Does Hillary Clinton’s Enthusiasm for Profit Extend Beyond Her Own Earnings?

We may have a preview of a Clinton presidency.

The news that Hillary Clinton has earned what the Washington Post characterized as “close to $500,000” for two recent speeches to Goldman Sachs is generating a certain amount of excitement.

An editorial in the Washington Examiner reports that “some critics now raise questions about the propriety of a Wall Street firm that depends in so many ways upon political influence to maintain its financial health paying such egregiously large speaking fees to the potential next Oval Office occupant, especially someone who has little or no experience with financial products or entrepreneurship.”

Neither Goldman Sachs nor Mrs. Clinton has disclosed in detail the contents of the speeches. But the image of Mrs. Clinton — or, for that matter, her husband Bill — as somehow naïve or innocent in matters of finance or business is enough to bring a smile to the lips of anyone who remembers the Clinton back story.

This is the same Hillary Clinton, after all, who made nearly $100,000 in ten months of 1978 and 1979 trading cattle and hog futures, gains she explained improbably by saying she had diligently read the Wall Street Journal.

It is the same Hillary Clinton who served between 1986 and 1992 as a member of the corporate board of directors of Walmart. That was during that Arkansas-based retailer’s phenomenal growth, at a time when it had a non-union, low-cost workforce similar to the one that troubles left-wing activists today.

Bill Clinton, meanwhile, collected a post-presidential $12 million from a partnership he had with Ron Burkle and what the Wall Street Journal described as “Dubai Investment Group (YGP) Ltd., an entity that was part of the business empire of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.” That’s on top of the $106 million that Mr. Clinton has earned in speaking fees since leaving the White House, which itself comes on top of his reported $15 million book advance.

Meanwhile, the New Republic, in a long feature on how former Bill Clinton aide Douglas Band parlayed his Clinton ties into a personal fortune and a 200-employee corporate advisory firm, can quote an anonymous “Clinton friend” claiming that Mr. Clinton “doesn’t care about money.”

That’s the Clinton trick — making lots of money while appearing not to care about making money or even to know much about business. It’s a feat, an illusion.

And if Goldman Sachs can manage to learn from the Clintons how to convey the appearance of global do-gooders while at the same time generating this sort of cash-flow, then whatever speaking fee the firm paid Mrs. Clinton will be worth every penny.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Goldman tried to capture some of that Clinton image magic. The firm paid Gene Sperling, who had served as an economic policy aide in the Clinton administration, a reported $887,727 in 2008 for “advice on charitable giving.” At that rate, a half-million for Hillary is a bargain for Goldman Sachs.

To be sure, Goldman’s mission of serving clients and shareholders is different from the Clinton mission, if she runs for president, of serving the public. But just as Goldman clients may sometimes wonder if their interests or the firm’s come first, Americans may sometimes wonder if their interests or the Clintons' own come first. Sometimes the interests are aligned, but when they aren’t, watch out.

Perhaps after the Obama presidency, Americans would find it refreshing to have, in Mrs. Clinton, a president who doesn’t seem hostile to business. Voters will seek reassurance, however, about whether Mrs. Clinton’s enthusiasm for profits extends beyond those earned by her clients, her husband, and herself.

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  • Aresen||

    I saw the story the other day.

    FWIW, I believe that $250k per appearance is close to the market rate for someone with her CV.

    It's a meh story.

  • ||

    for someone with her CV

    She didn't build that CV.

  • Dweebston||

    Not only meh but totally mischaracterizes the importance of pro-business, profit-friendly sentiments. We need markets liberalized, not companies backed by political benefactors. Clinton will be just as "business-friendly" as Obama, assuming your business is in her retinue of favored energy producers, power brokers, and campaign contributors.

  • R C Dean||

    The fact that $250K is the market rate for a speech by Hillary tells me a number of things, none of them good:

    (a) Its a pretext for lining her pockets. No way does the content justify that kind of paycheck.

    (b) What she is selling isn't info or entertainment, but access and influence.

    (c) A sky high market rate for access and influence means there's way too many people with way too much access and influence.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    My friend is a CFO of a company that paid Bill Clinton 300k to speak at a conference.

    Personally, waste of money but hey, it's their money.

  • Harun||

    Its not a waste of money. They are expecting something in return.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So are they paying her for some past favor or some future favor?

