Economists For Clinton?

Yahoo Finance, a site which I believe is viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, is currently featuring this graphic which shows how superior Hillary Clinton’s economic plans are to Donald Trump’s. Clinton’s proposals, the graph says, will lead to much more GDP growth than Trump’s:

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 7.36.50 PM

The chart comes from an analysis by Moody’s Analytics. CNN is currently highlighting the same report and its pro-Hillary conclusions. CNN tells us a bit more about the report’s provenance:

Moody’s Analytics is an independent research group, but the lead author of the report on Clinton is Mark Zandi, who donated $2,700 to her campaign last year, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

CNN also tells us this about Mr. Zandi’s track record:

Zandi was a vocal supporter of the stimulus package President Obama deployed during the financial crisis of 2009….

We all know how that turned out:


Later versions of the same chart traced the ongoing failure of the “stimulus” to perform anywhere near the level that was promised by Obama’s economists and, apparently, Mr. Zandi. Perhaps Mr. Zandi still believes in the magical “multiplier effect” that was in vogue in the 1960s, and somehow transformed government spending into a growth vehicle exceeding all others. Most economists wised up long ago.

Why, exactly, do the authors of the Moody’s report think that Hillary’s policies will contribute so much to GDP growth?

Moody’s found that several of Clinton’s key policies would boost the economy: Her immigration proposal would increase the number of skilled workers in the country…

But the vast majority of immigrants under all proposals that I have seen would be unskilled. If we admit a million immigrants, and 999,999 of them go on welfare while one gets a job, does the GDP go up? Yes, slightly. But that isn’t the relevant question. The appropriate question is, does a particular immigration proposal result in increased after-tax per capita income for the average person who is already a citizen? The answer to that question is always No.

Mr. Zandi also thinks that more government spending on infrastructure–roads and bridges–“would help business productivity.” Possibly so. Roads and bridges, which I am pretty sure Donald Trump would also be happy to build, are a legitimate government function, although the extent to which roads and bridges should be a federal function is debatable. What else? “…her paid family leave proposal would bring more people into the workforce.” That is highly doubtful, but it certainly would reduce choice for both employees and employers. In the lifetime of a human being, Democrats are in favor of choice at only one moment.

So, how much economic growth does Moody’s Analytics project under Hillary’s pro-government policies?

The pace of GDP growth would also accelerate to an annual average of 2.7%, from the current forecast of 2.3%.

But wait! As Paul noted earlier today, economic growth under Barack Obama has been, and continues to be, pathetic, currently running at a weak 1.2% annual rate. If I am not mistaken, Barack Obama will leave office as the only American president never to preside over a year in which the economy grew by 3%. Overall economic growth during his administration will be around 1 1/2% annually.

That is a terrible record, but has Hillary Clinton ever criticized the Obama administration’s economic policies? No. Has Hillary explained how her economic priorities will be different from Obama’s? No. So why will GDP growth suddenly accelerate? There is no good reason. Mr. Zandi is simply a Democrat trying to help a fellow Democrat, just as he tried to help Barack Obama with wrong predictions about the effect of the “stimulus.”

It is unfortunate that Moody’s allows its name to be attached to such partisan hackery.

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.