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Critics Claim Hillary Has an Income Inequality Problem

Amy Chozick wrote at The New York Times on Saturday that “Economic Plan Is Quandary for Hillary Clinton’s Campaign.” Of course, Benghazi was supposed to be a quandary for Hillary too, but she is still regularly trouncing all opposition in polls. To judge by Hillary’s groundwork, quandaries are something for the literal plethora of GOP candidates to worry about.

Yet, according to Chozick,

With advice from more than 200 policy experts, Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to answer what has emerged as a central question of her early presidential strategy: how to address anger about income inequality without overly vilifying the wealthy.

This is an interesting statement, framed, perhaps, on false premises. Look at the problem of income inequality for a moment.

Nobody on the left is proposing to punish the rich for being rich. Nobody is demanding, after all, any extraordinary measures against the wealthy. Nobody is saying they have to give up their mansions or even their fancy vacation homes, or their yachts.

All that is being asked of the wealthy is that they pay their fair share of taxes.

Have we really reached the point where asking the wealthy to pay taxes is a form of vilification?

How is it that putting an unfair burden of taxation on the middle class is not class warfare, but asking the wealthy to pay even their fair share, is?

After all, as Chozick points out, Gallup just reported that 67 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are distributed, and “These attitudes are not new,” says Gallup.

Hillary Clinton, if she takes a stand against the right’s longstanding fantasy of “trickle down” economics, can go a long way. And guess what? “So-called trickle-down economics has failed,” Hillary said in October of last year.

No doubt she will support, as Obama has, the idea of a living wage. If she wants to run as a Democrat she can hardly do otherwise. Through his recent stances and resultant increases in public approval ratings, President Obama has established a certain baseline position any Democrat must support going forward.

Thus, there is – or should be – no risk of vilifying the wealthy for Hillary. No class warfare. Just pay taxes like the rest of us. The choice is a simple one, free of any moral quandary.

Ted Cruz blamed Bill Clinton and Obama for income inequality, and Boehner has been blaming Obama, but the numbers point the finger squarely at Bush. Republicans in Congress have been doing all in their power since to further the gap between rich and poor, while claiming to champion the middle class.

But that dog don’t hunt, as they say.

We saw Jeb Bush try that in Detroit. While Chozick takes Bush’s words – “If Americans are working harder than ever, earning less than they once did, our government and our leaders should step up, offer a plan, fix what’s wrong” – at face value, he actually attacked, as Keith Brekhus reported here, “the very programs that at least provide the poor with some measure of support.”

And nobody has seen Jeb propose raising taxes on the rich. No Republican will do that, just as no Republican will lower taxes on the middle class. Jeb Bush, like every other potential Republican candidate in 2016, is pushing the same nonsense that crashed the economy in 2008.

When you consider what today’s iteration of Republicans are offering, Hillary Clinton does not have to offer very much to be lionized on the left and at the same time sound like Karl Marx to the right. Look how vilified another centrist, Barack Obama, has been for governing, as many have pointed out, like a moderate Republican. Yes, vilification is a two-way street. Chozick doesn’t mention that either.

Yes, the Clintons are wealthy. Some say she has an income inequality problem of her own. Yes, some Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, say she has too many ties to Wall Street. But none of that, however politicized, has seemed to have hurt her at the polls. And you have to consider the opposition.

Lately, we have been seeing Scott Walker touted as Republican frontrunner, but that is more pathetic than worrying. The man is a college dropout, has been under investigation, and is a habitual liar. We saw how habitual liars fair in 2012 when Mitt Romney lied himself out at the Oval Office. We’ve had one criminal empire in the White House. Americans are not eager for another.

The best remedy for what ails us is lifting up the middle class while ensuring the wealthy start paying their fair share. Hillary seems to understand that, saying all the right things in populist speech in May of last year. I think Hillary Clinton understands that paying taxes is not an attack on the wealthy.

Barack Obama saved the economy. It will be up to the next Democratic president to save the middle class. The ideological groundwork has been laid. We will need a Democratic Congress, and it is to that our attention needs to be focused. There is no real quandary for Hillary beyond deciding whether to run or not.

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