  • ChrisO||

    You assume the disjunctive is necessary.

  • ATXChappy||

    Neither. It's a retainer.

  • OneOut||

    Exactly.

    It's just a down payment for services to be rendered.

  • Tony||

    Noncoerced payment for noncoerced service. Capitalism at its purest.

  • ChrisO||

    Yeah, because stock traders are just *dying* to sit around and listen to what some hack politician thug has to say.

    I'm not seeing any ROI without a quid pro quo.

  • ||

    And if there were any ROI without quid pro quo that would heavily imply inside information -- which is a big no-no according to the SEC.

    Practically the only thing she could give is some generic pep talk, some motivational speaker spiel ... and it is questionable if she's the best provider of that.

  • Tony||

    Capitalism is entirely based on the concept of quid pro quo.

  • Contrarian P||

    Bullshit. Capitalism is based on individuals pursuing their own self interest without the government forcing them to act in a way they don't choose. Everything is based on quid pro quo. Socialism, communism, fascism, you name it. The reason capitalism is different is because nobody is forcing actors to make certain choices. This clearly isn't capitalism, it's influence purchasing.

    Nobody would pay large sums of money to hear Hillary Clinton talk if she either did not have the ear of those in power or had a good chance of being in power herself. She's not an electrifying speaker, to say the least. The fact that we live in a country with a corporatist government, where politicians can funnel huge dollars to well connected business, is the only reason that Goldman would want to pay her that much money to come speak. If there was ever proof needed that you're an unprincipled hack (not that your continued hyperpartisanism isn't evidence enough), this is it. You decry the influence of corporations over everything from energy to foreign policy to healthcare, then see nothing wrong with a leading member of your party taking large sums of cash from those same corporations you're complaining about to deliver a few remarks.

  • Tony||

    I'm saying you should see nothing wrong with it. Payment for service. It's not like you favor more restrictive campaign finance laws, is it?

  • Contrarian P||

    No, I favor not having a corporatist government. That means a much smaller government with very limited powers where there is no reason to engage in bribery and corruption because there's nothing to get.

    I see something wrong with this because it's illustrative of Hillary Clinton's blinding hypocrisy. On the one hand, she's railing against corporate influence over politics and so forth, and on the other she's taking what amount to bribes freely.

  • PapayaSF||

    Contrarian P wins, and Tony loses (as usual).

  • Tony||

    No he doesn't because he is making the same old unicorn argument. As in, "I promise there won't be any corruption in my limited government, because unicorns!" At best the argument is simply for removing the middleman. The corporation gets to do what it wants--like pay no taxes--and it doesn't have to bother with bribing politicians. In reality the heavily empowered private entities (power abhors a vacuum) will just more easily take over the relatively toothless government for whatever remaining desires it has.

  • Contrarian P||

    The only one making unicorn arguments is you. If you have a government with no power, there is no reason to engage in bribery or corruption of it. The more power it has, the more corruption there will be. The policies you continually argue for do nothing but continually enlarge the government, meaning more and more corruption. Please explain how a government with little power is a good target for bribery.

    A corporation doesn't pay taxes. The customers of corporations pay taxes. The shareholders of corporations pay taxes. If you tax a company, it must raise the money to pay the taxes by either raising prices it charges to its customers or reducing expenses, either by paying employees less or decreasing its shareholder compensation. Is this somehow hard for you to grasp? I do not favor taxing corporations. I favor a consumption tax for many reasons, not the least of which is that it does not allow politicians to play favorites or engage in class warfare.

    The heavily empowered private entities cannot force me to buy their product. They do not have the capability to fill a vacuum left by government, because they cannot use force. The only way they can use force is by enlisting the government. Your points (as usual) make very little sense.

  • Tony||

    If you have a government with no power, there is no reason to engage in bribery or corruption of it.

    That's what I said: you remove the middleman. They get to engage in whatever behavior they were bribing politicians to be allowed to do, minus the step of bribing. So great, you've made government so useless that there is no more bribery. But bribery isn't the more important misdeed: it's what they're bribing them to get. If they can take it for free, all the better.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    You haven't addressed the case where the government isn't the middleman but directly benefits from said activity, i.e. corporatism. That's not removing the middle man, that's removing an accomplice. By making government smaller government can no longer force people to engage with those corporate entities that you find so vile.

