The Great Scam: America's Richest Politicians Get Richer As Democrat, Republican Wealth Converges

Tyler Durden's picture

It will, or should, come as no surprise that as a result of the Great Financial Crisis, just as in real life, so in D.C., the wealthiest politicians have gotten wealthier: in fact at least 72 politicos have doubled their wealth in the past 5 years. It will, or should, also come as no surprise, that as a result of the GFC, the average wealth of Republicans (which declined) and Democrats (which rose) has converged, confirming that at least when it comes to the economic disparity between America's two big parties, there is no longer any difference. At least these are the findings of a recent WaPo study looking at how America's lawmakers have benefited from the laws they themselves institute. In other words, while America's laws may be designed for its people, those who actually benefit from this country's fiscal (and of course monetary) policy is just one group: those who continue to transfer wealth from what little is left of the middle class and into their own, mostly offshore, bank accounts.

From the WaPo: "You would find that, contrary to many popular perceptions, lawmakers don’t get rich by merely being in Congress. Rich people who go to Congress, though, keep getting richer while they’re there." We are fairly confident that there were no "popular perceptions" that anyone goes to Congress to get wealthy. Congress, and certainly the Senate, are merely vehicles to allow those with power and money to simply perpetuate a status quo that benefits the 1% and takes, what little is left, from everyone else. And sadly, this theft transcends political lines and ideological colors. In short: everyone is doing it, even as America continues to delude itself there is an option. There is none.

For the complete matrix of just who steals from you, dear Americans, click below.

Other WaPo findings:

The wealthiest one-third of lawmakers were largely immune from the Great Recession, taking the fewest financial hits and watching their investments quickly recover and rise to new heights. But more than 20 percent of the members of the current Congress — 121 lawmakers — appeared to be worse off in 2010 than they had been six years earlier, and 24 saw their reported wealth slide into negative territory.


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.


The Post also found that some congressional financial interests intersected with public actions taken by legislators: 73 lawmakers sponsored or co-sponsored legislation that could have benefitted businesses or industries in which either they or their families were involved or invested.

Among the other findings is perhaps this key one: "The estimated wealth of Republicans was 44 percent higher than Democrats in 2004, but that disparity has virtually disappeared." In other words, when it comes to wealth, and thanks to the crisis, which made some Republicans poorer as it made some Democrats richer, America now has only one party: those who do not represent the people, but merely those who will do everything to preserve their own wealth.

And as noted above, the richest just get richer and richer:


  • Between 2004 and 2010, 72 lawmakers appeared to have doubled their estimated wealth.

    At least 150 lawmakers reported receiving more income from outside jobs and investments than from their congressional salaries of $174,000 for rank-and-file members.

  • Representatives in 2010 had a median estimated wealth of $746,000; senators had $2.6 million.

  • Since 2004, lawmakers reported more than 3,500 outside jobs paying their spouses more than $1,000 a year. The lawmakers are not required to report how much the spouses are paid or what they did for the money.
  • Lawmakers’ wealth is held in a variety of ways: 127 primarily in real estate, 117 in institutional funds, 75 in their spouses’ names, 51 in essentially cash, 36 in specific stocks and bonds, 32 in high-turnover trading, 30 in business ownership and 20 in agriculture. More than 40 had reported assets of $25,000 or less.

Those wishing to learn how America's representative government continues to die a slow and painful (for most, if not all) death, can read on here.

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CH1's picture

I am shocked!

SHOCKED, I say!!

Precious's picture

Expansion of political wealth and racism in America have probably never been worse than today.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

If you are NOT the pysychopathic scum you must apparently be to get elected to high office, there are not very many options:

1) "Go Galt" -- just stop working with the system and get out, works best if you already have some money saved or are very competent at doing something that adds value...  And save in gold.

2) Be a wage slave, like most have to be to support their families, and save what you can.  Gold can help here too.  But, the system is now rigged against workers.

3) Descend into criminality -- on the rise as things get worse.  THIS is an ugly part of America's future if we don't fix things soon.  Will we?

malikai's picture

Ron Paul is up 55% since 04.

He likes miners if I remember correctly.

Also, I refuse to believe that those cats on the bottom with negative wealth are fully disclosing.

markmotive's picture

It's called 'crony capitalism' in other countries. In Amerika it's called 'democracy'.

What a farce.

David Stockman slams Crony Capitalism and the Corrupt Free Market system:

LMAOLORI's picture



I felt Ron Paul was the best hope but people don't really know him.  On one hand he would cut pretty much everything in sight and on the other...


Ron Paul, Social Security opponent, acknowledges he receives benefits


Ron Paul Admits He's On Social Security, Even Though He Believes It's Unconstitutional

Never voted to spend one penny of Social Security money

snip Q: You said in 1988 that you would abolish Social Security. You’re OK with Social Security now?

