Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"... Rick, I'll tell you what, 9 dollars and 28 cents, a $9.28 bet ..."

You may remember this exchange from the Iowa GOP Debate of December 10, 2011:
Rick Perry: "... I read your first book and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts, which should be the model for the country — I know it came out of the reprint of the book, but, you know, I’m just saying, you were for individual mandates, my friend.”
"Mitt" Romney: “You know what, you’ve raised that before, Rick. and you’re simply wrong.”
Perry: "It was true then, it’s true now…”
Romney: (extending his right hand) “... Rick, I’ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks, 10,000 dollar bet.”
Perry: (no hand extended) “I’m not in the betting business...”
 I had wondered here at the time if $10,000 were the same as $50 for you and me and the people we know. With all the discussion over the last day of Romney's wealth and tax bracket, I thought about this question again, so I did some very minor research and some very simple math.
If we accept that Romney's net worth is close to the $250,000,000 that is most commonly reported, then $10,000 is .004% of his net worth. 
Romney will be turning 65 on March 12 (Happy Retirement Day!), so if we take the $232,000 average net worth of an American over 65 and multiply it by .004%, we get $9.28.
So Mitt was really offering Rick a friendly meaningless bet of $9.28 in normal people's dollars. Or less. For the average person in the age group 55-64 the relative amount would be $7.21, and 45-54?: $3.93, 35-44: $2.06, 25-34: $0.34, and Under 25: $0.06.  Pennies.

To put his laughably small speaking fees of $374,000 in perspective, that deceptively healthy number would have a relative worth to you and me of $2.21 to $348.00, depending upon our ages. Hardly worth bothering the IRS about.

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