Or perhaps many lawmakers simply can’t identify with the “other 99 percent” that the protesters claim to represent.
And that’s because nearly half of the members of Congress (46 percent) were millionaires in 2009, according to the required financial disclosure forms.
Only 1 percent of all Americans are millionaires, according to data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics. So inside the Capitol dome, the much-vilified “one percenters” lampooned by the protesters as champagne-swilling, stogie-chomping elites are just . . . kinda ordinary.
In fact, in the Senate, counting oneself among the nation’s top 1 percent makes you only, well, just an average schmo. The median net worth in that august body is a whopping $2.4 million. (The figure for the House is a paltry $725,000, just a tad above the poverty line.) And while there are plenty of ways to reckon who numbers among the nation’s upper percentages, there are plenty of indisputably flush folks wearing member pins.
Consider Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the richest guy in Congress. He’s worth somewhere between $156 million and $451 million. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who is the second-richest, has assets that could be as high as $294 million. Even the 20th-ranking congressional fat cat, Rep. Kenny Marchant
(R-Tex.), may be worth as much as $63 million.
Of course, Congress’s wealth reporting isn’t exact: Members of the House and Senate are required to report their assets only in ranges, so the figures we’re citing for the rankings (as crunched by the Center for Responsive Politics) are just averages. And they don’t have to report certain assets, such as their fine homes or their spouses’ earnings.
So they could be, and probably are, richer still.
Which means if protesters really do want to “eat the rich,” they need look only to the Capitol building for an endless buffet.