As a Fiscal Conservative who is completely debt free and who lives within his means, I find former First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent comments about her personal finances fascinating. In her new book, and during an interview with ABC, Clinton claims that she and her husband left the White House in 2001 "flat broke and in debt". While I'm sure she wanted to portray herself and Bill as a "simple public servants who are in government just to serve the people and not to get rich"--the Clintons instead come across as people who can't handle their money.
Keep in mind, that before leaving the White House, the Clintons had lived in a taxpayer-supported mansion for 20 of the previous 22-years. Their costs of living, medical expenses, transportation and personal services were all covered for them. For his 8-years as President alone, Bill Clinton was paid $1.6-million. Even after taxes, that should leave plenty of cash to "get on with the rest of your life". So it was obviously personal choices made by the Clintons that led them down the path of "financial ruin".
Take for instance the decision to live in New York. Housing is not cheap in the Big Apple--and it's certainly more expensive than in Little Rock--where the Clintons last lived in a private residence. But Hillary's chances of being elected Dogcatcher in that state probably weren't so good--and there was no Senate seat about to be handed to her in her native state of Illinois--so New York became the prerferred landing spot for the First Couple. Then, they chose to send their daughter, Chelsea, to Stanford University--which had a tuition rate at the time of about 40-thousand dollars a year--followed by graduate school at the Ivy League's Columbia University--which is even more expensive. Think of how much the family could have saved by sending her to the University of Arkansas. And let's not forget the massive legal bills the Clintons ran up defending themselves in the Whitewater real estate scam and Bill's sexual harassment lawsuits.
Since leaving the White House, however, fortune has smiled upon the Clintons. Bill got a $15-million advance on his Presidential memoirs, Hillary got $4-million for her first book and both have been paid hefty sums to go around talking about themselves to other rich people. And that has created a new problem for them: they now pay a lot of taxes.
"We pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well
off, not to name names; and we've done it through dint of hard work," she told the Guardian newspaper.
Who would have thought that Hillary Clinton of all people would be complaining about the tax rates that she has to pay. You'd think she would adopt the attitude of Warren Buffett and beg Washington to tax her more. While political pundits are expressing concern that Clinton's recent comments will make her seem "out of touch with regular voters" I think they will play perfectly with a society that increasingly see themselves as the victims--even if it's their own poor choices that put them in the hole.