Thursday, May 21, 2015


By Keenan Mann

From a Hilary Clinton speech on May 18th, 2015 in Mason City, Iowa:

There’s something wrong when the average American CEO makes 300 times more than the typical American worker or when hedge fund managers themselves make more and pay less in taxes than nurses and truck drivers.”

According to a fact check done by The Washington Post however, the average CEO makes $200,000 a year.  It''s actually only the top tier CEOs that make $15 million annually, or 300 times the average worker. The second line about hedge fund managers paying less in taxes was also patently false.

So Hilary tried to shore up her 'I'm here to protect you against the greedy fat cats' message one day later in Cedar Falls, Iowa with the following:

“People aren’t getting a fair shake. Something is wrong when CEOs earn more than 300 times than what the typical American worker earns and when hedge fund managers pay a lower tax rate than truck drivers or nurses.”

Now her conscience was clear having removed the word average and having changed "pay less in taxes" to "pay a lower rate".  But it shouldn't have been clear according to more fact checking done by The Post.  They gathered data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics that put the median salaries for a nurse and a truck driver at $66,640 and $39,901 respectively.  At those levels and after all deductions and exemptions are taken, their effective tax rates would be less than 15% and less than 10% respectively.  That compares to the hedge fund manager's high earner capital gains rate (the fact checker notes that hedge fund managers are able to have much of their income taxed as capital gains rather than ordinary income through a tax provision known as carried interest) of 20% plus a 3.8% surcharge to bolster medicare for a total 23.8%.  So even when considered on a percentage basis, which is kind of silly since we pay our tax bills with cash, not percentages, the hedge fund manager seems to pay more than his "fair share". 

So what's the point?  I think Ayn Rand nailed it way back in 1957 when she said the following through one of her characters in Atlas Shrugged:

“Learn to distinguish the difference between errors of knowledge and breaches of morality. An error of knowledge is not a moral flaw, provided you are willing to correct it; only a mystic would judge human beings by the standard of an impossible, automatic omniscience. But a breach of morality is the conscious choice of an action you know to be evil, or a willful evasion of knowledge, a suspension of sight and of thought. That which you do not know, is not a moral charge against you; but that which you refuse to know, is an account of infamy growing in your soul. Make every allowance for errors of knowledge; do not forgive or accept any breach of morality.” 

Oh, by the way, her son-in-law is a hedge fund manager.  I wonder whether she wears a garlic necklace to ward him off at family get togethers or looks to him for advice on where to put the well over 100 million dollars in speaking fees she and her husband have made over the last 14 years.

There is indeed something wrong, as Mrs. Clinton intimated in her speeches, but we're the only ones who can fix it.  


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