Politics & Policy

The Corner

Yes, Hillary Clinton’s $12,000 Jacket Makes Her a Hypocrite about Income Inequality

Hillary Clinton has come in for a lot of mockery over the revelation that she delivered a speech on income inequality in New York in April while wearing “a Giorgio Armani jacket reportedly worth $12,495,” as much as some of her poorer supporters make in a year. The jacket is just the tip of the iceberg of the Clinton money machine that has seen Mr. & Mrs. Clinton pull in $25 million over the past year and a half just for delivering speeches.

Does this make her a hypocrite? The main response from her supporters seems to be that there’s nothing hypocritical about a wealthy person caring about poverty and lack of economic opportunity — and that’s true. Whether you prefer liberal or conservative solutions to poverty, we should surely all want people who’ve been blessed with great wealth to put some thought and effort into caring for those with less.

But “poverty” and “opportunity” are not the Democratic themes of our age, nor were they the only focus of Mrs. Clinton’s speech:

Mrs. Clinton’s speech took aim at hedge-fund managers and CEOs who she said were reaping most of the benefits of economic growth, saying the top 25 hedge-fund managers earn more than all the nation’s kindergarten teachers combined.

Bernie Sanders–style progressives, and liberals like Mrs. Clinton who seek to appeal to them, are not content to talk about lifting up the poor and the middle class — they deliberately focus on criticizing the wealthy for being wealthy. They do this partly to justify tax hikes, partly because their supporters feel good resenting the wealthy, and partly because it’s a lot easier to fix the problem of too much wealth than of too little (as President Obama’s economic record amply demonstrates).

Of course this is hypocrisy, to denounce conspicuous wealth and argue for more government confiscation of it, while flaunting it yourself. The very definition of hypocrisy in public life is doing or having for yourself the things you propose taking from others. Hillary wants to have her cake and have Uncle Sam eat yours too.

And yet, given that liberals so often see hypocrisy as by far a worse moral failing than any other sin besides perhaps intolerance, they are often blind to it on their own side — they call to limit the use of energy, while galavanting around in private jets and high-powered SUV motorcades. They defend keeping poor kids in public schools without a choice to leave, while sending their own kids to expensive private academies. They hire picketers and leafleters to protest low wages and benefits, and pay them a pittance and no benefits. They press for strict gun controls, then hire armed private bodyguards of their own. They call for massive tax hikes, while seeking every tax shelter they can find. And they denounce income inequality while wearing $12,000 jackets. If we can’t make them even a little bit embarrassed about that, what can we criticize?

Dan McLaughlin — Dan McLaughlin is an attorney practicing securities and commercial litigation in New York City, and a contributing columnist at National Review Online.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More