Happy days are here again.
In fact, they never really left.
The Washington Post ran a story on the net worth of Congresspersons. The recession did not cause them a lot of pain.
The authors do not argue that lawmakers get rich “merely” by being in Congress. No, indeed. But rich people who got elected did get richer.
In Congress, as in life, there were winners and losers. The richest one-third did well. The poorest 20% didn’t. They are worse off than they were six years earlier.
Most members weathered the financial crisis better than the average American, who saw median household net worth drop 39 percent from 2007 to 2010. The median estimated wealth of members of the current Congress rose 5 percent during the same period, according to their reported assets and liabilities. The wealthiest one-third of Congress gained 14 percent.
They do not have to report the value of their homes, their spouse’s salaries, or their retirement plans.
The study found that in 2004, Republicans’ wealth was 44% higher than Democrats. Today, that difference has disappeared. I call this Bernanke’s gift to Democrats.
There are only 253 millionaires today — basically, half of the members of Congress. This does not list their homes’ value.
Over 70 of them doubled their wealth, 2004 to 2010.
There were 150 who received more income from outside jobs an investments than they earned from their salaries of $174,000 a year.
Members of the House had a median net worth of about three-quarters of a million. Senators had $2.6 million. Half had more. Half had less.
The analysis shows that lawmakers who were well-off before the financial crisis of 2008 saw portions of their portfolios level off during the darkest days. But most of these lawmakers managed to maintain their financial footing and emerge far wealthier than they had been earlier in the decade.
Let us just say that the fortunes of those at the top of the political system have shock absorbers.