Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Meet Your Landlord America: It's Claire McCaskill

Meet Your Landlord: Claire McCaskill
According to former Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill, her husband brings in at least $2,200,000 from his low-income tenants each year. You, the tax payer, subsidize their $183,333 a month lifestyle through polices ostensibly designed to help the poor, like Section 8 housing.

I've arrived at this figure based on my analysis of section IIIB, Non-publicly Traded Assets and Unearned Income Sources, of McCaskill's 2011 financial disclosure. That section lists hundreds of companies that McCaskill's husband, Joseph Shepard, has a financial interest in. Nearly all of the companies listed there have little or no value and generate little or no income for Shepard and McCaskill. Most are "real estate affordable housing". I set aside the companies that generate little revenue and only considered assets that generate income in either the $100,000 to a $1,000,000 category or the $1,000,000+. I reduced this data set further--just considering the companies that generated rent and interest income under the assumption that those are the companies that are realizing the revenue from Shepard's low-income tenants in the form of both monthly rent payments and interest on security deposits. As the chart below illustrates, the revenue from three of these companies includes some capital gains.

My estimate that McCaskill and Shepard are realizing $2,200,000 in annual revenue most of which is derived from the monthly rent checks of their impoverished tenants, is clearly on the low end. Three of the companies above generate income in excess of a million dollars each year, I assumed the other companies only generate $100,000 in annual revenue, and I omitted all smaller sources of rent and interest revenue.

The reality is that you, the taxpayer, bought Joseph Shepard an investment portfolio of Section 8 rental properties, some of which were subsidized with almost $40 million in stimulus dollars, and you, the taxpayer, along with his needy tenants continue to pay him each month to the tune of millions of dollars a year. It's like Shepard and McCaskill are conducting their own class-war where they transfer the meager earnings of the poor and your tax dollars into their bank accounts. As I wrote a few weeks ago:
While income levels for American workers have fallen to 1989 levels, McCaskill has benefited from government programs intended to help the poor. She's the 18th wealthiest member of the 535 members of Congress. And that wealth was built on an empire of "affordable housing." 
Every war has its profiteers and America's longest war, the War on Poverty is no exception. If you want to find the waste in America's welfare programs, you need look no further than McCaskill's bank account.
We have to get rid of the policies that allow this to happen and the first step is to cut off Shepard's access to the US Senate Dining Room by making sure that Claire McCaskill loses on November 6th. The time has come to fire your landlord!

Update: Thanks to Lisa for having me on Missouri Grassroots radio tonight to discuss this story! I join her program around the 11 minute mark.

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