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Hillary’s poor-mouthing: Triangulating between Thomas Piketty and being richer than God

June 25, 2014

My latest blog post for the Los Angeles Times:

Here’s my theory about the Hillary Clinton poor-mouthing as she dithers Hamlet-style over whether to be or not to be a presidential candidate in 2016: She’s trying to “Piketty-proof” herself.

French economist Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” even though it’s a statistic-heavy 696-page tome, shot to No. 1 on Amazon and made Piketty the darling of every left-of-center political strategist trying to figure out how to milk more taxes out of anyone who looks like a conceivable cash cow in order to do something about our $17-trillion national debt.

Piketty’s theory, expressed in his now-famous equation r (for return on investment) > g (for economic growth), is that the rich are getting rich not by earning their money (like virtuous Bill and Hillary Clinton working so “hard” and paying income taxes on those lucrative books and speeches) but by sitting back and letting their bank accounts grow fatter, or, even worse, inheriting their wealth from their ancestors. Those bad people are the “truly well-off,” to quote Hillary Clinton and to paraphrase Piketty.

Not surprisingly, Piketty is calling for a “global wealth tax” that would seize part of the assets of the “truly well-off” — or, actually, practically every “millionaire next door” who has managed to save a nest egg for one’s old age or one’s children — and redistribute it to the nonsavers, all in the name of reducing inequality.

It is, therefore, extremely important for Hillary Clinton to assure everyone that she and her husband couldn’t possibly be among of the “truly well-off,” despite their having reportedly earned more than $100 million in less than 13 years. They don’t want to look like the evil 1% to all those progressive thought leaders waving their Post-it-Noted copies of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” even though they’re likely among the very richest sliver of Americans.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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One Comment
  1. Of course what Hillary actually said was that unlike a lot of truly well off people, they do pay taxes. Or are we going all Al-Gore-invented-the-internet on her a year early?

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