Well, you can add another moniker to the list for everyone’s least favorite Congress of all time. We already have “Do-Nothing Congress.” Now, there’s “Congress of Millionaires.” That’s right. In a time when unemployment is worse than ever (having dipped unexpectedly in December) and economic times are tough for the majority of Americans, the majority of the people we elected to represent us are millionaires. According to TIME magazine:
The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed the personal financial disclosure data from 2012 of the 534 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. The median for congressional Democrats was $1.04 million and, for Republicans, $1 million even.
Hmmm. Well, isn’t that just dandy? Are they rich because they’re in Congress? Or are they in Congress because they’re rich? Who knows. Probably works synergistically. And I have no problem with them being rich, as such. I have a problem with corporate welfare, selective subsidies, pork barrel kickbacks, unholy alliances between policy makers and financiers, lobbyist shadow legislators for big pharm, big ag, etc. I have a problem with crony capitalism and the parasitic corruption and abuse that this spendthrift Congress, and so many before it, have perpetuated. This country is broke and broken. We are struggling.
And this Do-Nothing group of ticker tapeworms just keeps on milking the productive people of this country for useless ends. This is not a conservative problem. It’s not a liberal problem. It’s a big government problem. They all talk about how they need your money for the good of the poor, healthcare for the masses, public construction projects, infrastructure, to defend your freedom from terrorists, education, blah blah blah. They pretend to do good. They may even believe they are doing good. But how patently absurd is it to take huge sums of money from average Americans on the pretense that you care about the little guy, when you are making many times the national average every year and receiving who knows what kind of other benefits along the way? And I wonder how much members of Congress give to charity? I doubt it nears five percent.1
One of the major hurdles to overcome election-wise is the extraordinary amount of money it takes to run successfully for political positions. It makes sense that only the very rich can win terms in office. They are the only people who can afford the costs of advertisement, direct mail, cold call, public relations, etc. I don’t know how that could be changed. But I think it would benefit the country greatly if some of the more practical-minded, salt-of-the-earth, work-with-your-hands kinds of Americans (you know, what used to be your average Americans) were involved in the policy-making process. Keep dreaming, I guess. This was a representative government once.
- I looked for figures, but could not find any. Help me out if you know the numbers. [↩]