Thursday, August 21, 2008

McCain's Houses

McCain's Houses

Barack Hussein Obama is running ads that make a big deal about how many houses McCain and his wife own. Yup, seven houses worth more than $13 million. Perhaps the response that McCain might want to make is, "Yes, but none of them were bought as part of land deals with convicted felons--unlike Obama's curious land deal with Rezko." And of course, when it comes to obscenely rich politicians with multiple houses, I recall that this was an issue in the last presidential election as well. This article in the August 21, 2008 Politico reminds us that it wasn't a Republican:
In recent weeks, Democrats have stepped up their effort to caricature McCain as living an outlandishly rich lifestyle — a bit of payback to the GOP for portraying Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as an elitist, and for turning the spotlight in 2004 on the five homes owned by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
I do agree that there does come a point where spending like this disturbs me. At a certain point, the money spent buying and maintaining those extra homes is money that could be invested in productive enterprises, or helping the poor. But there is no obvious bright line that separates, "It's nice to be able to afford this" from "This is obscene when children are going hungry in the Third World, and little girls are being sold into prostitution." I wouldn't buy a new Corvette, even if I were as rich as many people I know; that would be extravagant. (I got such a deal on mine used in 2002!) Certainly, Gulfstream liberals like Laurie David and houses like John Edwards's, which is so large that you can only photograph it from the air, are on the far side of this murky line. Democrats are in no position to be casting stones about excessive wealth--and Obama's house in Chicago is so sleazily involved with a corrupt guy like Rezko that he shouldn't be raising the question.

To John McCain's credit, he at least has taken the position that he wants everyone to have the opportunity to get rich--and his general approach to tax policy suggests that he is serious about this. The contrast with Democrats is quite startling, who talk "tax the rich" but actually support policies that tax those trying to get rich.

Since Obama's ad makes a big deal about the problems of the housing market in America, I suppose that it is worth wondering if at least some of McCain's seven houses might represent the results of a rather weak market. I own two houses right now--and believe me, I would love to sell the one in Boise. I've knocked it down to $289,000, and still no offers--and that's more than $30,000 below the county assessor's fantasy of what it is worth.

UPDATE: I heard some discussion of this on Fox News last night. Some of these houses are occupied by the McCain children. A reader tells me at least some of these properties are actually rentals. That puts a whole new spin on the matter. If they owned seven houses for their own occupancy, that would be extravagant. If some of these homes are for their children, this becomes praiseworthy. As one of my readers pointed out: "John McCain may have eight homes, but none of them ever hosted a fund-raiser where one of the guests was a terrorist who attempted to bomb the U.S. Capitol, and who said he didn't do enough."

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