Politicians certainly love talking about getting money out of politics. It is just incredibly hilarious when veteran incumbents and presidential candidates possess more wealth than the average American they want to represent. Every election cycle, a few people on both sides of the aisle demand that it is time to pickpocket millions of citizens while expelling the almighty dollar from the political arena. The mainstream media cheerlead the fight but refuse to home in on the personal finances of these men and women. As evidenced by the Democratic primary, electoral contests have turned into battles between the rich and the very rich.
A Few Dollars More
The personal finance publication Wallet Hub, in a new study titled “2020 Presidential Candidates’ Personal Finances by the Numbers,” examined the remaining White House hopefuls, explaining in the summary:
“It’s actually fair to wonder where money isn’t an issue in the 2020 race, or politics in general. Who wants to be president of the United States has turned into a game of who’s not a millionaire, who’s taking money from billionaires, which billionaire can buy love at the ballot box, and how many trillions of dollars in policy promises it takes to spark a movement. Ties to credit cards, investment banking, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have even made cameos thus far.”
Researchers used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and public financial disclosure forms. Since Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) ended her campaign, it is unnecessary to include her numbers. Also, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not provide details about his assets and income until after Super Tuesday.
The report looked at President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden, Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Governor Bill Weld (R-MA), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
A Look at the Assets
Before we dive into the candidates’ finances, it is important to point out that median Americans’ assets are $29,410. Remember this when you see the immense bank accounts of politicians of every stripe.
The average candidate’s assets (excluding royalties, home equity, and retirement plans) total $208.5 million. This figure is likely overinflated due to President Trump’s massive $1.7 billion in assets. Outside of the real estate mogul, the next wealthiest individual is Weld with $47 million. The candidate with the least amount of assets is Gabbard with an estimated $31,000.
Biden has $1.575 million in assets, followed by Sanders’ $910,000 and Warren’s $395,000.
How They Got Rich
How the leading contenders got rich varies.
The former vice president earned $1.811 million from his book tour events, $2.425 million from his speaking engagements, and $730,000 from Drew University and the University of Pennsylvania. He also owns two homes: a cottage and a house.
Weld made $1.738 million as director of Just Energy Group and Straight Path Communications. He also owns as much as $5.55 million in stock and receives $534,308 in salary as an attorney for Mintz Levin.
Sanders became wealthy through book sales and his three properties. Interesting in the socialist senator’s case is that as much as 44% of his assets are in his wife’s name.
Warren’s $10.68 million is held in the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA). She also owns two properties: a $3 million home in Cambridge, MA, and an $800,000 condo in Washington, D.C.
Of course, the president trumps them all: one vineyard, one private aviation company, 16 golf course locations, 500 businesses, five real estate properties, and monthly pension payments from the Screen Actors Guild.
The study also put together some engaging money-related facts.
Biden has made $5.2 million from speeches, including $1 million from post-secondary institutions. His average speaking fee is $127,760; he charged a Jewish community center $112,000 to deliver prepared remarks.
Sanders’ royalty revenue from his November 2018 book, Where We Go From Here, has generated nearly $400,000.
The three most popular investment management companies among the candidates:
- BlackRock: Trump and Gabbard
- Fidelity Brokerage Services: Trump and Weld
- The Vanguard Group: Gabbard and Warren
When it comes to interest rates, the average rate paid by the four candidates with real estate loans (Gabbard, Sanders, Trump, and Warren) is 4.02%. The average rate on Weld’s personal loans is 6.31%, and Biden’s life insurance loan is 6.5%.
And the two banks used by most of the candidates are Capital One and U.S. Bank.
Income Mobility Is Real
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) recently shocked the world by informing us that pulling yourself up by the bootstraps is a physical impossibility. What she was trying to say is that income mobility is not a thing in America, and the underlying economic principle should be tossed in the trash. But all these candidates demonstrate that they eventually climbed the ladder and became affluent. If the rumors are true that she is searching for an analyst gig at the Fox News Channel, then even Gabbard soon will earn a handsome six-figure salary. The question that should be asked of the remaining Democratic hopefuls is: Why are you allowed to seek opportunity and attain the American Dream while others are either prevented from doing so or punished because they achieved the white picket fence?
Read more from Andrew Moran.