Why We Occupy: Filthy Rich Legislators

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) secured $800,000 in earmarks for his district and owns assets worth between $240 and $500 million

Supply-side economics, legacy of the ’80s. Wealth trickles down like rivulets from a mountain stream.

Reaganomics was called voodoo economics for more than one reason. First, since the Reagan years, wealth hasn’t trickled–it’s gushed. And secondly, it’s gushed upstream to the already rich and made them even more wealthy.

In another trend, we’re electing lawmakers who are upstream of the average, while voters get pushed downstream a little more. Between 1984 and 2009, the median net worth of a member of the House more than doubled from $280,000 to $725,000. In comparison, median wealth of American families stagnated at about $20,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

The statistics don’t take into account home equity. Given that the 2008-2009 recession gutted home values and the less well-off were more often on the bad end of sub-prime mortgages and foreclosures, these numbers don’t show the true extent of the wealth gap.

Of course legislators with personal wealth can and sometimes do stand up on the right side of issues–keeping a social safety net in place so 10% unemployment doesn’t turn families out into the cold, working for universal healthcare so that one illness doesn’t lead to financial catastrophe. But we know this majority Republican House isn’t on the side of the 99%. They’ve fought tooth and nail to keep the Bush tax cuts for millionaires in place and refused to extend the payroll tax cut–until they got eaten alive by public opinion.

When Republicans claim they’ve never met a tax cut they didn’t like, yet a tax cut for average Americans goes down like cod liver oil, it all adds up to gross self-enrichment.

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4 thoughts on “Why We Occupy: Filthy Rich Legislators

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  2. Pingback: Wealth inequality in America infinitely worse than you think it is | Cool Revolution

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