May 28th, 2010
09:16 AM ET
12 years ago

Clinton: Rich aren't paying fair share

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Clinton waded into tax policy Thursday."](CNN) - Hillary Clinton struck a strong populist chord while wading into territory secretary of states rarely go Thursday: Domestic policy.

During a conference at the Brookings Institution on national security, the nation's top diplomat bluntly aired her own views on the nation's tax policies, saying she feels "the rich are not paying their fair share."

"The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [like the U.S.] – whether it's individual, corporate or whatever the taxation forms are," Clinton said after clearly stipulating that these were her opinions, no those of the Obama administration.

Clinton went on to cite Brazil, long known for its high taxes, as a model of a successful economic policy.

"Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere and guess what – they're growing like crazy," Clinton said. "And the rich are getting richer, but they're pulling people out of poverty."

"There is a certain formula there that used to work for us, until we abandoned it, to our regret in my opinion," she added.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Popular Posts
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. Too Much Tax

    Oh, so those who have worked hard, built wealth are now responsible to pull the poor out of poverty. As soon as they quit this socialist thought process, maybe we can turn this country back around. The wealthiest are already paying 80% of all the taxes the government receives. What next, blood?

    May 28, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. SocialismBad

    saying she feels "the rich are not paying their fair share."

    Well if THEY aren't paying their "fair share" (they pay over 70% of the tax revenue already I believe) what about the ***49%*** of Americans that PAY NO TAXES??!! In fact MANY of those actually get GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS in the form of "tax credits"!!

    Of course, these socialists will never tell you exactly what the definition of "rich" is because they need to keep changing it to suit their needs (to steal).

    It is abundantly clear the DemocRATic Party has been taken over by "Progressives" that want to turn the USA into another SOCIALIST EUROPE. So how is that working out for Greece, Spain, Portugal, ....??? Can you say BANKRUPT?!!!

    The USA must be saved from the grips of these DANGEROUS PEOPLE or else what you see in the streets of Greece while be coming to the streets near you.

    May 28, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. L Lynch

    The rich have instead learned to use social issues like guns, abortion and prayer to leverage the votes of the middle and lower classes. Additionally, the Tea Party mentality encourages a sort of anarchistic mindset where it's easy to wail about taxes, while you actually live in the lap of luxury and accumulate wealth at outrageous levels. Hillary is correct, and knows true financial prosperity must include the middle class – like the period of Bill Clinton's Administration where the stock market became an option for everybody and we created a surplus. Trickle-down economics never, never really works.

    May 28, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. Fair is Fair


    Yup... that's the kind of America I wan't to leave to my grandchildren. I swear if you didn't say it was Clinton who said this, I would have sworn it was the buffoon Biden.

    May 28, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. D.

    Book deals!
    I never had... with that woman!
    Feeling like back in the happy cigar 90's days!

    Do your job and do not comment on the rich or the poor!

    May 28, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    SERVING WENCH! Bring in the Grey Pouon and Beluga Caviar or I'll hire some other out of work mother of five on food stamps and you can go back to your seven kids and out of work husband!

    OBVIOUSLY, not every person of wealth feels or acts that way, we have most of Hollywood, Warren Buffet and a lot of other welthey who would be glad to pay higher taxes in these difficult times, because the difficult times have not left them to forage and/or worry about how they will get food on the table,

    BUT..."Christian Conservatives" LAUGH at those kind of people and their willingness to be a part of the solution. MANY Republicans believe that the fact that they "have it" means that they should keep it. And they really don't care about how that impacts anyone who isn't them. And they think of themselves as the cream of humanity I bet.

    May 28, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Jay

    That's an interesting statement. Perhaps the SOS is unaware that the top 5% of wage earners in this country pay 50% of ALL taxes in this country. To put things a bit more in perspective: just 3 years ago, the wealthiest 1 percent of the population earned 19 per cent of the income but paid 37 percent of the income tax. On the flip side, the bottom 50 percent earned 13 percent of the income but paid just 3 percent of the taxes. I doubt many of the wealthy in this country are very bitter about paying their fair share of taxes, but they must be growing tired of politicians calling them names while they do it.

