President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden have an estimated net worth of $10 million. Contrast that with the fact Trump-owned hotels on their own brought in $7.8 million in payments from foreign governments and their representatives during the four years of Trump’s presidency. Ivanka Trump and Kushner personally reported between $172 million and $640 million in outside income while they worked at the White House. 

To which I would snark: for a “crime family” the Biden’s are clearly doing it wrong.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. gVOR10 says:

    “Why so many Americans have misconceptions about (insert topic here).” Simple. Because they don’t follow the news, they know nothing of history, econ, etc., because Republicans and their supporting media lie like rugs, and because the supposedly liberal MSM don’t care.

  2. Kevin says:

    I was curious as to where the Biden’s wealth came from, as it does seem high for a life-long civil servant who has said he was penniless at the beginning of his career. (I’m not saying civil servants should be penniless, but $10 million is close to the top 1%.). Most of it is real estate; he has a pension, which is typical for ex-senators, as does his wife. He’s made about $1 million from book sales and the like.

    So . . . I don’t want to call it corruption, but he’s certainly taking advantage of the things that people in positions of power are offered. Which isn’t something unique to him, and it’s the sort of thing that a law partner in a higher echelon firm could build as well. However, that’s nothing compared to the very clear corruption of the Trumps.

    Obama’s and George W. Bush’s net worth is estimated at $70 million; Clinton’s is estimated at $90 million. Both Obama and Clinton were . . . not poor, but certainly not rich before they became president. And George W. Bush was the Large Adult Son of a wealthy family. So I’d argue all those cases are problematic, but again, nowhere near the same galaxy as the Trump family. One can but hope that eventually they’ll get the forensic examination they truly deserve.

    So, if anything, Biden’s much less corrupt than prior presidents. And no one ever connected him to Epstein, either.

  3. Joe says:

    @Kevin: Speaking fees.

  4. Kurtz says:


    I had a sec, so I looked at Obama’s net worth by year. From Open Secrets.

    It only covers until 2014, but the biggest jump seems to coincide with his $1.9m book advance, prior to announcing his run for President. There is another jump a couple years into his first term followed by a small drop.

    What I find more concerning than Obama is the change in median executive net worth between 2013 and 2014–$11.59m to $84.44m.

    Perhaps it’s an artifact of some change in calculation or something becoming public record that was not before. But if not . . .

  5. @Kevin: To echo the above with details: Bidens earned $15 million in 2 years after Obama administration

    Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill earned more than $15 million during the two years after they left the White House, with the bulk of it coming from lucrative public speaking and book deals, according to new financial disclosures and tax returns released Tuesday.

    The disclosures offer a new, more comprehensive look at the money the Bidens amassed since leaving the White House — a sharp uptick from where their finances stood in the final years of the Obama administration and Biden’s time in the Senate, when he referred to himself as “middle-class Joe” and put a working-class life story at the center of his political campaigns.

    The new documents show Joe Biden earned more than $4 million in late 2017 and 2018 from giving more than four dozen speeches, banking up to $235,000 for one appearance. He was paid $540,484 for in role at the University of Pennsylvania. And he owns a corporation, established to handle his post-White House speaking and book deals, now valued at between $1 and $5 million.

    Biden was elected to the Senate in 1972, weeks before he turned 30, and he spent the next 44 years on a federal government salary. He filed disclosure forms as vice president showing that he and Jill had $303,000 to $1 million in assets and liabilities between $560,000 and $1.2 million.

    This strikes me as utterly acceptable.

  6. DK says:

    @Kevin: Not unusual for any public figure in any field to rake in millions of legitimate income from appearance fees, endorsements, merchandising, and/or book advances and sales. And now, podcasting and TV production too. All the people you name have sold a lot of books and are in high demand on the speaking circuit.

    And I know the Clintons and Obamas sell quite a bit of personally-branded merchandise too. Hillary has made a killing hawking “But Her Emails” hats, mugs, totes etc. These two couples also have some of the best-selling nonfiction titles in modern publishing.

    The Bushes were never poor.

    Then those millions are poured into real estate and income-generating investment portfolios.

    So. May not be fair, but it’s pretty straightforward: the famous get well-connected, the well-connected get huge paychecks that make them rich, and the rich get richer.

    (God forbid Biden ensure a 26 year old entry-level consultant gets $30,000 in student debt waived, tho. That’s just un-American.)

  7. gVOR10 says:

    Re “Why so many Americans have misconceptions …”: I just looked at 538. As of today Biden has a favorability rating of 39.9. Trump’s at 41.7. Less than two points. Why do I seem to only see mentions of how Biden is so terribly unpopular? He’s about dead even with where Trump was four years ago.

    I may, for the first time in decades, watch this weeks debate.

  8. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I think, sometimes, we pay too little attention to phrases like “what the people who care already know.” I’m sure that there are people who “care” but don’t “know” from time to time, but I would guess the numbers are microscopic. Additionally, there are the people who already know but don’t care, people who don’t know but do care anyway, and people who don’t know and don’t care (probably a larger cohort than we’d like to admit).

    How many tractable people there are in swing states is anybody’s guess also (and I will note that there are tractable people in non-swing states, but their tractability is probably moot). This will probably turn out to be the closest contest in my lifetime and if I were to guess, I’d still hold with Democrats making sure they keep their own wagons circled over reaching out to swing moderates for the win. (I’m not sure both at the same time is doable.)

  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    I was going to say it looks like the hammer is going to fall on Giuliani, but the way courts work, it’s more like a hydraulic press than a hammer. He’s pretty clearly stalling, which would be a fairly reasonable strategy for an old guy, I would think.

  10. Mikey says:

    Contrast that with the fact Trump-owned hotels on their own brought in $7.8 million in payments from foreign governments and their representatives during the four years of Trump’s presidency.

    They misspelled “illegal foreign emoluments.”

  11. steve says:

    Biden and his wife both made salaries equivalent to low 6 figures but for a very long time. If you are putting away anywhere close to the amount allowed by retirement rules you are going to retire with many millions of dollars assuming average returns.



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