- - Monday, October 31, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“When I use a word,” said Humpty Dumpty, in an impatient and scornful voice, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” So wrote Lewis Carroll in his classic novel, “Through the Looking-Glass.” It’s clearly Hillary Clinton’s favorite book.

On her 69th birthday last week she tweeted a birthday greeting to herself: “Happy birthday to this future president.” She attached a black-and-white photograph of herself as a young girl, when she no doubt first embraced Humpty’s “Alice in Wonderland” approach to linguistics.

Nowhere is that more obvious than in her use of the various forms of the words “invest” and “fair.” In the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, she used the familiar liberal euphemisms for tax-and-spend — “invest” and “investment” — no fewer than eight times, four times in her opening statement alone.

Hillary seems to have left her talking-points crib-sheet at home on the night of the second debate, because she failed to promise to “invest,” not even on her “free” college-tuition program, which all by itself would cost $450 billion over 10 years. Neither did she tout her scheme to invest in 500 million — that’s half a billion, with a “b” — solar panels in her first term.

Even more disingenuous is the use by Hillary, Tim Kaine and other Democrats of the weasel words “fair” and “fairness.”

Hillary used these two “F-words” four times in the first debate, at least once in the second debate and at least three times in the third, all in the context of claiming that the “rich,” which in her reckoning is anyone making more than $250,000 a year, somehow aren’t paying their “fair share” of taxes.

“So we are going to go where the money is,” she said, channeling Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber, in the third debate. “[W]e are going to have the wealthy pay their fair share.”

The well-to-do, some of whom got “rich” by saving and investing their money, pay a disproportionate share of federal income taxes already. The nonprofit Tax Foundation cited IRS figures for calendar year 2013 showing that the top 1 percent of income earners paid 37.8 percent of all federal income taxes collected.

“The top 1 percent, or 3 million filers, paid a greater share of income taxes (37.8 percent) than the bottom 90 percent (124.5 million filers) combined (30.2 percent),” the foundation concluded. “The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a higher effective income-tax rate than any other group, at 27.1 percent, which is more than eight times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (3.3 percent).”

Those so-called “One Percenters,” much reviled by Democrats, are by any measure already contributing their “fair share” — and then some. Moreover, the top 5 percent of income earners paid 58.55 percent of all federal income taxes, while the top 10 percent pay 69.8 percent, according to the IRS.

If these figures don’t constitute “fair shares” to Democrats, we have to ask: What would? Yet, at none of the debates did the moderators press Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Kaine to define “fairness” or ask what they think would represent a “fair share” of the tax burden for the “rich” to bear. Republicans further failed to get Hillary and her running mate to say, with hard numbers and percentages, how much more the rich should pay, and how that would be “fair.”

Hillary and her party should not be allowed, like Humpty, to speak to the voters in a language of her own making. Weasels and their words and euphemisms must not go unchallenged.

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