The Tax-and-Spend Candidate Is Who, Again?

McCain and Obama released their Senate financial disclosure statements yesterday. Guess which candidate is the financially responsible manager of his personal finances, and which one is up to his ears in credit card debt? I’ll just look at the conservative Republican candidate who promises that if elected he’ll be a wise steward of the American people’s tax dollars, and wink:

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama released their Senate financial disclosure statements on Friday, revealing that Mr. McCain and his wife had at least $225,000 in credit card debt and that Mr. Obama and his wife had put more than $200,000 into college funds for their daughters.

The bulk of the McCains’ obligations stemmed from a pair of American Express credit cards that are held in Cindy McCain’s name. According to the disclosure reports, which present information on debts in a range rather than providing a precise figure, Mrs. McCain owed $100,000 to $250,000 on each card.

Another charge card, held by what was described as a “dependent child,” had also accumulated debts of $15,000 to $50,000. In addition, a credit card held jointly by the couple was carrying $10,000 to $15,000 in debt, the filing indicated, at a stiff 25.99 percent interest rate.

Of course, credit card debt is a massive problem in this country. Millions of Americans are struggling with it, largely as a result of job loss, flat wage growth, living paycheck to paycheck when there is a paycheck at all, no health insurance or inadequate health insurance, being forced to use credit cards for necessities such as food, clothing, and doctor visits:

Mrs. McCain’s filing, however, indicated that she had substantial holdings in property and stocks — including shares in Anheuser-Busch, which this week became the target of a takeover bid that is expected to send its value climbing. Her land holdings included parcels in Arizona and California, one of which was sold last year for a profit of more than $1 million.

In other filings, the McCains have reported total household assets of $24.6 million to $39.5 million. In recently releasing a summary version of her 2006 tax return, Mrs. McCain reported income that year of more than $6 million, some $300,000 of which was derived from her salary as the chairwoman of Hensley, which was founded by her father.

How is it that a couple with combined household assets of $25 to $40 million is carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card debt?

Perhaps they should get some financial advice from this couple:

Information provided in the name of Mrs. Obama, whose 2006 tax return indicated income of $273,618 from the University of Chicago Hospitals, showed that she also earned at least $1,000 for work done for Treehouse Foods, where she was a salaried board member. She relinquished her position at that company, a major supplier to Wal-Mart, in May 2007, after her husband criticized Wal-Mart’s labor practices.

[…]

In addition to his Senate salary, $165,200 last year, Mr. Obama reported book royalties of more than $4 million in 2007. Those figures reflect the vigorous sales of his two books, “Dreams From My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope,” in the months leading up to and after his entry into the presidential race early last year.

Mr. Obama and his wife have invested those earnings in a variety of ways. In May, for example, they put at least $1 million into a money market fund, and in July invested $100,000 to $250,000 into college savings accounts for each of their two daughters, who are in elementary school. The Obamas have often noted on the campaign trail that they had only recently paid off their own college loans.

So — will the real fiscally irresponsible candidate please stand up?

One Response to “The Tax-and-Spend Candidate Is Who, Again?”

  1. icruise says:

    The implication here seems to be that the McCains are irresponsibly using credit cards to build up a huge amount of debt, but I have trouble believing that’s the case. Isn’t it likely that they are so rich that having a couple hundred thousand on their card is no big deal? It doesn’t say how long they’ve had that balance — maybe that’s how much they spend every month. They are millionaires with eight or nine homes after all. Or maybe they have other reasons for using their cards that way. Anyway, as much as I dislike McCain, I think using this as an argument to show that he is fiscally irresponsible doesn’t ring true to me. It does however show just how rich they are.

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