Being Hillary Clinton must be difficult. I mean, I have a tough enough time keeping small lies of convenience straight, let alone an attempt to mastermind the creation of a populist progressive facade. The sheer exhaustion that must result — it must wear into her like nothing else.
Earlier this year, in preparation for her Woman Warrior of the People campaign, Hillary Clinton met with economists who instructed her on the fine art of discussing income inequality, and demonstrated, with the help of easy-to-understand pictures, how the “top 1%” of wage earners were now, officially, off the charts thanks to the machinations of those dastardly Republican economic policies, spearheaded by the Koch brothers and, miraculously, put into effect during a Democratic Presidency.
Hillary Clinton’s response? Smash the institutions of the wealthy and lop off their heads.
In a meeting with economists this year, Mrs. Clinton intensely studied a chart that showed income inequality in the United States. The graph charted how real wages, adjusted for inflation, had increased exponentially for the wealthiest Americans, making the bar so steep it hardly fit on the chart.
Mrs. Clinton pointed at the top category and said the economy required a “toppling” of the wealthiest 1 percent, according to several people who were briefed on Mrs. Clinton’s policy discussions but could not discuss private conversations for attribution.
That is rather inconvenient for Mrs. Clinton in a number of ways. Like her hero in this arena, Elizabeth Warren, whose net worth is a solid $8.5 million, Mrs. Clinton is solidly in the 1%, with a net worth hovering around $25 million give or take her ability to take in six figures for a speaking engagement. While Occupy Wall Street likes to pin the number a bit higher (around $10M, so as not to snare in their Congressional champions), in her home state of New York, that’s far above the threshold required to get you into the 1% of wage earners — it’s actually a mere $500,000 per year in most cases (globally, you only need to make $34,000 a year, but that’s a totally different story).
And then, there’s the part about how Hillary Clinton is cozy with Wall Street. Dick Durbin wanted the job of Senate Minority Leader only to be passed over for Chuck Schumer, not because Chuck Schumer’s crusade against liquid washing machine detergent packets was a dramatic win for consumers everywhere, but because Chuck Schumer has a record-breaking ability to fundraise from Wall Street executives. Hillary Clinton is, of course, not shying away from NYC funders, either, and all of her 1% toppling will have to come with the Wall Street stamp of approval. That likely means more focus on restructing the tax code to impact private equity rather than, say, smashing the very foundations of corporations and banks with metal trash cans and hardcover editions of Das Kapital.