What Kinds Of Card Debt Are The Presidential Candidates Carrying?

We know Consumerist readers love to trade advice (and insults) on personal debts and savings, so here are some fun facts from Friday’s financial disclosure statements of Barak Obama and John McCain:


Senator Obama
No credit card debt
2007 earned income: over $4 million
Major assets:
money market fund: between $1-5 million
U.S. Treasury notes: between $500,000-$1,000,000
2 college savings accounts for their daughts, between $100,000-250,000 each

Senator McCain
Credit card debt:
joint account W/American Express: between $10,000-15,000 @ 25.99% interest
accounts in wife’s name: between $200,000-500,000 @ 0% interest
account in dependent child’s name: between $15,000-50,000
2007 earned income: $341,708
Major assets:
checking and banking accounts totalling between $17,000-$80,000

The crazy difference between Senator Obama’s and Senator McCain’s earned income comes from Obama’s $4 million in book royalties for 2007, compared to McCain’s meager $176,488. However, McCain has far deeper pockets ultimately, because his wife is loaded—she earned over $6 million in 2006 alone.

We’re less than impressed that American Express is letting the McCains carry hundreds of thousands of dollars in zero-interest loans, but before you get all political about it, consider that “Sen. Barack Obama’s first choice to head up his vice presidential search committee resigned this week” after it was discovered that he was one of the recipients of Countrywide’s VIP treatment we posted about last week.

What surprises us most of all, ultimately, is that the McCains would carry any debt on that 25.99% rate card.

“Summaries of Senate financial disclosure forms” [Associated Press]
“Disclosures Give Look at Candidates’ Personal Finances” [New York Times]
“Ready To Laugh At McCain Family Debt? Not So Fast …” [Huffington Post]

Comments

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  1. JeffDrummer says:

    Bah! In the end its two scummy politicians, one of them will suck as President… I don’t really see what credit card debt really has to do with why we would elect one of these guys, but if that is your main criteria, go Obama right?

    Personally, I would like to see both these guys try to live off $60000 a year with the rest of us, and then try and justifying “repealing” “tax breaks.” AKA raise our taxes to keep their friends happy, because Heaven forbid, no one should ever live an above average lifestyle, no matter how smart or how hard a worker you are.

  2. Trai_Dep says:

    Not TOO shocking: a man that earned his money is more cognizant of its value (to himself, to us and our children (or in Bush/McCain’s cases, our children’s children’s money)).
    Versus a guy that married into it, or had Daddy and his friends basically hand it to him.

  3. johnva says:

    There is no evidence that the McCains are actually paying that interest. It could just be their month-to-month spending, for all we know. So while I’m not a fan of John McCain, I think it’s a little bit ridiculous to make a big deal out of this story.

  4. I’m no McCain supporter but… so? I’m more interested in the companies to which the candidates have financial ties.

  5. cmdrsass says:

    This is entirely ridiculous. It does not take into account the different financial relationships between each candidate and their spouse, nor their net worths, nor spending patterns, and other liabilities.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    @JeffDrummer: I take it you’re not familiar with the term “deficit spending”? We pay more (a LOT more) when the GOP charges for items on their ample wish-list, rather than sensibly – and honestly – paying as you go.

  7. ClayS says:

    @johnva:
    It’s certainly spending that he writes a check for each month. No one with money and common sense pays credit card interest.

    I guess this surprises the Consumerist?

  8. RevRagnarok says:

    @johnva: I agree – the $15K most likely is month-to-month. I know my credit report says I carry about $3K but that’s a snapshot that’s paid off every month.

  9. JeffDrummer says:

    @Trai_Dep: Actually, I am. I am in finance, so this economics stuff is far from elusive to me. I do agree that a balanced budget makes sense, and any good Conservative should repudiate George Bush for creating the biggest (therefore most expensive) government in history, and adding more government spending than any President since LBJ (and LBJ was practically chased out of office since he was so unpopular). What we should do is lower government spending, and keep taxes how they are (in real dollars, so it would be tied to inflation).
    In the end whether Obama or McCain win we are getting a bigger government, I just have a feeling that with one we will get far more taxes and far more spending, with the other we will get a bit of an increase, and far more spending.
    If a political candidate came out and said that they would support gun rights, and shrink government and taxes they would have my vote in a second. I think that both candidates are terrible, worse options than 1996, 2000, or 2004.
    I supported Ron Paul, but his core is a bunch of maniacs that think that spamming webpolls means certain victory (I am not them, trust me, I liked his policies, hated his supporters).

