Category: Taxes

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a dad, and he’s giving away most of his money

You remember a few years back when Bill Gates complained that he didn’t have to pay any taxes on a 100 million dollar windfall ?

Well what happens when the people who earn the money actually have money to invest (instead of paying 75percent tax as some crazy liberals suggest)

The money gets used to create new and clean energy sources and hi tech jobs for one …

Now Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will donate 45Billion to various world charities.

Do you moonbat loonie liberals think that the government would do better work with all that money??  Yeah right.

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Talk about birth announcements: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife said they’ll devote nearly all their wealth — roughly $45 billion — to good works in celebration of their new baby daughter, Max.

Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, gave birth to a 7-pound, 8-ounce daughter last week. But the couple didn’t put out the news until Tuesday, when Zuckerberg posted it on — of course — Facebook.

In the same post, Zuckerberg said he and Chan will, over time, commit 99 percent of their Facebook stockholdings to such causes as fighting disease, improving education and “building strong communities.” The couple had previously pledged to give away at least half their assets during their lifetime, but hadn’t provided specifics.

They are forming a new organization, called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, that will pursue those goals through a combination of charitable donations, private investment and promotion of government-policy reform.

“Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today,” the 31-year-old social media mogul and his wife wrote in a letter to their daughter, which they also posted on Facebook.

The announcement stunned the charity world. “It’s incredibly impressive and an enormous commitment that really eclipses anything that we’ve seen in terms of size,” said Phil Buchanan, president of the nonprofit Center for Effective Philanthropy.

By comparison, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of just over $41 billion, which includes wealth donated by the Microsoft founder and his friend, the businessman Warren Buffett.

The new initiative will be organized as a limited liability company, however, rather than as a nonprofit foundation. “They want the most flexibility and they are going to use a wide variety of activities to achieve their mission,” Rachael Horwitz, a Facebook spokeswoman, said via email. “So in that way this is not a foundation nor is it entirely charitable.”

The notion of investing money in companies that tackle social issues isn’t new, but it has gained more currency among a younger generation of philanthropists, particularly in the tech world.

Zuckerberg has also shown a previous interest in influencing public policy. He led other prominent Silicon Valley figures in forming a group, FWD.us, that lobbied and gave donations to congressional candidates in an unsuccessful effort to promote immigration reforms. Depending on how much of the new effort is devoted to lobbying, it could raise new questions about the influence of money in today’s politics, some experts said.

In the letter to their daughter, Zuckerberg and Chan described their goals as “advancing human potential and promoting equality.” They added: “We must make long term investments over 25, 50 or even 100 years. The greatest challenges require very long time horizons and cannot be solved by short term thinking.”

While Zuckerberg promised to release more details in the future, he said the couple will transfer most of their wealth to the initiative “during our lives.” The couple will be in charge of the initiative, although Zuckerberg won’t be quitting his day job.

“I have a full time job running Facebook,” he told The Associated Press in an interview last month, during which he discussed the couple’s approach to philanthropy. Of his job at the social network, he added, “I’m going to be doing this for long time.”

The Facebook co-founder is one of the world’s wealthiest men. He and Chan, a 30-year-old pediatrician, have previously donated $100 million to public schools in Newark, New Jersey, and pledged $120 million to schools in poor communities of the San Francisco Bay Area. They’ve also given $75 million to the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where Chan did her medical training.

In a statement, Facebook said the couple’s plan to transfer their shares over time won’t affect his status as controlling shareholder of the company. The company said Zuckerberg has committed to dispose of no more than $1 billion of Facebook stock every year for the next three years.

Zuckerberg and Chan had announced on Facebook last July that they were expecting a daughter, after Chan had three previous miscarriages. Horwitz said the baby was born early last week, but declined to say which day.

“Mom and baby are both healthy and doing well,” Horwitz added. Zuckerberg has said he plans to take two months of paternity leave.

