Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bob Latta and His Wealth

Each year, congressmen have to disclose their various financial assets and other financial information. They don't have to give exact figures, just a range for each asset worth more than $1,000.

Including Representative Latta of Ohio’s 5th District.

We cannot tell for sure, but assuming the law of averages is at work, Latta’s wealth over just the 4 years he has served in Congress has increased from about $1,386,000* (the mid point of the range as shown in the chart) to about $2,258,000 (also the midpoint) an increase of about $872,000, equaling an increase of about 63%.

But, keep in mind: per his disclosure statements, about half of that wealth is in CDs and other bank accounts. These days, bank accounts don’t earn much interest and thus barely grow. So it is likely that the bulk of that $871,000 growth has come from the stocks and bonds side of his portfolio. If that’s the case, that part of his wealth grew by about 125% in value. His stock investments likely more than doubled!


During these same four years, the median income
for families in Wood County dropped from $47,874 to $45,395, a drop of about 5%. (I couldn’t find figures for median wealth of families in Wood County, or figures for the Ohio 5th district, so these Wood Co

unty income figures have to serve as just a rough form of comparison. I suspect that the average wealth has also dropped in that during those 4 years, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (The standard measure for the stock markets as a whole) dropped from 13,264 to 11,577, about 12%, with an even higher drop before Obama took office and the market began to recover.)

Bottom line, Representative Latta’s wealth seems to have soared 63% plus or minus while he has been in Congress. The rest of us in his 5th district have seen income and wealth decline by 5%.

BTW: in a recent video he posted, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HAaAQQQFkA ) he talks of the differences between a public servant and a politician:

“A politician sees how they [sic] can take from the people they represent for their own benefit, while a public servant sees how much they [sic] can give of themselves back to the people they [sic] represent.”

(Few people actually follow the rules of grammar when they speak, I don’t intend to criticize his typical errors of case in that oral statement.)

Based on his finances, would you say he’s a public servant? Or just another politician?

(But let’s keep this in mind. It is theoretically possible that each of Latta’s wealth investments was at the high end of the range when he started and are now all at the low end - thus it is possible that he has actually lost wealth over these four years.

If so, only he can tell us that law of averages have passed him over.)

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* We simply don't know enough to guess where his opening $1.3 million in wealth when he started in Congress came from. According to his on-line biographies, most of his career has been spent as a, ah, public servant.

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