June 24, 2008

Where did the Obamas' money go, 1997-2004?

It might be interesting for somebody to go through the Obamas' tax returns from 1997-2004 and try to figure out where all the money went. This isn't a Davos Man Mystery like with the Clintons' tens of millions; this is just the kind of yuppie personal finance that most readers of this blog can identify with.

Before the Obamas got rich in 2005, they still averaged over $200k in income annually from 1997-2004, but did they save much? For example, even though they made $3 million in 2005-2006, Sen. Obama didn't start sheltering income from his books in a Self Employed Pension until 2007, presumably because they couldn't afford to set cash aside. Obama has said he had a hard time renting a car at the 2000 Democratic convention because his credit card was maxed out.

Mrs. Obama complains frequently about the burden of having to pay off their law school loans, but she got out of law school 20 years ago and he got out 17 years ago.

My vague impression is that Mrs. Obama is quite high maintenance (e.g., she works out with a personal trainer four times per week, which must chew up $10k or $15k per year right there), so that might account for where the money went.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

Private school for the girls. Michelle also commented about paying a lot for outside activities for them. Ballet or music lessons I forget.

So M works out. Feeding her huge vanity plus she looks like she could beat him up


Anonymous said...

Before 1997, a lot of their financial claims seem shady.

Five Questions To Ask Obama About His Finances

Probably the most pressing one is where he got $110K as down payment for his first condo. He apparently got a six figure advance for his first book deal, but should have returned it when he didn't deliver. But if it wasn't the book deal, where'd he get the $110K?

Also, the Obamas have been asked to pony up evidence of their school loans and have never done so.

The media faithfully repeats the Obamadotes that Obama took the community worker for $13K (or whatever, the numbers change), that they just paid off their loans in 2003, that their school loans were more than their condo payment. But there's no real evidence of any of this.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the headline of your article I thought that it was going to be about exactly which charities they gave their money to during that time period. That's another interesting question. it's always very revealing to see whom people donate to. I remember once seeing a list of Ivan Boesky's donations, and it was something like, a million to United Jewish Appeal, five hundred thousand to some other Jewish organization, ten thousand to the Boy Scouts. I know a rich black guy who donates only to causes which are earmarked for minorities. Seeing where the Obamas gave money would tell us whether or not he really is a "uniter" whose multiethnic backbround makes him want to be President of the red states as well as the blue states -- or whether his real loyalties are narrower.

Anonymous said...

He apparently got a six figure advance for his first book deal, but should have returned it when he didn't deliver.

C'mon. Who returns advances anymore when the sales don't meet expectations? Publishing (meaning the big 6th Avenue publisher's houses) hasn't worked that way in a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

Read this article and tell me who's financial acumen you prefer: Obama or McCain's.


For those who don't click, here's the gist. Obama has $200k saved for his kids college education. McCain is admittedly superrich but he has hundreds of thousands in credit card debt (needless interest expense).

Anonymous said...

It would also be interesting to know where his money comes from now (as if I didn't know).

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the basic financial fact about John McCain.

He cheated on his first wife (Carol) with a younger, ultra-wealthy woman (Cindy) whose father passed her a $100 million fortune as a beer distributor.

Ever since hes led a life of extreme luxury on his father-in-law's dime. There are a few people who get rich but live relatively modestly. McCain is not one of them, with private jet travel and about 6 or 7 gigantic houses.

Anonymous said...

More on the first McCain, and how the "womanizing" McCain cheated on a woman who bore him three children.


mnuez said...


Please tell me that you're humble enough to consider whether your consistent anal examination of The Obama may be on account of less-than-intellectual factors. It annoys me to see you constantly probing Obama for a thousand and one matters that you would otherwise be ignoring about him were he not...how shall we say? Black.

It's really not cool.


Anonymous said...

Who returns advances anymore when the sales don't meet expectations?

Um, no. He got an advance to write the book, and bailed on the contract.

Anonymous said...

mnuez, we knew next to nothing about the Man-Who-Would-Be-President a mere six months ago. Steve, please continue with the full body cavity search. Someone's gotta do it.