 

 

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Medicare Paid $30M for Ambulance ‘Mystery Rides,’ Audit Says

A recent federal audit has uncovered that in the first six months of 2012, $30 million was billed to Medicare for some ambulance transports later termed “mystery rides” because agents could not determine whether the patient had actually received any medical care after the purported ambulance ride.

“[They’re] mystery rides because we don’t have any information in our files, in Medicare files, to show what medical service the person received, of if they received a medical service,” said Suzanne Murrin, deputy inspector general at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Certainly, Medicare was not billed for a medical service, either on the way, where the person left or where the person arrived at.”

The audit, conducted by HHS’ inspector general’s office, dug into Medicare claims for 7.3 million ambulance transports from the first six months of 2012. Medicare pays for ambulance rides for patients to see their doctors, if there is a medical need like the patient cannot walk.

The audit found that $24 million also had been paid out by Medicare “for ambulance transports that did not meet certain program requirements to justify payment.”

“I think what we are finding is that there is a great deal of questionable billing, and there is a great deal,” Murrin said. “This is still a program that needs further action to address weaknesses.”

Philadelphia and Houston are trouble spots but investigators say Los Angeles and New York should be added to the list.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services told ABC News recently that it was “strongly committed to eliminating fraud, waste and abuse in ambulance transports” and had put several initiatives in place to fight the problem since 2012.

Here are the 10,535 pages of ObamaCare condensed to 4 sentences

...and then I told them If they like their doctors, like their health plans, they could keep them...

…and then I told them If they like their doctors, like their health plans, they could keep them…

Here are the 10,535 pages of ObamaCare condensed to 4 sentences
As humorous as this sounds…..every last word of it is absolutely TRUE!

1. In order to insure the uninsured, we first have to uninsure the insured.

2. Next, we require the newly uninsured to be re-insured.

3. To re-insure the newly uninsured, they are required to pay extra charges to be re-insured.

4. The extra charges are required so that the original insured, who became uninsured, and then became re-insured, can pay enough extra so that the original uninsured can be insured, which will be free of charge to them.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is called “redistribution of wealth” ,or, by its more common name, SOCIALISM, and of course the Architect Jonathan Gruber absolutely admitted it.  Breathtaking coverup by the self-proclaimed “most transparent Presidency ever”.

Click here for the Gruber Confession by the Washington Post.

Watch Obamacare Architect Jonathan Gruber Explain Why “Lack of Transparency” Was Key to Passing the Health Care Law

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Jonathan Gruber was, by most accounts, one of the key figures in constructing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. He helped designed the Massachusetts health care law on which it was modeled, assisted the White House in laying out the foundation of the law, and, accordingto The New York Times, was eventually sent to Capitol Hill “to help Congressional staff members draft the specifics of the legislation.” He provided the media with a stream of supportive quotes, and was paid almost $400,000 for his consulting work.

Jonathan Gruber, in other words, knows exactly what it took to get the health care law passed.

And that’s why you should take him seriously when he says, in the following video, that it was critical to not be transparent about the law’s costs and true effects, and to take advantage of the “stupidity of the American voter” in order to get it passed:

(Via the Daily Signal.)

Here’s the full quote:

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that.  In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass….Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

This validates much of what critics have said about the health care law, and the tactics used to pass it, for years.

For one thing, it is an explicit admission that the law was designed in such a way to avoid a CBO score that would have tanked the bill. Basically, the Democrats who wrote the bill knowingly gamed the CBO process.

It’s also an admission that the law’s authors understood that one of the effects of the bill would be to make healthy people pay for the sick, but declined to say this for fear that it would kill the bill’s chances. In other words, the law’s supporters believed the public would not like some of the bill’s consequences, and knowingly attempted to hide those consequences from the public.

Most importantly, however, it is an admission that Gruber thinks it’s acceptable to deceive people if he believes that’s the only way to achieve his policy preference. That’s not exactly surprising, given that he failed to disclose payments from the administration to consult on Obamacare even while providing the media with supposedly independent assessments of the law.

