Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Plague On Both Their Houses

John McCain is in the news today for not knowing how many houses he and his second wife Cindy own; naturally, the Obama campaign is seizing the moment to divert attention from the devastatingly accurate ads McCain's been making about Obama's unearned celebrity status:

Campaigning in Chester, Va., Obama told voters, "I guess if you think being rich means you've got to make $5 million and if you don't know how many houses you have, it's not surprising you might think the economy is fundamentally strong." He returned to the McCain remark later, saying of teachers: "Most teachers hold themselves accountable. They didn't go into teaching to make money. They don't have seven houses."

The Obama campaign also announced 16 campaign events across the country to highlight the comment and try to turn the tables on McCain's effort to cast him as an elitist.

Of course, as the Associated Press writer points out, these days it's risky business for one presidential candidate to start calling the other rich; neither of them are close to middle class:

McCain's tax returns showed a total income of $405,409 in 2007. According to her 2006 tax returns, Cindy McCain had a total income of $6 million. Her wealth is estimated by some at $100 million, based on her late father's Arizona beer distributorship. She has not released her 2007 returns, which she files separately from her husband.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, reported making $4.2 million in 2007.

So the couple making $4.2 million a year is trash-talking the couple making $6.4 million a year on the grounds that the second couple is wealthy and out-of-touch. I guess closing that $2.2 million dollar income gap between the wealthy and the even-more-wealthy is a big issue in politics these days for all but the super rich, to whom mere millions are chump change.

Meanwhile, there are approximately 36 million Americans living below the poverty line, which means an annual income of about $20,000 for a family of four. I guess they can take comfort in the fact that both the McCain and Obama campaigns will probably spend that much in the time it takes to read the AP article, as they squabble over which of them will better represent the needs of the poor.

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