Hillary Clinton, Giving Poor Whites ‘Economic Opportunity’ Means We Can Decide For Ourselves

Mar 18, 2016 by AFP

“Economic opportunity,” is the idea that all of us, whether living in the hills of Appalachia or in a New York City high-rise, are free to enter the marketplace and forge our own success. As a West Virginian and a Kentuckian respectively, we have persisted in states that have fallen victim to government overreach, which is why we were intrigued by a question posed to Hillary Clinton at a CNN town hall: “Make the case to poor white[s] … why they should vote for you and your economic policies.”

We’ll ignore the framing of the question and turn our focus to its substance – how can we create opportunity without leaving so many behind?

Mrs. Clinton began her response with a mention of economic opportunity, yet her definition maintains that opportunity flows from government and it is the prerogative of Washington to determine where people can fill their cup with success. Accordingly, she has decided that renewable energy (the jury is still out on which kinds), through government investment, can be the new source of “opportunity” for “poor whites” because she is going to, “…put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

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For some of the most vulnerable Americans, those making less than $30,000 per year, energy costs eat up almost 30% of their income. To say they are “price sensitive” to energy is an understatement – for these Americans energy costs can be a tipping point, and the challenge is not confined only to them. For almost half of American households, between 2001 and 2014, energy costs increased by an estimated 27%, while incomes declined 22% . The statement made by Mrs. Clinton is more than a threat to coal jobs. It is an attack on the economically insecure.

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Read the full oped from State Directors Jason Huffman (WV) and Julia Crigler (KY) in the
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