  10. pal003 says:

    Lower government spending easily accomplished by eliminating crony, corrupt, no-bid, cost-plus contracts with companies like Halliburton, KBR, Bechtel, Grumman, etc. Worst policy in the world. Go read “Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense” by David Cay Johnston, to see how this is so corrupt.

    And if you are going to mention one candidate’s VP finder’s connection to Countrywide – then you better mention that McCain’s economic advisor Phil Gramm who is famous for the Enron loophole (now used by Oil speculators), whose wife Wendy Gramm was on Enron’s board, and that Gramm is currently a vice chairman and lobbyist of UBS, who has officers currently indicted for tax evasion, and that UBS was heavily involved in the current mortgage credit mess, and that UBS has warned its executives not to travel to the US for fear that they will be arrested. So he’s with McCain and he lobbied against any legislation against mortgage lenders. Talk about conflict of interest.

  11. Me - now with more humidity says:

    I despise McCain, but this is a big yawn. They probably have AMEX Black, and run everything through the card. So it’s no big deal.

  12. Trai_Dep says:

    …If you dislike Bush b/c of his unparalleled deficit spending, how do you feel about Reagan? The previous holder of the most-unparalleled-make-the-grandkids-pay-for-it President?
    And, wearing your finance hat, do you have more than “a feeling” that Obama and McCain will have equal impact on our deficit and currency trade balance?
    The fact alone that Obama wants us out of Iraq ASAP, while McCain feels it fine that we stay for 100 years suggests there’s some difference between the two, regarding impacting our budget. As does closing the barn door that Bush opened for the top 0.01% of our economy, which has resulted in such a wildly successful US economy.

    I’m kind of tickled that the guy that proposes funding the US budget on credit relies so heavily on it personally. I guess he’s… Consistent?

  13. katieoh says:

    i love obama’s :D face. mccain just looks like “take the picture, can i stop smiling now please?”

    i don’t care about their personal finances. i care about what they’re going to do about our country’s finances.

  14. pal003 says:

    @Trai_Dep: “I’m kind of tickled that the guy that proposes funding the US budget on credit relies so heavily on it personally. I guess he’s… Consistent?”

    Yeah, McCain is consistently right when he says that he doesn’t know anything about economics!!

  15. JennQPublic says:

    What I find most interesting that McCain has $15,000-50,000 credit card DEBT in his dependent child’s name, while Obama has college SAVINGS accounts for his daughters of $100,000-250,000 EACH.

    Hmm, which one of these do I want in charge of the budget?

  16. @johnva: Yeah, I’m sort of grasping to see why this is a story. Consumerist, will you please explain the point of this post?

  17. Concerned_Citizen says:

    “accounts in wife’s name: between $200,000-500,000 @ 0% interest”
    What a sweet hart deal from a lender. Is she going to have to resign from being his wife?

  18. ARP says:

    @JennQPublic: Yeah, that’s a bit odd. It’s one of two things: 1) Kids get mommy and daddy’s credit card and they spent wildly or 2) He’s offloading some personal debt to them.

    Either way, it’s creates a too easy of a analogy to their government style.

  19. coold8 says:

    Most of you realize that the card he has is most likely a charge card, not a credit card, it still hits your credit report, but chances are they only carry the debt until the end of the month. I wouldn’t imagine someone making 6 million a year wanting to carry 200k in credit card debt, and the only reason why it would be 0% is if it is a charge card or an intro card.

  20. G-Dog says:

    Lets not forget that McCain’s wife used her political connections to dictate her own financial agenda. In the late 90′s, the MMA promotion UFC (I’m sure you’ve heard of it) was starting to take away from boxing Pay Per View numbers. Budweiser, who sponsored boxing events and not MMA at the time, found this threatening and sicked John McCain on the sport.