A: I think we need to offer the kids the chance to get out. But right now, if we don’t save the money, we can’t take care of the other. I never voted to spend one penny of Social Security money. So I’m the one that has saved it.

Voted YES on reducing tax payments on Social Security benefits.


Calculated_Risk's picture

He receives because he PAID IN. He's only taking back what was stolen from him.

And he voted to REDUCE the taxes on SS benefits. It money that was aquired via taxation so

it's a double tax, and the vote reduces the amount of money the .gov steals from people. A GOOD THING!

Now go back to huffington post you troll fuck.

Popo's picture

The most important meme from ZH today:

as America continues to delude itself there is an option. There is none.


THIS!  This should be ZeroHedge's tag-line until the elections are over.  

prains's picture

there's an election going on????

rayduh4life's picture

The only choice in this country, and they are trying to take that away from you, is Paper or Platic?.

odatruf's picture

Fuck you, man.  I choose to have fries with that or not.  Me.


max2205's picture

I don't think these fuckers passed that front running law.

No shame. No mercy IMO

Gully Foyle's picture


I'm not certain they are all psychopaths, just corruptable.

In the early 80's 60 Minutes did a segment on a newly elected council man/assemblyman, something along those lines. From the minute the votes were tallied offers started flooding in, free dinners, foriegn junkets, so on.

It's like the way the mob gets people, they accept a small favor which leads to ever larger and larger favors and debts.

But when has there ever been incorruptable politicians? It's been the same game since the beginning of time.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

+ 1 Nor can I be sure they are all psychopaths, Gully Foyle.

Chris Duane (Silver Bullet Silver Shield) and others have done work to show that those who climb to the top are usually quite bad, with symptoms of being psychopaths.

I am not a psychologist, nor do I pretend to be one on the Internet.  

VERY TRUE that politicians have ben corruptible and many HAVE been psychopaths through all of history (Pharoahs (2000 BC and before) and the European kings who believed in the "Divine Right of Kings").  

Your "60 Minutes" story of new politicians and the mobsters..., why does that ring so true?

odatruf's picture

I'd stay away from using the absolute "all".  But more than enough to get the job done are corruptible. And since the system puts each of them into the position of testing the hypothesis, we get predictable results.

It's a pity, but I suspect that if you picked 535 people at random and put them into the same system, the same results would occur. There may be a brief period during the transition when this might be put off, but it would come soon enough.  That's because it is a feature, not a flaw.


Tom Terrific's picture

No, they ARE all sociopaths except for maybe half a dozen.  And those that are should swing from the nearest light pole.

Rick64's picture

 I would say that they are opportunists void of integrity and ethics. Why would a wealthy man or anyone in the private sector that is or would make more money than the meager gov. salary spend millions to be elected?

CH1's picture

Racism worse than ever?

I don't think so.

DosZap's picture

Racism worse than ever?

I don't think so.

Disagree, the minute Sotero was elected the polarization was mind boggling.

People of all ethncities voted for him, Caucs as well.

94% of blacks voted for him just because he is 50% black.............and he can do no wrong, because of his color in their eyes.

The Battitudes came to light at every turn.

What should have shown the ethnic minority community racism had already turned the corner by virtue of the mix of the voters, was brought back tenfold worse, after he was elected.

The manifold hatred is astounding.Some sad stuff............really sad.

Rick64's picture


 Our very first congress was guilty of insider trading. Politicians have always been crooks for the most part.

It was 1789, and state-backed revolutionary war bonds had become virtually worthless. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton moved in to shore up the investments. Before word spread, members of Congress secretly scooped up thousands of the bonds from unsuspecting farmers and war veterans, paying pennies on the dollar.

Gully Foyle's picture

Rumor: Major Donor Scandal About To Rock White House

resident Obama's reelection campaign, rattled by his Wednesday night debate performance, could be in for even worse news. According to knowledgeable sources, a national magazine and a national web site are preparing a blockbuster donor scandal story.

Sources told Secrets that the Obama campaign has been trying to block the story. But a key source said it plans to publish the story Friday or, more likely, Monday.

According to the sources, a taxpayer watchdog group conducted a nine-month investigation into presidential and congressional fundraising and has uncovered thousands of cases of credit card solicitations and donations to Obama and Capitol Hill, allegedly from unsecure accounts, and many from overseas. That might be a violation of federal election laws.

Drudge picked it up that night and teased it as a top-of-the-column story, but it had disappeared by Friday.

Next, the Obama campaign shocked everyone by announcing they had raised an unbelievable $181 million in September. Rather curiously, only 2% of the total amount raised was reportable.

The campaign said that just over 1.8 million people made donations to the campaign last month. According to the campaign, over 500k of these were brand-new donors, having neither given in 2008 nor 2012. 98% of contributions were under the reporting threshold of $250. Of these, the average contribution was $53.

