Fiscally Responsible John McCain

John McCain’s new Senate Financial Disclosure Form, look like he was either running his campaign off the American Express Platinum Card his wife gave him, or they have one hell of a high living lifestyle.

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.

I know what American Express charges for interest on a Platinum Card. A fiscally responsible household should probably sell some of the million of Anheuser-Busch stock they own and stop paying that 17% ARP on $500,000 worth of Amex charges. There are some other stark contrasts between the McCains and the Obamas. The McCains have a net worth around $40 million, almost all of it from Cindy’s holdings. The Obama’s net worth is closer to $4 million, most of it earned from Barack’s two recent books. Instead of going into debt they have managed to put $250,000 in a college savings account for their two daughters.

McCain’s books don’t seem to do very well. Whereas Obama earned $ 4 million in the last year in book royalties, McCain only earned $176,488.

This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Economics, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Fiscally Responsible John McCain

  1. woodnsoul says:

    It strikes me that someone who can run up that kind of credit card bill cannot possibly relate to the average, or even way above average person, in this country.

    It truly bogles the mind that there are people out there living that kind of life style.

    And that is nothing to the relative fiscal irresponsibility this sort of life clearly demonstrates. Is it any wonder that they don’t want their financial records public?

  2. Ken Ballweg says:

    From what I’ve read, the AmEx run ups were to cover campaigning bills when the contributions were running low. The hope is to be able to pay them back when fund raising picks up. It’s just your average day at the beach in terms of finance management for your low end millionaire candidate.

    Diesel for the Straight Talk Express is spendy you know.

  3. Ken Ballweg says:

    Oh, and funny how “elitist” is an arrow in the quiver of the right against Obama. Dude, he’s barely out of the middle class by today’s standards.

  4. biff3000 says:

    Huff. Post is citing a previous McCain disclosure form that says the McCains have a 0% deal on those credit card accounts. If so, I can understand why they’re carrying the balance….

  5. Lisa says:

    Isn’t it interesting that the Democratic candidate is good at saving responsibly while the Republican is spendingspendingspending? Doesn’t it seem a bit like these parties act when in office? Historically, the Republicans are notorious deficit-creators, while the Dems are budget-balancers. I’m just saying….

  6. Rachel says:

    biff3000, an Amex Platinum card has a 0% interest rate, if it’s a traditional card. An Amex Platinum credit card has a rate between 3 – 10% p.a., depending upon the country it’s issued in.

    Traditionally Amex cards are not credit cards, but charge cards that must be acquitted. 10-15 years ago Amex introduced credit cards as well, but it’s a different product (eg American Express Optima).

    So if it’s a traditional Amex Platinum card, they pay no interest, but they can’t carry the debt from month to month.

    If they spend more than, say, $10k per month (which they do) Amex will waive the $900 annual card fee for Platinum card holders.

    Plus, they get the benefit of holding the cash for around 30 days. At $250k per month, that’s a tidy profit if you’re parking the cash in a foreign interest account.

    I run a lot of my business expenses this way: I pay for everything on my Amex card, which provides a great audit trail, and then I write one cheque each month to clear the card. Amex sends me a lovely 200 page report at the end of each tax year detailing all my expenditure, by category, all as part of the service. For example, I know I spent $2,500 last year on gasoline for the car.

    Anyway, I don’t spend $100,000 per month on my Amex (they’ll give you a Black one if you do that) but you can run up very large amounts if you’re cashflowing your business on one.

    Or even, I imagine, if you’re paying your mortgages and car leasing with one…

  7. Andrew says:

    Odd — I have a Platinum card and only pay 12%. Not that it’s that much better, but I’m glad it’s not 17%!

  8. Jon Taplin says:

    Rachel- If they were paying off the balance each month, they would not have gone through the embarrassment of listing it as an outstanding debt on the Senate disclosure forms.

    I’m more interested in biff3000’s note that they are getting some sort of interest free carry from American Express. That would be wierd.

  9. Ben says:

    Rachel, you can add credit accounts to traditional AmEx charge cards. I wouldn’t endorse it, but that would appear to be what the McCains are doing.