    Using his political clout and the term “Human Cock Fighting”, he got the sport pulled from pay per view channels. Not outlawed, just pulled off of paid broadcast.

    Now that Budweiser sponsors UFC events, he has made a 180 on his former stance. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

  21. azntg says:

    Here’s to you, the credit community: WHAT? McCain hasn’t been F/R’ed or CLD’ed by Amex yet? Shocker! ;-)

  22. JennQPublic says:

    @coold8: If that’s the case, the card in his dependent child’s name is used for between $15,000 and $50,000 a MONTH. Do your children spend $15,000 in a month? Do you?

    On top of that, McCain’s card would be used for $10,000 to $15,000 a month, with his wife spending between $100,000 and a quarter of a million dollars IN A MONTH.

    I’m glad we have a common man like McCain to give us an alternative to that elitist, Obama!

  23. JeffDrummer says:

    @Trai_Dep: Actually Reagan was for a balanced budget… it was Congress that refused to budge. Read the Reagan diaries and you might understand his economic vision better.
    What do you mean currency deficit? Do you mean the dollar’s weakening PPP (purchasing power of parity; the amount that you can purchase in real dollars)? I don’t think that McCain or Obama can do that much, in the end the executive can’t exactly make massive monetary policy decisions, that goes to the fed, and I have to say that Ben Bernanke is doing a bad job realizing the damage that a weak dollar will cause. If you want to curb stagflation, start by raising the dollar. Presidents can coax monetary policy along, and it seems like Pres. Bush thinks that increasing net exports while increasing tariffs a la Hoover is a good plan. For a President the best monetary policy is laissez-faire, Hoover tried to defy that rule, and you saw what happened – not singularly because of him to be sure, but exacerbated by him, then more by FDR.

    Obama wants out of Iraq regardless of implication, McCain wants in Iraq regardless of implications, the jury is out on which is worse. It is appealing to say that nothing negative would come of retreating, but even the famous pacifist Ayn Rand knew better regarding Vietnam. Then again, I don’t see the appeal in staying in Iraq forever, I would like to see an immediate drawdown, by at least 70000 troops, with more to come – if Iraqis are getting massacred by al Qaeda as we leave, that strategy would need reevaluation. America supporters in Laos are still being executed by their government – we need to protect these types.
    And Obama’s socialist healthcare policies aren’t exactly cheap. How about more regulation on hospitals so they can’t simply tell you what they charge – and allow competition between hospitals, as tax breaks on those who get health insurance. We have medicaid, and let the states figure the rest out.

    That’s about it right? I am leaning McCain, but I wish that we could get someone who is a true moderate in the White House, but at this point, I don’t think that is possible.

  24. JeffDrummer says:

    Let me add, that I am not for Obama just because John McCain is more moderate, if Bill Clinton were running, I would likely vote for him, same with Al Gore (pre-nobel laureate though :))

  25. humphrmi says:

    If you were able to ask my credit card company about my debts, they would say that I have a $5-10K balance each month at about 15% interest.

    In fact, I haven’t paid them any interest in eons.

    They report balances, not how much you pay them (other than you’re “current” which could mean you’re making minimum payments or you’re paying off the balance each month).

    That’s just the way credit reporting works.

  26. katylostherart says:

    @JeffDrummer: 60k? let’s try a third to half that.

    or really, for the median household income 48k. to just double clarify the term “household” that includes the wifeys.

  27. n0ia says:

    I would hope that someone who raked in $4m could pay off their debts.

    And this is much more interesting than their finances:

    [www.eyeblast.tv]

  28. If you check my credit right now, you’ll see that I have *gasp* a balance on my credit cards. However, I’ve never paid a cent of interest. That’s because revolving accounts have grace periods. It’s fully possible that McCain pays his accounts in full each month.

    I find it much harder to believe that Mr. Obama has NO revolving credit debt. It is certainly possible though.

