Bill Clinton’s charge that “we are working harder for less” was repeated at campaign bus stops all the way to the White House. Echoing a decade of policy debate among Democrats, he talked of the need for America to seek a “high-wage” path through the new competitive global marketplace. With his election, “Industrial Policy” has crept back on the national agenda: the question now is not whether the government should guide the private sector to become more competitive, but how.
It’s still too early to judge Clinton’s answers. But, although he is pointed in the right direction, political and ideological timidity seem to be restraining him from taking the steps needed to move the country along a high-wage path. If so, Americans in 1996 will be working even harder for even less. And the Democrats will have missed an opportunity to stimulate their own political recovery....
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