Nov 2, 2011

See, Here's Your Problem, Ma'am

According to a Roll Call analysis of Congress members’ financial disclosure forms, the collective net worth of American lawmakers jumped 25 percent to over $2 billion in just the last two years — with 50 of the richest Congressmen and women accounting for 90 percent of the increase.

In 2008, the minimum net worth of House Members was just over $1 billion. In 2010, it rose to $1.26 billion. Senators experienced a more modest increase during this same time period, going from $651 million in 2008 to $784 million last year.

Roll Call notes that the real net worth of individual members is likely higher, since their estimates do not take into account non-income-generating properties such as private homes. Also, members are only required to disclose the minimum value of their assets — meaning, the actual value “may be much higher.” And remember - there's no law against insider trading for members of Congress. No, really.

Senate Democrats are significantly wealthier than their Republican counterparts, while the opposite holds true in the House. Additionally, 78 percent of Congress’s total net worth is concentrated among 50 of its richest Members.

And those that aren't in the top tier? At least 196 House and Senate members are millionaires.

Bottom line, and take away here are that the average Congress Member is significantly richer than the average citizen of the country he or she was elected to run: Congress’s median net worth last year was $513,000, which the median net worth among American households was around $100,000 — a number which, according to the Federal Reserve Board, has dropped by $20,000 since 2008.

So, about those hearings about what happened on Wall Street. You're going to be camped out there for a long, long time, baby.

(hat tips to rollcall / image: sirmitchell)


oshout said...

I'm pretty sure that image is exactly what the header says and NOT the actual wealth of the members of those groups.

IE the wealth distribution of america as THOUGH it were a % of congress & senate.

My opionion is further reinforced by following the link at the bottom of the image, which doesn't state much about the specific worth of the those individuals.

Joe Kaluza said...

You should really change the colors in your visualization to something less partisan. The immediate association is that the red = republicans, and the blue = democrats, making it a confusing graphic to understand, and a tad misleading.