By now, you’ve likely heard that Hillary Clinton recently told a crowd of political partisans that it’s mistaken to believe that corporations and businesses create jobs:
Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly. One of the things my husband says when people ask him what he brought to Washington, he says I brought arithmetic.
The absurdity of the above remarks speaks for itself. But these ludicrous remarks apparently were prefaced by this power-mad politician’s equally absurd comments on minimum-wage legislation:
Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. I’ve been through that. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s [by signing a bill that raised the national minimum wage].
The first-quoted remarks supply no opportunity for enlightened criticism. As I say, they are absurd on their face. Apart from pointing out that these remarks by Ms. Clinton, contrary to Mr. Obama’s infamous “You didn’t build that!” quip, apparently have no mitigating context or interpretation, there’s just nothing interesting to say about them. They speak for themselves.
It’s the second-quoted part of Ms. Clinton’s remarks that I find to be most galling. Workers whose take-home, monetary pay rose as a result of a minimum-wage hike in the 1990s were not given that raise by Bill Clinton. Rather, Bill Clinton was complicit with Congress in using threats of violence to force thousands of employers throughout America to give raises to some of their workers.
I write these words from a coffee shop in Fairfax, Virginia. If I were to point a gun to the head of the man who is now standing second in line to buy coffee and order him to purchase cups of coffee for the two young women standing in front of him in line, no one would say that “Don Boudreaux gave cups of coffee to some women today!” Rather, anyone who saw me commit this crime would call the police or, perhaps, justifiably take me down with a swift kick to my groin. My actions would not be praiseworthy. Quite the opposite, of course.
Yet when politicians in grand buildings commit essentially the same sorts of aggressions against innocent people, we tolerate their criminal actions – and we also tolerate such actions being described as praiseworthy, noble, and helpful. Political titles, buildings, and ceremony mask the underlying coercive reality of what politicians do, and it deafens us to the lies – such as that Bill Clinton gave people raises – told about their predations.
On the more general matter of how the state is no friend of workers, see Sheldon Richman.