Anonymous said...

cal said

He got an advance to write the book, and bailed on the contract.

Anyone interested in this can go here. The site is "Authors Against Obama."

Anonymous said...

Menthols, of course.

Anonymous said...

Mnuez -

Obama needs to be vetted thoroughly because

1) he is a largely "unknown" quantity on the national scene;

2) the liberal " Zabar left" media is not interested in doing it because that media manipulates facts and coverage in order to guarantee outcomes, alter the national agenda, get a liberal in the White House. They are genetically incapable of being objective and nonpartisan;

3) Obama continues to show he is a completely disingenuous character who will say and do anything to get elected. The withdrawal of public financing after previous pledge the most recent example.

Anonymous said...

Among the innumerable interesting things about Obama's candidacy is the lie that it puts to some of the most tired myths about black/white relations in America.

In particular, the myth that the historical marginalization of blacks has given them particular insight into the dominant (i.e., white) culture. This may have had some truth when black women frequently worked as "domestics" for upper-crusty whites and had to look the other way at the wife's pill-popping and junior's porn collection, but no more.

Obama has spent much of his adult life establishing his black bona fides in the armpit of South Side radicalism, but he's successful as a candidate because he was raised by and around whites and has developed a very keen instinct for Stuff White People Like. Your typical inner city ward heeler, however, has no idea. With the atomization of popular culture, poor, inner city blacks are probably more insulated today from nonblack culture than they ever have been in history.

For example, interviews with inner city American blacks now frequently need to be subtitled on TV - unthinkable 20 years ago, unless it was someone born in the 1800s and had lived his whole life on the Delta (white speech, as far as I can tell, hasn't changed much - so I don't think that's it).

mnuez said...

Anonymi, you misunderstand me. I've said priorly and I'll say again that Steve is an authority on Obama like no other. I'll say further that Steve points to interesting facts regarding Obama (and matters relevant to him) that you'll never come across elsewhere. Steve's service in the cause of Obama elucidation has been exemplary...

But it's crossed over into an unhealthy obsession some time ago. Steve's ruminations over what Obama could, should or would have said about Don Imus were the hyper-ramblings of a man possessed. Furthermore, Steve's been treating Obama awesomely unfairly by harping on every conceivable, and even rumored, sin of this ugly little politician while ignoring attic-fulls of skeletons of Obama's rival (what's his name again?).

I fail to see how either of these unhealthy habits assist in getting the honest word out about things we should all be considering in this coming election.

So Steve, my hat's off to you and my bow is low for your fantastic investigative journalism (or whatever this oughta be called) regarding many matters Obama but I'd like to ask you to see if you can go about it more cleanly and honestly -- and bi-racially*.

*You know what I mean! /s/

Anonymous said...

"So Steve, my hat's off to you and my bow is low for your fantastic investigative journalism (or whatever this oughta be called) regarding many matters Obama but I'd like to ask you to see if you can go about it more cleanly and honestly -- and bi-racially*."

That's all well and good Mnuez (although your smuggness is over the top) but McCain, flawed as he is, is not about to wreak havoc on what's left of our democracy if he gets elected. I get the impression you don't care if the US falls to an upstart Marxist probably trained from childhood to topple our government.

Mnuez heart Marxism.

Those of us who are concerned about the potential end to our way of life and the ensuing loss of our right to free speech and free thought want to know ever more about Obama. There is a disparate impact involved - Obama will cause more harm that McCain even if they are equally flawed human beings. Even more important, I think, is the foreign influence in the Obama campaign. This needs to be brought out again and again so that we never forget that assorted foreign nationals want Obama to win.

If you don't already live in Canada, Mnuez, perhaps you'd be happier there.

Anonymous said...

It begets the question about whether Obama would really be in a position to be probed for a thousand and one matters that would otherwise be ignored about him if he was...how shall we say? White.

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of Obama by a long shot, but private trainers aren't as expensive as you claim. My wife and I use private trainers 3 times a week. In their spare time they train Rockets, Astros and Texans. Basically the best in the city. And we pay $300/month


Anonymous said...

mnuez said

It's really not cool.

Is this the best you've got?

"Cool people don't do this."

