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. Jeff

    And then she asserts that in Brazil, the wealthy are "pulling people out of poverty"....

    Judging by that statement, she's a believer in trickle-down economics. This is a great example of leftist duplicity. Which is it Hillary?

    In her defense, I'll say one good thing: Even though I'm a right-wing nut job, I'd prefer she had won the '08 nomination and subsequent election.

    May 28, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. Bobert

    I see, so, the fact that the top 5% of the richest people in the US paying 40% of the income taxes aren't paying enough in her opinion. I'm sure in her opinion the 50% of the people not paying taxes at all are paying too much.

    And the US should follow the example ... of Brazil?

    I wonder if Venezuela had a good tax system if she would say to follow Venezuela's example.

    May 28, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Minnesotan

    The current tax rate is far less than it was during the conservatives' "Golden Era" of Ronald Reagan. But anyone saying that we need to raise taxes is immediately pilloried by the loons and wingnuts on the right, despite the fact that it's well below former levels. C'mon Congress, start talking about historical rates, facts and reality.... at least enough to shut up FoxNoise and their wacky constituency.

    May 28, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. SeaWolf

    I agree 100%. Why should someone making tens of millions of dollars a year be in the same tax bracket as someone making 1/2 million $$$ per year or 1/4 million $$$ per year ? Trickle down economics doesn't work, they just pocket their tax savings and get richer. Corporate CEOs compensation has dramatically increased in the last 20 years while the average worker pretty much just gets enough to keep up with inflation.....though I haven't seen an increase in my pay for about 4 years now and of course, benefits are cut, etc in order that the boss man may be able to purchase another house with ocean views or perhaps a yacht. Everyone should be paying their fair share as a % of income; it's patriotic....funds our military, education, infrastructure, etc.

    May 28, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. Aaron

    Hilary needs to focus on her job – there's enough there to keep her busy – and leave the campaigning for presidency for another time.

    May 28, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Patrick

    I agree with her! and also, these private schools need to go.. Start taxing them more!

    May 28, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Bubba

    There's some justice in that; not every wealthy person functions as a venture capitalist. They buy big houses, enriching real estate agents, and hire people to landscape and clean and repair, and they buy lots of clothes and food and make the stores happy, but they don't invest in job-creating businesses directly. You know, Karl Marv thought about this his whole life, and every one of his ideas about how to fix the problem was absolute crappo. Good luck, Hillary.

    May 28, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. andy

    Hillary Clinton is an idiot.. Her socialist ideas that someone who has worked hard to give up whats theirs to pay for the lazy to sit around and get a govt check. Thats the problem in this country, mobobdy wants to earn what they get, they expect a handout. Obama/Clinton are turning us into a welfare state.

    May 28, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. Kevin

    Typical DC bureaucrat. All they want is more money, more money and more money. Tell you what, Hill, you all show you can be responsible with the BILLIONS you already steal from the American citizens and then maybe I won't mind quite so much. Of course, if you were responsible with that you already take from us, you wouldn't need to keep begging for more. Lead by example you financially irresponsible crooks!!!

    May 28, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. db

    Actually, the top 20% of earners pay more than 85% of taxes collected. How much more does she want?

    May 28, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. Mark

    Wow. Who would have thought we'd see the day where the U.S. is considering aping Brazil's economy.

    Don't the "rich" already pay nearly all of the income taxes? Their "fare share" isn't even an appropriate way to phrase it, as they're the only one's paying anything at all.

    May 28, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. Fred Smith

    With all due respect, Hillary is speaking from personal experience here.
    Given the amount of problems from Whitewater, tho the campaign fraud charges to her husbands numerous international "deals", to name only a few, I welcome her comments, and am eager to see her set the example.

    May 28, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. JohninTampa

    An interesting thought, but distracting right now and divisive besides. When we've knocked down a couple of our more pressing problems the right mix of taxes is always good for compelling debate. Goos job so far, Ms. Clinton. Stay on course please.

