Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Don Boudreaux asks Hillary some questions

Donald J. Boudreaux is a professor of economics and Getchell Chair at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.  Here is his column in the Pittsburgh Tribune.

Don is on target.
Here are some questions for Hillary Clinton:

Your running mate, Tim Kaine, says that you are not to blame for what we now know was your erroneous denial that you, as secretary of State, used your private email server to send classified documents. According to Sen. Kaine, the amount of information that routinely crosses the desks of high government officials makes it “difficult to know” if some materials are classified or not.

If you couldn't figure out how to prudently use an email server, why should the American people trust you to know all that you will need to know in order to reliably oversee the massive economic interventions that you promise will be a hallmark of your administration?

In 2008 you mistakenly described receiving flowers and friendly handshakes in 1996 on a tarmac in Bosnia as, instead, coming “under sniper fire.” No one's 12-year-old memories are perfectly accurate, but shouldn't we be deeply worried about a U.S. president who recalls warm greetings and smiles as having instead been gunmen and bullets?

You often laud your years of experience in Washington as one of the major advantages you have over your political opponent. Yet you have also said that, because you are a woman, “you cannot imagine anyone being more of an outsider” than you would be if you become the first woman president in U.S. history.

How do you reconcile your assurances that your many years in Washington have supplied you with enormous amounts of valuable governing experience with your insistence that you are a Washington “outsider”?

You rightly ridicule Donald Trump for claiming that imports damage the American economy while, as a profit-seeking businessman, importing into America much of what his companies sell here. So how do you explain, for example, your Giorgio Armani jacket? Aren't you — a buyer of imports — also a hypocrite for campaigning against imports?

Speaking of trade, you say that if domestic pharmaceutical prices rise too high, you would arrange for “emergency importation” of drugs. Why is it OK to rely on foreign competition to keep drug prices in check but not to keep the prices of clothing, furniture and food in check?

If imports keep domestic prices in check, why should we Americans have to wait for the president to issue an emergency order before we're allowed to buy less costly imported pharmaceuticals?

In 2005 as a U.S. senator, you introduced the Flag Protection Act, which would have, had it been enacted, made burning the American flag illegal. Each violator of this legislation would have been subject to one year in prison and a fine of $100,000. How do you justify caging and fining someone merely for burning a striped and starred cloth? It's true that many people are offended by flag burning. But an open and free society requires freedom of peaceful expression — and freedom of peaceful expression inevitably offends many people. Do you believe that merely being offended by someone else's peaceful actions is sufficient reason for the state to protect sensitive souls from having to experience such offense? Do you think that freedom of expression is so unimportant that we Americans can discard it and remain a free people?

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