Reading This Might Cause You To Barf Up Your Last Meal

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 Politicsearlier 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.

Wow.

Shouldn’t we actually want to have some representatives that come from “blue collar” backgrounds?

So why do we have so few?

Has our political system failed?

Those are some important questions that we should be asking.

And then when all of these wealthy individuals get to Congress, they see absolutely no problem with spending U.S. taxpayer money like it is going out of style.  For example, according to the Weekly Standard, more than five million dollars has been spent on the hair care needs of U.S. Senators alone over the past 15 years…

Senate Hair Care Services has cost taxpayers about $5.25 million over 15 years. They foot the bill of more than $40,000 for the shoeshine attendant last fiscal year. Six barbers took in more than $40,000 each, including nearly $80,000 for the head barber.

All of this is just for 100 U.S. Senators?

Many of them don’t even have much hair left anymore.

But of course the waste doesn’t stop there.

In one recent year, an average of $4,005,900 was spent on “personal” and “office” expenses per U.S. Senator.

So the grand total would have been over 400 million dollars.

Nearly half a billion dollars should be able to buy quite a bit of paper for the copier, eh?

And even when they leave Washington D.C., members of Congress will continue to collect huge chunks of U.S. taxpayer money for the rest of their lives

In 2011, 280 former lawmakers who retired under a former government pension system received average annual pensions of $70,620, according to a Congressional Research Service report. They averaged around 20 years of service. At the same time, another 215 retirees (elected in 1984 or later with an average of 15 years of service) received average annual checks of roughly $40,000 a year.

I sure wish that I could collect a pension like that after working for only a few years.

Yes, members of Congress sure are living the high life at our expense.

Meanwhile, much of the rest of the country is really suffering right now…

20 percent of all American families do not have a single member that is employed.

One out of every eight men in their prime working years are not employed and are not looking for a job either.

-Due to a lack of economic opportunities, close to a third of all Americans 18 to 34 years old live with their parents.

-More Americans than ever before have been forced to turn to the government for assistance.  The following numbers come from my recent article entitled “18 Stats That Prove That Government Dependence Has Reached Epidemic Levels“…

#1 According to an analysis of U.S. government numbers conducted by Terrence P. Jeffrey, there are 86 million full-time private sector workers in the United States paying taxes to support the government, and nearly 148 million Americans that are receiving benefits from the government each month.  How long can such a lopsided system possibly continue?

#2 Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin.  But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceedsthe number of women that have jobs.

#3 The U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.

You can read the rest of that article right here.

As for the rest of us, the fatcats in Washington D.C. see absolutely nothing wrong with taxing us into oblivion in order to keep the big government that they have created running smoothly.

Once upon a time, members of Congress were actually considered to be “public servants”.

If you tried to make that claim today, people would laugh at you.

Congress has become a club for the wealthy elite.  They don’t care about the rest of us, and unless you are able to donate large amounts of money to their campaigns, you will probably be treated with contempt by them.  They do pretty much whatever they want, and they have little fear of ever being held accountable because they know that incumbents have a re-election rate that is absolutely overwhelming.

Perhaps all of this helps to explain why the approval rating for Congress is sittingat just 13 percent at this point.

So what do you think about all of this?

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About the Author: The American Dream

  • JohnDille

    Don’t feel left out… I posted a reply… but I am a liberal, so they have to censor what I have to say… they do not want to offend your Kock brothers, lest they use their VAST power to shut this site down!!!

  • JohnDille

    My honest belief is that all politics need to be retro’d back to when the founding fathers served as volunteers and had regular day jobs like the rest of us. MOST OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS WERE SLAVE OWNERS OR AMONG THE TOP BUSINESS PEOPLE OR POLITICIANS OF THEIR DAY… AND THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES WAS ABOUT THE SAME AS IDAHO PLUS UTAH… TINY… AND EASILY CONTROLLED BY A FEW THOUSAND RICH PEOPLE, MANY OF WHOM WERE THE FOUNDING FATHERS!!! Strip out Indians and slaves and kids and women… the entire adult White Male population of the United States at the time this nation was founded was roughly the same as the population of some small state like Vermont or Delaware today… AND A FEW THOUSAND OF THOSE FOLKS RAN AND OWNED AND CONTROLLED EVERYTHING OF ANY CONSEQUENCE, AND CONTROLLED EVERYONE IN SOME IMPORTANT WAYS! You right wingers live in a fantasy world, built around your fantasy ideas about how the United States USED to be run!!! IN 1790, MOST OF THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE IN AMERICA WERE SLAVE OWNERS!!! George Washington was the richest man in America… in part because he owned over 3,000 slaves.. AND THEY WORKED FOR NOTHING TO MAKE HIM RICH… just like hundreds of millions of Americans today work to make a few million millionaires and billionaires rich… MOST OF THEM REPUBLICANS WHO ARE TOO ARROGANT TO EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE THAT IT IS THE WORK OF THE ORDINARY PEOPLE THAT THEY LOOK DOWN ON…. AND PISS ON….WHO MAKE THEM RICH!!!

