Former President Barack Obama paused to acknowledge his own wealth during a speech in which he argued for the rich paying a higher rate of taxation, remarking he was surprised by how much money he had accumulated.
Obama, delivering this year’s Nelson Mandela lecture in South Africa, spoke in favor of liberal causes such as universal health care, unions, progressive taxation and retirement security, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Obama said rich people should be willing to pay a higher tax rate to fund government programs for the less fortunate.
“I should add by the way, right now, I’m actually surprised by how much money I got,” Obama said. “And let me tell you something, I don’t have half as much as most of these folks or a tenth or a hundredth.”
The speech has been described as his most significant since the end of his presidency.
The Free Beacon noted Obama and his wife Michelle signed book deals worth more than $60 million after leaving the White House. The couple also has a lucrative new deal with Netflix to produce content for the digital streaming company.
“There’s only so much you can eat, there’s only so big a house you can have, there’s only so many nice trips you can take,” Obama said to applause. “I mean, it’s enough.”
The former president also draws nearly $200,000 a year from his government pension along with taxpayer-funded security.
The Obamas own an $8.1 million house in the nation’s capital as well as their long-time home in Chicago.
A Forbes analysis of tax returns reported in January 2017 found the Obamas earned $20.5 million between 2005 and 2016, with three-fourths of that money coming from book deals.
The website Celebrity Net Worth estimates Obama’s net worth to be $40 million.