While the nation's press is kept at bay from Hillary Clinton, roped off like swine in a pen, we are obliged as a citizenry to get answers only when Her Majesty deigns to allow it.
This obstinacy has led a few columnists to produce pieces of the "What I would Ask Hillary if Only She Would Talk to the Press" type of thing. Those are really amusing, sometimes -- I've been doing some of those pieces myself. It should probably frighten us to think that if she becomes the nominee of the Democrats, and ends up in a debate with a Republican candidate, her "people" would never, never, ever allow as the moderator, anyone who would ask her any of those questions.
That part should frighten us.
Now, as a columnist or whatever this is, I'm sorry, but I can't help but to have those kind of questions myself, and want to put them in a piece like this. I'm sure that, like me, you would like her to answer a lot of things related to her email server, and Benghazi, and that sort of thing. But there are congressional committees for that. Far more powerful folk than I are going to ask that sort of thing, and if they don't, well, Her Majesty will not be answering them of a debate moderator, at least not one her lawyers would pre-approve.
So I'm going to confine myself to one topic, one question, and really, really hope that someday she will be put in a position to have to answer it. Because the answer -- or the effort she makes to try not to answer it -- will tell the USA all it ever needs to know about her.
Mrs. Clinton, today's top income tax rate is just under 40%, so with Social Security (FICA), Medicare, state and local taxes, a person paying that rate is turning over more than 50% of their earnings to Government. What, in your view, is the highest income tax rate that the Federal government should ever ask a citizen to pay, and why?
Now, daily readers of this site know that I actually raised this question myself back in January. I had seen it asked of Valerie Jarrett, the Wizard of Oz behind Barack Obama's Scarecrow, and watched her spend well over a minute of rambling and dissembling in an effort not to answer it.
But here is Hillary Clinton, making speeches about how the "middle class", whatever she defines that as, needs to have more spending money and that, if only they did, they would spend more and that would lift the economy out of the stagnant pool that the Scarecrow calls a "recovery."
Of course, her "solution" is simply for business, including small businesses on razor-thin margins, to just "pay them more." I'm reminded of Kramer, on the Seinfeld show, talking about "write-offs" with about the same level of economic understanding and business acumen that the former first lady shows.
If she wants the middle class to have more money to spend, the easiest way is to take the step that government actually has the power to do, and that's to tax less. So that's where the question kicks in. Because once she answers what the actual numeric maximum rate that any American should have to pay in income tax out of what they earn, then we cap the rate and assume that the "middle class" should pay even less.
There is so much that we would learn about Hillary Clinton if she were ever asked that question.
If she rambled around like Valerie Jarrett without putting a number on it, and the reporter pressed her for a number but she still wouldn't give one, we know (or confirm) that she has no principles relating economics to reasonableness. We would know that she does not want to answer the question, because it is a number that would become an immediate campaign topic. We know it would expose the fact that she innately believes that all individual, private income innately belongs, not to the worker earning it, but to the Government that deigns to allow him or her to keep some of it.
If she actually answered the question, with some absurd figure like 40% (yes, anything over 25% of income seized by the government is absurd, including the rates of current law), the Republicans could conceivably hammer the heck out of her -- if they had the cogliones to do so. I'm sure that, say, Carly Fiorina or Donald Trump or Ted Cruz could do a splendid job forcing her to explain why someone should be forced to pay that much. I'd pay to hear that.
Hillary Clinton will never even be asked that question, of course. There will be no press conferences at which the press will be allowed to ask questions not pre-screened, or that will include reporters not equally pre-screened, nor will there be a debate moderator approved by her lawyers who would ask that question.
But I'm asking it here, not because I want to know what she thinks, because I already do. Rather, I want her to have to say what she thinks, so we can have an actual, national debate on the maximum reach that the Federal government should have into our wallets. How much of one's own earned income is an American entitled to keep?
Hillary needs to say. But she won't. Liberals never want to give answers.
Copyright 2015 by Robert Sutton
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