    And as far as financial handling goes, it would be easy to criticize Obama for having so much wealth in low-yield investments like government securities and money market funds. Not that I believe it’s a bad idea, given the current state of the economy, but it might give an idea of where he thinks the market is headed in the foreseeable future…

  29. Concerned_Citizen says:

    @InfiniTrent: Or to Obama the money he has is a ridiculous amount and he doesn’t see how it would be necessary to risk losing it on the stock market as it is all he will ever need. Maybe he is someone who values money. Now McCain, judging from a snapshot of his monthly expenses, sees money as toilet paper.

  30. Trai_Dep says:

    @InfiniTrent: Actually, if you hold public office, it’s very hard to own securities w/o someone saying five years down the road that since you owned x shares of Acme, and one of three-thousand bills you voted for favors Acme, you’re corrupt.
    Believe it or not, Republicans sometimes use arcane, even money-losing, investments done decades ago as a starting point for engaging multi-million-dollar, tax-payer paid witch-hunts. And the media (oh SO liberal) eat it up. Shocking, I know.

    Hence either blind trusts, VERY broad index funds or gov’t securities are the only realistic option if you’re holding office.
    Unless you’re Republican, since everyone expects them to be venal and corrupt and they seem eager to prove them even more correct than imagined. (see: Dick Cheney, Haliburton)

  31. slevdogg says:

    The McCains are not exactly teaching their children (my guess is Meghan) financial competence and responsibility when they just hand them a credit card and they presumably just pay it off for them. I’m scared about how much worse this crazed man would make our nation’s (and the world’s) economy. The McBush policy of massive tax cuts funded by China. Hurts us, helps China.

  32. ladynurse says:

    my concern is why does McCain have “between $15,000 to $50,000″ on a credit card in a “dependent childs” name. isn’t this what people on jerry springer do and ruin their child’s credit before their of age?

  33. JeffDrummer says:

    @ladynurse: McCains daughter is over 18

  34. Well, Sen. McCain has already admitted that he knows dick about economics. Listen for it; “that’s what the economists say” will be the “fuzzy math” of the 2008 election cycle. Will America be stupid enough to fall for it a THIRD time?

  35. Bladefist says:

    @pal003: Yea, McCain said he didn’t know much about economics. Although if you watched the democrat debate, I left realizing neither does Obama. He hasn’t a clue. I’d be willing to bet that most of the senate doesn’t have a clue how economics work, or how the private sector works. Which is why this election is so terrible. Nobody with any executive experience is running.

    And, at least McCain has his money in tax-paying outlets. Unlike Mr More Taxes Obama who hides his in no-tax outlets.

  36. coolkiwilivin says:

    the point of this story? This group of blogs are run by people from San Francisco. Anything to smear someone who isn’t from the far left. It’s ironic that some of you would think that Obama earned his money. Seriously, between his ghost writer and all the sweet deals he’s gotten b/c his political power is rising meteorically, it makes me wonder how much he’s hiding in tax shelters and the such, b/c I guarantee you if he get’s elected he will not be paying as much taxes as he’s going to sock to us all.

  37. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: Are you really criticizing Obama for putting his money in tax-exempt bonds? Really? That’s just good money management if you don’t want to invest in something like stocks. It has nothing to do with his attitudes towards taxation.

    And anyway, there was an independent analysis that just came out that showed that ~85% of Americans would pay less in taxes under Obama’s plans for middle-class tax cuts than under McCain’s plans (which is heavy on tax cuts for the highest income earners). So while Obama will heavily raise taxes on people with very high incomes, he’s NOT going to raise taxes on the majority of Americans (if he gets his way on this, of course). Read here. Remember that the majority of Americans do not fall in those upper tax brackets.

  38. battra92 says:

    @johnva: an independent analysis that just came out

    There is no such thing as an independent analysis.

    Obama wants to raise taxes on people whose incomes are over $250,000. Most people at $250K are small business owners reporting business income as S Corps. Putting an increase in taxes means that small businesses have to cut back, lay off or raise prices on their goods/services.

  39. McCain knows nothing on economics, nothing on technology, and will not even use a computer. He is basically a puppet just like our current disaster. I live in AZ and have had to put up with McCain for 20 years. He is available to the highest bidder just ask around Phoenix.

