I’ve heard of Feed The Children, but FEED THE CONGRESSMEN? It’s clearly a slow news time here at the end of the year. The Washington Post did a story — and played right along with BarryO’s class warfare theme — on The Center for Responsive Politics’s study of the 25 richest and 25 poorest members of Congress. (CRP is a leftist group. A good rule of thumb — any time you see “responsive” or “sustainable,” you are dealing with leftists.)
The N&O made a BIG deal out of the fact that U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-Dunn) made the ranking of the poorest with a net worth of -$91,497 in 2010. (I’m sure that had nothing to do with the fact she spent most of that year out of work campaigning against “Headlock” Etheridge. )
I’ve had all kinds of people emailing me, giggling, about the story. Actually, Ellmers was not the most interesting part. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) — who was removed from the federal bench for taking a bribe, then elected to Congress — has, according to The Post, a 2010 net worth of -$4 million. It’s not just outrageous that some boneheads in Florida elected this man to Congress after being caught taking a bribe. His personal finances are in the hole by $4 million, and he is making decisions that directly affect our nation’s economy and finances. (He’s voted RIGHT DOWN the line with BarryO and Miss Nancy.)
I saw a few more interesting points in the richest rankings. The Republicans on the list had not been on the Hill long, and had for the most part been successful entrepreneurs prior to political life. Their votes, for the most part, support free market policies. Several of the Democrats — people like Jay Rockefeller, Nancy Pelosi, Frank Lautenberg — sport eight and nine figure personal fortunes while badmouthing other wealthy people and supporting candidates and policies that make it harder for others to get as rich as they are.
I don’t mind having a successful business person in a position of political power. Our country might be in better financial shape if we had more of those people in political office.
If you or I used inside information in a stock buy, we’d go to jail. Not if you are a Member of Congress, though. This immunity from prosecution was detailed in a 2011 book and a 60 Minutes segment. Think about how much gets regulated by committees. Think about how much classified / inside info these Members see while their congressional committees do business. Count how many of the richest Members have made their fortunes via “investments.”
What we need LESS OF are politicians who use their positions to get rich — inside info for stock buys, bribes, etc. — at the expense of the country.