The Problem with Hillary Clinton

RALEIGH, NC - JUNE 22: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds on June 22, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Clinton discussed her vision for an America that is stronger together and her commitment to build an economy that works …
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In a move that shocked many, FBI director James Comey recommended that no criminal charges be brought against Hillary Clinton for sending classified information over a private, unsecure server—and, not to mention, lying about it.

But in a move that should shock absolutely no one, Hillary Clinton announced a plan to provide government-funded college education.

The problem with Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate is not that she is a corrupt and dishonest politician, as her critics have charged. No, the problem with Hillary is that she is just as big a socialist as Bernie Sanders is.

“We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good,” she announced to a San Francisco audience in 2004, echoing the Communist Manifesto mantra, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

“We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society,” she once proclaimed as First Lady. Such statements are a defining characteristic of the socialist philosophy: attacks on individualism in the name of the “common good” of “society” – always defined and enforced by politicians, never by society as a whole.  And like Sanders, she threatens “the rich” with even more onerous taxes to be used to subsidize the working class (“working families” in the neo-Marxist language of one of her television ads).

Hillary Clinton demonstrated her socialist credentials during the Democratic primary debates with the proud, self-described socialist Bernie Sanders. Whenever Sanders would excite the audiences of Democrats with Santa Claus-like promises of “free” healthcare, education, housing, welfare payments, and much else, Hillary’s response was to agree with him, promising to increase federal spending by more than $1 trillion over the next ten years. There was no disagreement over the principles of socialism, only the details.

A current fad among the socialists of Europe is to propose some kind of “basic” government-defined income for the entire population. Switzerland just voted down this latest money-for-nothing scheme. Naturally, Hillary is all on board with it, having proposed giving every baby born in America a $5000 account that would be invested and given to the child upon reaching the voting age of eighteen. George McGovern proposed a similar, $1,000 “demogrant” in 1972, which was dismissed and ridiculed as socialistic nonsense and may well have caused him to lose the election to Richard Nixon.

In other words, Hillary is just as much a socialist as Bernie Sanders, only she doesn’t use the “S” word for marketing purposes. She prefers “progressive Democrat” instead, but that is not very convincing, even to many of her supporters. During a televised interview with Chris Matthews she was asked repeatedly what the difference was between a Democrat and a socialist.  She refused to answer the question, implying to many that she probably believes that there is no significant difference.

In the early 1990s Hillary Clinton was the main architect of what came to be known as “Hillarycare” – the Clinton administration plan to impose Soviet-style central planning on America’s healthcare sector. This gives us great insight into her vision of the role of government in the economy, and how she would like to see more and more American industries run – by dictates issued by thousands of anonymous bureaucrats paid for by the biggest tax increases in history and enforced by the heavy hand of the state.

Members of Congress and all federal employees, however, were to be exempted from Hillarycare. Only the “little people” (everyone else) were to be corralled into socialized medicine.

The bizarre thing about “Hillarycare” is that the Clintons designed it and promoted it barely three years after the final collapse of socialism in the Soviet empire proved beyond any shadow of a doubt the futility of government “planning” versus free markets.

Perhaps “Obamacare,” which has resurrected parts of “Hillarycare,” has been imposed on the American public because so many Americans, especially the younger generation, do not remember the grotesque failures of twentieth-century socialism. They should look at the current economic implosion of Venezuela – the latest failed “socialist paradise” – to learn some important lessons.

Thomas DiLorenzo is professor of economics at Loyola University Maryland and a member of the senior faculty of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.  His latest book is The Problem with Socialism (Regnery, July 18, 2016).