John Edwards Gets Set To Move Into a Third, Even More Exclusive, America

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Slate passes around some real estate poop on John Edwards, notorious PlayStation 3 enthusiast and spokesmen for all of us who have been banished to trailer park section of the "Two Americas."

Edwards, a leading–some would say the leading–Democratic presidential candidate for 2008, has just sold his Georgetown mansion for $5.2 million. That's almost $1.5 million more than what he paid for it back in 1998. 

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  1. Sounds like a windfall profit! Quick, seize it!

  2. You mean his real estate increased in value by just over 4% per year?

    Um, thanks for that.

  3. John Edwards knows a lot about poverty, after all, he’s helped throw a lot of people into it with:

    – his co-sponsorship of H-1b visas,

    – his support for illegal aliens,

    – his vote for MFN-China

    but what about stuff like iraq war and the patriot act?

    well, he voted for them too

    About the only thing you can say for Edwards is, he spent so much time running for president that he didnt have time to do more damage as senator

    You’ve got to ask yourself – ‘what did he do, with the power he had, when he had it?

  4. Oops, bad math.

    Senator Edwards’ property appreciated by almost 5.8% per year.

    I’m still underwhelmed.

  5. joe,
    Mark your calender, you made a comment on domestic politics in defense of a sleazy Democrat… And I totally agree with you.

  6. joe,

    I think the point is that people in the second of the two Americas don’t own $5.2 million homes.

  7. Gee, he criticizes inequality but he is himself wealthy! That is so shocking, so unprecedented (after all, past critics of inequality like FDR were always poor) and so undermines his critique!

    Seriously, I don’t particularly buy the “two Americas” thesis–or at least Edwards’ proposed solutions–but the idea that no one who is himself rich has the right to make it is silly.

  8. I think the point is that people in the second of the two Americas don’t own $5.2 million homes.

    yeah and again…what is that point of this??

    Only poor people can legitimately care about poverty?? People who are rich aren’t supposed to care about poverty? Somehow this makes Edwards a hypocrite?

    I don’t see what exactly is the “gotcha” of this post.

    My condo which I happened to buy in 1998 sells for double today on the open market..so what?

  9. If anything, Edward’s riches indicate his superiority over the rest of us, and means we should consider voting for him.

    The Free Market is the only measure of success there is, and we’d all own $5MM homes if we worked harder.

  10. we’d all own $5MM homes if we worked harder.

    He who would have what he hath not should do what he doth not.

  11. Only poor people can legitimately care about poverty?? People who are rich aren’t supposed to care about poverty? Somehow this makes Edwards a hypocrite?

    Its kinda like how only people who served in the military are allowed to have opinions about the war.

  12. Methink “Libby” is a new incarnation of Jane/Juanita…

  13. Its kinda like how only people who served in the military are allowed to have opinions about the war.

    Uhmm…no it isn’t.

    The chicken-hawk argument isn’t that only people who have served should have opinions about the war.

    It’s pointing out that the people who talk about he war as the most important battle we are fighting in our lifetime and one that we must “win” at all/any cost or else risk having humanity succumb to sharia law or something, are the people least willing to fight it.

    It’s about putting your money where your mouth is. Somehow John Edwards’ being rich doesn’t show him unwilling to put his money where his mouth is. (Much unlike most of the war’s biggest supporters)

    But nice try

  14. Only poor people can legitimately care about poverty?

    The wealthy are free to care about poverty all they want. What I don’t like is when they propose eliminating it by confiscating my property.

    So, yes, someone richer than me who proposes taking my property to eliminate wealth inequity is a hypocrite.

  15. “My condo which I happened to buy in 1998 sells for double today on the open market..so what?”

    Oooh, so now you’re a big time capitalist, huh? A real captain of industry. Go ahead, screw all the poor people. Ahhh, I’m just screwin’ around.

  16. Yes, a rich Democrat helping the poor, “Hypocrisy! Class traitor! We’ll defeat this FDR yet, Mr Hoover.”

    Good luck with that.

  17. Senator Edwards’ property appreciated by almost 5.8% per year.

    I’m still underwhelmed.

    So… Joe, what you’re saying is, that if 3% income tax cut across the board is passed, you won’t complain that the cut benefits the richest 1%? Right? Right?

