Complaints that Hillary Clinton is paid too much for her speaking engagements abound. But how much is too much? The highest sum ever paid for a speaking engagement was $1.5 million dollars, paid to Donald Trump by the Learning Annex in 2006 and again in 2007 making Hillary Clinton’s average $200,000 per speaking engagement seem like a paltry sum. In a free market economy, speakers charge market rate. If Secretary Clinton charged $500,000 a speech, she would have few if no engagements. If she charged $5,000 a speech, wealthy individuals would request her to speak at wedding anniversaries and birthday parties. How much is the most admired woman in the world worth? In a free market economy, whatever she can get.
Since leaving office 16 months ago, Secretary Clinton has earned 12 million in speaking engagements. Prorated that’s nine million dollars a year. How do her fees and salary compare to other famous Americans at the top of their game?
Everyone knows movie stars make staggering sums of money for their performances in blockbuster films. Sandra Bullock netted $70 million for her performance in Gravity, and Will Smith received $100 million for his performance in Men in Black 3. Hillary Clinton would have to continue speaking at the same pace for the next ten years to earn as much money as Will Smith made for his performance in a single movie. It would take an average American fifty lifetimes of work to earn a comparable sum. Top television stars also pull in high salaries. Sofia Vergara was paid 30 million dollars last season for her performance in 24 episodes of Modern Family, making her salary a whopping $1.25 million per episode. Mariska Hargitay, was paid 11 million dollars or $458,333 per episode of CSI: Special Victims Unit in 2013. Both stars dwarf Clinton’s average of $200,000 per speech.
Madonna, with a net worth estimated over one billion dollars, pulled in $125 million over the past year. Lady Gaga earned a paltry $80 million in 2013 due to a hip injury and at only 28, is worth a whopping two-hundred twenty million dollars. No one complains about
the high ticket prices and net worth of these and other top musical performers. The price per head for Clinton’s speeches is typically less than the ticket price for a concert or a Broadway play. At UNLV, where complaints about the cost of Clinton’s upcoming speech have surfaced, yet students fail to realize Secretary Clinton’s speech will increase the University’s prestige, increase the value of the students’ degrees, provide photos and copy for marketing materials, and provide them with an once in a lifetime experience.
Professional athletes like entertainers command high salaries. Last year, Drew Brees, the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, signed a $100 million contract extension with a $37 million signing bonus. Brees added to his $40 million salary with $11 million in product endorsements. He played 23 games for an average of $2,217,391 per 60 minute game. Last season, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant earned 27.9 million dollars plus 34 million dollars in endorsement income. The Lakers played 82 season games making Bryant ‘s earnings $756,098 per game including endorsement earnings. Athletes have intensive practice schedules that are unaccounted for in salary per game calculations. Secretary Clinton’s require intense preparation in a world where the issues affecting the country, the economy and the world are rapidly changing.
Until Secretary Clinton wins the presidency, she can engage in as many speaking engagements as she wants for whatever price she can command. Critics who claim the Clinton price tag and wealth inhibits Secretary Clinton’s ability to be a great president should review history. The four presidents on Mt. Rushmore along with Franklin Delano Roosevelt are considered by the majority of scholars the five greatest presidents in United States history. Except for Abraham Lincoln all of these presidents came from wealthy families. There are many characteristics that make a great president, but poverty isn’t one of them.