If a Republican tells you this race is about character, bring up this point.
In 2007, John McCain made $405,409. That's his own income, separate from Cindy McCain's millions. She filed separately.
Of that $405,409, $23,157 came from Social Security benefits. Here's a link to USA Today that discusses his 2007 income.
A man who earned $31,771 a MONTH thought that wasn't enough and accepted another $1,933 a month in Social Security funds.
You and I are paying into Social Security while being told it will run out of money before we reach retirement age. People who will NEED this money and who have paid in all their working lives, won't have it. John McCain, whose personal income, not including his wife's millions, was 3, 4, or even 5 times the household income for a middle class family last year, takes it when he has no true need for it.
If John McCain loses the presidential race and retires at the end of 2008, he'd be entitled to a yearly pension of $132,160 in 2009.
Need proof? Here's the Senate's public information page on pensions.
Now, the idea that senators don't pay into Social Security is false. They voted away that privelege under Reagan back in 1983 and started paying in at the start of 1984.
But the cap in 2007 was that you only pay in on the first $97,500 of taxable income. McCain likely paid in $6,045 in Social Security taxes on his Senate salary, but then collected $23,177 in Social Security benefits for a net profit of $17,132.
In high-school civics class, I was taught that Social Security was supposed to be a safety net, security in rough times. When you're making $31,771 a MONTH, you're pretty secure. How much more secure is $1,933 a month going to make you?
Even though giving up his $1,933 a month (or net of $1427.67 when you count what he paid in) wouldn't save Social Security, you'd think that while he was still earning 3 or 4 times the income of many middle-class families, John McCain would forego it as a matter of principle. He doesn't need it and the system is in trouble. It would be the patriotic thing to do.
Instead, John McCain, the self-proclaimed enemy of pork, pigs out on taxpayer dollars he doesn't need just because they're there for the taking; making sure they won't be there for the hard-working Americans who will need them in the future.
I can only assume Obama doesn't bring this up because he fears any mention of Social Security in a negative context will cause older voters to have a knee-jerk reaction and vote for McCain out of fear.
But someone has to bring this up. Republicans love to moan about "entitlement programs" and McCain's acting pretty entitled.
If the McCain campaign wants to make this race a matter of character, then this is a side of McCain's character that needs to be exposed. Why, when the Social Security system is in trouble and he's doing just dandy in his own right even without his wife's millions, is John McCain taking tax money he doesn't need out of Social Security and putting it in his own pocket?
The next time a Republican brings up character, you can be glad they did, because you can ask them to defend McCain taking tax money he doesn't need and putting it in his own pocket. Ask them about McCain's personal pork.
After learning about that, the only way I can use the word "character" in reference to McCain is when I say: "McCain... what a character."