  18. “So, yes, someone richer than me who proposes taking my property to eliminate wealth inequity is a hypocrite.”

    No, as long as he proposes to do so by, for example, higher taxes that would apply to him as well as you, he is not a hypocrite. He may favor mistaken policies. He may even be a thief, if you believe that taxation (at least for the sake of redistribution) is theft. But he is not a *hypocrite.*

  19. Edwards isn’t a hypocrite so much as he is an inexperienced piece of sleaze. IMBSO.

  20. David,

    Taxes are taken out of income, not wealth. So, someone who has already established himself and is making a small salary relative to his wealth (like, say, John Edwards) has a much smaller percentage of their assets seized than someone who is in the process of building their wealth through a relatively high income (like, say, me)

  21. John Edwards is a hippocrite, because he is against economic inequality.

    See, you can be against poverty, and be for the poor and working class, and still be rich. That is not a contradiction. Because helping the poor and the working class doesn’t nessicarilly mean you want them to have the exact same income and assets as the wealthy… it simply means that you want the poor to have a higher minimum standard of living.

    But when you are specificly against INEQUALITY – the idea that some people have more money than other people – then being rich IS a contradiction. Since not everyone can be rich, the only way to enforce economic equality would be to force rich folks like Edwards to completly forfeit their wealth until they are equal with poor folks – Something JE is not likely to support in any way, shape, or form.

  22. Many homes tripled or quadrupled in that time period. ( Probably harder for $3+ million houses to do that, I suppose. I dont have any experience in that price range)…Just saying.

  23. Umm, Slate linky no workie. It goes to the PS3 incident written by Mr. Taylor.

  24. Oh come on! I am sure that John Edwards used his great legal talent to help out poor people on a pro bono basis more than any other rich lawyer has.

    Oh wait – he never did any pro bono work. My bad.

  25. It’s pointing out that the people who talk about he war as the most important battle we are fighting in our lifetime and one that we must “win” at all/any cost or else risk having humanity succumb to sharia law or something, are the people least willing to fight it.

    If that were true than the military on average would be more anti-war then the general population, and that is simply not the case.

  26. John Edwards knows a lot about poverty, after all, he’s helped throw a lot of people into it with:

    – his co-sponsorship of H-1b visas,

    – his support for illegal aliens,

    – his vote for MFN-China.

    but what about stuff like iraq war and the patriot act?

    well, he voted for them too

    About the only thing you can say for Edwards is, he spent so much time running for president that he didnt have time to do more damage as senator

    You’ve got to ask yourself – ‘what did he do, with the power he had, when he had it?

  27. > has just sold his Georgetown mansion for $5.2 million. That’s almost $1.5 million more than what he paid for it back in 1998.

    He must have been robbed in 1998. Only a 1.5 million profit in 8 years on a high end home in one of the hottest real estate markets in the country during a huge housing bubble? I’d have expected him to have doubled his money or more.

  28. What I took from this is that Edwards is fun to pick on whenever the opportunity arises, just for the hell of it. The general consensus here in NC is that we’re glad he decided to pursue greater things in 04, because that got him the &^@%! out of here.

  29. He must have been robbed in 1998. Only a 1.5 million profit in 8 years on a high end home in one of the hottest real estate markets in the country during a huge housing bubble?

    High end houses work differently than the mainstream of the market. Making no comment about John Edwards and his phat bank– I have no opinion on that, besides he has a right to make as much money as he can, but just STFU about telling other people what to do with their money…

    Anyhoo, the market can be working entirely differently for a high-end home- even during a hot market. Some real-estate agents use high-end housing as their ‘canary in the coal mine’. The suggestion being that when the main housing market begins to slow down, high end homes will see a slow-down way before that. Also, even during a hot-hot market– like the one where I live– high-end homes can remain on the market for much longer than the median priced home. Often times multi-million dollar mansions require special showings, pre-appointments etc. Plus, the buyers themselves are volatile group. “Gee, I didn’t get re-elected for my Senate seat, honey… this changes everything” type of stuff.

  30. Sir Spamalot, he has to push the pram a lot.

  31. “just STFU about telling other people what to do with their money…”

    I’d be happy to, if Edwards would give us working stiffs the same courtesy.