  40. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: Yes I criticize for that. You want to raise taxes on the rich, while your rich, but you make your money unavailable for those taxes? F- that.

    First off – In the debate, and unless he changed his mind, he couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t raise taxes on middle class Americans. The promise that he did make, was that he would raise Capital gains tax up to 25%. To make it more fair. That is a huge burden on middle class America. Sell your house for a smaller house? Obama gets ya! Sell your stocks? Obama gets you. 25%. Are you serious? Even Clinton wasn’t that retarded.

    So, while he may reduce income taxes, you’ll make up for it in other ways. What I don’t understand is, he wants to undo the Bush Tax cuts, yet, the Bush tax cuts gave middle class Americans a tax break. So why would he ‘undo it’? I can see revising it, but I really don’t think he will lower the taxes for middle/low income America.

    Next, all his new programs, including UHC (lets not debate it please) will be added into taxes.

    So that’s my side of it. Even if everything I said is wrong, and Obama truly is the Messiah, I don’t believe in wealth redistribution. The top 1% already pay 50% of the taxes. I’m envious of them and their money and life style, but I never think they owe America another penny then they are already giving.

    Also, the rich will always stay rich. You raise their taxes, and guess who absorbs that? The median household salary will fall through the room, and the economy will become stagnant. You’ll see the same shit you saw during Jimmy Carter. Mark my words. The rich will remain just as rich. The problem with Obama, McCain, are they are macro economic neophytes.

  41. Wormfather says:

    @Trai_Dep: Ya know, I’m sure I’m not voting for McCain, not because I’m a democrat, because I’m actually a republican. But I’m not going to stoop to the level of insulting him based on his credit score.

  42. johnva says:

    @battra92: Yeah, okay, I can buy that (sort of, but remember that they are still much wealthier than the majority of people in this country). But note that it looks like you have to get to the $600,000+ range before Obama would give you a seriously large tax increase. And remember those high tax brackets got huge tax decreases under Bush.

  43. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: Most Americans don’t pay massive capital gains taxes. Sure, they pay some when they sell stocks, but a lot of the middle classes’ stocks are held in tax advantaged accounts like 401(k) accounts or IRAs. So that blunts that impact for them. As far as real estate, the current rule is that the first $250,000 ($500,000 if married) of profits from a home sale are exempt from capital gains tax. So that’s a non-problem already for the middle class; if you are routinely making more profit than that on real estate then you aren’t what I would call “middle class”. So what we come back to is exactly what I said earlier: Obama’s proposed tax increases affect mainly the wealthiest Americans, and his proposed tax cuts will result in MOST Americans actually paying less than under McCain’s plan.

    Now, you can be opposed to the whole idea of a progressive tax system (and it seems you are). But come right out and say that if that’s the case. I’m not. I think we need to raise taxes to pay for all the crap the government is spending it on, and I think that the wealthiest people can afford to pay that much more easily than the lower income or middle class. We’ve got a long tradition in this country of the wealthy paying much more in taxes, which is fair because they benefit much more from government. If your country has given you a lot, you owe your country.

    If the rich will always stay rich, then why are they complaining so much about higher taxes?

  44. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: Yes a lot of people simply have the stocks in 401ks, but a lot of people have actual investment stocks they are brokering on their own. Obama will wipe’em out.

    The word progressive is so unfair to use. Call it the socialism tax system, please.

  45. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: Yes, I understand that. What I’m saying is that the amount of money that middle class people hold in taxable brokerage accounts is dwarfed by the amount of money people hold in tax-advantaged accounts. And most people with large amounts of money in taxable brokerage accounts are wealthier. And anyway, Obama’s plan that I’ve heard (he said he would “consider” raising capital gains tax from 15% to 20%) would be far from “wiping ‘em out”. Remember that that applies only to capital GAINS, not the total amount in accounts. If you made $100,000 in profits on taxable stocks, you would pay $5000 more in taxes, and in reality people would pay much less due to the fact that you can offset capital gains with capital losses to strategically reduce tax. Big deal. The only thing worries me about that a little bit is that it could cause the stock markets to drop. But I do agree that it’s not exactly fair for capital gains and dividends to be taxed at such a lower level than earned income.

