The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.
Question and Answer—VII
Out on a Limb
“A question I often am asked is: “Who would you bet on to win the presidency?” Personally, I don’t bet on politics, but here’s my current take on the 2016 presidential race—with, of course, the caveat that we don’t know which campaigns will turn out the best in terms of organization, strategy, tactics, or execution, much less which candidates will step on land mines along the way. . . . Of course, there is no science here, and this is not a prediction—it is just a framework that can be used to start a conversation. Most die-hard Democrats will likely argue that their side has a better-than 50-50 shot, while rock-ribbed Republicans no doubt feel their side has a strong advantage. But at this early stage, anybody placing a bet would be taking a major gamble.”—Charlie Cook, National Journal, March 7 issue
Question and Answer—I
Question and Answer—VII
“Vladimir Putin, by some accounts the richest man in the world, has ordered an across-the-board pay cut for government workers—including himself,” Fox News reports. “A 10 percent pay cut—or even worse, a layoff—would prove crippling to most Russians, but Putin can handle it.” We doubt he could handle a “layoff,” but anyhow:
His net worth has been the subject of wild speculation, with some placing it as high as $200 billion.
“Frankly, I don’t even know my own salary—they just give it to me, and I put it away in my account,” Putin told members of the press during his annual Q&A session in December. . . .
Putin has always dismissed charges that he has amassed a huge fortune since taking control of Russia. Because his wealth is believed to be spread out through secret bank accounts, shell companies and frontmen, pinning down the size of his net worth is impossible.
Whatever he has accumulated, he appears to believe he earned.
“As for my personal perception, I am not ashamed before the citizens who voted for me,” Putin said in a famous 2008 quote. “All these eight years I worked like a galley slave, to spare no effort. I am happy with the results.”
We’ll bet he and his wife were “dead broke” the first time he left the presidency. On the other hand, it’s likely he complies with any applicable open-records laws.
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