Wealth and the Congress
posted Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 @ 1:00 pm
A Washington Post analysis of the widening gap of the wealth of members of the Congress compared to the constituents they represent did not tell us anything that we did not already know.
The newspaper's in-depth report over the weekend, though, served as a reminder that money plays too large of a roll in the electoral process in America today.
The Post's reporting drew its comparison from the wealth of members of the Congress who served in 2009 versus members who served in the Congress in 1984. The reporting also pulled together data on the wealth of constituents from all over the country, who have witnessed their net wealth – adjusted for inflation – decline since 1984.
It was not surprising to learn that members of the Congress who served as recently as 2009 are far wealthier than the men and women who were elected some 27 years ago. According to The Post analysis, the median net worth of a member of the House more than doubled from $280,000 to $725,000, excluding home equity, from 1984-2009. The later is an inflation-adjusted figure in 2009 dollars.
Over that same period, or from 1984-2009, the wealth of an American family declined from $20,600 to $20,500 in comparable median figures.