    Perhaps Mrs. Clinton should stick to a job she's at least barely competent to do (Secretary of State) and leave tax policy to others. She should at least do her homework before she opines. As one of the wealthiest 1% she ought to know it anyway!

    May 28, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. GI Joe

    I have a millionaire friend that told me with all the loopholes and deductions for a small business he pays ZERO.

    At minimum wage, part-time, my grandson pays more in taxes than a millionaire.

    Wealthy buy their way out of paying taxes, and the cost of those high-paid tax attorneys is deductible !!

    May 28, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. John

    Finally somebody in public life dares to say the obvious truth.

    May 28, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. Jim

    And this folks is why Hillary is not president. She thinks that whatever standard by which she is judging "fair share" is correct. Not a statement of fact, just a proclamation, that the "rich" – also undefined – don't pay enough taxes. I only have one question for Hillary, do you even know why taxes were invented? Like all democrats, the answer must be, "to steal from the wealthy and give to the poor." She and Bill and their demogogery party will never get it. ITS THE SPENDING STUPID! Go ahead, send your wealth to the poor (yeah right), just don't ask the practical world to agree with you.

    May 28, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. Rich

    She's right. She and Bill need to pay more into the Treasury.

    May 28, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. Stephen Matthews

    Bingo. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gets it.

    The rich receive many other benefits from private enterprize that are unrelated to taxes. VIP passes, special interest rates, complimentary concessions because companies want their business, along with their families and friends business. You know "you scatch my back and I'll scratch yours". Yes they often times pay more in dollars, but they have access to loopholes that the common folk do not.

    May 28, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  13. Albert

    First, a few weeks ago Obama said it was time to begin “reining in the worst practices of the financial industry." Just like a racehorse, to be the best on the track it needs a rider on its back who knows when to pull the reins in and when to let it out. What a difference from
    The “Get government off of our backs” nonsense we got from Reagan and Under his plan the government put on the blinders and looked the other way promising if we feed a horse (Rich) enough oats (tax-cuts) that some are bound to make it through to the high end and then trickle-down onto the path for the hungry sparrows (Reaganomics = ‘Horse-and-sparrow economics”) which would create jobs for us all. Well, deregulation did left us lots jobs cleaning up the Gulf but no real jobs. Clinton is correct, it is time the rich (corporations) pay their way.

    May 28, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  14. chris

    What we're doing now obviously isn't working!

    May 28, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  15. Willy Brown

    I love progressives. They always want me to pay more for their visions of social tranquility. Pay up yourself tootsie

    May 28, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. Michael Wong

    The "tax cuts for the rich" crowd has been in power since 1980. Even Bill Clinton did little to stem that tide, but it really accelerated since 2000. They even did away with much of the "rich boy tax" of inheritance taxes on money that the recipient literally did NOTHING to earn.

    The sad thing is how most people have bought into it. They believe that you can only have a strong economy by kowtowing to the wealthy, and believing them when they say that they are the principal engine of economic growth.

    The reality is that they are the principal BENEFICIARIES of economic growth. The engine is the work force.

    And now we've reached a point where FOXNews drones think that it's a sign of tyranny to heavily tax the rich. By their logic, America was substantially more tyrannical just 10 years ago, since taxes were considerably higher for the rich before Bush took office. All of you who are of adult age: do you recall the 1990s being a horrible tyrannical time? Of course not; it's complete nonsense to say that a return to 1990s tax levels would be some kind of tyranny or borderline communism.

    May 28, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "From each according to ability, to each according to need." Is that it, Hillary?

