The Widening Wealth Gap Between the Rulers and the Subjects

bigdog posted on 12/30/11 at 01:53 PM

As if we needed another reason to dislike our congress members, the Washington Post highlights the increasing gap between the lawmaker “haves” and the constituent “have nots”. I, for one, am not the class warfare type of person, but why not have a little fun at our politicians’ expense?

The fact that elected officials happen to be wealthier than their constituents in America is certainly nothing new. It’s always been that way. Heck, depending on which historian you listen to, George Washington was the richest (or at least, one of the richest) man in America when he was President! The article does highlight how that gap has grown wider in the past 30 years.

To be fair, the article brings up a valid point of how much more running for office costs today than years back and invites wealthier individuals to run for office using significant amounts of their own money to get elected. One thing I find myself asking is “why?”  Why would Bloomberg spend $100 million to be mayor of New York for which he earns $1 a year? Why would Rep. Kelly from this piece spend $380,000 of his own money to attain a $174,000 congressional job? 

Is it altruism that drives these people to public service?

Or, are there other motives at play here?

Is it to feed a rich man’s ego? e.g. Bloomberg, Trump?

Is it to cash in on insider information on stock holdings? e.g. Pelosi, Boehner?

Is it to cash in on lobbying, speaking engagements, book sales and well-paying jobs at GSEs when not in office? e.g. Gingrich, Emmanuel?

All the above?

I realize I may have opened the floodgates here for comments, I just ask that we keep it civil!  :)

[Sources: Center for Responsive Politics; Census Bureau; DW-Nominate database on; staff research. By Dan Keating, Peter Whoriskey and Pam Tobey/The Washington Post. Published on December 26, 2011, 4:58 p.m.]

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Posted by bigdog on 12/30/11 at 01:53 PM


incubus posted December 30, 2011 (05:54PM)

The process, is now obvious to most Americans, but it might be too late to stop it anyway.

If you attain public position, the only way to retain that position is to win future elections.

Elections cost millions to campaign, a far cry from the $175K salary a member of Congress receives.

Dylan Ratigan points to the empirical, proven fact that 94% of all elections are won by the candidate with the most money. 

The only way to raise the money to keep your job in any of the three branches of Fed government, state and local is to ask for it, which often entails reciprocation, wealthy individuals and corporations want an ROI for their "investment".

I.E. - promoting tax breaks for the wealthy as "trickle down" or "job creating", or deregulation that might harm the public to the benefit of campaign contributors like removing Glass-Stegall, de-funding the F.D.A, the E.P.A.. or the Post Office....etc

the problem is also hugely exacerbated by behind the scenes manipulation of the system.

For example, ALEC, an organization controlled mainly by the Koch brothers, is working overtime to suppress the vote of up to 11% of the poorest constituents of the population, this demograph consists of senior citizens, minorities and poverty level income groups, the very group that tipped the scales for Obama in 2008.

At each incremental step where control over our government falls into the minority, it's exponentially more difficult for "we the people" to get it back, even moving outside America may not be a solution for the fact that the U.S. is still the primary military superpower.

What's to stop a future "decider" from invading Canada, our biggest oil supplier, at the request of his campaign funding oil executives because he claims they have WMD's, or hidden Al Queda cells?

The history of how the Nationalist Socialist party was able to eliminate the Constitution of the Wiemar republic should be a lesson to take from. instead, me may be in even more dire straights than they were. (I truly hope I'm wrong, will happily entertain discredit for this)

More and more often, Congress, the senate, the Supreme court and the executive branch votes in complete opposition to what polls show them the people want.

The American people matter less and less, especially if you apply the principle of Plato's allegory and how much we derive our facts from the media, a la "government takeover" , "death panel" and "job creators".

papermaker67 posted January 13, 2012 (06:33AM)

Interesting that you have had so few comments.  Apathy?

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