The Net Worth of the U.S. Presidents: Washington to Obama

From The Atlantic:

Having examined the finances of all 43 presidents (yes, 43; remember, Cleveland was president twice), we calculated the net worth figures for each in 2010 dollars. Because a number of presidents, particularly in the early 19th Century, made and lost huge fortunes in a matter of a few years, the number for each man is based on his net worth at its peak.

We have taken into account hard assets like land, estimated lifetime savings based on work history, inheritance, homes, and money paid for services, which include things as diverse as their salary as Collector of Customs at the Port of New York to membership on Fortune 500 boards. Royalties on books have also been taken into account, along with ownership of companies and yields from family estates.

The net worth of the presidents varies widely. George Washington was worth more than half a billion in today’s dollars. Several presidents went bankrupt.

Explaining the Rand Paul Disaster

From The Atlantic:

After getting himself into trouble on Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC, and everywhere else, Rand Paul has decided to cancel an interview on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” rather than risk further damage. It’s pretty amazing that a guy who embraced the role of national face of the Tea Party movement with such enthusiasm is crashing and burning so spectacularly. Two points to raise from my reporting trip to Kentucky earlier this week that I think are pertinent.

The first is that the Rand Paul who emerged post-election–questioning the Civil Rights Act, exonerating BP for the oil spill, and generally setting off grenades in the national media–is nothing like the Rand Paul who campaigned and won the Kentucky GOP primary. What Paul spoke about on the stump was mostly the size of the deficit, his desire for a balanced budget and term limits, and his belief that a lot of what Congress does has no basis in the Constitution. Paul’s favorite example was health care, not civil rights. But the interesting thing to me, as I wrote on Monday, is that he took care to emphasize those parts of the Tea Party agenda that appeal (he claimed) to independents and moderates. There was no talk of race, civil rights, secession, birtherism and general Fox News lunacy. “The Tea Party is not about extremism,” Paul said again and again. The impression in the broader media, including the liberal blogosphere, that Paul is an angry, unlikeable nut was not borne out by my experience on the campaign trail.