    “Progressive tax” is the proper term for what we’re talking about with a bracketed tax system. And it’s perfectly fair once you account for the fact that a) the rich benefit more from government; b) the rich have more disposable income; c) a tiny percentage of people control a huge portion of the wealth; and d) concentrated wealth is a threat to our democracy. It’s no accident that Republican politicians tend to be so corrupt: it’s because the rich like to buy themselves favorable government policies.

  46. thinwhiteduke says:

    “Maybe he values money whereas McCain sees it as toilet paper.”

    Get a grip.

  47. battra92 says:

    @johnva: And it’s perfectly fair once you account for the fact that a) the rich benefit more from government; b) the rich have more disposable income; c) a tiny percentage of people control a huge portion of the wealth; and d) concentrated wealth is a threat to our democracy.

    The only fair tax is the Fair Tax. Honestly, it would be the best solution.

  48. anatak says:

    “Senator Obama
    No credit card debt”

    I’m liking this Obama guy more and more.

  49. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: You lost me as soon as you said republicans are more often corrupt. That took your argument down a notch. I’ll ignore it. You’re better then that.

    How does the rich benefit more from the government. Other then the few industries that get tax relief and subsidies (which I disagree with)

    They have more disposable income because they earned it. You think because someone has too much of something, it should be yours? Do you steal food off kids plates when they ordered too much?

    At the end of it all, Obama/McCain are both macro economic neophytes. In comparison with past president nominees, they are clueless. Can you give me that? You have two possible neophytes, who have big plans for our taxes, social security, UHC, and our military. Does that not scare you?

    If the government decided to give you your UHC that you want so bad, do you really want Barrack Obama making the decisions about it? Seriously? I kinda lol’d when I thought about it.

  50. Bladefist says:

    @anatak: Oh ye w/ high standards. He doesn’t need credit cards, Tony Rezko finances everything he needs.

    @battra92: Right you are!

  51. God bless partisan apparatchiks, every last one.

  52. battra92 says:

    @Bladefist: And the thing is, it can even be sold to Liberals since because the rich spend more, they still pay more.

  53. johnva says:

    @battra92: The “Fair tax” would cause as many problems as it would solve, in my opinion. But even it is still a form of “wealth redistribution” if it includes that “rebate” portion. Which is good.

    @Bladefist: To be fair, I never said that Republicans are “more often” corrupt. There are plenty of corrupt Dems too. But right now, I think there are a lot more corrupt Republicans…and I think this is largely because they are the party that controls the White House and because they had controlled the whole government until 2006.

    The rich benefit more from government for a ton of reasons. First off, they have more to lose. So they depend more on the governments’ security guarantees provided by police, the military, and the court system. The rich are also more likely to own large (and smaller) businesses. This, again, means that they depend more on government services like infrastructure construction and the legal system. So yes, I stand by that statement.

    And many of the rich did NOT “earn” their wealth. Many did, but many inherited it and are living passively off of the investment income. You would have a stronger argument if the Republicans weren’t also so dead set against the estate tax. Looking at their tax policies as a whole, it’s hard to believe that they aren’t just favoring an American aristocracy over everyone else.

    As for Obama/McCain being “economic neophytes”, are they going to be worse than Bush? I doubt it, in either case. Although McCain’s policies look a lot more like Bush’s… The economy isn’t doing great (especially for people who AREN’T living off of the stock market), our currency is tanking, and a lot of the reasons for this are political. Basically, I think McCain’s policies are much worse (even though I disagree with some of Obama’s).

    Please provide evidence that “Rezko finances everything [Obama] needs”. That is BS and you know it. The Feds pressured Rezko to flip on Obama to save himself, and he didn’t because there was nothing there. And keep in mind that Rezko was also connected to both the Clintons and the Bushes as well.