  • Contrarian P||

    Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The only reason large companies bother to bribe the government is because they can't do those things themselves. You either didn't read my last paragraph above or failed at reading comprehension. Try again.

    The government is the only entity that can legally use force and coercion to make people do what it wants. McDonalds can't make me buy a quarter pounder. Shell can't make me buy gasoline. But the government can make me buy insurance that doesn't fit what I want or need, pay for "protections" of food, drugs, cars, and so forth that I might not feel are necessary, and any number of other examples. I don't get to choose whether or not I like these things. They are chosen for me. That's the reason why large companies and organizations spend so much money on lobbying: because it lets them enlist the power of the government to force individuals to act. The companies do not have this power themselves.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    But bribery isn't the more important misdeed: it's what they're bribing them to get. If they can take it for free, all the better.

    Really? Please explain how, in the absence of government, Wall Street would force everyone to adopt a fiat currency under their own regulatory capture.

    Please explain exactly how they would force everyone to use it, and not use any alternatives.

    Please explain how they would loan themselves inflated currency before anyone else had access to it.

    Please explain how they would go into debt, not on their own behalf, but on behalf of others, from whom the would confiscate wealth from. Please explain how they would go into debt on behalf of the unborn.

    And when you're done explaining all this, please explain which you think they would prefer: having to pay for and finance all of this control and violence themselves, or just socializing it all onto taxpayers, through a government willing to do whatever they ask?

    What do you think is the better position? Having to spend all the time, money, and effort controlling people? Or forcing them to pay for it themselves, through a government?

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    The corporation gets to do what it wants--like pay no taxes--and it doesn't have to bother with bribing politicians.

    Clearly, paying no taxes is inherently evil. Governments and taxes exist to tax. Otherwise, there would be no taxes! Bask in the self-legitimizing, circular logic of it all!

    How are you not a government ideologue when your argument always boils down to government for its own sake?

  • OneOut||

    Tony please tell me you are a troll out for laughs.

    I dread to think that anyone is truly as stupid as your posts say your are.

  • ||

    We're pretty sure he's serious, sad to say.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Yeah, I'm not getting what's the benefit for Goldman here - aside of course from being bog donors to Obama. If I were a broker - and I was once upon a time, long ago...sigh - I wouldn't give a rat's ass what a politician with not investment background has to say. Coburn speaking to medical professionals I would get, but Clinton at Goldman?

  • ||

    The "services" Hilary provides is coerced.

  • Tony||

    Better a crony capitalist liberal than a free market fundamentalist. At least the former has corporate corruption on her radar. Rather than, you know, being obsessed that some minority might be getting away with something somewhere.

  • John C. Randolph2||

    You really need to back off on the cocaine, rent-boy. You're incoherent.

    -jcr

  • Contrarian P||

    Please explain how Hillary Clinton "has corporate corruption on her radar" using examples, unless by that you mean that she knows it exists and wants a piece of the pie for herself.

    Your second sentence clearly displays your blithering ignorance of what capitalism and free markets are. In a free society, minorities are doing whatever the hell they want, because nobody can tell them not to do it. Libertarianism is the most pro-minority political philosophy there is, because its core tenet is that you don't have the right to compel someone else to do things, because they have a right to be free from force or fraud, as do you. Your continued moving of the goalposts, refusal to answer challenges to your argument, deliberate mischaracterization of the opposing position, and general intellectual dishonesty is amazingly transparent, and should be highlighted every time there's a chance, just to show everyone else how ridiculous your arguments are.

  • Contrarian P||

    Should have been "third sentence".

  • LynchPin1477||

    Please explain how Hillary Clinton "has corporate corruption on her radar"

    I totally believe she has it on her radar, the same way a pirate has a big X on his treasure map.

  • Tony||

    Libertarianism is the most pro-minority political philosophy there is

    Quite a claim considering it is nearly universally white and male. What's wrong with all the members of minorities? They don't know what's best for themselves?

    As for Hillary, all I can say is I have good reason to believe she's a strong liberal, and strong liberals by definition are skeptical of corporate power. The question is can a liberal who's not cozy with Wall Street win major elections in this country? I wish that it were so. But in the absence of strong protections against the influence of wealthy interests on politics, the only thing a strong liberal who is unabashedly anti-Wall Street is good for is losing to the Republican who will do their bidding with much fewer scruples.

