Wealth Gap Widens Between Congressmen and Constituents

Since the 1980s, the median net worth of the average congressman has doubled, a Washington Post study found. At the same time, the net worth of the average family has declined. The result: a widening gulf in wealth between lawmakers and the public.

There may be a number of reasons behind the growing gap. For one, the overall income gap between the poor and rich has grown. Also, political campaigns have become increasingly expensive endeavors, meaning the rich are more likely to run for office and win.

When Myers entered Congress, in 1975, it wasn’t nearly so unusual for a person with few assets besides a home to win and serve in Congress. Though lawmakers on Capitol Hill have long been more prosperous than other Americans, others of that time included a barber, a pipe fitter and a house painter. A handful had even organized into what was called the “Blue Collar Caucus.”

… “My mother and I used to joke we were like the Beverly Hillbillies when we rolled into McLean, and we really were,” said Michele ­Myers, the congressman’s daughter, now 46. “My dad was driving this awful lime-green Ford Maverick, and I bought my clothes at Kmart.”

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