net worth

On Tuesday, 45* met with “The Big Six” to talk about the future of the U.S. tax system. Their net worth provides a hint at how tax reform will look.

According to 45’s speech about tax reform in Missouri last week, in which he praised former President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax cuts, the White House will likely aggressively pursue a similar tax cut package that will overwhelmingly benefit the rich. And according to Politico, the people in charge of crafting the actual policy — known as the “Big Six” — are House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. Prior to joining the administration, Mnuchin and Cohn were both top executives at Goldman Sachs.

In addition to 45 and the Big Six all being white men with an average age of 64 (Ryan being the youngest at age 47, Hatch being the oldest at age 83), all are overwhelmingly richer than the average American. Here’s the net worth of each person rewriting the U.S. tax code, using information from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).

1. 45 (net worth: $3.5 billion)

While 45 has claimed his net worth is more than $10 billion in a 2016 financial disclosure form, Forbes estimates his net worth is closer to $3.5 billion. 45 has made the bulk of his wealth in New York City real estate, with non-New York City real estate, golf clubs and resorts, and the value of his brand comprising the rest of his net worth. 45 has yet to release any tax returns from the last decade, so it’s impossible to put a finger on exactly how much wealth 45 has.

2. House Speaker Paul Ryan (net worth: $5.66 million)

Speaker Ryan married into his wealth in 2000, joining his assets with wife Janna Ryan (née Little), who came from a family of wealthy trial lawyers with ties to a political dynasty. As HuffPost reported in 2012, Ryan’s net worth increased from roughly $345,000 to more than $1.1 million. since then, his net worth has increased each year, and the CRP has calculated Ryan to be more than five times wealthier than the average member of Congress.

3. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (net worth: $22.2 million)

Like Speaker Ryan, Sen. McConnell married into his wealth, with his assets significantly increasing after marrying Elaine Chao — the daughter of international transportation magnate James S.C. Chao. According to financial disclosure forms, Sen. McConnell saw his net worth almost quadruple during the Great Recession. Before the financial collapse, McConnell had $7.7 million to his name. But by 2011, McConnell’s net worth soared to more than $27.3 million.

Growth of Mitch McConnell’s net worth between 2004 and 2014. Chart by Center for Responsive Politics

Politifact reported in 2014 that McConnell and Chao inherited a large gift of anywhere between $5 million and $25 million from Chao’s estate, following the death of her mother. Sen. McConnell has previously endorsed a bill that would repeal the estate tax.

4. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (net worth: $500,000)

Rep. Brady is the poorest person (and only non-millionaire) on this list with roughly half a million dollars to his name, although that still makes him anywhere between 5 times to 90 times wealthier than the average American, depending on age group. Brady has represented his suburban Houston district for more than 20 years, so his wealth likely comes from more than two decades of Congressional salaries, including two years of an increased salary as a committee chairman.

5. Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (net worth: $4.96 million)

Senator Hatch is the most senior Republican in the senate, holding office for more than 40 years. Prior to his election in 1976, Hatch was an attorney in both Pennsylvania and Utah. He has slowly increased his net worth over time as senior senator from Utah, holding 45 assets totaling $2.1 million to $7.8 million according to his 2014 financial disclosure form. The CRP’s calculations show that Hatch is 81 percent wealthier than the average U.S. Senator.

6. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (net worth: approximately $500 million)

As a former partner at Goldman Sachs and producer of multiple Hollywood blockbuster movies like Avatar and Mad Max: Fury Road, Mnuchin is far wealthier than even the richest members of Congress (Republican Darrell Issa of California is the wealthiest Congressman with a net worth of $254 million). Mnuchin’s financial disclosure form initially claimed a net worth of $400 million, but he neglected to include an additional $100 million in real estate holdings.

7. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn (net worth: $266 million)

Gary Cohn worked for U.S. Steel in Cleveland, Ohio prior to starting his financial career at the New York Mercantile Exchange. After joining Goldman Sachs in 1990, he worked his way up the corporate ladder, eventually becoming President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of the bank in 2006. In 2008, Goldman Sachs received a $10 billion bailout from the federal government in the wake of the financial crisis, and the following year, Cohn received a multimillion-dollar bonus along with other top Goldman executives. Before joining the White House, Cohn had a net worth of more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

There is more than $4.29 billion between all seven men rewriting the U.S. tax code, when adding up the net worth of each member of the “Big Six” and 45 himself. The administration has set a goal of passing tax reform legislation prior to the end of 2017.

(*EDITOR’S NOTE: is now exclusively referring to Donald Trump as “45.” Please read our official statement on Twitter explaining the decision.)


Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based writer and commentator specializing in national and state government issues for Grit Post. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.

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