Clinton is a master at exploiting the tax code for her own benefit.
Today, Hillary Clinton stood before the nation to outline her vision for the American economy. During her speech, she was resolute in her differences with political nemesis, Donald Trump.
Clinton was correct; the policy positions she shares with Trump are few; their policy differences, many. Clinton would like to increase taxes, regulations, and labor union membership. Trump wants the exact opposite.
Yet, Clinton was most emphatic in highlighting the difference between the two candidates’ tax policies. Of course, Clinton took a page from the ole’, outdated Democratic playbook, claiming her Republican opponent is proposing tax cuts for the rich. And this time, Clinton can point to her opponent, a billionaire himself, who will benefit from his own policies.
As I’ve pointed out in the past, the “tax cuts for millionaires” line is an easy talking point for Democrats, since it plays into the emotions of the middle class that the rich aren’t paying their fair share. Yet, the facts paint a different picture: The rich pay more than 70 percent of all federal taxes; the top one percent of Americans pay 25 percent of all taxes. On the other hand, those at the bottom of the income ladder pay only 0.8 percent (yes, that’s zero point eight) of all taxes.
So, any tax cut at all will almost always have a larger impact on those who pay most in taxes.
Clinton would like to increase taxes on millionaires. Her proposal, as studied by the Tax Policy Center, will increase taxes by $1.1 trillion over the next decade. Among her liberal tax policies, Clinton would like to impose an “exit” tax on corporations seeking more favorable tax rates in other nations and a special “American Dream Tax” — meaning those who make millions will be levied a new special tax.
But perhaps NO ONE hates paying taxes more than the Clintons. In fact, the Clintons go to such lengths to avoid the very taxes they propose for others that some believe they are engaged in tax fraud.
First, Clinton highlighted (vigorously I might add) that Trump wants to eliminate the estate tax. The estate tax, otherwise known as the death tax, is a transfer of wealth to the federal government after a family member dies. Currently, the death tax has a relatively high threshold: Taxes apply to assets over $5 million per individual, or $10 million per couple. So, of course, they mostly apply to upper income families — Trump’s and Clinton’s included.
Conservatives have long believed the death tax is unjust since it re-taxes all those assets that had already been taxed. It’s a long-standing tradition for conservatives to propose its elimination, as Trump has done.
Today, however, Clinton trashed Trump for such a proposal. The true irony, of course, is that Clinton has set up legal tax shelters to avoid ever paying the death tax — the very tax that she thinks rich Americans should pay. Bloomberg News reported in 2014:
Bill and Hillary Clinton have long supported an estate tax to prevent the U.S. from being dominated by inherited wealth. That doesn’t mean they want to pay it.
How righteous of them.
Bloomberg also found that in 2010 the Clintons shifted their mansions into residential trusts. By doing so, any appreciation in the house will not be valued in the tax base. Experts believe this could save the Clintons hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. In addition to their residential trusts, the Clintons also participate in life insurance trusts (also created in 2010). A life insurance trust allows the Clinton’s to avoid paying any death taxes.
The sad fact is that Clinton is a dishonest human being who herself has been living off tax loopholes and exploiting the tax code perhaps more than anyone.
How many of the ordinary Americans Clinton is supposedly “championing” on behalf of can place their homes into tax exempt residence trusts? Yah, me neither. Of course, these tax loopholes are legal, but the Clintons could have avoided such tax schemes in order to fulfill their “patriotic” defense of breaking up wealth held by the country’s top performers.
Yet, this is only the beginning of the Clintons’ hypocrisy.
The Clintons have been known to utilize five different shell companies, all registered to an address in Wilmington, Delaware, for the purposes of avoiding taxes. Actually, the Clintons aren’t even that discreet about it. The one address their shell companies use is also shared by 280,000 other companies for the purpose of avoiding taxes.
And that brings us to the mother of all tax farces: the tax-exempt Clinton Foundation. In fact, a charity watchdog, the Sunlight Foundation, called the Clinton Foundation a “slush fund.” For starters, the charity work by the Clinton Foundation is suspect. In 2013, the Clinton Foundation raised more than $140 million, yet only spent $9 million on charity. Interestingly enough, the Foundation spent $30 million on payroll and employee benefits, $10 millions of luxury office space; another $10 million for “conferences and conventions,” while the rests sits in coffers presumable awaiting a Clinton retirement.
In numerous instances, the Foundation has been questioned as to whether it’s merely been a scheme to pay off friends. The New York Post reported that Chelsea Clinton’s friend, Eric Braverman, took over the Foundation in 2013 and made a killing — earning $275,000 in just five months.
My bet is that Clinton is interested in a tax code that benefits her wealthy buddies far more than you can ever imagine.
In addition to paying exorbitant salaries to friends and family, a typical tax avoidance technique by the rich to shelter taxes, the Clintons use the Foundation to subsidize travel expenses, office space, and rental properties that would make a king jealous.
The profits that the Clintons realize through their foundation have been suspicious for some time. Take for example Hillary’s 2012 push for the US—Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. Included in that agreement was the ability to facilitate simplified financial transactions between the United States and Panama. That agreement may have paved the way for Panama to become one of the world’s largest tax shelters, as we now know came to fruition in the great world-wide offshore havens set up by the firm Mossak Fonseca.
As The Nation highlights in one article, “Although Hillary denounced Mossak Fonseca’s dealing on cue after the Panama Papers story broke, a number of individuals and multinationals that have contributed to the foundation used MF to establish offshore accounts.”
Furthermore, in May, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that the Clinton foundation was shelling out millions in untaxed donations that didn’t fit the charity definition, per se, but their friends. In that article, the WSJ revealed that more than $2 million was committed to a for-profit company, Energy Pioneer Solutions, founded by Scott Kleeb, a close friend of the Clintons. But it gets juicier. Brietbart news reports,
Not only did the [Clinton Foundation] potentially violate tax-exempt charitable foundation law by acting for private benefit, but Bill Clinton personally endorsed the company’s request to former Energy Secretary Steven Chu for a federal grant of $812,000.
This anecdote is just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless stories of Hillary selling political favors while she was Secretary of State for donations to her very own Foundation. For example, the less than democratic and perhaps American-terrorist endorsing state of Saudi Arabia, donated between $10 to $25 million to the Clinton Foundation. Fishy? I’d say so.
This is the difference between the two candidates. Whether you like Trump or not, you get the transparent attempt to lower taxes for both the rich — and the poor. Yet, Clinton will sell the American public a policy that makes the tax code fair by increasing taxes on the rich or closing tax loopholes only the wealthy can access. The sad fact is that Clinton is a dishonest human being who herself has been living off tax loopholes and exploiting the tax code perhaps more than anyone. My bet is that Clinton is interested in a tax code that benefits her wealthy buddies far more than you can ever imagine.