  32. not that i buy for a second the stupid argument that one needs to volunteer to fight the war, in order to be a supporter of it… but…

    “It’s about putting your money where your mouth is. Somehow John Edwards’ being rich doesn’t show him unwilling to put his money where his mouth is. (Much unlike most of the war’s biggest supporters)”

    *if* one is to accept that stupid argument about the war, another equally stupid argument would be that Edward’s can’t legitimately be the fighter of poverty and advocate for the poor unless he himself divests of his grand wealth and gives it to the poor

    both are dumb arguments. the 2nd one, frankly, is not AS dumb, but that’s well … whatever

  33. I’ve said this before, but whatever. I really can’t see how anybody with half a brain ends up poor in this country. I’m a 21 year old college student who never took work seriously because I’ve never had to. Still, I’ve managed to find 10-15 jobs that pay over the minimmum wage, sometimes double or triple it. Usually I quit when my social life picks up, I need to devote more time to my studies or I just get bored. Even when I was admittedley incompetent and disrespectful nobody fired me.

    Now I know someone will come back with some story about someone who worked hard and did the right thing and blah, blah, blah but got some horrendous nerve disease and wound up with millions of dollars in medical bills but that is simply not the norm.

    Most people are incompetent, stupid and lazy and the easier you make it for them to be that way the more they will remain and continue to mooch off those who do produce.

    No wonder socialism appeals the most to people in academia or hollywood. Those are the two places least connected to the real world.

  34. Edwards is the typical lefty – “cares for the poor” so goddamned much, but won’t dare open up his wallet to do a thing about it.

  35. The chicken-hawk argument isn’t that only people who have served should have opinions about the war.

    Actually, that’s exactly what it is. It is used by anti-war people to delegitimize and silence anyone who they don’t agree with who wasn’t in the military.

    It’s pointing out that the people who talk about he war as the most important battle we are fighting in our lifetime and one that we must “win” at all/any cost or else risk having humanity succumb to sharia law or something, are the people least willing to fight it.

    Like I said. . . .

  36. Don’t forget, realtors took about 350-400k of that 1.2 million, so he really only made 800-850k.

  37. The increase in the value of the property should not be confused with the return on the investment he made buying the property.

    I doubt he paid the 3.7 million up front.
    ROI should be based on the 20% (I’m guessing because I have never looked into the requirements of Super Jumbo home loans) down payment plus how much the mortgage payment exceeded the cost of renting the property.

    And the cut of the real estate agent was around a half a mil.

    Ballpark figures here: $740,000 down and another 60,000 for amount paid above rent (I’m disreguarding the value of money paid at different times, I’m trying to keep it simple for the trolls.)

    So in just 8 years, Edwards is walking away having doubled his 1 million into 2 million.

    I wouldn’t scoff at making 9% a year, but it certainly falls short of the returns made by that astute stock picker Hillary Clinton.

  38. David,

    “I think the point is that people in the second of the two Americas don’t own $5.2 million homes.”

    And most of the Abolitionists weren’t slaves.

    So?

  39. I don’t care that he made a tidy sum on his real estate. I *do* care that he slams Wal-Mart with one face, while sending one of his underlings to shop there with the other.

  40. And most of the Abolitionists weren’t slaves.

    So?

    You’re right, I suppose there is no point. I guess I just dislike Edwards and don’t find his populism to be sincere.

  41. I don’t care how much money he makes on his real estate deals either.

    What I do care about is that he’s using the tired, old, phony “concern for the poor” routine as a vehicle to push his political aspirations and stroke his image as being “compassionate”.

    Compassion only extends to the limits of one’s own finances. Once it crosses over into advocating government forced wealth redistribution it becomes socialism.

  42. 5.2 million for a mansion in Georgetown? I thought that’s what a 1100 sq foot home on a tenth-acre lot went for there.

    Somebody either needs a better realtor, or they sold it cheap to avoid even harsher criticisms of windfall profits (or to prop up some political crony in a scandal like the one they’re trying to drum up against Obama).

  43. Thank you, David, that was big of you.

    Gilbert Martin,

    So we can dismiss all of the “compassion” you’ve ever expressed for Iraqis oppressed by Saddam Hussein, since you want to force us to pay for your “humanitarian” adventure.

