Clintons Prove Politics is Fortune’s Path

August 16th, 2016

Hillary Clinton released her tax returns for 2015 last week revealing that she and Bill made approximately $10.5 million in income last year.  Of this amount, $5.5 million came from speaking fees and $3.1 million resulted from book royalties.

My college age son continues to contemplate his future career path.  Naturally, he wants a job that’s personally fulfilling but he’d also like something that pays the bills.  He’s never mentioned getting rich with minimal work but if he ever asks, I’d point to the Clintons’ tax return as Exhibit “A” as to why election to high office is the way to go if easy accumulation of wealth is his primary goal.

And when I say “minimal” work, I’m not kidding.  Just look into the numbers as to exactly how the Clintons amassed this amount of money in a single year.  Hillary, for example, was paid between $225,000 and $400,000 per speech to speak to Wall Street clients like Bank of America and the Democrats’ favorite target, Goldman Sachs.  Doubtful they paid all that money to hear the former Secretary of State tell them how evil they are.  That’s why Bernie Sanders spent a considerable amount of time during his campaign asking her to release transcripts of those speeches (and why she’ll never release them).  Likely the only way anyone will ever see those speeches is if hackers hand over the texts to WikiLeaks.

Meanwhile, Bill pocketed a cool $750,000 from a single speech last year.  Not bad for a luncheon’s work.

What’s really interesting is that 2015 was a particularly bad year financially for the Clintons.  The previous year they made $28 million in income with $20 million coming from speaking fees.  Evidently, they intentionally cut back on their income in preparation for the presidential campaign.  Word is that they figured continuing to collect speaking fees at that pace wouldn’t likely play well with middle income Americans struggling to get by.

Exactly how many jobs do you suppose the Clintons created earning all this money? Think about it.  Do they write their own speeches or do they hire speechwriters?  If so, how much are those people paid?  The Clintons are still under Secret Service protection so they don’t need drivers or security.  That eliminates a few potential employees.  Do they fly commercial or do they have a private plane?  If they have the latter, maybe they keep a salaried pilot on staff.  Bottom line is that they probably don’t need that many people in their employment to give an occasional speech.

Clearly, the Clintons aren’t the only ones getting rich from their years of “public service.”  Members of Congress and former Senators usually cash in as well.  Barack Obama is already pretty well off.  Expect him to be fabulously wealthy someday.

For the Clintons, the journey to fortune began with acceptance to Yale Law School.  Both came from relatively humble beginnings given where they are today in life.  So in some tortured way you could say they both are true examples of the fulfillment of the American dream.

As former presidents and first ladies go, the Clintons’ experience is fairly consistent with that of other previous White House occupants.  Only Harry S Truman found himself not much better off financially after his stint as president than he was before he entered that office.

While it must be wonderful for former politicians to make so much easy money it also explains why as a nation we find ourselves in uncertain and difficult economic times. At a time when America needs leadership out of the economic doldrums it appears that the “experts” running the show are those whose greatest skill is public speaking.

If today’s polls are accurate, expect that trend to continue.

 



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