Mitt Romney Doesn't Have George Washington Money

© Rick Friedman/Corbis

After weathering several weeks of pressure from his Republican rivals, Mitt Romney released his tax returns early this morning, revealing that he made $45 million over 2010 and 2011, and he'll pay 14 or 15 percent of that in taxes.

That may seem like a lot—a $6.2 million dollar check to the IRS is enough to make the average American blush—until you look at Romney’s chief opponent, Newt Gingrich, who raked in $3.2 million in 2010, but clocked in at a 31.7 percent tax rate. The truth is, neither candidate is likely to get a whole lot of sympathy from voters. The annual median income in the U.S. last year was, after all, just a touch above $26,000.

But either way, voters can expect Gingrich (net worth: $6.7 million) to portray Romney (net worth: $250-$270 million, putting him in the top .001 percent of Americans) as an out-of-touch elitist.

Much as the Republican candidates portrayed John Kerry (net worth: $240 million) and Barack Obama (net worth: $5 million) as out-of-touch elitists in 2004 and 2008, respectively.

Money in Politics

According to an analysis by 24/7 Wall Street, a handful of US presidents were multi-millionaires, while another handful went bankrupt. When Abe Lincoln died, he owned little more than his single-family home in Illinois. When Herbert Hoover, who presided over the last Great Depression, took office, he was worth about $75 million. (Hoover donated his presidential salary to charity).

And here’s a little tidbit for you: The wealthiest president in history was good ol’ George Washington himself.

According to the 24/7 Wall Street report, the Father of Our Country was worth about $525 million in 2010 dollars – that’s almost twice Romney’s net worth for those of you counting – and is listed among the 100 richest people ever, in relative economic terms. (His wife Martha inherited significant property.) And what’s more? Washington’s presidential salary was equal to 2 percent of the total US budget in 1789. If Mitt, or Newt, or Barack, or anyone else were to make that same ratio, their annual paycheck next year would arrive to tune of $77 (!) billion.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
quiz
One-Syllable Presidents
iStock
iStock
nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Health
Feeling Down? Lifting Weights Can Lift Your Mood, Too
iStock
iStock

There’s plenty of research that suggests that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. In some cases of depression, in fact—particularly less-severe ones—scientists have found that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants, which don’t work for everyone and can come with some annoying side effects. Previous studies have largely concentrated on aerobic exercise, like running, but new research shows that weight lifting can be a useful depression treatment, too.

The study in JAMA Psychiatry, led by sports scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, examined the results of 33 previous clinical trials that analyzed a total of 1877 participants. It found that resistance training—lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push ups, and any other exercises targeted at strengthening muscles rather than increasing heart rate—significantly reduced symptoms of depression.

This held true regardless of how healthy people were overall, how much of the exercises they were assigned to do, or how much stronger they got as a result. While the effect wasn’t as strong in blinded trials—where the assessors don’t know who is in the control group and who isn’t, as is the case in higher-quality studies—it was still notable. According to first author Brett Gordon, these trials showed a medium effect, while others showed a large effect, but both were statistically significant.

The studies in the paper all looked at the effects of these training regimes on people with mild to moderate depression, and the results might not translate to people with severe depression. Unfortunately, many of the studies analyzed didn’t include information on whether or not the patients were taking antidepressants, so the researchers weren’t able to determine what role medications might play in this. However, Gordon tells Mental Floss in an email that “the available evidence supports that [resistance training] may be an effective alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms that could be prescribed on its own and/or in conjunction with other depression treatments,” like therapy or medication.

There haven’t been a lot of studies yet comparing whether aerobic exercise or resistance training might be better at alleviating depressive symptoms, and future research might tackle that question. Even if one does turn out to be better than the other, though, it seems that just getting to the gym can make a big difference.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios