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See how Jeb Bush’s income soared after his dad — and then his brother — became president

George W. Bush (left), George H. W. Bush (center), and Jeb Bush.
George W. Bush (left), George H. W. Bush (center), and Jeb Bush.
Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush has released the past 33 years of his tax returns (which were filed jointly with his wife Columba). "Over these 33 years my income increased thanks to hard work and experience," he writes, in a post accompanying the disclosures.

Well, that might be part of it. But, as the below chart shows, there were a few periods when the Bushes' income truly soared: during Jeb's father's presidency, during the first years Jeb was in the private sector during his brother's presidency, and in the past few years before Jeb's own presidential run:

Jeb income chart

Indeed, Bush's income is comparatively modest throughout the 1980s, which encompassed the initial years of the real estate business he founded with Miami developer Armando Codina. It's even negative in certain years.

But suddenly, in 1990, the second year of George H. W. Bush's presidency, Jeb's income balloons. Not only was that his first year making six figures, but his income of $1.24 million also makes it his first seven-figure year. He had to settle for just under half a million in 1991, but topped a million in both 1992 and 1993. Then, from 1994-1998, Jeb's ambition to become governor of Florida seems to have limited his income to the mid-six figures, and once he's actually in office as governor (from 1999 to 2006), it drops again.

After he's back in the private sector in 2007, though, the real boom times begin. Now, Jeb's brother is president of the United States, and Jeb is viewed as a future presidential contender himself. His income soars so much in these years, particularly starting in 2011, that it dwarfs those of earlier decades, topping out at $7.36 million in 2013, the most recent year available.

Head over to Bush's campaign website, where the tax returns are posted, to see more detail. And check out this deep dive from the Washington Post's Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Tom Hamburger for more on Bush's business record.

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