(NY TIMES) Hillary Clinton gave her first bigÂ Â on Monday, and progressives were by and large gratified. For Mrs. Clintonâs core message was that the federal government can and should use its influence to push for higher wages.
Conservatives, however â at least those who could stop chanting âBenghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!â long enough to pay attention â seemed bemused. They believe that Ronald Reagan proved that government is the problem, not the solution. So wasnât Mrs. Clinton just reviving defunct âpaleoliberalismâ? And donât we know that government intervention in markets produces terrible side effects?
No, she wasnât, and no, we donât. In fact, Mrs. Clintonâs speech reflected major changes, deeply grounded in evidence, in our understanding of what determines wages. And a key implication of that new understanding is that public policy can do a lot to help workers without bringing down the wrath of the invisible hand.