But it’s particularly revealing in light of Gruber’s recently discovered comments regarding the way the law’s subsidies for health insurance are supposed to work. In a 2012 video unearthed this summer, Gruber said explicitly that the tax credits to offset coverage costs were conditioned on state participation in the law’s exchanges—a contention that the administration denies, and is at the heart of a legal challenge on its way to the Supreme Court.

Gruber, who by 2014 was making vehement arguments in support of the administration’s position, said that in the video he misspoke. That excuse was hard to believe. For one thing, he elaborated on the argument at length, and for another, a second recording surfaced soon after in which he said almost the exact same thing.

It’s even harder to believe now that he has admitted that he thinks it’s fine to mislead people if doing so bolsters the policy goals he favors. It’s really quite telling, about the law and also about Gruber. Gruber may believe that American voters are stupid, but he was the one who was dumb enough to say all this on camera.

[UPDATE]  OOPS HE DID IT AGAIN… A THIRD TIME !:

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$10G to watch grass grow: Coburn report details worst examples of government waste

The government spent $10,000 to watch this type of grass grow. (USDA.GOV)

The government spent $10,000 to watch this type of grass grow. (USDA.GOV)

As American taxpayers worried about the terror threat from the Islamic State, the crisis at the border and the economy, the U.S. government spent their money to give rabbits massages, to teach sea monkeys to synchronize swim and to literally watch grass grow.

These and other examples of wasteful government spending were detailed by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn in his annual “Wastebook,” his final edition since he is retiring early next year.

“I have learned from these experiences that Washington will never change itself,” Coburn, R-Okla., said in a statement. “But even if the politicians won’t stop stupid spending, taxpayers always have the last word.”

The first example cited in the report is the millions spent on what one attorney called the government’s “dirty little secret”: paid administrative leave for troublesome employees. Workers who were placed on leave for disciplinary reasons, such as misconduct, security concerns or criminal issues, received $20 million while on leave this year.

These workers, according to Coburn, were essentially on a paid vacation that can last for months or years. The GAO also detailed this phenomenon in a report Monday. According to the GAO, during a three-year period more than 57,000 employees were placed on leave for 30 days or more, costing taxpayers $775 million in salary alone.

Another wasteful project with a big price tag is the Pentagon’s plan to destroy $16 billion in military-grade ammunition that it deems no longer useful. Sounds pricey, right? Well add in the fact that on top of that, the feds plan to spend $1 billion just to destroy the ammo.

“The amount of surplus ammunition is now so large that the cost of destroying it will equal the full years’ salary for over 54,000 Army privates,” the report notes.

Other examples vary from the serious, to the aggravating, to just plain bizarre. One that takes the cake is the $10,000 the government spent to watch grass grow — seriously.

That project is the brainchild of the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is paying for the growth of the smooth cordgrass to be observed on a Florida reserve. The money covers “the cost to monitor grasses, restore two acres as a demonstration and publish a guide on best practices for cultivating the cordgrass, known formally as Spartina alterniflora.”

Still more examples show that while some Americans are struggling to make ends meet in a rough economy, there is a group in the U.S. getting major perks: animals.

In one instance, the government shelled out $387,000 to provide rabbits with a relaxing daily massage. The critters were treated to a “mechanical device that simulates the long, flowing strokes used in Swedish massages” to study the effect of massages on exercise recovery, according to the report.

Another animal getting a fun extracurricular activity courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers are sea monkeys. The government dropped $50,000 on a project to study the swirl of sea monkeys’ collective movements. The researchers did so by choreographing a synchronized swimming routine for the tiny shrimp.

The government also spent $856,000 to throw mountain lions on a treadmill and $171,000 to watch monkeys gamble. They also spent $331,000 on a study that led to a mind-blowing discovery, that “hungry people get cranky and aggressive.”

“With no one watching over the vast bureaucracy, the problem is not just what Washington isn’t doing, but what it is doing.” Coburn said in the statement. “Only someone with too much of someone else’s money and not enough accountability for how it was being spent could come up some of these projects.”