    May 28, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Sic Sempter Tyrannis

    While her statement is factual on its surface, as evidenced by the growing disparity of US income distribution over the past 30 years and the concentration of wealth into the top 1%, I fail to see how economic and tax polices become the prerogative of the Secretary of State. Hillary, while only investment bankers and corporate pirates will be adamantly opposed to your statement, I think your time can be better spent by disentangling us from two ill conceived wars and getting China to exert pressure on N Korea or allowing its currency to fluctuate without artificial intervention. A sound and fair trade policy can do as much or more to improve the lives of the middle class.

    May 28, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. Anonymous

    WOW! Now we are looking to Brazil for US. Leadearship. . . Amazing. . .

    May 28, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. emma leniuk dozois

    It's about time some one gets it right, yeah for you Mrs.Clinton

    May 28, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. Deborah/KansasCity

    I agree, America has become a country with out of control corporate capitalism. The wealthy have all the power, pay hardly any taxes and have thier "boot on the neck of the rest of us". Whenever it is mentioned that the wealthiest 1% of Americans pay a fraction of a % more, say equal to what they paid under President Regan, there is an outcry of communism and socialism; as if the world was ending. Meanwhile the taxes on the rest of us keep rising, while the rich are exempt.

    May 28, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. John

    I agree with Clinton. It would also help your voting system if it was fair. I voted twice and both times the system did not register it.

    May 28, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. China a Communist and Socialist Country is Now the Richest country in the World...buying America and Europes Whats Wrong with Socialism Again

    Well said! Go get 'em Hillary!!!!

    The rich should pay their fare share PERIOD!!! an era where we've had the fattest TAX CUTS for the wealthy & corporate organizations and Wall Street FATCATS under the leadership of Republican party & GW Dubya for the last decade...I think it is only now reasonable under this economic quagmire to let the rich start paying back all those taxes and blocking TAX-FREE loop holes that enable corporations to outsource jobs to China & India without any repercussions!

    It is stupid to say CUT TAXES...while in the same breath you are asking the Federal govt to pay un-ending unemplyment benefits to jobless Americans, fighting two wars, curbing OIL SPILL whereas it's BP responsibility and all the free govt giveaways that Americans are sooo used to getting...but dont want to pay for it!

    Higher taxes for all Americans to pay down our debts and make this great USA prosperous more govt. tax giveaways to Wall Street Fat Cats, BIG OIL, Corporate Execs and the Rich!!!!!

    May 28, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  20. Chucklehead

    And we are surprised by Clinton's comment because....

    May 28, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. Walter

    Thank god we didn't elect this buffoon president. Just exactly how much is "their fare share"? And what happens when it's not enough. And how is somebody paying 0% of their income, regardless of how little they make, "their fare share"? Thankfully Obama put her someplace where all so does is talk, and doesn't impact policy.

    May 28, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. Fritos

    Hola Amigos:

    Instead, lets say the government is spending too much. They should change minimum wage laws, class action law suites, union certification rules, EPA regulations, EEOC complications, IRS complications, and hundreds of little "protections". Seems the government could do more to lower the "cost of living". It would almost be like getting an increase in your paycheck!

    May 28, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. Deb Pagley

    Hurray for Hillary!! Too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet and pay their taxes. The rich should pay higher taxes, and if it is working in Brazil, and it worked here before, why aren't we doing it???
    Something drastic needs to be done to get our country financially back on many people are without jobs.

    Too bad Hillary wasn't elected president, things would be quite different, and there would be less suffering.

    May 28, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  24. NavyVet

    I could not agree more with her comment. I am sure that there will be many people that will point to Hillary Clinton's comment as yet another socialist in our midst. If you make more money you should pay more taxes, I think that is a pretty simple concept. Not to mention that another country is proving that idea actually works. But I guess that is too logical and this is the United States where logic takes a back seat to religion and politics. 🙂

    May 28, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. lolo

    She is telling the truth. That is the real reason the tea partiers are complaining, besides being racist. They want to live off of the little people on the high hog and watch the rest of America suffer. And they call themselves Christians. I agree with her totally. Watch the GOP run with this one. They are the ones against America.

    May 28, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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