As Congress takes up the American Jobs Act in the coming months it will be deciding, among other things, whether or not to extend payroll tax breaks, prevent teachers from being fired, continue to assist the unemployed and spur hiring of the long- term unemployed.
This particular package of legislation sits in the midst of Congress’ usual array of concerns that effect the average American: raising (or not) the minimum wage, making health care more affordable, preventing foreclosures and ensuring that seniors receive their fixed incomes every month.
Given the import of these tasks, it’s useful to note how different the financial priorities and experience of Congress are from our own. Or put more bluntly, how out of touch these rich folks are with the vast majority of Americans.
The idea of Congress tinkering with American paychecks is akin to a mom watching her kids add change to their piggy banks. Our elected representatives may be American citizens — but the average American would not find many of them living in his neighborhood.
In fact, the combined net worth of the top 50 lawmakers is an astounding $1.6 billion dollars. Meanwhile, the median net worth of American households is about $100,000.
Top Five Congressman by Net Worth
Here’s a list of the top legislators in all of Congress:
- House Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) $287 million
- Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) $238 million
- House Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) $220 million
- Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA) $82 million
- Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) $76 million
That’s troubling, but let’s look more specifically at the “supercomittee” members. The 12-berth group was created in the wake of the debt-ceiling disaster and charged with cutting $1.5 trillion by the end of November.
As we all wonder if these specially chosen few will be able to come together to eliminate enough government jobs and programs to prevent the “trigger” mechanism from engaging and chopping big holes in Medicare and defense. As discussions proceed, it’s clear personal experience won’t play a big role in the conversation.