Saturday, July 01, 2023

Let Me Tell You About The Very Rich...And Politics

Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different. ”---F. Scott Fitzgerald ("The Rich Boy" 1926).

Indeed the rich are different. For one, they run the government. Over half of the members of Congress are millionaires (compared to just 4% of the entire U.S. population). Some are multimillionaires several times over. They are some of the "one percenters" at the top of the financial pyramid. Most, who aren't millionaires going in, usually are in fairly short order after being elected and nearly all are by the time they leave office, which isn't to shabby for a job that pays an average of just $174,000 annually.

 Some positions pay slightly more. The Speaker of the House pays $223,500 while the House Majority and Minority Leader positions make $193,400 a year. Over in the Senate, the Senate President Pro Tempore, and both the Majority and Minority leaders gets $193,400 each, but this doesn't account for their wealth.  One key reason for their wealth, however, is the huge sums of money they receive from their corporate "sponsors" (which sounds so much better than "owners", but it's essentially the same thing), and best of all, their party membership counts for nothing.

Members of Congress receive millions from corporations while their campaigns take in billions thanks to the flawed 2010 Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court. Some of it comes via lobbyists while the rest goes into so-called "Leadership Pacs" which are basically slush funds members of Congress create for themselves. Money also comes indirectly through a wide number of "perks" not to mention all the benefits they vote themselves including some lucrative pension and health benefit plans.

As an aside, for every one of the 535 members of Congress (Senate and House of Representatives), there are at least 23 lobbyists (with not a single one representing the average U.S. voter). It's also worth noting that the majority of members of Congress and/or their staff go on to become very well paid corporate lobbyists or "consultants". The average former Congress member gets a nearly 1500% pay raise as soon as they move onto K Street. These same lobbyists also help write the bills that go on to become laws.

To further drive home the point, I've included a very informative and entertaining video from Second Thought entitled "How Are They So Wealthy?" which will help explain some of the ways Congress milks the system (and taxpayers). The video is only 12:46 minutes long.

While the video focuses mainly on former Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi, it certainly could apply to just about anyone in Congress. It demonstrates just how different the rich are from you and me, and how they look after each other's interests. Not ours. I've also included to interesting links as well.  Hope you enjoy the video as much as I did!

Click Here:

Second Thought:  "How Are They So Wealthy?"

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NTUF: Congress Pay & Perks.


OpenSecrets: Summary: Leadership PACs

Open Secrets: Revolving Door Summary: Former Members


OpenSecrets: Money to Congress

STAT:More than two-thirds of Congress cashed a pharma campaign check in 2020, STATanalysis shows

POGO:Representatives are Too Invested in Defense Contractors

DefenseNews: Largest defense firms donate millions to election-denying lawmakers



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