With Donald Trump fading quickly in the polls and Hillary Clinton’s economic policy fresh in his mind, The New York Times’ Paul Krugman is beginning to lean to the left, gently trying to the flank the Democratic candidate’s “center-left vision.”
He approves of her decision to implement “large increases in high-income tax rates, further tightening of financial regulation, further strengthening of the social safety net,” but wonders whether her commitment to incrementalism will actually sustain economic growth.
Though Krugman never openly states it, the clear comparison is her failed attempt establish HillaryCare in the ’90s and President Obama’s successfully pushing ObamaCare into law through any and all means necessary.
Of course, Clinton has acquired quite a bit more political savvy during the intervening decades, so perhaps Krugman’s point is simply not to forget the lessons learned, but to remember what is known and knowable and what, at this point, simply isn’t:
[W]hat do we actually know how to do when it comes to economic policy? We do, in fact, know how to provide essential health care to everyone; most advanced countries do it. We know how to provide basic security in retirement. We know quite a lot about how to raise the incomes of low-paid workers.
I’d also argue that we know how to fight financial crises and recessions, although political gridlock and deficit obsession has gotten in the way of using that knowledge.
On the other hand, what do we know about accelerating long-run growth?