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December 13, 2007

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I will bet you anything that all of these people are worth MUCH MUCH more than they've listed with the exception of perhaps Obama. The reason I say this is I work in private banking, all of our clients have minimum net worths of $5 million and the median is over $30 million. In fact we don't take on clients with less than $10 million anymore. It is easy to make your net worth look higher or lower than it really is when you are worth a lot. A lot of their assets can be valued within a wide range and typically people like to value things conservatively. I would bet anything that a politician would stay on the conservative side because they have every incentive to make their net worth look lower than it is. A simple private partnership stake in a business can be valued much lower than its worth. Any residual incomes expected in the future can be valued at zero on a net worth statement, many of the above people do have large residual incomes from things like books or entertainment (Thompson). The list can go on and on. I can take our average client with $40 million net worth and make them look like they have a $20 million net worth if they want. Its only the very liquid investments that can't be fudged.

great blog!

I honestly don't understand why a politician would try to make their net worth look smaller. First off, there really is no shame in having money -even a lot of money- I'm not sure where that idea came from. Isn't it part of the American dream? Look at Ronald Reagan! Many many people admired him for both making money and taking steps to allow people to keep their money.

I think it looks even better if a politican a self-made billionaire. It takes skill to get there.

Second, everyone knows it takes a lot of dough to run a campaign. If you're funding a lot of it yourself that is more transparent than having a lot of shadowy campaign financing.

I'm a little stunned at Obama's net worth. Then again, he's only been in the public eye for a few years and has been busy governing and now campaigning. He probably hasn't had the time to book a lot of lucrative speaking engagements.

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