Wealthy members of Congress are living the high life at taxpayer expense, while most of the rest of the country continues to suffer through one of the worst economic periods in our lifetimes. According to an analysis conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics earlier this year, more than half of the members of Congress are millionaires. This is the first time that this has ever happened in U.S. history. In addition, the same study found that a hundred members of Congress are actually worth at least five million dollars. We have a government of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy, but as you will see below, that isn’t stopping members of Congress from wasting taxpayer money in some incredibly bizarre ways. Millions of dollars are being spent on “office expenses” and on the hair care needs of Senators, but very little is being done to stop this abuse. It is almost as if the American people have just accepted that this is how “big government” is supposed to operate.
No matter what your political affiliation is, it should bother you that we are overwhelmingly being represented by the very wealthy. We are supposed to be a government “of the people”, but instead Congress is rapidly becoming a millionaire’s club…
For the first time in history, most members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new analysis of personal financial disclosure data by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed last year by all members of Congress and candidates. The median net worth for the 530 current lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline was $1,008,767 — an increase from the previous year when it was $966,000.
And this is true on both sides of the aisle. In fact, when you break the numbers down by political party, they come out almost exactly the same…
Breaking the numbers down further, congressional Democrats had a median net worth of $1.04 million, while congressional Republicans had a median net worth of almost exactly $1 million. In both cases, the figures are up from last year, when the numbers were $990,000 and $907,000, respectively.
Of course wealthy people should not be prevented from serving in Congress.
All Americans should have that opportunity.
But when it gets to the point that only wealthy people are being elected, then we have a major problem on our hands.
Yes, a million dollars does not go as far as it used to. But it still puts you in the upper stratosphere of American society.
And these days, there are nearly 200 members of Congress that are multimillionaires…
Nearly 200 are multimillionaires. One hundred are worth more than $5 million; the top-10 deal in nine digits. The annual congressional salary alone—$174,000 a year—qualifies every member as the top 6 percent of earners. None of them are close to experiencing the poverty-reduction programs—affordable housing, food assistance, Medicaid—that they help control. Though some came from poverty, a recent analysis by Nicholas Carnes, in his book White Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policymaking, found that only 13 out of 783 members of Congress from 1999 to 2008 came from a “blue-collar” upbringing.
Shouldn’t we actually want to have some representatives that come from “blue collar” backgrounds?