The Clinton Credit Crisis

It must be nice to live in Hillary Clinton’s world. Someone else always pays the bills.  But as campaign vendors — including health insurance companies — now complain that she is stiffing them, we are left to wonder how she will handle an American economy increasingly troubled by unpaid public and private debts.

In the aftermath of a North Carolina campaign stop last week where Clinton bemoaned the gap in health insurance access between wealthy elected officials like herself and ordinary Americans, it appears that her struggling campaign has failed to pay nearly $300,000 in health insurance premiums for her campaign staff. 

Telling the story of a young Ohio woman who died because of lack of access to a nearby hospital, Clinton preached that “it is morally wrong in America that a young woman and her baby would lose their lives because they couldn’t get health care.”

Fortunately for Clinton campaign staffers, their coverage wasn’t cancelled after her failure to pay monthly premiums. But while a campaign spokesman claims that the bills will soon be paid, the misstep serves as a reminder of Clinton’s hypocrisy when it comes to the fiscal sanity of her proposed economic policies. The bills — owed to Blue Cross and Aetna — pale in comparison to Clinton’s overall campaign debt — listed at nearly $9 million by the end of February.

As reported by Kenneth P. Vogel at, the debt is crushing compared to that of her competitors. At the end of the February reporting period, Vogel writes, fellow Democrat Barack Obama owed $625,000 and Republican nominee John McCain owed $4.3 million — most coming in the form of a bank loan.

Also of note, many of those stiffed by the Clinton camp are small business owners. As Vogel reports, a New Hampshire landlord, an Iowa house cleaner, and a New York caterer also report that Clinton has failed to pay up for services rendered.

But we should not be surprised by Clinton’s behavior. Time and again during her presidential bid, she has looked into the eyes of voters, making promises she can’t keep. In the last week alone, she has promised billions in new federal spending, including a renewed pledges of mass mortgage buyouts, an expansion of socialized health care, millions of new government-funded jobs, and an improved transportation infrastructure. 

After moving on from North Carolina, Clinton is now in Pennsylvania, where she and Obama are eagerly vying for union votes on the eve of the state’s presidential primary vote later this month. At the state’s AFL-CIO convention in Philadelphia Tuesday, Clinton kicked off the fifth day of her lethargic “Solutions for the American Economy” tour, where she announced her plan to create three-million American jobs through expanded socialized and centralized planning. “I’ll fight for every single job in America — and create millions of new, high paying jobs that can’t be outsourced,” she told convention-goers while also reinforcing her pro-union and “fair trade” positions.

The cost to America’s taxpayers? She says she will release $1.5 billion per year to increase federal funding for public transit, $1 billion to intercity passenger rail systems, and $10 billion in new spending for an “Emergency Repair Fund” to address transportation repair needs. This is all on top of her previously announced commitment to a $60 billion National Infrastructure Bank, “a federally-backed independent entity that will evaluate and finance large infrastructure projects that are of regional or national significance.”

Under a Clinton presidency, she tells us, everyone will have a meaningful job, complete with government-subsidized health insurance. Many of us will also get to keep homes we couldn’t afford to buy in the first place as she now proposes the creation of a $30 billion fund — a sharp increase from Obama’s proposed $10 billion effort — to assist distressed homeowners meet the rising costs of their adjustable rate mortgages. 

Under Clinton’s plan, state and local governments could use the fund to buy foreclosed or distressed properties, and in turn, sell or rent them to low-income families. Local agencies would also get their own chunk of change to provide consumer counseling or refinancing services. According to Clinton, under her presidency, the Federal Housing Administration would “stand ready to be a temporary buyer” of certain mortgages.

And while Clinton eagerly condemns the sub-prime lenders who sold homeowners loans they couldn’t afford, she just couldn’t resist taking campaign contributors from many of the nation’s leading lending companies. According to an article posted on her own Web site, she accepted nearly $400,000 in campaign contributions from sub-prime lenders.

As economic analysts eagerly proclaim that a recession has struck the U.S. economy, Clinton just doesn’t seem to get it. She’s angry about the fact that the U.S. economy has lost more than 140,000 private sector jobs in the last three months alone, and in response, she advocates driving up the cost of labor.

Over her multi-state tour this past week, Clinton has repeatedly proclaimed that corporations have made too much money while average Americans have seen their wages remain stagnant. She condemns corporations for sending jobs overseas, but instead of making it easier to hire American workers, she plans to drive up the cost of doing business on our shores.

To union delegates, she pledged to sign the Employee Free Choice Act and improve enforcement of the Davis Bacon Act. Together, the two pieces of legislation would significantly raise the costs of hiring new employees while also requiring contractors on federal projects to pay workers no less than the wage rates prevailing in the local area. Clinton also wants to expand the government workforce by cutting back the number of contractors working for the federal government by 500,000 over the next ten years.  She’d use an executive order to “roll back outsourcing our government to private companies that are too often less qualified — and less accountable — than government employees.” And yet, after all of this, we are supposed to believe that she will expand the U.S. economy by three million jobs?

In Clinton’s world, you’ll get it all. Health insurance, a good job, a roof over your head, and even a nice paved road to drive on. At the end of the day, however, don’t count on being able to cash in on such promises. The check, as it turns out, isn’t in the mail.