  10. Jeremy says:

    You would think in a democracy that the representatives might actually have something in common with the people they represent. Bush, Kerry, Clinton, Obama have more in common politically and economically with each other than with the majority of Americans. The Democrats and Republicans are just two wings of the same party.

  11. André says:

    Why should that be weird? Sure enough McCain would – if he gets elected, that is – sure enough reimburse Amex ONE way or ANOTHER for treating him so good.

  12. appfunds says:

    It`s hard to imagine a person who`s in debt at 17 % p.a. running such a big country like the USA.

  13. Chris says:

    I find this an odd comparison. Let’s look at the numbers reported in the article side by side:

    Credit Card Debt:
    McCain: “at least $225,000”
    Obama: (not reported in the article)

    College Fund:
    McCain: (not reported in the article)
    Obama: “more than $200,000”

    I like Obama, but I’m unhappy that this article has chosen to compare two different figures. Perhaps the Obamas have a crippling credit card debt as well. Or maybe there is several million dollars in a McCain family college fund. If both sides are not being reported, they should not be compared.

  14. Jon Taplin says:

    Chris- The article did not mention Obama’s outstanding credit card debt, because they didn’t have any. As to the McCain’s college fund, I think all their kids are out of college. Remember, he’s 71.

  15. Geneva Girl says:

    McCain may be old, but his second set of kids are not. Bridget, the youngest, is in high school. James who was born in 1988 enlisted in the Marines at 17 served in Iraq.

    Yes, with kids so young, the McCains should have money in college funds.

  16. Mike O says:

    Most of the credit card debt is in the wife’s (separate) name and, according to this article, seems to make good financial sense because of American Express policies. Not being anywhere near that tax bracket, I’ll never to be that well treated, but it seems fairly standard for that set.

    Anybody who thinks people in Cindy McCain’s tax bracket aren’t treated differently and lack some understanding of the ‘average’ lifestyle is amusing naive.

    As for the Obamas, their personal fiscal mismanagement is in their nearly complete lack of savings; based on 500K a year total income.

  17. I hope they signed up for the Rewards program.

    Just think of how much swag they could get!

    That stuff costs like 100k-600k reward points per item.

  18. unastronaut. says:

    Just another reason why this elitism bs annoys me. Talk about not identifying with the common man.

  19. John C. says:

    This is ridiculous. It’s just a working capital issue, in that the campaign expenses some month-to-month items through the platinum card (one reason is because of how transparent it is), and then pays it down at the end of the month. The idea that this is fiscally irresponsible is comical. Its actually an intelligent way to accumulate benefits associated with Amex and keep the trail in an easy-to-audit format. Please put some financial thinking behind this stuff before making a claim that belies such ignorance.

  20. Chris says:

    Jon – if that’s the case, then I think the article should state the Obama’s have no credit card debt, instead of promoting the idea of “absence of evidence is evidence of absence.” It’s just not responsible reporting.

    As for the McCain’s, I was thinking more along the lines of a family college fund, extending to grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If there is no fund, or there is nothing that could fit into the same general category, the article should report it, instead of supporting faulty logic.

  21. Isn’t any man being supported by a rich wife more of a cock-a-doodle then a cock?

  22. My respect for Barack and Michelle Obama just keeps rising. I may yet vote for the man.

  23. Pingback: links for 2008-06-16

  24. duus says:

    > Ken Ballweg // June 14, 2008 at 11:20 am
    > Oh, and funny how “elitist” is an arrow in the quiver of the right against Obama.

    The GOP typically uses its weaknesses to attack their opponent. E.g.: John Kerry’s military record.

  25. Fake Rake says:

    Given how much credit card debt the average American has, it sounds like McCain represents the average American much better. Who does Obama think he is, being all elitist with his fiscal responsibility? We don’t take kindly to that kind ’round here.

  26. Cindy says:

    Hey, it’s not like they can afford an accountant. Happens to us all.

  27. Pingback: McCain’s Management Style « Jon Taplin’s Blog

Leave a Reply