Monday, July 15, 2013

There Are Too Many Damn Multimillionaires In Congress


If you click this, you'll see how the stinking rich live

I go for a hike in the Los Feliz hills everyday. I delight in taking candidates and congressmembers who come to visit me along for the walk. Darcy Burner was smart enough to be wearing tennis shoes. Others have had heels or tassels. That doesn't work as well. That page from Angeleno is about a spa in my neighborhood that charges $10,000 a day to put wealthy fat people through a kind of bootcamp. It's very luxurious and they hike these same hills. $10,000 seems like a lot. I don't charge anything. But I guess $10,000 being a lot has to do with your perspective. It's a lot to most people-- not much at all to others. That's so nice for wealthy people.

But it's a problem when those folks are our Representatives in Congress. And there are far too many multimillionaires in Congress for anyone to see that body as even remotely representative of American families. I wish I could say this is just a Republican problem; it's not. The Beltway Democrats are similarly cursed-- and it's getting worse... much, much worse.
The 113th Congress has become wealthier than the last, with incoming freshmen bringing in a median net worth of $1,066,515 each-- about $1 million more than that of the average American.

While US citizens are getting poorer and increasingly applying for food stamps, the nation’s legislators are getting richer. Freshmen members of the 113th Congress have a median net worth that is about $100,000 higher than the net worth of all congressional members combined. All 535 members of Congress are worth an average $966,001 each, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

A typical American household has a net worth of about $66,740-- a value that has been declining since the start of the most recent recession. Between 2007 and 2010, the median net worth of American households sank 47.1 percent. Food stamp enrollment increased by 15.5 million since 2009 and recent job creation figures show that low-paying jobs have largely replaced higher paying ones.

At a time when the majority is struggling financially, the nation’s leaders are accumulating more wealth.

“What’s [hard] to measure is whether these new legislators appreciate the financial pain people face and can effectively represent them despite the fact that they themselves are well off,” Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, told Open Secrets.

Almost 50 percent of the lawmakers have a net worth of more than $1 million, the wealthiest of which, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), was worth more than $500 million in 2011 and could be worth more than that today.

"Often people focus on who's up, who's down and the number of millionaires in Congress. And of course we should monitor how representative our legislature is and whether someone is getting rich while in public office-- and why," Krumholz said, adding that many of these legislators invest in companies and could therefore also have conflicts of interests.

Adding the average net worth of each member of Congress comes out to about $4.5 billion. With many of its members being in the nation's top "one percent," the legislators' rising incomes illustrate the increasing income gap during a time of economic struggles.

Americans living below the poverty line rose to 49.7 million last year-- a record high which equates to 16 percent of the population. A recent study also shows that the US income gap is worse today than it was in 1774.

“The era when Washington economists and politicians could dismiss inequality as a second or third-tier issue may be ending,” wrote National Journal writer Jonathan Rauch. “And progressives, potentially, have a case against inequality that might put accusations of ‘class warfare’ and ‘politics of envy’ behind them.”
Last May we took a look at how the DCCC goes out of its way to recruit multimillionaires to run for Congress. Most of the crap millionaires Steve Israel recruited have been among the worst Democrats in the House, voting with Republicans on almost every issue that is crucial to ordinary working families. There are exceptions of course. Joe Kennedy and Alan Grayson are both very wealthy-- and are both selfless and tireless fighters for working families. The DCCC wanted self-funders to run so they would spend lots of money on their own campaigns. These 5 invested millions into their political careers and each is a virulently anti-working family New Dem who votes their socio-economic class:
Suzan DelBene (New Dem-WA)- $2,796,879 after spending $2,284,034 in 2010
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)- $2,757,452 
John Delaney (New Dem-MD)- $2,370,556
Elizabeth Esty (New Dem-CT)- $545,195
Bill Foster (New Dem-IL)- $500,000 after spending $545,000 in 2010 and $1,998,223 in 2008
Saturday we looked at the very, very, very, very wealthy young Democrat, Sean Eldridge, who Steve Israel has recruited to run in upstate New York (NY-19) against Republican Chris Gibson. It's a Democratic district-- Obama beat McCain 53-45% and beat Romney 52-46%-- but, despite all his money (all all his husband's money), Eldridge will probably lose. Eldridge is trying to run an issues-free, stealth campaign and won't answer any questions about where he stands on bread-and-butter core issues. He thinks he can relate to the hoi polloi though-- or as his friend puts it, "people of modest means," because the poor boy grew up in a home with two parents who were merely doctors. Poor guy! I know in my school the richest people were the ones who had a father who was a doctor. We don't need more fabulously wealthy people in Congress... and we certainly don't need them further stinking up the Democratic Party. The DCCC is keeping the field clear though-- so that no one can challenge Eldridge in a primary. Why doesn't he just tell Obama to make him an ambassador to somewhere he likes instead?

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