Sec. Hillary Clinton is getting crushed by Sen. Bernie Sanders among millennials in the Democrat primary — losing young women voters by 64 percent in New Hampshire. Polls also show her tying the youth vote to Sen. Marco Rubio in the general election, a demographic President Obama won by more than 20 percent.
So, predictably, Hillary’s consultants came up with a bright idea to win back young voters: $20 billion.
Yes, that’s right, $20 billion. $20 billion for what you may ask? Well on Hillary’s website, we don’t find out details until she’s mentioned the $20 billion figure three times. And, when she finally gets to the details, they aren’t very specific on how jobs would be created — or the jobs she would kill to raise the money for this program.
First, she says the money would come from “a tax on Wall Street.” What kind of tax? No one knows, but no major business tax increase has happened without job losses. Does she account for those?
Second, her plan totally relies on the federal government to grant money for this program — giving money to “local employers, community leaders, local colleges, and top government officials” who are hiring young people. The problem with federal government grant programs is they favor the well-connected and often miss real local programs empowering young workers. Most of these programs are also all temporary fixes for a systematic problem.
From what we gather, these grant giveaways are where the bulk of the $20 billion will go.
In her program, she also wants to grow the Department of Labor’s YouthBuild program and make college debt-free. She’ll offer $1,500 tax credit to employers who hire young workers for apprenticeships (this is probably her best idea in the program).
Here’s the irony: after showing how she wants to spend the money, she then lists off a series of programs she supports (likely outside the funding she is proposing). Many of these programs — like Gov. Larry Hogan‘s P-Tech program in Maryland — are conservative reforms.
•“[S]ix-year high school-college programs”
•“P-Tech model for school and industry partnerships”
•“Career Academies model”
•“[L]inked learning” models that allow high school and community college students to get academic credit for jobs”
These four local programs have seen significant success without much federal assistance. They have also largely been opposed by education unions and academic special interest groups. These programs are also ones which Republican candidates should be running on.
Republicans have some big questions to answer. Will they continue to be mostly silent on youth unemployment and college affordability — while Hillary promises $20 billion and Bernie promises ‘free’ everything? Will they allow Hillary to co-opt local conservative reforms?
Hillary’s plan has some holes, and it is certainly blatant pandering for votes. But, absent a Republican effort to pursue young voters, this type of platform could be effective if Hillary wins the nomination.