Friday, April 04, 2008

What, No Cattle Futures?

From Greg Mankiw's blog:
I noted last week that Senator Obama has for some reason not taken the opportunity to put some of his Schedule C income into a tax-deferred retirement account. Now that Senator Clinton and her husband have released their tax return, I see they also passed up the chance.... I believe each of them could have put $44,000 into a SEP-IRA, but apparently, ... they chose not to.

Why? I suggested two hypotheses for Senator Obama: bad tax advice or the expectation of much higher future tax rates. For the Clintons, a third hypothesis is possible: Given their substantial income ($16 million in 2006), the chance of sheltering $88,000 may be too trivial to bother with.
There is a fourth hypothesis: Bill spent the money at Emperors Club VIP or somewhere north of Bear Mountain Ridge. And a fifth one: He is still paying hush money to Susan McDougal and Webster Hubbell.

(I objected to muckraking about Sen. Debbie Stabenow's husband, Thomas Athans, because he is not on a government payroll, as far as I know. Ex-president (fortunately) Bill Clinton receives a large government pension, a munificent expense account, lavish offices, a pre-humous memorial in the form of a presidential library, and costly Secret Service protection because of the office he once held, thanks (not) to H. Ross Perot. Clinton (born William Jefferson Blyth III) is a "public figure" of the second-worst sort: in a class with James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, though not as foul as Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, Mao Tse-tung, Ioseb Vissarionovich Jugashvili, or Adolf (Schicklgruber) Hiedler. Given Clinton's detestable performance as governor, president and ex-president -- and the fact that he is the only president to have plea-bargained his way out of a perjury charge -- he deserves more ridicule than any thousand writers could heap on him in a millennium of trying.)