    90% of all federal income tax revenue is paid by ten percent of the population, while 47% pay no income tax at all–far from "the rich are not paying their fair share," the so-called "rich" are paying vastly more than their fair share. They're being soaked mercilessly by a grasping, greedy, government determined to extort every bit of wealth it possibly can from its victims, the American taxpayer.

    Are the so-called "rich" getting any better government than everyone else? Of course not. They're still subject to the same incompetent, intrusive, overbearing Washington idiots that afflict all of us. What do the "rich" get that the rest of us don't to justify making them pay more for living in the exact same society the rest of us live in? Nothing.

    Further, Hillary seems to be implying that economic growth in Brazil is due to high taxes. Ridiculous on the surface of it, and certainly unproven. There are uncountable factors in the evolution of an economy, all of which Hillary ignores in her effort to justify her arrogant philosophy that individuals count for nothing, that theft by government of the wealth of individuals is endlessly justifiable.

    May 28, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  18. certain formula there that used to work for us


    now the party of no, with no ideas, and only criticism be quick, off with her head, she is a thinker

    can't have a person who is trying to solve problems

    we need more 'no'

    May 28, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. Four and The Door

    Yeah, we in America should strive to be as productive and successful as the Brazilians. Bear in mind, this is coming from a lifetime government employee who paid her dues on the way up by being a First Lady? Of course, when she was wearing her "Military Strategy Expert" hat she declared to any American who would listen to her that the Iraq war was," Unwinnable.". Her prime value is as entertainment.

    May 28, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. Ed

    This comment stands by itself as the only reason we need to be thankful she is not President.

    May 28, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  21. Jim

    I agree with Hillary on this one. You have to take a certain amount of money from the top and filter it back in through public services or a country turns into a third world country as the US is trying to now.

    May 28, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  22. Ann

    This is an easy issue to fix. Instead of making rich people donate money to 'good causes' to make them look like they are not monopolies, they should simply donate the money to lower and middle class citizens. Send a check to me, I could use it. It would certainly be put back into the economy, instead of being squandered by these fat cat 'good cause' agencies. This avoids the clear contrast between Dems and Repubs. There – now go ahead and implement this strategy SO WE CA STIMULATE THIS ECONOMY!!!

    May 28, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. Bruce A. Torino, Esq.

    The unqualified refrain of "soak the rich", is may be popular amongst politicians who have never worked at jobs where they personally were resoponsible for making sure the bills were paid, and payrolls met. In my casev 25 years ago I started a law firm with a part time secretary. Today there are 25 families who depend on me, and this firm for their livelihood. Of my salary, more than 50 % is paid in taxes to the federal, state, county, village, property, school, and sales tax. Then there are the creative and hidden fees in the form of licensing and use fees each taking a further bite out of the dollars I earn. Further, my firm and each of the employees likewise pays signifcant payments to a bloated and an inefficient beuracracy whose main mission and existence is extracting more money to run and even larger operation. PS> when both my sons went to college, and I dutifully filled out the FAFSA form, at the end it laughed, and reported that my contibution to my sons education would be $99,999.00 before financial aid would be a consideration. Being a very fiscal conservative, never seeking to spend more than I have (unlike most governments I known) and lucky for them I started saving for college before they were even born. May I suggest Madam Secretary, that government get its own house in fiscal order, before it looks for yet another handout from its citizens.

    May 28, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but

    See, that's what the tea-partiers don't get. Taxes are the lowest they've been in 50 years. The reason they're feeling the squeeze is that wages have been stagnant for 30 years. Then they wonder why Social security is going broke, bridges and levees fail and their kid is too stupid to get into a good college. Thanks, Reagan-bots and Randroids, for destroying the middle class. Have a great weekend!

    May 28, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. Jeremy

    What business does a Secretary of State have talking about domestic policy? Stick to your own job Hillary, there should be plenty out there in the world to keep you occupied.. you know, North Korea, Aghanistan, Iraq, China, Russia and Pakistan just to name a few.....
    Where does Hillary find the time?

    May 28, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
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