Via Ben Smith, it is reported that Sarah Palin's wardrobe expenses count as income under the federal tax code. As someone currently taking Tax I, this seems pretty obvious.
Her Alaska salary is reportedly $81,648. Add in the $150,000 of clothes, and her income for the year would be $231,648.
Taking that over to Obama's tax calculator and ... she will probably not get a tax cut anymore; she would without the clothes, though. (I'll not that I have no idea what Todd Palin made in the past year, and do not particularly have an inclination to find out.) She would have lower taxes under Obama's plan just using her income as Governor. (Again, sans anything from Todd.)
Incidentally, I think this account of the need for the wardrobe is fair. But I'd still argue that these constitute income.
The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.
According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.
The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.
The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.
Marc Ambinder reports that it's Republicans who are registering the most disgust with this story.
RNC donors and at least one RNC staff member have e-mailed me tonight to share their utter (and not-for-attribution) disgust at the expenditures. [...]
The Democrats are going to have a lot more fun with this than is prudent, but the heat for this story will come from Republicans who cannot understand how their party would do something this stupid ... particularly (and, it must be said, viewed retroactively) during the collapse of the financial system and the probable beginning of a recession.
But perhaps the more telling expression of outrage came from a viewer of Morning Joe this morning whose criticism focused more on Sarah Palin's hypocrisy:
This is from Pat in Ohio. She says, "Mika, I'm a woman and for Sarah Palin to say she's an average everyday woman like me while she's wearing $12,000 suits is utter nonesense and pure B.S."
Pat's anger carried over to poor Mika who had defended the expenditure:
"And for you to sit there and say there is nothing wrong with the campaign spending $150,000 on wardrobe for three months is truly offensive. What, they couldn't spend $300 for a nice suit? Maybe you need to come down to earth and realize that the majority of women don't make $150,000 a year and we resent it when you tell us our $300 suits aren't professional enough."
Snap. Jed has the video:
The amazing thing to me is that anyone actually bought into this idea of Sarah Palin as everywoman. Her whole "Joe sixpack" thing was so clearly a cynical ploy to appeal to the real "Joe sixpacks" who value that connection with the plain speakin' politicians. The fact that the RNC would spend so heavily on Palin's wardrobe reveals the hollowness of this image, both because it implies that Palin was merely an actress in need of a costume (duh!) and because it pulls back the curtain on Palin's every woman facade.
On a larger level, this lays bare the hollowness and cynicism with which The Republican Party regularly exploits the fears and values of the white working class for electoral gain. Is this story, of all things, beginning to wake people up to this?