Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Friday, November 18, 2016



With the nation's 45th president all decided, many Americans are wondering: Is Donald Trump the wealthiest US President of all time? The answer is YES. In fact, the Donald is a dozen times richer than any previous Commander In Chief. However, while doing the research, we here at the DUNER BLOG were surprised at who he bumped down on the list of the TOP FIVE WEALTHIEST PRESIDENTS:

#2. George Washington. $525 million (in 2016 dollars). They didn't call him 'His Excellency' for nothing. Glorified today by silly legends, grandiose statues and ginormous monuments, the first president was financially similar to Trump. Born into an aristocratic family, George inherited an enormous amount of cash upon his father's early passing. This included Mount Vernon: 7,500 acres of farmland complete with 300 African slaves to provide guaranteed labor. After the tumultuous Revolutionary Years, Washington had to be coaxed away from the estate to lead the nation. He was lured by an enticing salary, which accounted for 2% of the entire Federal Budget of 1790.

#3. Thomas Jefferson. $212 million. Another recipient of family fortune, Jefferson was presented with 3,000 acres of prime plantation land and 40 slaves. Both amounts doubled by the time he assumed the office of the presidency. Fortunately, Thomas is remembered today for his intellect and statesmanship, and not for his financial failures. Simply put, TJ liked to live the lavish life. His trips to Paris were particularly frivolous, as he purchased much of the luxurious furnishing on display at Monticello today. Jefferson did not return the favors of his father...he left $100,000 in debt to his children.

#4. Theodore Roosevelt. $125 million. From one of Manhattan's most successful families, Theodore (he hated being called Teddy) had a rather turbulent financial life. He lost millions on a failed ranching scheme in the Dakotas. Fortunately, Roosevelt recovered nicely on his next real estate venture. He invested heavily in Long Island estates, particularly in the Hamptons. Later in life, Teddy made millions more from speaking endorsements.

#5. Andrew Jackson. $119 million. Perhaps the former president who most resembles Trump is the first populist...and eighth...Commander in Chief. Like the Donald, he was elected largely without the support of a political party. Both men are notoriously quick tempered and both men were lampooned for their weird red hair. Unlike Trump, Jackson earned the trust of the nation by the military accomplishments of the Tennessee Volunteers.

#? John F. Kennedy. $1 billion. Wait! If JFK was worth a billion, why is he so low on the list? It's a Catch-22: See, John's father, Joseph Kennedy was still alive when his son was assassinated in 1963. So...had John lived another six years...he would have inherited a billion bucks upon Joseph's death. Despite this, John still had a cool $25 million in the bank. Not enough to be in the top five, but still worth mentioning.

BONUS: The poorest US President: Abraham Lincoln. He deserves to be on Mount Rushmore the most as his achievements were entirely on his own and not aided by massive financial inheritance.

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