Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared to subtly weigh in on the current tax debate in American politics, something she normally refrains from doing in her job as America’s top diplomat.
Clinton made her comments in a keynote address address at her husband’s Global Initiative conference. She spoke primarily about America’s diplomacy goals for the 21st century.
When Clinton talked about the collection of taxes in countries around the world, she was careful not to talk specifically about the United States or mention political parties or names, but after speaking generally about her belief that all nations need to have a tax policy where revenue is collected in an “equitable manner,” she paused and said, “Especially from the elites” which received a huge applause from the audience.
Her comments came at a time when Congress is deadlocked over how to reform tax policies with President Obama and the Democrats urging higher taxes for the wealthy, while Republicans oppose any tax increases.
The secretary of state does not by tradition wade into domestic campaign politics.
“Now I’m out of American politics but it is a fact that around the world the elites from every country are making money,” said Clinton who added with effect, “There are rich people…everywhere.”
The secretary then switched gears and spoke about issues pertaining more specifically to developing countries, corrupt politicians and business people who don’t contribute to building their countries infrastructure, which is vital to economic and democratic development.
“It means for leaders, telling powerful people things they don’t want to hear,” said Clinton. “It means being transparent about budget and revenues and bringing corruption to light.”
Clinton also touched on the current unrest in the Middle East, repeating much of her statements over the last two weeks about the Arab Spring giving way to new democracies that are in need of nurturing from the United States, not disengagement. The secretary called this diplomatic pursuit America’s “dignity agenda.”
“We are standing up for democracies that unlock people’s potential and standing against extremists who exploit people’s frustrations,” said Clinton.
Before she spoke, her husband former President Bill Clinton who’s foundation sponsors the annual global conference, talked about the morning activities of the Clinton family, joking that introducing his wife was one of the most “useless” introductions he’s ever given.
“We’ve already had a good morning, laughing and talking about events yesterday,” said the former president. “Getting a report from Chelsea about a dinner she attended last night.”
He delighted the crowd by reflecting on his wife’s decades of service, telling them than when he met her “more than 40 years ago” the former first lady, senator and now Secretary of State was already a “walking NGO,” he said.
“She was doing all this stuff before most of us knew it was a fruitful way to spend a life,” Bill Clinton said.