  54. johnva says:

    @battra92: The Fair Tax isn’t all bad, I agree. It’s just not that good, either. It fails to address a couple of problems, in my opinion:
    * Black market/offshore purchases: it would provide a huge incentive for people to buy things outside the country or on a black market. How would we practically stop this trade?
    * The fact that the richest people only spend a tiny fraction of what they make. This might allow unchecked accumulation of wealth, and by extension, political power.

  55. Trai_Dep says:

    @johnva: I’ve honestly lost track of how many Republicans were exposed for corruption, breaking election funding laws, bribes, etc., in the past seven years. I know the number of Conservatives caught in hypocritical gay sexual shenanigans is around fifteen, simply because of the irony. The other number is at least twice or three times that: too many to track. Abramoff and the DeLay ones alone trend towards, what fifteen? Wade another eight?
    So how could you suggest that Republicans are corrupt. That’s just so hysterical of you. You’ve totally lost credibility.

    Tee hee. Facts must be such unpleasant things for Conservatives since they’re mugged by them on an almost-daily basis.

  56. Trai_Dep says:

    Because we’re on the side of forthrighteousness and honesty, a compendium supporting the above.
    2 subcategories and 162 articles. And this after a 5-sec Google:
    [www.sourcewatch.org]

  57. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: You’re really reaching on your arguments. You didn’t convince me the rich use the government more. What about the poor run down neighborhoods? I could go on for days.

    “I never said that Republicans are “more often” corrupt. There are plenty of corrupt Dems too. But right now, I think there are a lot more corrupt Republicans”

    Dude, what are you doing? Do we have to define the word ‘is’?

  58. Bladefist says:

    @Trai_Dep: I’m going to take a momentary break from ignoring of your ignorance and suggest a good book for you.

    Makers and Takers: Why conservatives work harder, feel happier, have closer families, take fewer drugs, give more generously, value honesty more, are less materialistic…

    [www.amazon.com]

    Just thought of you, and how angry you are. You should totally switch parties.

  59. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: I don’t think you want to be convinced.

  60. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: Not true. That particular question was a real question, not a quiz, and I was going to make up my mind based on what you said. And what you said was neither factual nor comparitive to what middle class and low class people cost to the government. I would say low income people use the government the most. They are provided food, a place to live. I think you eagerly made that statement too quick, got caught up in it, then you had to make some BS to make it sound like you meant to say it all along.

  61. Trai_Dep says:

    @Bladefist: But… Drugs are fun!
    Angry, who’s angry? It brings chuckles to watch the faith-based rationalizers crash on the hard shoals of reality. Facts are just so hard! Hee.
    Am bummed about the collateral damage, tho: 4,100+ US servicemen, etc.

  62. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: Nope, I’ve believed for some time that the rich use government services the most. In order to understand this, you need to think beyond just DIRECT services like welfare, etc and look at things that we collectively benefit from. The whole benefit of having government in the first place is that it provides civil stability. Well, someone has to pay for that, and the fact is that the poorest people CAN’T pay for an equal portion of that cost. So the rich pay more. They benefit more because government is a hedge against revolution and violent “wealth redistribution”. Taxes are the price we pay for living in a civil society.

  63. Trai_Dep says:

    Good point. And schools, water, civil court systems, criminal court systems, highways, telecom, ports, air traffic, water, libraries…

    How many billionaires live on desert islands? Heck, even populated (small) islands? How many relatively impoverished people? Compare. Contrast.

  64. @Bladefist: Shame on you for breaking the embargo on The Tedious One.

    @Bladefist: @johnva: Excellent debate today. I’ll sully it with my own contribution:

    johnva, I really can’t buy the argument that taxes are a toll for living in a civil society the way you frame it. You seem to be saying that the insanely disproportionate tax burden that wealthy folks shoulder (the top 10% of earners paying 70% of taxes) is somehow a necessary bulwark against true class warfare. If this were the case, the US would have disintegrated in violence long ago, as the current “progressive” tax scheme, or really any semblance thereof, is a very recent (20th century) phenomenon. You also seem to countenance this arrangement, as if it’s not only practical but also preferable to have the wealthy pay some sort of protection money to the government. Couldn’t disagree more.

