(Sometimes we have more than one blogger get irritated by the same thing, and this is one of those times.  I, too, was irritated as hell at the false equivalency Dave Helling tried to make between Claire’s family income and the idiots on Wall Street who spent billions on bonuses rewarding failure.  I was meaner about it tho, because Helling and I have history.  I can’t stand the guy.  But I’m civilized.  On no less than three occasions as we both covered events for our respective outlets, he has literally bent over in front of me and offered that ample target, and I have seen sheer terror on Michael’s face as I wrestled my demons.  So far, I have resisted temptation and not kicked him square in the ass – hence my tenuous grip on a claim to being a ‘civilized’ human being.)  

Dave Helling used to be a pretty decent journalist, but those days are so far in the past they aren’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.  Now, he’s just a tool.  It’s like he reread some of his early J-school course materials, and all those things a journalist isn’t supposed to employ – elision, innuendo, false equivalencies and faulty logic – he seems to have adopted as a how-to manual in recent years.  

Readers of this site may recall that he and I had a public spat a while back, when I filed the amicus brief arguing that the letters in support of the traitor Scooter Libby should be released to the public.   First he thought that I didn’t know what an amicus brief even is.  (Yes,  I certainly do, as my husbands former boss  General Richard Myers, one of the sleazebags who supported that traitor, found out in stark relief when his fawning obsequiousness toward the Bushies and lack of character was made part of the public record.)  So he changed tactics – he attacked me for writing under a pseudonym .   I responded with a history lesson, and the matter dropped.    

Now, he is getting his yellow journalist on and gumming Claire’s ankle with false equivalencies and elisions to hypocrisy because her family income was more than $400,000 last year.  

  Sen. Claire McCaskill’s last financial disclosure statement showed income of at least $2.27 million in 2007, not counting her Senate salary.

McCaskill — who called Friday for limiting pay at companies bailed out by the government to $400,000, what the president makes — could have earned, at the top end, more than $9.4 million in 2007, the disclosure shows.

The disclosure lists a range of incomes from dozens of investments, most of them involving McCaskill’s husband, Joe Shepard.

O noes!  Her husband is rich!  He made a lot of money last year!

Except – Joe Shepard isn’t going to the feds, hat in hand, and asking for TARP funds.  

Claire’s husband is a shrewd businessman who has made a lot of money providing a vital service to residents of our state.  He is in the business of constructing nursing homes and low-income apartments.  His business takes advantage of tax breaks and low-interest government backed loans that were put in place as incentives for people to provide the services for that niche of society.  

He has never been accused of any wrongdoing or malfeasance.  There has never been an allegation of wrongdoing, padded invoices, kickbacks, patronage, shoddy workmanship, nothing of the sort.

Instead, he provides a service that is needed, takes advantage of the incentives that were put in place to encourage the free market to fill that niche, and makes money doing it.  Good on him.  That’s the American dream, after all.  

When the readers at PrimeBuzz took Helling to task for his shoddy, lazy, “gotcha” post, he posted an update:

(UPDATE:   It’s clear from some of the responses below that not everyone is familiar with Shepard’s businesses.  For many years he used state-issued tax credits and other assistance to build and maintain housing in the state and across the country.  

Those tax breaks and credits were a cost to the state treasury — taxpayers.  Here’s how the Post-Dispatch reported in 2006:  “The picture of Shepard that emerges from public records and interviews reveals a shrewd businessman who has aggressively sought public subsidies and made millions, mainly in rural, low-income housing.”  Or the AP, in 2004: “Joseph Shepard has built millions of dollars worth of low-income housing projects with the help of low interest loans and tax credits from the Missouri Housing Development Commission.”)

It is not possible, using the disclosure, to set a firm top end on McCaskill’s family income, since one investment (Missouri Tax Credit Fund LP)  provided income of “$1,000,001 /Over”.

Dave, Dave Dave…

You are grasping at straws, and looking even more ridiculous in the process.  

Without those incentives, the segment of the population served by Mr. Shepard might not be served at all.  That is why we pay taxes, you know.  We like living in a civilized society, and taxes are what we pay to buy that ticket.  Duh.  Taxes that are used to benefit the greater good and strengthen the social safety net- like construction of safe, efficient housing for poor people and nursing homes for the elderly – I pay willingly, cheerfully and happily.  

And once more…Mr. Shepard has not asked for any bailout funds to keep his business afloat.  He has built a business that fills a need, managed it competently, grown rich, and done quite well in the process.  

Of course, if he hadn’t I have no doubt that Douchebag Dave would be all over that, too.