Next time you wonder why Congress is so out of touch with the average American – don’t. According to financial disclosures, for the first time in history Congress is now majority millionaire. The 1% don’t just own the government, they operate it.
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 last year when it was $966,000. In addition, at least one of the members elected since then, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), is a millionaire, according to forms she filed as a candidate.
Who better to represent a country struggling with historic income and wealth inequality than the rich and super-rich? They have an incentive to fix that problem because… oh, they have no incentive to fix the problem. In fact, they are the beneficiaries of bank bailouts, farm subsidies, tax loop holes, and defense patronage. If anything the millionaire members of Congress have an incentive to block reform.
Karl Marx once called governments in capitalist democracies “nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” So cynical. He never truly appreciated the beauty of checks and balances and a two party system (all run by millionaires).
And what about the Democratic Party, surely the more progressive party isn’t dominated by the rich.
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.
Hard to believe we haven’t had tax reform to close those loopholes isn’t it? It’s almost like the US Congress is full of people with lots of financial assets who love the current system that allows them to dodge paying their fair share.
I know, I’m cynical too. Next I’ll say that the reason members of Congress have gone soft on Wall Street and Big Business is because they are shareholders in those enterprises. That, if anything, many members of Congress want to ensure those companies face as little scrutiny as possible because they directly benefit from those firms’ increasing profits. You know me so well.
Photo by David Shankbone under Creative Commons license.