Billionaires who want to be president
We are getting close to the time when the two major political parties will pick somebody to be their presidential candidate. And lately, it seems, a large number of declared or suspected wanaabes are billionaires.
It’s generally acknowledged that President Trump is worth about $3 billion, and is the richest president ever. But some of the possible contenders are said to be way ahead of him.
Reports of the worth of these possible candidates vary, and many estimates are out of date, so don’t bother emailing me and saying some of the following facts are wrong.
Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon, often identified as a potential candidate, seems to be number one on the richest person list, at $116 billion. That’s down from a reported $160 billion a year ago.
Among his assets, he owns the Washington Post newspaper, which our president accuses of being a hotbed of fake news.
Bezos was Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 1999. The International Trade Union Confederation named him World’s Worst Boss in 2014.
His ex-wife is number 15 on the richest person list, with $36 billion. If they had stayed together, they could potentially have qualified as the richest presidential family ever.
Michael Bloomberg, who is already busy being a possible candidate, is worth $53.4 billion. He made his money first on the stock market and then created a financial news service. He was mayor of New York City for a while in his spare time.
Tom Steyer, a former hedge fund manager, has been suggested; he’s only worth $1.6 billion.
Among the other folks often mentioned as a presidential candidate, we have Bill Gates of Microsoft, worth $106 billion, Warren Buffet, worth $80.8 billion, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, worth $69.6 billion.
Buffet made his fortune first with hedge funds, then banks, then insurance companies.
Families can’t run for president, but while we’re on the subject of wealth, one of the wealthiest families in the country is said to be the Mars family, net worth $89.7 billion. They produce Mars bars, Milky Way bars, M&Ms, Snickers, Life Savers, Wrigley gums since 2016, Uncle Ben’s rice, and some pet foods.
Jacqueline Mars and her brother John each own one third of Mars; the four daughters of their late brother Forrest Jr. own the rest.
The Koch family owns about $99 million, in all sorts of businesses. And the three Walton siblings, of Walmart fame, each own about $51 billion.
In case you’re wondering, the annual salary of the president of the United States is a mere $400,000, along with a $50,000 expense allowance, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and a $19,000 entertainment account. But there are a few perks, such as use of a six-floor house with 132 rooms (including 35 bathrooms) and a staff of 377 people to keep things tidy.
I haven’t been able to find a good comparison to the past, but I did come upon an old chart that claimed to be the net worth of presidents in 2016 dollars. It says George Washington’s net worth was the equivalent of $587,000.
Jefferson’s was only $236,000. Leaping ahead, Theodore Roosevelt’s equaled $139,000, Bill Clinton’s was $75,000 and Barack Obama’s only $40,000.
I don’t know how the experts figure out such things, where they get their data, or how to compare Bloomberg’s $53.4 billion with 2016 dollar value. But it looks as though our next president will again be the richest one ever.