If you’re turned off by the astronomical speaking fees commanded by the former Secretary of State and her former president husband, you have an option: You can go Clinton shopping.
Hillary and Bill Clinton earned in excess of $25 million for delivering 104 speeches between 2014 and the first three months of 2015, including $11 million that Hillary Clinton collected delivering 51 speeches, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
While Hillary’s fees varied, they typically exceeded a quarter-million-dollars a pop and went as high as $300,000, although she generally donated the funds to the Clinton family’s global foundation.
But at least one sticker-shocked university balked at her price and settled for a bargain basement alternative – daughter Chelsea Clinton.
As The Washington Post recounted on Tuesday, officials of the University of Missouri at Kansas City were in the market for a celebrity speaker to headline a gala luncheon marking the opening of a women’s hall of fame in early 2014. Initially, they thought of inviting Clinton’s 34-year old daughter to deliver brief remarks at the event.
When Chelsea’s speaking agency responded that she probably wouldn’t be available, university officials decided to “shoot for the moon” and invite her mother, the presumptive 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, to appear instead. However, they were stunned when the answer came back that Hillary Clinton indeed would be available but it would cost them $275,000.
University officials regrouped and resumed their hunt for a speaker. Then word came back that Chelsea Clinton was available to speak after all – and for the relatively modest fee of $65,000. Likely still reeling from the Hillary demand, university officials jumped at the offer.
Chelsea Clinton appeared at the luncheon on Feb. 24, 2014, and here’s what her schedule called for: a 10-minute speech followed by a 20-minute, moderated question-and-answer session and a half-hour posing for pictures with VIPs off-stage. As with Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches at universities, Chelsea Clinton directed her fee to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
School officials said Chelsea’s appearance, which was covered by private donations, was well worth the money. Reactions to the story on social media were less positive, with anti-Clinton commentators having a field day mocking America’s one-time and perhaps future first family.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated this week that President Trump has now signed legislation that will add a total of $4.7 trillion to the national debt between 2017 and 2029. Tax cuts and spending increases account for similar portions of the projected increase, though if the individual tax cuts in the 2017 Republican overhaul are extended beyond their current expiration date at the end of 2025, they would add another $1 trillion in debt through 2029.
Are interest rates destined to move higher, increasing the cost of private and public debt? While many experts believe that higher rates are all but inevitable, historian Paul Schmelzing argues that today’s low-interest environment is consistent with a long-term trend stretching back 600 years.
The chart “shows a clear historical downtrend, with rates falling about 1% every 60 years to near zero today,” says Bloomberg’s Aaron Brown. “Rates do tend to revert to a mean, but that mean seems to be declining.”
Lawmakers are considering three separate bills that are intended to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Here’s an overview of the proposals, from a series of charts produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week. An interesting detail highlighted in another chart: 88% of voters – including 92% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans – want to give the government the power to negotiate prices with drug companies.
From Gallup: “A record 25% of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost, up from 19% a year ago and the highest in Gallup's trend. Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014.”