Other notable examples include $90 million spent to promote U.S. culture around the world, $414,000 spent on a U.S. Army video game that some in the intelligence community have worried could inadvertently train terrorists and $4.6 million spent on “lavish” homes to house Border Patrol agents in areas temporarily.

Coburn, known as “Dr. No” for his strong stance against excess spending in Washington, announced in January he is retiring from the Senate early due to ongoing health issues. The Republican had already announced he would not seek reelection but decided to leave his term two years early, in January 2014.

A Coburn spokesperson told FoxNews.com that the senator has said that answers about if and how the “Wastebook” will continue will have to wait until next year. The spokesperson said Coburn hopes every lawmaker will make monitoring government waste a priority, but that one does not have to be a current lawmaker to do so.’

Click to read the “Wastebook.”

U.S. debt balloons to $7 TRILLION more than it was when Obama took office Total federal government debt has increased by 66 per cent since Barack Obama became president Stunning milestone is revealed by Treasury Department website that discloses burgeoning numbers at the end of every business day It took more than 223 years for the US to accumulate its first $7 trillion in debt Obama has repeated the depressing feat in less than 67 months

The United States government’s accumulated debts have grown by more than $7 trillion – with a ‘t’ – since Barack Obama became president on January 20, 2009.

The sad milestone was revealed on July 31 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on a ‘debt to the penny’ website that calculates the debt at the end of every business day.

On Obama’s first day in office the debt stood at $10.626 trillion. Last Thursday it reached $17.687 trillion.

Somber salute to the economy? When Barack Obama came home from Camp David on Sunday, the nation was $7 trillion poorer than it was when he first arrived at the White House on January 20, 2009  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715986/U-S-debt-balloons-7-TRILLION-Obama-took-office.html#ixzz39iYB7IAo  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Somber salute to the economy? When Barack Obama came home from Camp David on Sunday, the nation was $7 trillion poorer than it was when he first arrived at the White House on January 20, 2009 Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715986/U-S-debt-balloons-7-TRILLION-Obama-took-office.html#ixzz39iYB7IAo Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Up, up, up: The national debt has grown steadily during the Obama years, jumping by a total of $7 trillion as of July 31  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715986/U-S-debt-balloons-7-TRILLION-Obama-took-office.html#ixzz39iYOlGS3  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Up, up, up: The national debt has grown steadily during the Obama years, jumping by a total of $7 trillion as of July 31 Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715986/U-S-debt-balloons-7-TRILLION-Obama-took-office.html#ixzz39iYOlGS3 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

America’s first 43 presidents took 223 years to rack up the country’s first $7 trillion in red ink.

Obama has duplicated that dubious achievement in less than five years and seven months.

After the same number of days in office, former President George W. Bush had increased the national debt by a comparatively paltry $2.720 trillion.

Bill Clinton’s debt load at the same point in his presidency had increased by just $1,324 trillion.

The right-leaning Cybercast News Service was first to point out that Obama had cleared the $7 trillion hurdle in added financial obligations.

During a July 2008 campaign speech in North Dakota, then-Senator Obama ripped into the Bush administration for running up the federal debt by a total of $4 billion near the end of his second term.

‘The problem is,’ he said, ‘is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back – $30,000 for every man, woman and child.’

‘That’s irresponsible,’ Obama said then. ‘It’s unpatriotic.’

The Republican Party ripped into the president on Monday with an email blast charging that after ‘[i]gnoring warnings from all corners, Obama has one of the worst records on the federal debt in U.S. history.’

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for a response.

In February the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that ‘federal debt held by the public will equal 74 percent of GDP at the end of this year and 79 percent in 2024.’

At the end of 2008, that number was just 39 per cent. At current rates of spending, by 2019 the debt will be larger than the nation’s annual GDP.

‘Such large and growing federal debt,’ the CBO warns, ‘could have serious negative consequences, including restraining economic growth in the long term, giving policymakers less flexibility to respond to unexpected challenges, and eventually increasing the risk of a fiscal crisis.’

