Saturday, March 03, 2018

Too Many Multimillionaires In Congress? How Many Are Too Many? How Rich Is Too Rich?


In 2014 the Center for Responsive Politics analyzed the personal financial disclosure data from 2012 of the 534 then-current members of Congress and found that, for the first time, more than half had an average net worth of $1 million or more: 268 to be exact, up from 257 the year earlier. All those rich people... do they understand what most Americans go through? Can they even begin to understand? The number of millionaires is probably closer to 300 now. And while over 50% of Congress are millionaires, only 4% of Americans are millionaires. Wow are they over-represented! And when you start talking about multimillionaires, it's even more out of whack!

Monday, David Hawkings did a column for Roll Call, Wealth of Congress: Richer Than Ever, but Mostly at the Very Top, which deals with not how many millionaires there are in Congress but about how multi, the millionaires in Congress are. "The people’s representatives," he began, "just keep getting richer, and doing so faster than the people represented. The cumulative net worth of senators and House members jumped by one-fifth in the two years before the start of this Congress, outperforming the typical American’s improved fortunes as well as the solid performance of investment markets during that time." And that inevitably leads to a discussion of "the financial disparity between those who try to govern and those who are governed."
Millionaire lawmakers have always been a part of the congressional story-- from the landed gentry who created and first populated the legislative branch, through the industrialists who wielded outsize influence in the Gilded Age, to the corporate bosses and old money heirs who larded the cloakrooms through the end of the Cold War.

What’s marked recent years, a time when wealth disparity has grown wider than ever in American history, is the arrival of so many of the superrich. For every 13 members, in fact, one may fairly be dubbed a “1 percenter,” the term of derision imposed by liberal groups on the richest 1 percent of Americans. Data from the Fed pegged the net worth threshold for these people at $10.4 million in 2016, a mark exceeded by 26 Republicans and 17 Democrats.

At the high end of that group are 10 House members and three senators worth more than $43 million, which the Fed calculates as the richest one-tenth of 1 percent of the population.
Two cents from Howie: only 2 can be termed even remotely "progressive," Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jared Polis (New Dem-CO). Remotely. The rest are all Republicans or reactionary Democrats unsympathetic to the legitimate aspirations of working families. Yesterday's column in the same publication, using the same data, asked the question: Maybe They’re Too Rich for Congress? But mostly about the millionaires who are quitting Congress. Of the 44 current members who have announced they are voluntarily leaving, they account for nearly a third of the $2.43 billion in cumulative riches of the 115th Congress. The column doesn't real with all the multimillionaires remaining in Congress, but does touch on the plague of new ones trying to buy seats and join the other crooks.

A short detour: when Trump said he is so rich he didn't have to steal, that was a laugh. Generally speaking, the wealthier someone is, the more corrupt, greedy and unethical.
Of course, the departing lawmakers of this year will be replaced by the newcomers of 2019-- and several credible candidates for Congress look to have little trouble cracking the roster of richest members.

In Southern California, health insurance executive Andy Thorburn and Gil Cisneros, who won the state lottery eight years ago, are both in the hunt for the open 39th District House seat-- and each has filed candidate financial disclosure forms signaling a net worth above $50 million.

Lucas St. Claire, an heir to the Burt’s Bees “earth friendly” cosmetics fortune, is a top Democratic prospect in Maine’s 2nd District, and wine store magnate David Trone is back for another House run, this time in Maryland’s 6th District.

The Republican side features Senate candidates Mike Braun of Indiana, who’s worth at least $35 million after creating a successful truck parts and equipment company, and, of course, Mitt Romney, now of Utah, whose private equity fortune was calculated at $250 million when he ran for president six years ago.
And that barely even touches on the ranks of the vile self-funders. In California alone, as of December 31, 2017 (the last FEC reporting deadline), there were 13 self funders vying to buy seats in the House who have already gone beyond $150,000. Expect millions more before November, especially from Jacobs, Cisneros and Keirstead, three candidates with absolutely nothing to offer but their wealth, ruthless ambition and money-hungry consultants:
Andy Thorburn (D-CA-39)- $2,335,900
Gil Cisneros (D-CA-39)- $1,352,762
Sara Jacobs (D-CA-49)- $1,074,151
Harley Rouda (D-CA-48)- $730,500
Paul Kerr (D-CA-49)- $712,728
Omar Siddiqui (D-CA-48)- $458,498
Ron Varasteh (D-CA-45)- $250,000
Michael Kotick (D-CA-48)- $245,452
Mai-Khanh Tran (D-CA-39)- $230,000
Stelian Onufrei (R-CA-48)- $228,000
Hans Keirstead (D-CA-48)- $220,400
T.J. Cox (D-CA-10)- $215,500
Sean Flynn (R-CA-31)- $177,059
Other crooked, swampy candidates running for House seats who have already spent over a million dollars of their own money:
Kathaleen Wall (R-TX)- $2,733,802
David Trone (D-MD)- $2,281,939
Shiva Ayyadurai (R-MA)- $1,163,248
Steven Lonegan (R-NJ)- $1,006,972
And let's not forget poor (rich) Dan Moody (R-GA), who made an idiot of himself by flushing away $3,053,120 of his own in a primary where he came in 4th with just 17,028 votes (8.8% of the total). Today a rich Tennessee businessman, Darrell Lynn (R) jumped into the open U.S .Senate race, saying he "can easily spend $5 million" from his own pocket on the campaign. Republicans love self-funders. Establishment Democrats have come around to seeing it the same way the Republicans do.

A little tangent: tell me, is this a coincidence or part of a culture of corruption that pervades the Trumpist swamp? Another way to ask the question is if our government of the multimillionaires and by the multimillionaires is also a government for the multimillionaires. Carl Icahn is a longtime Trump crony, a friend and a short-lived member of the Regime. Insider trading maybe? Icahn sold a $31.3 million stake in Manitowoc whose stock tanked by 6% right after Trumpanzee he would be slapping a 25% tariff on steel imports. steel tariffs announcement. When Icahn sold off his Manitowoc shares in mid-February, they were trading at around $33. Friday they were selling at around $26. I bet other investors wish they had the same access to info Icahn had.

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At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Behind every great fortune is a great crime. Balzac (maybe)

Rockefeller became rich while robbing the people who did all the hard labor for him. Then he became a great philanthropist - he did not know what to do with all that money so he started giving it away.

What can you possibly do with so much money? There are just so many houses, cars and baubles one can buy. Putin - apparently the richest man in the world - want more, more, more while his country is poor, poor, poor. And all for what?

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Bribery is legal & those reps on the list could care less about our issues.

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thus America is owned and operated by .01% and their acolytes.

And, Howie, you need to review your definition of "progressive". Blumenthal? remotely?

Hey, all democraps are progressive when their votes are irrelevant to passing anything (except Pelosi and the DNC/DxCC oligarchy).
We saw in 2009 what happens when democrap votes matter. We saw that they still vote for the .01% even while mouthing somewhat liberal sentences.

At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I note that the graphic didn't include any of the names of the DxCC leadership nor of the Party. Where were Pelosi and Schumer? The kind of "corporate services" these self-proclaimed "capitalists" provide the donors has to be handsomely rewarded.


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