Clin­ton vs. Clin­ton

Hil­lary’s fam­ily is vul­ner­a­ble on her core cam­paign is­sues

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Vic­tor Davis Han­son

Hil­lary Clin­ton ap­par­ently plans to base her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign on the noble goals of greater fair­ness and shared sac­ri­fice. She al­ready has lam­basted vast dif­fer­ences in com­pen­sa­tion. “The av­er­age CEO makes about 300 times what the av­er­age worker makes,” Mrs. Clin­ton warned.

She is right — but she can best ap­pre­ci­ate that fact from her own ca­reer and fam­ily.

Re­cently, Mrs. Clin­ton de­manded up to $300,000 for 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, Mrs. Clin­ton’s fee worked out to about $165 per sec­ond. In three min­utes of au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal chitchat, Mrs. 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 col­lec­tively in debt to the tune of more than $1 tril­lion.

Or per­haps Mrs. 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 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 Mrs. 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 Mrs. Clin­ton paid on the prof­its. She failed to re­port fully her cap­i­tal gains to the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice. That lapse cost her some $14,600 in tax penal­ties and back in­ter­est.

Or per­haps Mrs. Clin­ton learned about hedge fund un­fair­ness from her own her son-in-law, Marc Mezvin­sky. He is 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 be­cause of 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 Mrs. Clin­ton learned from her own first­hand ob­ser­va­tions. Af­ter she stepped down as sec­re­tary 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 10 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 ad­vis­ers are al­ready brag­ging that they will pull in a record $2.5 bil­lion for the 2016 cam­paign. While sec­re­tary of state, Mrs. 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 email 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 with the Hoover In­sti­tu­tion at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity.


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