"The in-crowd disapproves."

"We aren't going to like you anymore, if you keep saying things we disapprove of."

"Your views are seriously uncool."

Mnuez, you and the rest of the cool kids can go take a flying biracial leap off the nearest high school. Don't forget to cluck your tongue on the way down.

Anonymous said...

M, Steve Sailer's obsessive-compulsive attacks on Sen. Obama are easily explained. They are all about envy. Sailer is a failure at everything he has attempted. He could not keep a job with third-rate UPI. The Washington Times, long a bastion of white supremacists, passed on Sailer when he sought work there. So, Sailer is left desperately trying to draw readership to the misanthropic and seldom read Vdare.

Meanwhile, a contemporary who comes from a difficult background, soars like an eagle, makiing Sailer's ugly duckling status even more apparent. Obama has exceptional writing skills, while Sailer's are mediocre at best. The senator has brought home to Sailer that racism notwithstamding, there are African-Americans who achieve much more than he ever will.

Sailer's supporters may need to take turns on suicide watch if Sen. Obama is elected president.

Antioco Dascalon said...

How many times does Steve have to explain? Obama is likely our next president. He is also the least vetted candidate in memory. He is adulated by the media and so they won't be doing their jobs.
Coincidentally, Steve has become an expert in biodiversity, which is a big part of Obama's appeal and a big reason why his books sold, he became editor of the HLR, state senator, US senator and now presidential nominee (note: I am not saying that this was because of AA but it was because of his unique background).
Steve is the only one with the expertise and the guts (well, really the fact that he has little to lose).
Oh, and the last anonymous. Would you say that envy is at the root of all the Bush-hate as well? All these less than successful people envious of a two-term president? Sauce for the gander, after all.

Anonymous said...

The main question I'd ask Munez is, who else is looking at Obama in depth? As far as I can tell, it's a few bloggers and McCain's opposition research people. (This is pretty much true of McCain, as well. Look at the amazingly forgiving coverage he's given by the MSM, given his record. But it's mostly a different set of bloggers holding McCain's feet to the fire.)

It would be nice to live in a world where highly-paid journalists at the nation's top newspapers did this kind of thing a bit more often. But, we live in this world, where they either don't do the research, or their research is spiked by their publishers.

leaping lizards:

I find McCain at least as threatening to the American system of government as Obama. Under the Bush administration, we've seen a breathtaking increase in the claimed powers of government, including the whole Jose Padilla bit (where the feds asserted the power to arrest US citizens on US soil and hold them in a military brig, on the say-so of the president), massive wiretapping and other high-tech surveillance turned on American citizens, and the apparent widespread use of torture on prisoners (I hope to God not on US citizens yet, though there were certainly reasons to suspect that Padilla was tortured prior to finally being allowed to stand trial.). McCain appears to stand by those policies.

McCain also favors continuing the war in Iraq, and quite likely extending it into Iran. A continuing campaign like this will very likely require re-introducing the draft, and almost certainly makes us much less safe at home.

Finally (though there's much more), McCain fought for and sponsored campaign finance reform that amounts to regulation on political speech.

What I see in McCain is a guy who will wipe himself with the constitution and never blink, as demonstrated by his actions, by his votes in congress and his stated positions. I see a guy who will embroil us in endless colonial wars, from which we will never profit, who will leave us in a position where we have to impose a draft to find enough people to hold down our glorious third-world sh-thole conquests.

Obama is no prize. He's cynical enough to say whatever he needs to say to get elected, and slick enough to get people making comments like "oh, he doesn't mean that, he'll govern better than that" when he says something they know is wrong to pander for votes. He's willing to play either side of the race card when it wins him points. His apparent governing philosophy will be the intellectual, bookish brand of American liberalism, with a sprinkling of racial politics thrown in. And he'll be quite effective at it, as he's amazingly smooth, as inspiring and captivating a speaker as we've had since Reagan.

But compared to McCain, that all looks like a bargain. Less so now than a week or so ago, since he's backed the evil FISA telecom immunity bill (I assume the blackmail photos the telecom lobbyists have are *very* good), but still a bargain.