Hillary Clinton apparently plans to base her presidential campaign on the noble goals of greater fairness and shared sacrifice.
She has already lambasted vast differences in compensation. “The average CEO makes about 300 times what the average worker makes,” Clinton warned.
Recently, Clinton has demanded up to $300,000 for brief 30-minute speeches. She apparently believes in the free-market theory that on the lecture circuit, speakers — like CEOs — should be paid as much as the market can bear.
At UCLA recently, Clinton’s fee worked out to about $165 per second. In three minutes of autobiographical chitchat, Clinton pulled in more than the average full-time fast-food worker makes in a year. Note that, directly or indirectly, universities pass such charges on to their student customers, who are currently collectively in debt to the tune of more than $1 trillion.
Or perhaps Clinton learned of pay unfairness from her own daughter, Chelsea. Without a shred of journalistic experience, Chelsea Clinton earned $600,000 a year from NBC News. That rate worked out to more than $26,000 a minute for each minute Chelsea appeared on air.
To cement her populist credentials, Hillary Clinton is also attacking big-bucks hedge funds. She made a good point when she thundered in Iowa earlier this month, “There’s something wrong when hedge-fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or the truckers that I saw on I-80 as I was driving here.”
But Clinton must know intimately about such financial speculators and their low tax rates.
Back in Arkansas, she once had a Clinton-family crony from Tyson Foods invest $1,000 in cattle futures on her behalf. That relatively tiny sum mysteriously exploded into a $100,000 profit. Professional investors suggested that the odds of such unheard of profit-making were 31 trillion to 1.
And there was most definitely “something wrong” about the taxes — or lack of them — that Clinton paid on the profits. She failed to report fully her capital gains to the IRS. That lapse earned her some $14,600 in tax penalties and back interest.
Or perhaps Clinton learned about hedge-fund unfairness from her own her son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsky. He’s the husband of Chelsea Clinton and co-founder of the $400 million hedge fund Eaglevale Partners LP, along with his two former colleagues from Goldman Sachs.
Or maybe Hillary acquired her distrust of hedge-fund operators more intimately from daughter Chelsea, who used to work at Clinton family friend Marc Lasry’s $13.3 billion New York hedge-fund firm, Avenue Capital Group.
Young Chelsea reportedly already has a net worth of some $15 million — mostly due to brief stints working for family friends at companies such as Avenue Capital and McKinsey & Co.
If Hillary’s own daughter and son-in-law did not warn her about how those in their business make undue profits, then perhaps Ms. Clinton learned from her own first-hand observations. After she stepped down as security of state, she immediately rented private office space from the Rock Creek Group, a Washington-based investment firm with strong ties to the Clinton family. Did she want a convenient spot to observe Wall Street’s bad habits?
Hillary Clinton is going to wage lots of wars in the upcoming campaign, but ironically, most of them will be against the sort of behavior exhibited by her own clan.War against women? Perhaps that refers to employers such as Hillary Clinton. As a senator, she paid women on her own staff just 72 cents for each dollar her male staffers received.
Or perhaps her crusade will touch on sexual exploitation in the workplace — especially those older alpha males who translate their power into sexual favors from their 20-something interns. From 2002 to 2005 Bill Clinton flew more than ten times on the private jet of billionaire and convicted-sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, who in 2008 pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution.
Hillary Clinton has promised a war against big money’s corrupting role in politics. Again, the Clintons should know. Their campaign advisors are already bragging that they will pull in a record $2.5 billion for the 2016 campaign. While secretary of state, Clinton moonlighted to rake in millions for her family foundation from rich foreigners.
Will another war be about transparency and honest government? That might mean no private e-mail accounts and servers for Cabinet officials — or destroying correspondence without review by outside auditors.
The problem with Hillary Clinton’s various progressive campaigns is that they will be logically waged against people in her own family.
— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals. You can reach him by e-mailing [email protected]. © 2015 Tribune Media Services, Inc.