SocraticGadfly: No, Hillary Clinton didn't have to do corporate law work in Arkansas

October 03, 2016

No, Hillary Clinton didn't have to do corporate law work in Arkansas

From the way Hillary Clinton talks at times, you would think that without her tireless work at the Rose Law Firm, 1980s Chez Clinton was one step above the Jed Clampett family and one step away from the poorhouse.

Let's look at reality, via Politifact and the L.A. Times, setting aside the two years the Slickster was out of office.

His salary? $35,000. Per the Department of Labor's inflation calculator, $35,000 in 1989 is worth $68,000 today. In 1983, when he started as governor, it was worth nearly $85,000 today.

His expense account of about $20,000 per year would be $40-$50,000 today. That's surely enough to cover the official entertaining needs of a small-state governor.

Plus, free living in the Governor's Mansion. True, it's not an owned house (but home equity isn't all it's cracked up to be). But, let's value it at the equivalent of a $1,000 a month private rental in today's dollars, while again stressing that Little Rock has a low cost of living. (And that's surely underestimating its value.)

And, to be more charitable yet, let's use the 1989 inflation-adjusted salary AND throw out Bill's expense account.

Bill Clinton was still hauling down 80 large a year in low-cost Arkansas. And that's ignoring any money he was getting (and he was getting it, yes), from speech honoraria, etc.

Plus, Hillary makes it sound like she and the Clampett husband were "raising a village" (I see what I did there) on his salary.

Wrong. They then, as they do today, have and had one child: Chelsea. (Unless Bill's been making child support payments that are VERY buried.)

They easily, Hillary's Tammy Wynette sneer aside, or, even more, her cookies and tea sneer, could have been a one-income family. Oh, and Bill became governor more than 15 years after both graduated law school; I'm assuming student loans were nearly if not completely paid off.

And, even if Hillary thought the family needed more money, ANY additional money would have been gravy. She could have worked for a nonprofit or something. Or, if she wanted to use her law degree, she could have been a defense lawyer for the likes of Ricky Rector. (I see what I did there.)

She most certainly did NOT have to work for Rose Law. Nor did she have to serve on Walmart's board of directors.

Yes, he may have been the poorest president at the start of his tenure since Harry Truman, but those two are still miles apart.

UPDATE: Let's frame this another way. The actual $35,000, plus $5,000, we'll say, for honoraria, plus, $6,000 in worth then for the governor's mansion. Set aside the entertainment budget entirely, though that helped pay for Clinton family meals. That's $46,000. As of the LATE 1990s, nearly a full decade after my calculations, that puts them in the top 15 percent of Arkansas family incomes. Or, as of the 1980 Census, Bill's salary alone put them in the top 10 percent of family incomes in Pulaski County (Little Rock.)

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