Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Purchasing the Presidency: the 10 Richest Presidents


How big a part does personal wealth play in a presidential election?

An analysis by 24/7 Wall St. last year estimated the net worth of every U.S. president based on land, salary, and investments, all adjusted for inflation. Warning: you may be shocked to see who our wealthiest president is.

Here are the results, listed chronologically:

10) John Fitzgerald Kennedy - his Daddy’s booze-running days paid off politically. Born into great wealth, Kennedy’s wife was oil heiress. His father was one of the wealthiest men in America, as well as was the first chairman of the SEC. Almost all of JFK’s income and property came from a trust shared with other family members.

  • Net worth: $1 billion (never inherited his father’s fortune)
  • In office: 1961 - 1963
  • 35th president

9) William Jefferson Clinton - Unlike other presidents, Clinton did not inherit any wealth and gained little net worth during 20 plus years of public service. After his time in the White House, however, he earned a substantial income as an author and public speaker.

  • Net worth: $38 million
  • In office: 1993 - 2001
  • 42nd president

8) Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Roosevelt’s wealth came through inheritance and marriage. 

  • Net worth: $60 million
  • In office: 1933 - 1945
  • 32nd president

7) Herbert Clark Hoover - An orphan, Hoover was raised by his uncle, a doctor. He made a fortune as a mining company executive.

  • Net worth: $75 million
  • In office: 1929 - 1933
  • 31st president

6) Lyndon Baines Johnson - Johnson’s father lost all of the family’s money when LBJ was a boy. Over time, he accumulated 1,500 acres in Blanco County, Tex., which included his home, called the “Texas White House.” He and his wife owned a radio and television station in Austin, Tex., and had a variety of other moderate holdings, including livestock and private aircraft.

  • Net worth: $98 million
  • In office: 1963 - 1969
  • 36th president

5) James Madison - Madison was the largest landowner in Orange County, Va.

  • Net worth: $101 million
  • In office: 1809 - 1817
  • 4th president

4) Andrew Jackson - Jackson quietly became one of the wealthiest presidents of the 1800s. “Old Hickory” married into wealth and made money in the military.

  • Net worth: $119 million
  • In office: 1829 - 1837
  • 7th president

3) Theodore Roosevelt - Born to a prominent and wealthy family, Roosevelt received a sizable trust fund.

  • Net worth: $125 million
  • In office: 1901 - 1909
  • 26th president

2) Thomas Jefferson - Jefferson was left 3,000 acres and several dozen slaves by his father.

  • Net worth: $212 million
  • In office: 1801 - 1809
  • 3rd president

1) George Washington - Washington made well more than subsequent presidents: his salary was 2 percent of the total U.S. budget in 1789. His Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon, consisted of five separate farms on 8,000 acres of prime farmland, run by more than 300 slaves. His wife, Martha Washington, inherited significant property from her father

  • Net worth: $525 million
  • In office: 1789 - 1797
  • 1st president

Data source

After reviewing this list you may wonder how Mitt Romney stacks up among the Top 10 wealthiest presidents? Good question.

Romney is worth as much as $200 million, the candidate has said, thanks to his considerable investment fortune.

In addition to being worth more than 99.9 percent of Americans, if elected president, Romney would also be wealthier than any president except one. That’s right, George Washington!

If Romney won election in November, he would become the richest commander-in-chief in the last half century.

If you doubled the combined wealth of the last eight presidents, from Nixon to Obama, you would begin to approximate the Romney's fortune, USA Today reported.

What is the point of talking about wealthy presidents? Simple. Money has ALWAYS been a major factor in who gets elected since our 1st President. It’s a good sobering statistic that all Americans should be aware of.

As some sage once said, “Money talks – and all else walks.”



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