  44. And just when did I ever say anything about having compassion for Iraqis?

    If you want to talk to me, concentrate on what I actually say instead of the voices inside your head.

  45. Throughout the war, when you accused the rest of us of not caring about people being fed into plastic shredders.

  46. And most of the Abolitionists weren’t slaves.

    Joe,

    But you can pretty much call an abolitionist a hippocrite if he owns slaves. That is the category JE falls in.

  47. “Throughout the war, when you accused the rest of us of not caring about people being fed into plastic shredders.”

    Still listening to the voices in your head, eh?

  48. Rex,

    “But you can pretty much call an abolitionist a hippocrite if he owns slaves. That is the category JE falls in.”

    Show me where Edwards claims it is wrong to have money. Show me where he says that posessing wealth, even lots of wealth, is itself evil.

    I’ve certainly never seen him say any such thing, just that there is too much inequality. If I dare drive 56 mph, an I hypocrite for saying it’s dangerous to drive 95?

  49. JE isn’t a popular dood (sic) in these here parts, but can anyone point to a place where he says that he’s anti wealth or anything? (he seems to be a guy who wants to tax people like himself, but where is he a anti wealth socialist?)

    Has he really been against $$$? From what little I know about the guy (willful ignorance is a wonderful thing here, BTW), he’d be in favor of taxing the holy hell out of his very transaction, not from keeping it from being a normal state of affairs.

    I’ll throw in with David – from what little I’ve seen of the guy, am not a fan. But this pile on joe again seems to be folks arguing with a different joe who’s posting on this here thread…..

    christ on a corndog. Is it too early for a drink?

  50. If Edwards believes there is too much inequality, then he should willingly give away a substantial portion of his wealth, thereby reducing said inequality. Maybe I should e-mail him the routing number to my bank account; I really wish to assist Mr. Edwards in his quest to reduce inequality.

    Come to think of it, why don’t all megamillionaires who think inequality is a terribly vexing social or moral issue simply divest themselves of their assets, and thus address it as swiftly as possible?

  51. “…he seems to be a guy who wants to tax people like himself”

    And that’s what makes him a socialist –
    volunteering other peoples money to alleviate wealth “inequality” (something that isn’t any busines of government in the first place).

  52. Really, it is only fair that the legal fees in civil suits be reduced via legislation to no more than 5% of the settlemet or verdict, lest the specter of trial attorneys with unequal wealth threaten our society. Really, what would be more fair than the family of the child injured by the swimming pool drain, or the children afflicted by cerebal palsy, a condition which Edwards dishonestly attributed to physician error, receiving at least 95% of the settlement or verdict?

  53. “Come to think of it, why don’t all megamillionaires who think inequality is a terribly vexing social or moral issue simply divest themselves of their assets, and thus address it as swiftly as possible?”

    Because what they really want is to keep other people out of their exclusive club. The “progressive” income tax policies they advocate increase the barriers to GETTING rich.

  54. I’ll say this for the so-called “chickenhawks”; at least very few of them favor a draft. If only the people who decry inequality for the most part declined to draft other people into their cause.

  55. That’s hardly “socialism”, but leaving that aside, how is he a hypocrite?

    How are what you’re saying materially different from what Joe is saying, apart from your apparent shared, mutual dislike?

  56. “That’s hardly “socialism”, but leaving that aside, how is he a hypocrite?”

    It is indeed socialism. Government forced, deliberate wealth distribution for it’s own sake IS socialism.

    As for JE being a “hypocrite”, I’ll leave that to somebody else to discuss, since I’m not the one who called him that in the first place.

  57. “If Edwards believes there is too much inequality, then he should willingly give away a substantial portion of his wealth, thereby reducing said inequality.”

    Because meaningless stunts are the most legitimate way to demonstrate your commitment to solving a problem.

    If Will Allen doesn’t like Kelo-style takings, he should just, like, not lobby an City Councils to take land for him.

    Or – here’s a thought – try to do something on a society-wide level about a society-wide problem.

  58. And just exactly where is the proof that wealth inequality IS a problem that society is required to solve?

  59. That’s a mighty big question, Gil.

    Some other time, maybe.