    I also have trouble with the argument that the rich use more government resources, directly or indirectly, than the poor, and thus should be taxed more. The “they have more to lose” argument is weak, given that the only things the government should be “protecting” are the lives and the liberties of its citizens, which are not valued on any socioeconomic scale. You may argue that wealthy get more benefit from policeman because they have more property to be protected; I would argue that the property protection is actually provided by private insurance, and that the police are actually there to guard safety. Other services that the government provides, like roads, because private solutions aren’t workable, are consumed equally, or are tolled proportionate to use. Anything else that the government provides (education, social security) is not only undesired by the wealthy, but usually not even utilized in favor of private sector services. The government does get involved in business, with trade agreements, regulation, taxation schemes, and the like, but just because this is happening does not mean that it is proper.

    Since my entire view on taxation rests on the idea that the government should only provide a basic level of services which are by definition needed and consumed equitably, and which can not or should not be provided by the private sector, I’d be very interested to hear from you some examples of the contrary.

    From everything I’ve seen, the pro-tax argument really boils down to, as Bladefist put it, a Socialist view. This is a fine view to hold, but let’s not whitewash it as “progressive” or use some other euphemism to portray it as something other than a plan to take money from the rich and redistribute it among the poor with the official backing of the government.

  65. Bladefist says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: I think a lot of these people just unfortunately for them, were born in the wrong hemisphere.

  66. @Bladefist: I still want to know why the original story was posted. Is there supposed to be some relevance to the fact that Obama pays cash and McCain uses Amex? To draw some sort of conclusion about the candidates from their credit cards is pretty silly, as all of the rational comments have indicated. Next thing you know, someone will be telling us that John McCain is in bed with the airlines because he’s earning miles!

  67. gliscameria says:

    Who cares? They are both rich and pretending to give a sh|t about the rest of us. They aren’t average Joes and they don’t care about the middle class. If I was rich I probably wouldn’t care either.

    It’s not a black guy running against a white guy, it’s two rich bastards fighting for power. It’s garbage like this that turns people into socialists.

  68. Bladefist says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: You know why it was posted. To spur more hate McCains way. Even though it proves nothing, its another reason to call Obama the Messiah and McCain fiscally irresponsible. Even though it makes 0 sense.

  69. FLConsumer says:

    @johnva: Definitely would be their month-to-month spending. I know I’ve never carried a balance, yet my credit report shows a balance for each month.

    What I find more interesting is the Obama family carrying no balance. So, they’re either not using credit cards at all (unlikely) or are running EVERYTHING through their businesses (questionable practice).

  70. Trai_Dep says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: Gosh. That’s just so… Pathetic.
    I feel sad for you bro.

  71. coolkiwilivin says:

    @Trai_Dep: Trai_Dep you’re totally living in la la land. I love liberals who love to pull out “facts”. To Claim that liberals want more forthrightness is such a bold faced lie that you should be ashamed for stating such a lie. Where are the Clintons financial records? Where was an honest answer from Obama about the Gay Marriage ruling? Why lie that he’s NOT going to sock it to the middle class? Trai_Dep time to move out of your parents house, get a job and see what its like to earn a living.

  72. johnva says:

    @FLConsumer: They could just be using debit cards or something. Or maybe the reporting rules are vague as to whether month-to-month credit card spending need be reported as “debt”?

  73. Trai_Dep says:

    @coolkiwilivin: You must be joking. I give hard-sourced 168 cases (with TWO subcategories) of GOP pols caught pandering, breaking laws, larceny and RICO crimes, and you bring up the staggeringly over-investigated (and under-criminal) Whitewater case? And assorted noncriminal red herrings?
    What world do you live in where you think pols – any pols – illegally using their office to commit Federal, felony crimes is okay? Seriously, how can you think this is fine? George Washington must be weeping right now.

  74. Mr. Gunn says:

    Bladefist: Obama’s economic background.

    He’s vastly more educated about economics than McCain is, and is likely to be fairly laissez-faire, as well. (that means he’s a fan of the free market, just in case you needed the definition)