  • Jack Barben

    If this were facebook, Joe, I’d have to “like” your post (smile). Mr. Dille sure has an appropriate last name. My honest belief is that all politics need to be retro’d back to when the founding fathers served as volunteers and had regular day jobs like the rest of us. Our colossal national debt (doubled in the last six years through the efforts of our “lyin king”) might actually start reducing if all the non-essential expenditures made by both sides were through at it.

  • Bob Compton

    Typical Alinskyist troll. The Koch brothers are 59th on the list of heaviest political donors. Above them are george soros and all his offshoots, the Steyger brothers, Bill Gates, Ford Foundation, environmentalists, GE, unions, etc, all democratic donors. I remember the lying king bragging that he had a billion to spend on just his campaign in 2012, which is one reason he was able to buy so many illegal votes. Also, the democrats controlled both houses of Congress during Dubya’s entire time in the WH, and the first 2 years of the lying king. When you are an Alinskyite, the ends justify the means, no matter how low you go. After all, when you control the media, even if we were to prove that all Congressional democrats were guilty of serious crimes, the media simply wouldn’t cover it-at all, so the public would only know about it by reading blogs and watching Fox news, probably the most neutral news outlet in the world. Sure, they lean to the right, but they don’t hide news stories, and they don’t put a heavy slant on the news, like the leftist propaganda mills do. If you want to influence people, at least use some semblance of the truth.

  • Joe Cabot

    Again, the wealth is evenly spread amongst the grifters on both sides of the aisle. This fact makes me wish that I could skype with you just so I could the veins bulging in your head. But by all means, please keep living in denial about the realities of the political world. It is fun to watch you spin your tires, thinking that you are making progress, when in reality you are digging a deeper hole. March on comrade.

  • JohnDille

    Heck Republicans… why bother to campaign for election… WHY NOT JUST HAVE THE KOCK BROTHERS AND ALL THE OTHER BILLIONAIRE RIGHT WINGERS BUY YOU A SEAT IN CONGRESS!!! That would save us Democrats a LOT of grief… just to run, WE HAVE TO BE MILLIONAIRES JUST LIKE YOU REPUBLICANS ARE!!!

  • Frustrated

    JohnDille – Did you miss the part about both parties having the same net wealth, the same increases and the same disregard for taxpayer money? This isn’t you or the republicans – this is about the fleecing of some 300 million americans … and the way of life for the generations that folllow…

  • JohnDille

    Terrible stuff… but not at all surprising in a country where Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives for 15 of the last 19 years… and where Republicans have controlled the Senate for 12 of those same 19 years… AND HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BLOCK ALMOST EVERYTHING THAT DEMOCRATS HAVE TRIED TO DO… EVEN WHEN THEY DID NOT HAVE A MAJORITY!!! Democrats are pushing campaign financing reform… AGAIN… like they have been doing for most of the last 20 years… AND REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BLOCK ALMOST ALL SUCH REFORMS! Heck Republicans… why bother to campaign for election… WHY NOT JUST HAVE THE KOCK BROTHERS AND ALL THE OTHER BILLIONAIRE RIGHT WINGERS BUY YOU A SEAT IN CONGRESS!!! That would save us Democrats a LOT of grief… just to run, WE HAVE TO BE MILLIONAIRES JUST LIKE YOU REPUBLICANS ARE!!!

  • Ivan Namrehs

    While the military is composed of people who risk their lives in the service to our country, the government is composed of people who enrich their lives in the service to our country. On the other hand, do we want government run by people to naive or dumb to exploit the opportunities to make money while in office? We allow them to get away with insider trading, making usurious loans to their own campaigns just for the interest income, bribery (isn’t $200,000 for reading a speech to a group bribery?), and the rewards that come from enacting legislation (written by lobbyists) that benefits their patrons. Legislators that lose favor with the voters find a job as a lobbyist. No wonder there is such celebration when they win an election, it is just like winning the Lottery.

  • budrunner

    Another thing to look at is how many in Congress became wealthy or wealthier since being elected to Congress. According to “Throw Them All Out” by Peter Schweizer, many in Congress use insider deals us regular people would be thrown in jail for.