The Clintons Support Estate Taxes, Avoid Estate Taxes

America has treated the Clinton family pretty well. They've become millionaires many times over. But a new report says that even as they support policies to tax the estates of the extreme wealthy, they try to avoid those taxes on their own wealth.

There is a thriving industry of tax avoidance strategies for the very rich. These are technically legal, but let's call them what they are: attempts to avoid paying taxes, by the very rich, and to keep more money for themselves, rather than allowing that money go to the public good. It's bad enough when rich heirs and industrialists use these tactics, though of course we expect it. But when a politician who has supported a certain tax structure actively tries to avoid that tax structure, it should make everyone question that politicians morality and honesty.

Bloomberg reports today that the Clinton family is actively using tax strategies designed to minimize their eventual estate taxes. Who cares? Everyone should, since Hillary Clinton, who is running for president, supports estate taxes—but when it comes to her own money, she is trying to keep as much of it as possible. (Bill Clinton also supported estate taxes as president.) It is hypocrisy. Bloomberg reports that the Clintons "split their ownership of the house into separate 50 percent shares, and then placed those shares into trusts," and made tax-exempt gifts, moves designed "to stuff as many assets as possible into the nontaxable portion of the estate."

"The goal is really be thoughtful and try to build up the nontaxable estate, and that's really what this is," [a tax expert] said. "You're creating things that are going to be on the nontaxable side of the balance sheet when they die."

The Clintons could save at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes using these techniques.

Yes, they are legal. It hardly matters. It is the spirit of the law that we're talking about. Democrats support estate taxes because they do at least a little to level the playing field and prevent the accumulation of dynastic wealth through many generations. The Clintons are doing whatever they can to accumulate dynastic wealth through many generations. They are hypocrites. It's hard enough taxing the rich as it is. The last thing we need is the people leading the charge refusing to pay their share.

[Photo: AP]