Presidential Credibility? Pre-2005 “Broke” Obamas Lived on Credit Lines

Prior to his book sales, made possible by terrorist Bill Ayers writing the book for him, and prior to her 250% “magic beans” raise, the Obamas were deeply in debt.:  Why would ANYONE listen to Barack Obama’s advice on a budget?

How can this country trust its future and the economy to a president who has never run a business [not even a lemonade stand] or hired even one employee? What right does Barack Obama have to sit in meetings with Republicans now, after 2 years of unprecedented government spending, and tell us to “eat our peas?” Let’s look back to just a few years ago, how much of a mess Barack Obama’s personal finances were…until he managed to hitch a ride on the government gravy train. He and Michelle couldn’t manage their own household spending, no wonder he’s making such a mess of the country now. Why do the national media give this poseur such a “pass?”

Hat tip to KSFO Brian Sussman Morning show for bringing this to our attention.

Barack and Michelle Obama, 1999: New Yorker magazine

“President Obama’s troubling mantra: In debt, we trust”

By Richard Henry Lee

First published: May 1, 2009 in New York Daily News

“It is no surprise that President Obama supports unprecedented spending and borrowing in the federal budget since he has never suffered any consequences from the excessive spending and borrowing in his private life.

And I’m not just talking about the First Lady’s $540 sneakers.

A close examination of their finances shows that the Obamas were living off lines of credit along with other income for several years until 2005, when Obama’s book royalties came through and Michelle received her 260% pay raise at the University of Chicago. This was also the year Obama started serving in the U.S. Senate.

During the presidential primary campaign, Michelle Obama complained how tough it was to make ends meet. During a stop in Ohio, she said, “I know we’re spending – I added it up for the first time – we spend between the two kids, on extracurriculars outside the classroom, we’re spending about $10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements and so on and so forth.”

Let’s examine how tough things were for this couple using various public records.

In April 1999, they purchased a Chicago condo and obtained a mortgage for $159,250. In May 1999, they took out a line of credit for $20,750. Then, in 2002, they refinanced the condo with a $210,000 mortgage, which means they took out about $50,000 in equity. Finally, in 2004, they took out another line of credit for $100,000 on top of the mortgage.

Tax returns for 2004 reveal $14,395 in mortgage deductions. If we assume an effective interest rate of 6%, then they owed about $240,000 on a home they purchased for about $159,250.

This means they spent perhaps $80,000 beyond their income from 1999 to 2004.

The Obamas’ adjusted gross income averaged $257,000 from 2000 to 2004. This is above the threshold of $250,000 which Obama initially used as the definition of being “rich” for taxation purposes during last year’s election campaign.

The Obama family apparently had little or no savings during this period since there was virtually no taxable interest shown on their tax returns.

In 2003, they reported almost $24,000 in child care expenses and, in 2004, about $23,000. They also paid about $3,400 in household employment taxes each year. And as Michelle stated, they spent $10,000 a year on “extracurriculars” for the children.

These numbers clearly show the Obamas were living beyond their means and they might have suffered financially during the decline in housing prices had they relied on taking ever larger amounts of equity from their home to pay the bills.

But in 2005, Obama’s book sales soared and the royalties poured in. Michelle explained, “It was like Jack and his magic beans.”

Without those magic beans, the Obama family would have eventually suffered the consequences of too much debt.

Obama’s penchant for borrowing in his private life carries over to his public life.

He gave the Congress virtually free rein in writing the huge stimulus bill. He had no reservations whatsoever about the country assuming so much debt. Other Presidents have tried to work out compromises on spending measures since it is ultimately the President who takes responsibility for the consequences.

Obama did make a feeble attempt to control spending when he announced that his cabinet had found ways to reduce federal spending by $100 million. But this is laughable. Compared to an estimated $3.6 trillion federal budget, it is a minuscule 0.0028%.

To put this into the context of the Obamas’ income for 2004 of $207,647, this savings works out to $5.77, or about the price of an arugula salad.

President Obama has never faced consequences in his private life when it comes to managing money. He always had enough money simply by borrowing more and more. And just when things got tight, those magic beans came along to save the day.

But as a nation, we cannot base our future on the hope that some day Jack and those magic beans will also save the rest of us.”

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