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It’s Not Just CEOs. Lawmakers Are the 1%, Too

Posted on December 27, 2011 | in Labor News | by

Every wonder why it’s so hard to get a millionaires’ tax passed?

We all know that the gap between 1 percent and the rest us has grown to obscene proportions. Their wealth has soared while ours has stagnated or fallen over the past decade and more.

We picture Wall Street stockbrokers, bankers and CEOs as the top winners in our out of whack economy. But new figures from the University of Michigan and the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) show that members of Congress—where 250 lawmakers are millionaires—are doing better than anybody.

In a story today on the new data in The New York Times, Eric Lichtblau writes:

Members of Congress are getting richer compared not only with the average American worker, but also with other very rich Americans.

While the median net worth of members of Congress jumped 15 percent from 2004 to 2010, the net worth of the richest 10 percent of Americans remained essentially flat. For all Americans, median net worth dropped 8 percent, based on inflation-adjusted data from Moody’s Analytics.

A Washington Post article points out that between 1984 and 2009, the median wealth of House members grew two and half times (adjusted for inflation), while the wealth of the average American family actually declined.

CRP Executive Director Shelia Krumholz told the Times that rising congressional wealth cast doubts in voters’ minds about whether lawmakers have a grasp on the struggles average families face.

There’s always a concern that they can’t truly understand or relate to the hardships that their constituents feel—that rich people just don’t get it.

The Times contacted all current House and Senate members and asked if they had any close friends or families who lost their jobs or homes in the great recession. Only 18 responded and only nine said yes.

Click here for the full Times article and here for more from the Post.

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