. It lists 24 of them. The debt is not included.

There is a section on the economy, but it doesn’t include a discussion of the national debt. In fact, the word “debt” appears only in connection with student debt (twice).

Though it doesn’t discuss the national debt, Clinton’s website has plenty of debt implications. Her various economic and social policy proposals carry a price tag of around $1 trillion over ten years, according to the Washington Post. Clinton has not explained how she would pay for this, the Post adds.

Clinton has stipulated that none of the 97 percent of U.S. households that earn $250,000 or less per year will be asked to contribute higher taxes. This means that Clinton has no plausible plan to reduce the debt. As the Washington Post editorial board explains:

There is simply no way that the federal government can meet its current fiscal commitments, plus the increased demands of an aging population, and provide the new forms of middle-class relief and business tax relief Ms. Clinton promises, while tapping only the top 3 percent of earners.

To the contrary, if the U.S. government is to do all those things and still reduce its long-term debt to a more manageable share of the total economy, middle- and upper-middle-class Americans are going to have to contribute more, not less.

Hillary’s invocation of her husband’s presidency is unpersuasive and ironic. Bill Clinton did not push the kind of spending programs (either direct or through cluttering up the tax code with more special breaks, as Hillary prefers) that Hillary is proposing.

In fact, Bill Clinton famously declared that the era of big government is over. If Hillary Clinton has her way, that era will only just be starting, and the national debt will soar concomitantly.

Here is the video of Hillary ducking the national debt issue: