A long time ago in Chicago, I used to work with a guy named Karl Denninger, who was the company's Internet wizard -- this was around 1992, before almost anybody had heard of the Internet. Yet, Karl built us a large, reliable Internet system for managing our national network. In hindsight, it's obvious that what we should have done was give up on the product we we're trying to sell, and just gone into the nascent Internet business, utilizing Karl's expertise.
The following ought to raise alarms among voters - or perhaps not, given how silly we all are as Americans when it comes to personal financial management:
"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....
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. "
At least $225,000 in revolving debt, with at least some of it carrying "subprime" rates? By the way, that $225,000 is the minimum - it could be as high as $565,000, but the Senate does not require exact disclosure - just ranges.
The McCains are paying 25.99% interest rate on $10,000 or more???
Unlike Karl, I'm a lousy personal financial manager, but even I know enough to do what it takes to never have a balance outstanding on my credit cards at the end of the month. But the Republican Presidential nominee doesn't seem to know that.
UPDATE: Well, I may have made some dubious assumptions here. I assumed that to run up hundreds of thousands on your credit card you'd have to roll over the few thousand you spend each month for month after month, paying interest after each month. Big mistake!
Assume, instead, that Cindy McCain spends a few hundreds thousand per month using her credit cards, which she pays off on, say, the 3rd of the month, right on time. And the form asks her for her financial situation on the first of the month. Well, then she puts down that she owes a ton of money on her credit cards, but she still pays it off right away and avoids interest fees.
I don't know what the real situation is with the McCain's, but I shouldn't analogize from the finances of people I know to the McCains, who operate in a whole different realm.