Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Growing Wealth Gap Between Congress and Constituents

Growing wealth widens distance between lawmakers and constituents

By , Published: December 26

This Washington Post Article http://wapo.st/w1HG3M is summarized here (mostly cut and pasted from the article). 

The financial gap between Americans and their representatives in Congress has widened considerably since 1984, the earliest year for which there are consistent wealth statistics for members of congress.  The growing disparity between the representatives and the represented means that there is a greater distance between the economic experience of Americans and those of lawmakers.

Between 1984 and 2009, the median net worth of a member of the House more than doubled from $280,000 to $725,000 in inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars, excluding home ­equity while the wealth of an American family has declined slightly.

In Congress, the median wealth increased and the proportion of representatives who have little besides a home has shrunk. In 1984, one in five House members had zero or negative net worth excluding home equity, according to the disclosures; by 2009, that number had dropped to one in 12.

Running a campaign has become much more expensive, making it more likely that wealthy people gain office. Since 1976, the average amount spent by winning House candidates quadrupled in inflation-adjusted dollars, to $1.4 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.

About a decade ago, academics studying the effect of income inequality on politics noticed a striking fact: The growth of income inequality has tracked very closely with measures of political polarization.  “The proximity of these trends is uncanny,” researchers Nolan McCar­ty, Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal wrote in a a 2003 paper. “Remarkably, the trends of economic inequality and elite political polarization have moved almost in tandem for the past half-century.”  Please go to the original article for details and a real world perspective.  http://wapo.st/w1HG3M

Congressional net worth more than doubles since 1984

1 comment:

  1. The median income isn't truly representative, imo.

    The Average Income for Congress is $14,400,000

    Average Wealth of Members of Congress


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