Elizabeth Warren has a luxury wardrobe to put Imelda Marcos to shame

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who's getting ready to run for president, is cleaning out her closets.

According to some actual investigative reporting from Howie Carr:

More than three years ago, Sen. Elizabeth Warren told the Internal Revenue Service that she had donated $50,000 in used clothing and "household items" to local thrift stores in 2014.

Fifty grand worth of clothes!  Donated!  In one year.

That was the fake Indian's story and she was sticking to it – until late yesterday afternoon, after we inquired about her rather, uh, profligate spending habits.

Suddenly, the fake Indian's story changed.

The totals, her flack said, were "entry errors."

The actual amount, it turns out, was $9,376.  Carr said he trusts that Warren, a financial whiz, given her previous house-flipping career, is going to make that little correction to the IRS.

But even that $9,376 (for what's used clothing and household junk) really stands out. Not since Bill Clinton tried to tell the IRS his used underwear was worth $5 a pop have we heard an excuse like this one from a Democrat. 

First, note that Team Warren claims that the $9,376 amount is approximately the same as the $8,000 she claimed on her 2014 taxes.

So it wasn't exactly a decades' worth of closet-clearing, some Swedish death-cleaning mother of all cleanouts to pare down.  Nope, it's an annual event, amounting almost ten thousand bucks a year off her taxes.

Now, as an experienced eBay seller, often of high-end goods for friends, I can tell you that used clothing doesn't command nearly the cost of its original price tag.  Frequently, it doesn't even command the price of its sale tags.  Typically, it's about ten percent of the original retail price.  If an item is utterly hot and in demand (usually something for the teenage market), maybe a higher price, but it usually doesn't breach the original retail price found on Amazon.  It's always a bit lower, and typically, it's significantly lower.

So if Warren's wardrobe is typical and her deductions corresponded to the actual value of the used clothes, it would mean she spends about $80,000 a year on clothing.  If each item is worn only once on each of the 365 days of the year, it would mean she spends about $219 per outfit before tossing each of those items into the Goodwill bin like the rest of us do our used underwear into the hamper. I sure hope her tossings were biodegradable.

And of course, it would mean she had no other clothing on hand in her closet – just that $80K she shelled out for this year's flashy new duds.

That's a luxury habit Imelda Marcos would envy.

As Carr asks:

How much do you spend on clothes?

I'm guessing it's less – a lot less – than the fake Indian.

There's more, of course.

Let's go back to Imelda Marcos.  Now, somehow, Imelda Marcos did manage to look snazzy for the cameras in her zillion-dollar wear-it-once wardrobe.

Liz Warren, in her short-sleeved matching skirted granny suits?  Not so much.

This raises questions about even the claimed value of the $9,376 deduction.

Was what she donated really worth that $9,376? Can there really be granny suits worth that much?

When I think of the ends I painstakingly go to to make my donation claims to the IRS, working diligently with fair assessed value of donations, and taking pictures and holding onto receipts, I get a little disgusted when I learn that Warren is making casual write-offs of humongous amounts to get her tax bill down.  A normal person works carefully to make sure the IRS is not going to be looking at extravagant deductions without strong documentation, and the only way to feel confident there will be no problems is to do one's taxes honestly and meticulously.  When there is uncertainty about value, the best thing to do is take the low estimate and say oh, tough.  That's what the little guy does because it's the best way to keep the IRS at bay.

Warren seems confident that the IRS won't ever look at her tax returns, which gives her free rein to claim anything.  Those deductions cut her tax bill by big-dollar amounts, allowing her to keep more of what she earns even as she calls for tax hikes on the rest of us.  Why is she so confident?  Why are the rules so different for her from the ones for the little people she so claims to champion?

Can you say hypocrisy?  This sounds as fake as her claims to Indian heritage.  And here we have it, the Democratic Party's frontrunner for 2020.

Image credit: Edward Kimmel via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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