What an amazing speech in Columbus, Ohio, last week by Hillary Clinton. She started off: "People are working harder and longer just to keep their heads above water. And to deal with the costs, the everyday costs, the costs of basics like childcare and prescription drugs that are too high. College is getting more expensive every day. And wages are still too low and inequality is too great. Good jobs in many parts of this country are still too hard to come by."
It's curious that this is the case Clinton laid out as to why voters should elect her president and continue with the policies of Barack Obama. Flat wages, jobs hard to come by, kitchen table bills getting higher and higher each month and the middle class getting clobbered: Doesn't it just want to make you chant, "Four more years"?
But Clinton's speech was about playing the fear card, as in: Yes, the economy stinks, but it's not as bad as it will be if the scurrilous Donald Trump becomes president.
You can't get much more inspirational than that.
So just what is it that is so diabolical about Trump? First, she warned, Trump will blow up the debt.
There is something almost comical about Clinton's pontificating about the dangers of government borrowing and the need for fiscal responsibility. Wasn't she part of the Obama administration, which also promised all these things? And haven't those policies given us the weakest recovery since the Great Depression, and a near doubling of the national debt to $19 trillion?
One of her more ironic claims was that here in America "we pay our debts," in reference to Trump's (sensible) idea of refinancing out debt to lock in today's historically low interest rates. Ringing up some $8 trillion of debt is hardly "paying the bills." It's passing them on to the next generation.
Clinton slammed Trump for not understanding the new economy and job creation, which is also a bold claim, since Donald Trump is a highly successful businessman who has created thousands of jobs, while Clinton has gotten rich off of politics.
Clinton's attacks on Trump were a subterfuge to deflect attention away from the fact that her "major economic speech" was entirely bereft of new ideas. The left's idea cupboard is empty, so Clinton had to serve yesterday's cold soup.
Her policy solutions to helping the middle class were: Raise the minimum wage, tax the rich and spend more on infrastructure. She's also going to lower college costs. Gee, where have we seen this before? Oh, yes, this is Obamanomics Part Deux. When I debated one of her top economists on Fox News the next day, he even trotted out the mantra that every dollar of government spending leads to a "multiplier effect" of $1.60 in economic benefits. Do they really believe voters are so dimwitted they will fall for that again?
The class warfare theme ran throughout the speech, and yet this presents Clinton with another inconvenient truth: Obama has raised the minimum wage, he already spent $840 billion on infrastructure stimulus spending and he has taxed the bejesus out of the rich. The result wasn't more equality and a resurgent middle class, but an angry and worried worker class that hasn't seen a pay raise in 15 years and with household incomes in the last seven years that have fallen behind inflation. Some 95 million Americans aren't working and the poverty rate is still hellishly high.
For his part, Donald Trump does have a pro-growth agenda. He would cut tax rates, as Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy did, to bring jobs back to America. He would simplify the tax code and cut tax rates to their lowest level since Reagan left office.
He has a pro-America energy policy to make the U.S. the fossil-fuel powerhouse of the world. He would roll back Obamacare and balance the budget with spending reforms and economic growth while withdrawing the Obama regulatory assault on business.
If Clinton pulls off this election it will be one of the greatest sales jobs in political history. She is selling the American voters sand in the desert: stay-the-course economic bromides at a time when two out of three voters say that the U.S. is on the wrong track.
Even her own husband, the former president, doesn't agree with her. In March of this year, Bill Clinton called the last eight years "awful." Voters share that sentiment, and that's why a strong majority think Trump is better for the economy than Clinton. They want change.
Stephen Moore is a distinguished visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, economics contributor to FreedomWorks and author of "Who's the Fairest of Them All?" To find out more about Stephen Moore and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.