Debt held by the public makes up about 71 per cent of the total federal debt. The rest consists of ‘intragovernmental holdings’ – government-speak for gaps in the Medicare Trust Fund, the Social Security Trust Fund, and other revolving funds.

Those lines on Uncle Sam’s balance sheet totaled $5,036 trillion at the end of last Thursday, a number that represents how far behind the government is in meeting its long-term obligations to retirees and other benefit-takers.

Government spending has skyrocketed during Obama’s time in office due to a combinations of his policies, a spendthrift Congress and recession-related automatic stabilizers like unemployment insurance that can quickly drain the Treasury.

The annual deficit – a single year’s addition to the larger debt – was $1.413 trillion in 2009, Obama’s first year in the White House. He has steadily reduced it year-on-year, and the 2014 deficit is expected to be $492 billion.

That number, however, is still larger than any other annual deficit in the history of the U.S. before he became president.

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How Did the Clintons Become So Rich?

The real scandal is not that the former president and first lady are so wealthy, but how they got that wealthy.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Bill Clinton attend the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting at The Shertaon New York Hotel on September 24, 2013 in New York City. (JStone / Shutterstock.com)

NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 24: Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Bill Clinton attend the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting at The Shertaon New York Hotel on September 24, 2013 in New York City. (JStone / Shutterstock.com)

“Is Hillary our Mitt Romney?”asked MSNBC’s Krystal Ball in a recent segment of her TV show. Ball’s statement came on the heels of several comments by Clinton that made her seem completely out of touch with ordinary Americans — that she is not “ truly well off,” that she and her husband were compelled to give speeches for six figures apiece because they were “ dead broke” upon leaving the White House.

Indeed, considering that Bill and Hillary Clintonhave made more than $100 million since leaving the White House in 2000, it’s not surprising that many Americans see the former first couple as hopelessly detached from the problems of ordinary Americans despite presenting themselves as going through the very same struggles as other Americans.

“We had no money when we got there [to the White House],” explained Hillary Clinton in comments to ABC’s Diane Sawyer. “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.”

Yet many Americans have also worked very hard, and they have not amassed the same kind of wealth as the Clintons, with multiple homes and over $100 million of earned income in the past decade. But underneath the social distance their wealth creates, there is a much deeper and more troubling truth. The real scandal is not that the Clintons are so wealthy but how they got that wealth.

Poor rascal

In 2009, Bill Clinton addressed the Campus Progress National Summit, a gathering of progressive students in Washington, D.C. “I never made any money until I left the White House,”he told the students. “I had the lowest net worth, adjusted for inflation, of any president elected in the last 100 years, including President [Barack] Obama. I was one poor rascal when I took office. But after I got out, I made a lot of money.”

Clinton didn’t just make “a lot of money” when he left the White House. Together, the Clintonspulled in $111 million from 2000 to 2007 — far more than what most people would consider a lot.

Thanks to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), which compiles personal financial disclosures from federal public officials, and the ethics laws governing the U.S. Senate, we know a little bit about how the Clintons made their money. Federal disclosure laws require not only officeholders to disclose their finances but also their spouses, since spousal income is shared. Thus Hillary Clinton’s disclosures both as a U.S. senator and as secretary of state are a window into this shared fortune, one that was gleaned from the very same interest groups and corporations over which the Clintons had authority.

In 1999, Bill Clinton made repealing the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act — which separated commercial and investment banking — a priority. He commanded a bipartisan push in repealing the law, which was primarily advocated for by Wall Street lobbyists. Not long after his pen hit the paper to repeal the law, Citigroup, a top beneficiary of the repeal, recruited Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin to join as an executive at the firm. Rubin went on to be one of Citigroup’shighest-paid officials, pulling in $115 million in pay from 1999 and 2008.

