Robert Reich, on his Facebook post today had this to say about Hillary Clinton’s campaign: "In the ten days since launching her campaign, Hillary Clinton has said she wants to be the champion of everyday Americans when the deck is stacked in favor of those at the top. She’s come out for curbing CEO pay, raising the minimum wage, higher taxes on the wealthy, campaign finance reform (including a constitutional amendment to reverse "Citizens United"), federally recognized same sex marriage, and has questioned special tax breaks for hedge-fund managers.
This is an impressive start. I keep getting calls from reporters asking whether this is "enough," and whether she’s simply trying to mimic Elizabeth Warren. I tell them it’s obviously not enough – hopefully, she’ll come out in favor of a minimum wage of $15 an hour, resurrecting Glass-Steagall and busting up Wall Street, making it easier to form unions, and she’ll oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But, I say, she has time do all this, and so far she’s doing great. And if she’s trying to mimic Elizabeth Warren, fine. But instead of personalizing this, the press should understand there’s a large and growing movement out there that wants to take back our economy and democracy. Hillary is responding to it. Good for her.
What do you think?" (1)
My response to the Professor is that I remain deeply skeptical. As I posted here on January 15, 2008:
"The problem with Hillary is not that she is a woman. I have supported and managed political campaigns for women, helped get them elected to office and when elected happily followed their leadership. My problem with Hillary is that she is a Clinton " joined at the hips with the great prevaricator and serial fornicator who, in his 8 years, did little but ratify the radical conservative agenda that has led, by degrees, to the mess in which we currently find ourselves.
No matter how you cut the cards, slice it or dice it, the Clinton Administration did not conduct a ‘war on poverty’ as much as an assault upon the poor. Doug Henwood, writing in the November 2014 edition of "Harper’s" Magazine points out that in concert with Dick Morris, she "encouraged her husband to sign the 1996 bill that put and end to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (AFDC), which had been in effect since 1935. Indeed, longtime Clinton adviser Dick Morris, who has now morphed into a right-wing pundit, credits Hillary for backing both of Bill’s most important moves to the center: the balanced budget and welfare reform". Throwing "her weight behind Bill’s controversial initiative to (as he put it more than once) ‘end welfare as we know it’", she insisted in her book "Living History" that "welfare reform was designed to be ‘the beginning, not the end, of our concern for the poor’. Really? The whole point of welfare reform was disciplining the poor, not helping them," Henwood concludes. The whole point of ‘welfare reform’ was not only to control but to limit spending.
Indeed "In August 2014, the Center on Budget and Policy priorities published a report on how the Clinton welfare regime, officially designated as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), had worked out over the longer term. They found that TANF is serving fewer families despite increased demand, that the value of benefits has eroded to the point where beneficiaries can’t meet their basic needs, and that it does far less to reduce poverty than its predecessor, AFDC. In addition the report noted that almost all of the early employment gains for single mothers have since been reversed." (2)
The Clinton-era "Welfare Reform" ending, in Bill’s memorable words ‘welfare as we know it’, consisted primarily in changing the formula upon which such social spending was based. Under the New Deal legislation creating AFDC, budgets were drawn up and spending was determined on a needs basis. The Clinton reforms transformed the ‘welfare’ payments into ‘block-grants’ to the states wherein each state would be given a set amount to fund its programs. Welfare spending was transformed from a ‘needs’ based response to a budget based response. The result has been that the federal response to has not kept pace with the rising need (especially during the crash of 2007-9 and its aftermath) to the point where beneficiaries can no longer ‘meet their basic needs’.
Herein is another example of the Clinton’s use and abuse of the progressive legacy. Though they speak as liberals they act as conservatives; though they sound like a reincarnation of FDR they acted not only to ratify the host of ‘Death Valley Days, but to further dismantle the New Deal; though they posture as Democrats they are, in fact, Republicans in drag.
And so the ‘Once and Future Queen" has kicked off her campaign famously traveling by bus through Iowa, as her husband once traveled South by bus after the Democratic National Convention in 1992, posturing as ‘one of us’, engaging in photo-ops and making vague movements to the political left in order to thwart any would-be primary challengers. I’m unconvinced. The litmus test will be where she stands on the upcoming ratification of the TPP and other treaties currently being negotiated by this administration, as well as specifics concerning real Wall Street reforms and anti-trust enforcement. I suspect that there will be very little by way of specifics regarding any such agenda for to do so would commit the ultimate betrayal of her corporate paymasters.
1. Reich, Robert. Post on Facebook April 22,2015.
2. Henwood, Doug. "Stop Hillary! Vote no to a Clinton Dynasty" ‘Harper’s’ Magazine,
August 2014 pgs 31-33