Meet the Press Transcript – December 7, 2014
Nerd screen time about Congress and wealth. The majority of Americans, of course, think members of Congress are out of touch with average citizens. 81%, according to Gallup’s most recent survey. In fact, average Americans don’t think members of Congress understand their needs or concerns.
And that members of Congress are too beholden to special interests. Well, there’s a big reason why our representatives here in Washington appear to have a hard time relating to most of you. And it starts with a massive wealth gap. Let’s take a look at the numbers. First of all, members of Congress make a lot more money than the average American.
Typical household income, $54,000 annually. The annual salary for each member of Congress, it’s nearly $175,000, three times as much. And oh, by the way, that’s not household income. This doesn’t include spousal income. You included that, it’s even much higher. Not surprisingly, members of Congress are also doing better than average Americans when it comes to seeing their wealth grow.
On average, media net worth for average Americans grew just under 4% annually from 2004 to 2012. In that same period of time, members of Congress saw their income increase at a 15% clip annually. The result? By 2013, the average 55 to 65 year old, that’s about the average age of a member of Congress, had a net worth of just over $165,000.
And that includes real estate holdings. The average net worth for a member of Congress? Just over a million dollars. And that does not include real estate holdings. They don’t have to report that on their forms. If they did, that number would even be higher. All of which makes this next figure not so surprising after you see all these numbers. And that is, millionaire households.
Overall, nearly 6% of households in America are millionaires. And that number’s up, by the way. Members of Congress? Over half of them, remember there are 535 of them, over half of them are millionaires. So you wonder why the economy, income inequity, all of these issues, you don’t feel like Congress quite understands the urgency of it, this is all you need to know. Half of them are millionaires. We’ll be right back.