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The Top 50 Richest Members of Congress August 20, 2011

Posted by geoff in News.

Roll Call just released the net assets for the top 50 members of Congress. I decided to take a look at how it breaks down by party:

31 Republicans and 19 Democrats in the top 50. I think the takeaway for this graph is twofold:

1) The Dems can’t claim a particularly close relationship with the working man, and

2) Don’t feel too sorry for those stubby little guys at the far right – the lowest net worth on the chart is $6 million.

Politics is most definitely a rich man’s game.


1. geoff - August 20, 2011

This’ll probably be my last post for 2 weeks. Those averse to serious-type subjects may come out of hiding.

2. Cathy - August 20, 2011

Sorry to hear you will be scarce, Geoff. But enjoy whatever.

Me love Geoff-charts.

I like serious topics.


3. Retired Geezer - August 20, 2011

This’ll probably be my last post for 2 weeks.

Justin Beiber tour?

Anime Marathon?

Final Exams?

Endless Set List on Rock Band ™?

4. Drew Childress - August 20, 2011

Actually the interesting data point would be to see the lowest 50. I’d imagine that a significant percentage in congress are not even millionaires.

5. geoff - August 20, 2011

I’d imagine that a significant percentage in congress are not even millionaires.

Sure, but what fraction of the general population has a net worth >$6 million? Almost 10% of Congress does.

6. Cathy - August 20, 2011

I’m curious about the overall cumulative ‘wealth’ comparing the Repubs to the Dems. Just wondering if there is anything significant there. My guess is no, and that the more significant bit of information is simply that going to Washington is good for the personal purse strings, as Geoff is trying to point out.

What grinds me is that it seems like the longer one remains in Washington the less concerned he or she is about taking conservatism or representation of constituents seriously. Maybe this supports the notion of term limits.

Geoff,what is your position on term limits?

7. Cathy - August 20, 2011

Charting stats used to be my bailiwick. No more, sorry. Now I’m wondering if we could evaluate the wealthiness of a legislative representative as they remain in Washington over time, as compared to private citizens. We already know that those in the public sector with comparable qualifications and experience are now paid more than those in the private sector. But it seems that the side deals they get involved in are helping them make money at faster and more successful rates than private citizens. Sorta like insider trading. A few years ago I read how our legislators get advance information about drugs approved by the FDA and stuff and many use this to invest in the pharmaceutical companies. Now consider all the ways they have access to information that gives them a major leg up in how they develop their personal investment portfolio. Honestly, I simply don’t trust any of them anymore.

We also know that those in the public sector have better retirement benefits by a long shot, or so we are told. I just would like to see it in picture format, graphed or charted

If any of my hunches are reality, I guess I’m very much for term limits.

8. geoff - August 20, 2011

Geoff,what is your position on term limits?

You need them for everybody or nobody, at least in Congress. The advantage of seniority on committees is huge, so states with term limits are hosed compared to states that allow their congressmen to serve indefinitely.

On the other hand, allowing Robert Byrd to serve for more than 57 years in Congress does not make for a healthy legislative process. There are currently 14 members of Congress who have already served more than 35 years. That’s ridiculous.

9. divemedic - August 21, 2011

Cathy: I dispute the “public sector makes more than private sector” meme, and demand proof, showing that public employees with similar education and experience make more than the private sector.

I am a firefighter/paramedic. A starting firefighter/paramedic makes $41K a year. Paramedics who work for private companies in the area are making $33K. At first glance, it would seem to prove your assertion. Until you begin looking behind the scenes.

A starting firefighter/paramedic works 56 hours a week, and doesn’t get overtime until they hit 53 hours. The hourly rate is $13.75. The Private paramedic works a 40 hour week, gets overtime at 40 hours, and makes $16.50 an hour.

So, I want to see proof, and that proof should compare all factors and not be comparing public versus private in general, because government jobs require a trade or some sort of education as an entry point, and comparing them to burger flippers and WalMart greeters is an unfair comparison.

10. geoff - August 21, 2011

Here you go:

Federal employees earn higher average salaries than private-sector workers in more than eight out of 10 occupations, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds.

Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average in the federal government than in the private sector.

Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available.

11. lauraw - August 21, 2011

Sorta like insider trading.

It IS insider trading.

They are supposed to declare investments that might cause them to have a conflict of interest, I believe; but I don’t know what the penalties are if one should ‘accidentally’ arise.

I would note that Martha Stewart went to jail for this same shit, and everybody cheered, but she became wealthy through her own hard work, and she never took a dime of taxpayer money to finance her lifestyle.

12. Retired Geezer - August 21, 2011

I like the fact that Martha Stewart says ‘Hhherbs’ and not ‘Errrbs’.

Also, if I never hear ‘Benny and the Jets’ again in this lifetime, it will be just fine with me.

Pope out.

13. Cathy - August 21, 2011

Thanks Geoff, for the link supporting what I had said earlier. Been away from the computer most of the day.

Divemedic, just to be clear, I have no gripe with any individuals or professions. My main focus is the government forcing citizen taxpayers to pay more for services from them than what the market would bear. They seem to have little interest in good business practices or efforts to be cost effective… They don’t care or try. It’s so much easier to hit us up for more. I’m tired of their lies.

14. Cathy - August 21, 2011


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