While Rubin was made rich from Wall Street deregulation, his boss went on the lecture circuit. In February of 2001, Clinton had been out of the White House for less than a month when he gave his first paid speech, to none other than Morgan Stanley — another beneficiary of and advocate for Clinton’s Wall Street deregulation — for $125,000. His next address in Manhattan was at Credit Suisse First Boston, which gave him an additional $125,000. His paid speaking arrangements took him around the world, from Canada to Hong Kong, speaking to a variety of interest groups with major public policy interests, including the American Israel Chamber of Commerce and the investment banking giant CLSA. Clinton had also made passing the North American Free Trade Agreement a priority during his presidency, so it is no surprise that major Canadian firms such as the Jim Pattison Group ($150,000) were happy to pay to hear a few remarks from him as well.

The Wall Street payments were significant in that they represented a form of gratitude not only for Bill Clinton’s deregulation of Wall Street. That year Hillary Clinton, now a senator from New York,voted for a bankruptcy bill that made it much harder for people to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy; the bill was backed primarily by banks and credit card issuers.

Bill Clinton in his spree of speeches repeatedly returned to two of the banking giants at the heart of political power in Washington: Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. In 2004 he took home a quarter-million dollars for a Citigroup address in Paris; Goldman Sachs gave him $125,000 for a New York City address. That address must have been a real hit for the former president, because Goldman invited him back for a series of lectures the next year, at Kiawah Island, South Carolina ($125,000); Paris ($250,000); and Greensboro, Georgia ($150,000). The next year, Citigroup Venture Capital invited him for a $150,000 speech, and the Mortgage Bankers Association — representing the folks at the very heart of the financial crisis — gave him $150,000 for a speech in Chicago.

Goldman and Citigroup repeatedly paid Clinton for the next few years, and a number of other major corporate interest groups — such as the National Retail Federation ($150,000) and Merrill Lynch ($175,000) — also joined in the fun.

After Hillary Clinton lost her presidential bid and was appointed to the State Department, she and her husband had brought in more than $100 million from books and speeches. By any measure, they had far more wealth than they needed to pay debts and to take care of their daughter’s future — the reasons Hillary Clinton cited to Diane Sawyer.

Friends and enemies

In June of 2010, months after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law and the regulatory battle over the health overhaul was set into motion, the former president took $175,000 from the main health insurance lobbying organization, America’s Health Insurance Plans. A year after Hillary Clinton called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his family “friends” of her family, Bill Clinton was paid $250,000 to speak to the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, which was closely tied to the Mubarak regime. As Hillary Clinton grappled with foreign policy issues in Pakistan, Turkey and the Middle East, Bill Clinton took home $175,000 from the Middle East Institute, a think tank that does work in those areas. In 2011 she filmed a video congratulating Kuwait on its independence; a few months later, he was paid a $175,000 honorarium from the Kuwait America Foundation.

Shortly after stepping down from her post, the she then embarked on her own spree of paid speeches, which don’t have to be disclosed because neither Clinton is a public official anymore. But from voluntarily disclosures and press reports, we know that she gave at least two paid speeches to Goldman Sachs for $200,000 each. Although she has not disclosed her full remarks at these events, a number of attendees talked to Politico about her tone and content. “Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish,” read the article. We won’t know the full extent of payments for speeches unless Clinton chooses to release them or she officially declares for president and has to release her personal financial documents since 2013.

Common people

What has been laid out here is only a small sample of the vortex of wealth that Hillary and Bill Clinton have received from corporations, foundations, foreign organizations and others with an interest in U.S. public policy. No one with any knowledge of politics believes these payments to be disinterested or impartial; they are part of a larger political system that rewards politicians for fealty and obedience. The Clintons were simply following a path laid by other politicos, such as former U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, who raked in millions of dollars as a drug lobbyist after crafting an industry-friendly Medicare overhaul, and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who has leveraged his experience in government to enrich himself influence-peddling for a variety of corporate clients without ever having to officially register as a lobbyist.

Given their immense wealth and how they got it — politicized kickbacks from the most powerful political forces in Washington, on Wall Street and around the globe — the Clintons would do well to admit that they are unusually wealthy and stop trying to pass themselves off as ordinary folks. If they don’t, their fate may very well resemble Romney’s, as mounting public anger over growing income and wealth inequality could prevent them from returning to the White House in 2016.

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