Sunday, November 25, 2012

Way Too Many Multi-Millionaires In Congress For A Fair Grand Bargain


There aren't enough Members of Congress who empathize with ordinary American working families because Congress has become a rich man's (and rich woman's) game. You might expect the GOP to be the natural home for wealthy people aspiring to political positions-- and you would be partially correct. But so is the Democratic Party. Both parties were quick to bail out the wealthy when the big Bush crash occurred, even though it was a crash created by the overreach and greed of the wealthy-- while ordinary middle class families were, basically, let to rot by both parties.

Both parties almost exclusively recruit millionaires as their candidates. And the party leaderships are made up of millionaires who feel comfortable around other millionaires, but not around normal people. The Democratic Party has sold out and the Beltway Establishment Democrats are essentially, almost as useless to the legitimate aspirations of working families as the GOP is.

Roll Call's annual list of the 50 richest Members (2012) includes 31 Republicans and 19 Democrats.
Michael McCaul (R-TX)- $305.96 million up from $294.21 million last year and up from $12 million when he first entered Congress in 2005
John Kerry (D-MA)- $198.65 million
Darrell Issa (R-CA)- $140.55 million
Mark Warner (D-VA)- $85.81 million
John Rockefeller (D-WV)- $83.08 million
Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)- $79.11 million
Jared Polis (D-CO)- $72.09 million
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)- $56.80 million
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)- $41.78 million
Jim Renacci (R-OH)- $36.67 million
Vern Buchanan (R-FL)- $36.49 million
Chellie Pingree (D-ME)- $28.58 million
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)- $26.43 million
Diane Black (R-TN)- $24.79 million
Rick Berg (R-ND)- $23.78 million
Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)- $21.73 million
Bob Corker (R-TN)- $19.63 million
James Risch (R-ID)- $19.09 million
Gary Miller (R-CA)- $17.41 million
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)- $15.57 million
Mike Kelly (R-PA)- $14.95 million
Ron Wyden (D-OR)- $14.47 million
Nita Lowey (D-NY)- $14.34 million
Richard Hanna (R-NY)- $13.69 million
Nan Hayworth (R-NY)- $12.34 million
Ron Johnson (R-WI)- $12.0 million
Trent Franks (R-AZ)- $11.60 million
Scott Rogell (R-VA)- $10.75 million
Kenny Marchant (R-TX)- $10.33 million
Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)- $10.20 million
Herb Kohl (D-WI)- $10.06 million
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)- $10.05 million
Tom Harkin (D-IA)- $10.01 million
Tom Petri (R-WI)- $9.53 million
Shelley Berkley (D-NV)- $9.17 million
Olympia Snowe (R-ME)- $9.01 million
Miss McConnell (R-KY)- $8.95 million
Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)- $8.94 million
John Campbell (R-CA)- $8.93 million
Tom Price (R-GA)- $8.81 million
John Hoeven (R-ND)- $8.41 million
Fred Upton (R-MI)- $7.69 million
Blake Farenthold (R-TX)- $7.65 million
Steve Pearce (R-NM)- $7.48 million
Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)- $7.10 million
Bill Flores (R-TX)- $6.94 million
Rob Portman (R-OH)- $6.72 million
John Yarmuth (D-KY)- $6.47 million
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)- $6.28 million
Ben Nelson (D-NE)- $6.14 million
Changes this year mostly just confirm that old adage that the rich get richer, although "one theme that emerged on this year's list is that about half of Congress' wealthiest lawmakers reported having a lower minimum net worth than the year before. Though in most cases the difference was negligible, some lawmakers reported a precipitous drop. Issa's reported minimum net worth in 2011 was about $80 million less than in 2010. Rep. Kenny Marchant's (R-Texas) reported net worth dropped by more than a third. Some of the apparent lost wealth can likely be attributed to the new mortgage disclosure requirement.

"Though McCaul, Kerry, Issa, Warner and Rockefeller kept a lock on the top five spots, there was movement elsewhere on the list.

"One notable newcomer is Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), who saw her minimum net worth increase from about $500,000 in 2010 to $28.58 million in 2011 after her marriage to financier Donald Sussman.

"Others who broke into the top 50 this year were Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who even made it into the top half.

"Lawmakers who dropped off the list include Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.)."

In his new book, Twilight Of The Elites, Chris Hayes writes a lot about the concept of distance between elites and the rest of us. "A wide distance between the governors and the governed will produce a state that is predatory toward its own citizens, indifferent to their desires, and subject to the inbred whims and compulsions of its ruling class... [T]hose members of the elite who occupy the high offices of our pillar institutions and organizations are already psychologically disposed to close themselves off to the perspectives of others... Time and again, in radically different contexts, we saw those in charge be so blind to the interests of those outside their small circle that they pursued a course of action that would ultimately bring ruin and disgrace."

And these are the people who will craft an anti-democratic lame duck Grand Bargain whose ultimate goal is to begin the process of destroying Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Class war indeed. Never forget this George Carlin speech, one of the most important ones in our lifetimes:

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At 11:24 AM, Blogger John said...

A restatement of Carlin's message from Michael Parenti:

"There are a lot of people who still don’t get it. They don’t get it that these guys are playing for keeps, that they are going after you, that they are not going to leave any little bit left for you. There’s only one thing that the ruling circles throughout history have ever wanted, and that’s everything. There’s only one thing they want: all the wealth, the
treasures, and the profitable returns, all the choice lands and forest and game and herds and harvests and mineral deposits and precious metals of the earth, all the productive facilities and gainful inventiveness and technologies, all the control positions of the state and other major institutions, all public supports and subsidies, privileges and immunities, all the protections of the law and none of its constraints, all the services and comforts and luxuries and advantages of civil society with none of the taxes and none of the costs. Every ruling class in history has wanted only this: all the rewards and none of the burdens. Their operational code is, We have a lot. We can get more. We want it all. And if you don’t know that, you’re in a sad place. If you know that and you don’t know anything else, you know more than if you know everything else and you don’t know that."

Fascism: The False Revolution

John Puma

At 11:30 AM, Blogger michael Burkart said...

Anyone who thinks these millionaires are going to betray their class has no understanding of how power operates.

michael burkart

At 1:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

435 representatives in lower house for a 311 million population is the incredibly diluted representation of 1:700,000. The catch phrase "writing to your congressman" is truly a joke. It is naive to think that a regular citizen can get any practical contact surface, compared to the army of professional lobbyist and think tanks operating directly in Washington DC. Virtually all other countries have much better than 1:700,000. Comparing to Monarchy, how much different is the US senate and congress with their 200+ millionaires.


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