  60. Uh Huh.

    In the meantime, here a little reading material for John Edwards (him being such an accomplished lawyer and all) on the Constitutional powers of the federal government:

    “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
    — James Madison

  61. Ah gotcha. You know more about econ than i do, anyways. Sorry I got your comment confused with someone else (re: hypocrisies of JE)

  62. People in 1870 couldn’t find the article guaranteeing equal right for women, either.

    And yet, almost two hundred years later, even the most vigorous proponents of textualism insisted that we needn’t pass the ERA, because the existing language of the Constitution provided for equal protection among the sexes.

    People with an elitist ideology are very adept at notoverlooking the egalitarian doctrines in our founding documents.

  63. Gosh, Joe, I don’t think it would be too meaningless for the people Edwards transferred his wealth to. Presumably, he could find some especially deserving beneficiaries.

    Yes, the first step required of a person who opposes the powers demonstrated in Kelo is that they refrain from petitioning a governmental body to use such powers on behalf of such a person. Failure to do so can reasonably construed as meaning the person is not sincere in his beliefs. Similarly, if one really belives that wealth inequality is a serious, vexing, social or moral problem, it is incumbent that one not acquire great wealth, for in doing so, one merely exacerbates that which one decries as morally vexing, to one’s own benefit.

    Golly gee, what might one call such a person?

    P.S. I say this as someone who does not think that hypocrisy ranks as one of the more awful human failings.

  64. Will, if Edwards turned his wealth over to enough poor people to give his action meaningful breadth, the amount each one received would be meaningless.

    If he gave a significant amount to each person, he would be effecting less than 1% of America’s poor.

    If you hated Saddam so much, why didn’t you buy a rifle, fly to Iraq, and try to kill him? Oh, that’s right – because doing that wouldn’t have made any difference.

    Let me make this easy, since there is so much spinning going on to obscure the truth: John Edwards doesn’t have a problem with people being rich. He has a problem with people being poor. Reducing the number of rich people has nothing to do with his critique.

  65. “People in 1870 couldn’t find the article guaranteeing equal right for women, either.”

    Women were given the right to vote by Constitutional amendment in the 20th century. That is the only legitimate method of changing the meaning of anything in the Constitution – not “creative” reinterpretation of the existing text.

    “People with an elitist ideology are very adept at notoverlooking the egalitarian doctrines in our founding documents.”

    The founding documents were about individual freedom and limited government. They weren’t about some “egalitarian” concept of government having a role in equalizing economic outcomes or guaranteeing some minimum level of economic outcomes between individual citizens.

    As for “equal protection” – that means an equal right to be left alone by the government. That’s basically what all REAL rights are about.

    All rights are negative rights. The notion that there exists all sorts of affirmative rights to receive something from the government or somebody else (and to create a correspondig affirmative obligation on other parties) is totally false.

    No one has a right to receive anything from anyone.

    No one has an obligation to do anything for anyone.

  66. Joe, as I have understood him, Edwards says he has a problem with what he views as extreme wealth disparity, but perhaps I’m wrong. If he only has a problem with some people being poor, why the reference to the “two Americas”? Why not simply note that there are people who are poor?

  67. What Edwards actually has a problem with is that he isn’t the president.

    He wants to remedy that problem and needs to come up with some rationalization to pawn off on the public as to why he should be president.

    Hence, the “two Americas” routine.

    In short, his expression of concern for “poor people” is a lie.

    But, he’s hardly unique in that regard. All the other liberal Democrat politicians in the entire history of the country from FDR to Nancy Pelosi who claim their reason for initiating some government power grab or redistribution scheme was concern for the poor, the children, the middle class or whatever have all been liars.

  68. > What Edwards actually has a problem with is that he
    > isn’t the president.
    >
    > He wants to remedy that problem and needs to come up
    > with some rationalization to pawn off on the public as
    > to why he should be president.

    Hear, hear! This is an amusing but incisive way of describing the problem with politics.

    Kyle

  69. Women were given the right to vote by Constitutional amendment in the 20th century. That is the only legitimate method of changing the meaning of anything in the Constitution – not “creative” reinterpretation of the existing text.

    Amen. That’s the main reason I continue to support the Republicans over the alternative.

    The vast majority of the assault on libertarian ideas in the last 50 years has come from the courts. Once words don’t mean what people intend them to mean, anarchy follows. Or worse, liberal utopias.

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