Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why Mr. Smith Doesn't Go to Washington Anymore

Trey Smith

In Frank Capra's classic film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Smith is an everyman. He is not particularly well-connected. He doesn't represent special corporate interests. And he is not independently wealthy. These days you need all three of those things to get elected to Congress.

Roll Call has published their 2013 list of the 50 Richest Members of Congress. Heading this year's list is Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) whose net worth is a tad more than $355 million. Even the fellow at the bottom of the list -- Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) -- has a net worth of slightly less than $6.7 million. Of course, this list only represents the egregiously wealthy. Roll Call also reports that the "median net worth of the 112th Congress stood at $442,007 in 2012."

While $442,007 is nowhere close to Issa's total, it is a far cry higher than the overall median household net worth of $68,828. It is no wonder that members of Congress seem out of touch with most Americans -- they live in a totally different world!

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