According to a new analysis by OpenSecretsBlog, “Millionaires’ Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus”:
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. (There is currently one vacancy in Congress.)
Last year only 257 members, or about 48 percent of lawmakers, had a median net worth of at least $1 million.
Remember, of course, those in Congress who aren’t millionaires have a very good chance of becoming ones after leaving office — particularly senators — by becoming lobbyists or working for corporations.
America is the richest country on Earth. We have the most millionaires, the most billionaires and our wealthiest citizens have garnered more of the planet’s riches than any other group in the world. We even have hedge fund managers who make in one hour as much as the average family makes in 21 years!
This opulence is supposed to trickle down to the rest of us, improving the lives of everyday Americans. At least that’s what free-market cheerleaders repeatedly promise us.
Unfortunately, it’s a lie, one of the biggest ever perpetrated on the American people.
Our middle class is falling further and further behind in comparison to the rest of the world. We keep hearing that America is number one. Well, when it comes to middle-class wealth, we’re number 27.
The most telling comparative measurement is median wealth (per adult). It describes the amount of wealth accumulated by the person precisely in the middle of the wealth distribution—50 percent of the adult population has more wealth, while 50 percent has less. You can’t get more middle than that.
Wealth is measured by the total sum of all our assets (homes, bank accounts, stocks, bonds etc.) minus our liabilities (outstanding loans and other debts). It the best indicator we have for individual and family prosperity. While the never-ending accumulation of wealth may be wrecking the planet, wealth also provides basic security, especially in a country like ours with such skimpy social programs. Wealth allows us to survive periods of economic turmoil. Wealth allows our children to go to college without incurring crippling debts, or to get help for the down payment on their first homes. As Billie Holiday sings, “God bless the child that’s got his own.”
Well, it’s a sad song. As the chart below shows, there are 26 other countries with a median wealth higher than ours (and the relative reduction of U.S. median wealth has done nothing to make our economy more sustainable).
President Obama just sent his budget plan to Congress. It would ensure that the top 1% pays their fair share.
As President Obama said in his State of the Union:
“Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes… In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions…
Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.”
Sign our petition to stand behind President Obama’s budget to end special tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.
The Upper East Side is where fatcats like Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, billionaire David Koch, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and hedge funder John Paulsen hang their hats.
It was like an alien invasion. In fact, it was an alien invasion. Thousands of regular people — the kind without homes in the Hamptons, yachts or private planes — marching past some of the country’s most privileged addresses.
If there’s a neighborhood the 1 percent call home ….
Being in power, directly or indirectly, for the last 30 years, the establishment has been endorsing legal and illegal methods of accumulating wealth. Whether in India or the US, military men do not retire as millionaires!
It appears that Pakistan’s ruling class knows something that we do not about the judiciary’s promise to treat every citizen equally and punish everyone violating the laws of the country. Along with the Taliban’s murderous suicide attacks, Pakistanis are bombed everyday by price hikes, hoarding, load-shedding, cheating by every influential person — political or otherwise — and the list goes on. It is evident that either the ruling classes believe that the judiciary and other state agencies working for accountability are mere show casings, or that they have been reined in.
Last week, Lahore witnessed the worst kind of suicide attacks and multiple bomb blasts. However, while the bodies of the innocent people were being buried in Lahore, Karachi, and many other places, we learnt that two high officials of an intelligence agency made two dacoits disappear from police custody. The DSP who had nabbed them despite the discouraging attitude of the higher ups, had refused to release them. The DSP was rewarded with an undesirable suspension for catching the dacoit and his mafia head. The incident was so brazenly unlawful that the people of that area staged demonstrations in support of the DSP — a rare show in favour of a policewala.
This week we learnt that officials were involved in the theft of natural gas, costing the nation billions of rupees. We also learnt that the prime minister has ordered the reorganisation of eight national institutions like PIA, the railways, WAPDA, etc, which are sustaining losses of billions of dollars. Who is going to reorganise the biggest money losers? Is it going to be the political leadership, which does not pay taxes on their own real income, costing the national exchequer an unknown huge amount, or the same officials who have been plundering every national institution? Probably, the same old set of officials sitting in the eight money losers will be rotated.
The prime minister and chief ministers keenly rush to the places of tragic happenings to announce monetary compensation for the victims. Records show that the prime minister has paid zero tax while the chief ministers — all four being billionaires — have paid nominal or no taxes. These powerful heads of the state and provinces do not pause to think for a moment whose money they are distributing. It is clear that this is not their money!
The prime minister and chief ministers belong to different parties but, as a class, their behaviour is identical. Therefore, it is clear that replacing one individual/party with the other will not change anything.