  • Contrarian P||

    The race, ethnicity, and sex of those making the correct argument are irrelevant. Why don't you try addressing the points rather than obfuscating with manipulative emotionalist arguments? As for your do minorities not know what's best for themselves, that's exactly the argument that you made about Obamacare (and I'd contend that your ilk make about minorities in general): that they're such children that they'd be lost without the wise guiding hand of their betters.

    Hillary certainly is a strong liberal and if you think that means she's skeptical of corporate power you're living in a fantasy world. If she's so strongly anti-Wall Street, why does Wall Street give her so much money? You continually ignore what your political heroes actually do versus what they say. The reality is that your party is a party of corporatists, as are the Republicans.

  • Sevo||

    "Why don't you try addressing the points rather than obfuscating with manipulative emotionalist arguments?"

    If it weren't for *dis* honesty, Tony wouldn't have any at all.

  • Tony||

    The race, ethnicity, and sex of those making the correct argument are irrelevant.

    It's entirely relevant when you're saying you have the correct arguments for the best interest of minorities, yet practically no minorities support your views. Explain that. I can't think of an explanation that isn't frankly racist.

    And I just said she was a pro-Wall Street Democrat, just like many other successful Democrats. Yes they're a party of corporatists. But they're the only party who has both given lip service and passed policies that run counter to the wishes of Wall Street. The Republicans would simply give them everything they want and pat themselves on the back for their adherence to principle.

  • Contrarian P||

    To address your last (non)point first: please enlighten us as to the specific policies that the democrats have passed that were so antithetical to the wishes of Wall Street and harmed it in any substantive way. You consistently refer to nonexistent policies that democrats have enacted (see: your demonstrably wrong assertions about President Obama having so much oversight of the NSA).

    As to your first point, you started the discussion by asserting that libertarians would be "getting away with something somewhere". I rebutted your disingenuous mischaracterization of libertarianism with the self evident point that libertarians favor the right of everyone to be left alone, so minorities (again, by definition) would not have to worry about government oppression under libertarian thought because the government could not be used to oppress anyone.

    You then, as is your wont when your arguments are shown to be the flaccid wisps that they inevitably are, pivoted to "your argument must be wrong, because no minority agrees with you and, also, racist!". The correctness of an argument does not depend on how many people agree with it. I'd venture to guess that many minorities (and the majority) are not aware of what libertarian thought actually is. Hell, you clearly have no idea and you're here all the time.

  • Contrarian P||

    In the second paragraph, should have been "that libertarians would be concerned about minorities".

  • RonnieNM||

    Do you think you actually know a majority of minorities or are you just using progressive conjecture? At best, you're erroneously relying on voting patterns to determine supporting views. The reality is that there are far more minorities that are fundamentally libertarian than liberal. Assuming that minorities vote for progressives because of their views rather than the free stuff they constantly promise is a laugh.

  • Libertarius||

    Hey asswipe: the only relevant minority is the individual. Dividing human beings into racial and sexual castes is racist, sexist, and based on the primitive tribal premise of collectivism.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    But in the absence of strong protections against the influence of wealthy interests on politics, the only thing a strong liberal who is unabashedly anti-Wall Street is good for is losing to the Republican who will do their bidding with much fewer scruples.

    There can be no sugar-coating it: liberal politicians are somewhat influenced by Wall Street.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    Quite a claim considering it is nearly universally white and male.

    And you know who else was nearly universally white and male, don't you?

    What's wrong with all the members of minorities? They don't know what's best for themselves?

    If you have a racist, sexist claim to make, go ahead and make it yourself. Don't beg for us to follow you down the bigotry hole.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Tony, pathetic. Crony capitalism is EVIL.

  • Tony||

    So what do you want to do about it, and try not invoking unicorns.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Every argument will involve unicorns according to you so what's the point? I think a few of the guys here who have tried to make valid points with you have done well. You just choose to bat it away.

    And, oh, I drink the blood of unicorns.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    It's rather obvious: Restrict the size and scope of government so that those companies cannot use government to funnel money to themselves. But government can do no wrong, right? Government can only help because it is good and right and, and, ponies!!!

  • OneOut||

    Racism Racism !

    I knew it.

    Tony is backed into a corner from which he sees no escape, so..

    "You guys are just racist" is is only out.

