Politicians Claiming Poverty
“You have no reason to remember, but we came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” Clinton said. “We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea’s education. It was not easy. Bill has worked really hard. And it’s been amazing to me. He’s worked very hard.” – Politifact
Why do politicians constantly claim to broke when they obviously are not? Page 4 of Hillary’s required paperwork for her Senate run makes it look like she has at least $1.04M in assets. She may not have been liquid, but she could have met margin had any of her creditors called. Not only that; but she was getting paid $200K per appearance to give speeches. So she works for 15 days and rakes $3M. It sounds like a racket. I could spin you an obtuse argument that it is not. Neither point is salient to the question above. Why does she feel compelled to pretend poverty when people are paying $200,000 per pop for the opportunity to get their names and POCs in her rolodex?
So we all agree that Former Senator Clinton knows enough people and has enough dirt on them to pencil in her name for $450K per year in salary and a low interest line of credit if she were really getting dead fish in her mailbox from aggrieved claimholders. That being common knowledge in polite society, we would think she’d be proud. Once you’re a former President and Secretary of State it’s not entirely false advertising to claim you’ve come a long way. But no, she worries that she doesn’t have the common touch.
I blame most of this farce on the acidic attacks on the “1%.” Weaponized class envy has always been a substitute for intelligent economic policy ideas. If you can’t fix poverty and claim to be a “Woman of the People,” the least you can do is sympathize when the sheriff serves the eviction notice and places their furnishings on the curb. This is sadly leveling, because nobody wants to be caught dead having organized and planned their life well enough to avoid the scourge of poverty. No accusation hurt Mitt Romney worse in 2012 than the accusation that he was born with the silver coke-spoon in his nose. Combine that with his tone-deaf statement that he “didn’t worry about the poor,” and even Barack Obama could win reelection against him.
So we get treated to dishonest claims of how Elizabeth Warren is a discouraged Native American. How Barack and Michelle Obama could barely get by on $435,000 per year. How Senator Roberts is in Kansas every time he has an opponent. It’s all disingenuous garbage and I find that it totally grates. I make ¼ what Barack and Michelle made when he gave his Les Miserables pitch and I can afford two decent cars, a nice house, 2 kids in private school and my wife doesn’t work outside the home. I’m not on the French Riviera right now, but I’d feel like a disgrace claiming I was one bad break away from living under the bridge.
In the end, I think we all collectively hate our political class just one notch more when they poor-mouth for the idiot vote. I remember how I had it fifteen years ago when things were a lot more touch-and-go. I remember some of coworkers from those days who were single mothers with no HS diploma who left their kids with grandma and grandpa so that they would have to give them up to foster care. I’ve been close enough to the edge to see that it was unpleasant. I’ve seen what it’s like for others who actually danced on it. I know from my own experience that 3rd row tickets at a U2 show is about as close as someone like Hillary or Senator Pat Roberts will ever get to the edge. I don’t demand she be stripped of her wealth or her contacts to rake in more. I just wish she wouldn’t feel the need to hide from it and claim she shops in the same Goodwill Store the poorest of the poor are forced to.
Featured image courtesy of Jose Gil / Shutterstock.com.