OpinionMeister

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Maybe It's Not Just With Other People's Money

The Hill has an article about members of Congress running up high credit card debt. Link. The gist of the article was to ask whether members with high credit card debt would be more sympathetic to others in such a situation when considering the bankruptcy bill. Their conclusion: it made no difference in their support.

However, I had more interest in who the record-holders were.
The lawmaker reporting the highest credit-card debt was Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who noted that in 2003 he had between $80,000 and $175,000 spread across seven credit cards. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, listed five accounts with a total of $75,000 to $250,000 in debt. New York Democrat Gary Ackerman was third in the survey, listing "various credit cards" with a total balance of $50,000 to $100,000.

I wondered how these three, who handled their own finances so poorly, handled the public's finances. I went to the National Taxpayers Union to see how they rated these three in their 2004 ranking for fiscal responsibility. You also can use this link to see how your congressman ranks. Two of the three scored an F, Scott, who ranked 431st among his peers and Ackerman, who ranked 385th. Hunter has a middle-of-the-road C+, with a rank of 137th.

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