A Few People in Congress Aren’t Millionaires

By
Representative Darrell Issa can afford to bite this microphone in half because he's the richest person in Congress.
Photo: Getty Images

Ever wonder why Congress so often feels so out of touch with regular Americans? It's because they're not regular Americans! A study by the Center for Responsive Politics finds that out of the 535 members of the Senate and House of Representatives, 237 of them are millionaires. That means millionaires make up 44 percent of the members of Congress, compared to just 1 percent of all Americans. That's a lot more millionaires!

Part of the discrepancy can be chalked up to the inherent advantages that rich candidates have getting elected in the first place — they have money to spend on campaigns, and powerful friends with influence and money as well. But we're also reminded of a study a few years ago that found that senators, on average, outperform the stock market by 12 percent annually, a remarkable number considering that "a mutual-fund manager who beats the market by two or three per cent a year is considered a genius," according to The New Yorker. It's not because they're smarter; they just put their inside information to good use. Anyway, one man you can assume wasn't inside trading — or was doing it very ineptly — is former senator Joe Biden, who has a net worth of $27,000, God love him.

Report: 237 millionaires in Congress [Politico]