  • John C. Randolph2||

    She has no marketable skills. This is a speculative bribe, predicated on her chances of getting elected.

    -jcr

  • PapayaSF||

    I think of it as a way of making an unregulated campaign donation. Other ways: giving politicians huge book advances that are unlikely to ever be paid back in royalties, or buying vast quantities of their books and giving them away.

  • John C. Randolph2||

    Know who else got rich on book royalties?

    -jcr

  • LynchPin1477||

    Noncoerced payment for noncoerced service

    It very well could be, but given that she is in the business of coercement (government), I have a feeling they were paying for more than just her speech.

  • Tony||

    And which policies do you favor that would restrict their ability to engage in such quid pro quos?

  • Contrarian P||

    See my reply to you above. A government that cannot coerce citizens except to provide relief from force or fraud. You know, kind of the one that was spelled out in the constitution, which as far as I know has not yet been repealed.

  • John C. Randolph2||

    Abolition of the Fed, and a drastic rollback of the regulations that favor bigger financial companies over smaller ones, for a start.

    -jcr

  • LynchPin1477||

    They engage in this quid pro quo because it is in their best interest to do so. No company is spending all that money on lobbyists and campaign contributions just for shits and giggles. They spend it because they get something more valuable in return: influence over the government. The reason that is so valuable is because government has inserted itself into so much of our society. Want to keep out potential competitors? Get the government to write restrictive regulations. Want to sell more product? Make it government mandated. Need some start-up cash? Get government backed loan. Want to protect yourself from litigation? Get the government to legislate away liability. And on, and on...

    If government doesn't have that power, the incentive to buy influence over it disappears. Those lobbyists and campaign contributions become pretty much worthless. K street would be abandoned and free for the hipsters to take over.

    The original idea of this country would be that government itself would be restricted in what it could do by the law (The Constitution). Of course that only works so long as The People demand that their politicians follow the law. That doesn't happen. How to fix it? I'm not always sure, but I do know this: constantly apologizing for the government and advocating for giving them more power, as you do, is the wrong decision.

  • OneOut||

    Maybe she just wore a short skirt that day.

    Huba Huba

  • Sevo||

    Tony|11.4.13 @ 4:47PM|#
    "Noncoerced payment for noncoerced service."

    Tony can't see the gun; he's blind on top of stupid.

  • OneOut||

    Non coerced payment ?

    Ask some guys who make guitars about non coerced payments, if you dare.

  • ||

    Did a search of this article for bribe or bribery.

    Why wasn't this word ever used?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Can we go back to the Jared Loughner booking photo?

  • OneOut||

    I'm busy with Miley Cyrus right now thank you.

  • Sevo||

    Stuck this someplace else, but it deserves to be here:
    "We Call B.S.! Hillary’s big S.F. events closed to press"
    "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hasn’t even started her 2016 presidential campaign yet — and she’s already shutting out the press."
    http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05el.....-to-press/
    I'll bet she yammers about 'transparency'; between Bubba and Obo, she's had a hell of an apprenticeship in lying.

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  • -Umbriel-||

    The more I see the inside of the governmental "sausage factory", the more appealing the idea of replacing elected offices with positions chosen by draft. It's increasingly obvious that we'd be no worse off with people chosen at random like jurors than we are with the sort of people that actively seek elected office.

  • Almanian!||

    Bill Buckley and the phone book - looking better every day.

  • John Galt||

    If we drafted our pols chances are good a few honest ones would find themselves in office. Washington would never tolerate an honest politician!

  • Almanian!||

    I'd like to declare Monday "Troll Free Thursday", if I may.

    No coercion, though. Strictly voluntary.

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  • JidaKida||

    Dangit man she be getting old!

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  • Jeff||

    Dang it, man, bots be getting sentient!

  • John Galt||

    When it comes to excelling as unbelievably corrupt political crooks Bill and Hillary have always made Boss Tweed look like an absolute amateur.

  • Adam||

    "... a president who doesn’t seem hostile to business." Who gives a shit about being "hostile" or "friendly" to business, what we should want, although very few really do, is an understanding of and willingness to tolerate free markets.

  • Harun||

    Imagine a much smaller government that does not regulate and control business very much.

    Still think Hillary pulls in 250k for making a speech?

    I didn't think so.

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    My last pay check was 9500 dolr working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is what I do---------- http://www.jobs53.com

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