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Thursday, October 6, 2016
What Kind of Genius Loses $6 Billion, Hillary?
Daniel John Sobieski
Behold Hillary Clinton's hypocritical harrumph at the revelation from leaked private and personal tax records being published in the New York Times. Her umbrage at Trump reporting a carried-over nearly $1 billion loss on his 2015 tax return is phony and ignores that this is a common practice legally taken advantage of by many, including herself. Looking on page 17 of her 2015 tax returns, we find the righteously indignant Mrs. Clinton claiming a nearly $700,000 capital gains loss on assets held for more than one year.
The New York Times, as it turns out, also used the net loss provision of the tax code, and why not? The purpose of the provision is to let businesses survive in rough times and to keep their employees employed. Without it small businesses would die in infancy and larger businesses would teeter in tough times. This provision was put into the tax code to stimulate investment and encourage the risk-takers who create jobs. Trump was right when he said he had a fiduciary responsibility to investors and employees to pay as little tax as legally possible. The first objective of business is to stay in business, something which someone who never created a job or met a payroll might not grasp.
What kind of genius loses nearly a billion dollars? A genius like Obama buddy Warren Buffett reported a pre-tax loss of $873 million for tax year 2013. And, as the blog Flopping Aces reports, the New York Times also has used the ability to offset taxes with losses:
…as we noted previously, the NYT itself is also perfectly happy to take advantage of the US tax to minimize the amount of money it pays to the government: in 2014 the company got a tax refund of $3.6 million despite having a $29.9 million pretax profit, an effective negative tax rate for 2014, which it explained was favorably affected by approximately $21.1 million for the reversal of reserves for uncertain tax positions due to the lapse of applicable statutes of limitations.
Still, Hillary was in high dudgeon over someone who actually creates jobs instead of living off the taxpayer, as she has for around three decades, Trump merely taking advantage of this provision in the way lawmakers intended when they put it in the tax code:
"What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?" Clinton asked a crowd in downtown Toledo, with a hint of amusement in her voice….
"After he made all those bad bets and lost all that money, he didn't lift a finger to protect his employees, or the small businesses and contractors he'd hired, or the people of Atlantic City," Clinton said. "They all got hammered, while he was busy with his accountants figuring out how he could keep living like a billionaire."
This comes from a woman who claimed she and her husband were "dead broke" when they left the White House in 2001 yet somehow amassed a fortune estimated at $200 million without holding a real job or starting a real business. Hillary Clinton has not taken a vow of poverty, using her position as Secretary of State to sell access and influence to donors to the Clinton Foundation.
Trump has "stiffed" nobody. He has instead kept most of his businesses in business, paying state and local taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, all while keeping thousands of employees employed, employees who themselves pay taxes.
At least Trump is playing with his own money, not that of the U.S. taxpayer. What kind of genius, Hillary, does it take to double the national debt in eight years, accumulating more debt than all prior presidents? It took someone like Barack Obama, whom you faithfully served, who squandered billions, for example, on failed green energy projects and companies like Solyndra. As for yourself, Hillary, what kind of genius does to take to lose $6 billion of the taxpayers' money when you ran the State Department?
In a mind-boggling example of how the government blows -- or perhaps steals -- our tax dollars, billions vanished from the U.S. State Department mostly while Hillary Clinton ran it, according to a new alert issued by the agency's inspector general.
Could the former Secretary of State be using the cash to fund an upcoming presidential campaign? In all, $6 billion are missing and it's highly unlikely any of the money will ever be recovered. The cash was supposed to be used to pay contractors but it just disappeared and documents that could help track the dough cannot be located. How convenient! The paper trail, which federal law says must be maintained in the case of government contracts, has been destroyed or was never created to begin with.
How could this possibly happen? Like a lot of government agencies, outside contracts are a free-for-all at the State Department with virtually no oversight. Hundreds of millions of dollars are doled out annually for a variety of services and no one bothers to follow up on the deals. This "exposes the department to significant financial risk," according to the State Department Inspector General, which issued a special management alert this month outlining the lost $6 billion. The watchdog further writes that "it creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file."
The taxpayers got stiffed $6 billion by your gross mismanagement of our money. You stiffed the taxpayers for $6 billion, while your husband's speaking fees doubled, and the Clinton Foundation raked in hundreds of millions from foreign governments and donors seeking to buy access and influence through donations to the Clinton Foundation. We may never find out where this money went, but we can guess it didn't go to increase security in Benghazi after your State Department turned down requests and ignored warnings if an imminent attack. You stiffed the four Americans who died at Benghazi before you lied to their parents in front of their son's caskets.
You want to see Trump's tax returns? Let's audit the Clinton Foundation and your State Department first. Trump ran his businesses like businesses. You ran the State Department like you run the Clinton Foundation – as personal slush fund and vehicle for your personal political ambitions.
Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.