This "national magazine and web site" is believed to be Newsweek/Daily Beast. This might seem impossible, but they did publish this thorough take-down of Obama in August and Eli Lake has been a one man wrecking crew in his Libya investigation.

rayduh4life's picture

What could be a bigger "scandal" than Sheldon (chines mafia Adelson?   Do a quick search of Federal Election Act 1972 and see how many pieces of legislation have been inacted to curb the bullshit.  Courts threw out Feca in 1979 under the premise of allowing the two parties to spend "soft" money to increase voter turnout.  WTF ever.  News flash sheeple, they're all shills for their overlords. 

Gully Foyle's picture


I think this is more of a planned release helping Obama leave office.

For the last two years I've read articles mentioning how Obama doesn't like being president, how he is bored, how he is disinterested in office.

Recently I've seen that same rational from his defenders after the debate.

TPTB has Romney as the next POTUS with Obama eventually migrating to the Un.

Clinton should have been there but he was publicly embarassed.

The pretense is the race is "close".

That needs to be maintained as long as possible.

Now this rumor comes along to demoralize even those who rabidly defend Obama.

RiverRoad's picture

Oh good.  He can help move the UN to Yemen where it could do the world some real good for a change.

DosZap's picture

For the last two years I've read articles mentioning how Obama doesn't like being president, how he is bored, how he is disinterested in office.


Sure he is, that is why he's managed to do more damage in 4yrs, than anyone before him, it isn;t because he was bored, or doesn;t like the bully pulpit I assure you.It is obvious he is disinterested in Office,his focus has been laser beamed at the NWO.

GAAPpreNixon's picture

It was never about Obama; it was and is always about doing what the oil oligarchy wants OR ELSE. It is infantile to think a US president makes decisions in this country. What you have read are mere propaganda pieces planted near your eyes to give you the illusion of access to info about what goes on in the White House and a choice about who occupies that office. Rod Serling: Logic is the enemy and truth is a menace.

DosZap's picture

Rumor: Major Donor Scandal About To Rock White House


Obama took in 180 million, of which ONLY 2% was reportable.

This reeks of Foreign involvement.

RockyRacoon's picture

Yeah, but.... as long as they are corporations they are people!  That makes it okay, or not.  I get confused.

jonjon831983's picture

Shocked... ok. Sure.


But what are YOU going to do about it.

CH1's picture

But what are YOU going to do about it.

I hope you understand that the comment was sarcasm.

What to do: Get out of the rigged system and start living like a free  man. (Going Agorist, or going Galt.)

If you need people to say nice things about you, you are doomed to serfdom. The price of exiting slavery is people calling you names.

Either you want freedom badly enough, or you don't.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

@ jonjon  "What are YOU going to do about it"

Call GhostBusters?

GAAPpreNixon's picture


"In short: everyone is doing it, even as America continues to delude itself there is an option. There is none."

What else can you expect ffrom employees who either agree to rape the USA for corporate profits or get run out of office (or bopped in office if they are too popular)?

Rod Serling: Logic is the enemy and truth is a menace.


Seasmoke's picture

before even the banksters, these are the heads that should be on pikes first !!!!!!!!.......i have dibs on chuck schumer

nmewn's picture

I've got an idea, lets pass a law that________

But let me call my broker first ;-)

rayduh4life's picture

No need for the call, got the heads up for the law in the first place from my "blind trust". 

oddball's picture

F U C K  T H E M  A L L, in the ass preferably, or mouth.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

They wanted to call it Fuck You, DC but as we all know, fuck you was already taken.........

oddball's picture

Fuck you D.C., would have given up the game too soon.  Even the real diehard bootlickers would have figured out the corilation from the burning in their ass.  

Long live the corporation. "god save D.C., a fascist regime." </s>

Cloud9.5's picture

Forget that.  Think about a walk in the park with Nancy P.

malikai's picture

As romantic as a date in a wax museum.

oddball's picture

Fly her and the rest to T.J.     

DosZap's picture

 It will, or should, also come as no surprise, that as a result of the GFC, the average wealth of Republicans (which declined) and Democrats (which rose) has converged, confirming that at least when it comes to the economic disparity between America's two big parties, there is no longer any difference.


NEVER was any disparity, the Demoncrats have screamed this for so long, everyone believed it, no one ever bothered to LOOK at the people in their camps, and their net worths,plus that of their spouses.

Just another example of the Lil Boy who cried wolf..............political sheeple trick.

Rainman's picture

Fuck these small-time critters, I wanna see Bernank's stash !

Bawneee Fwank's picture

Bwing it big boy wainman!

rayduh4life's picture

Probably pales in comparison to for treasury sec Paulson.  Funny how we don't hear much from that slimebag.

Rick64's picture

Not bad 200M + his sec. of treasury salary + gov. pension in just 2.5 yrs. What a patriot!

 Paulson earned far more than his $200,000 or so in salary during his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury. We don't know Paulson's motivation for serving as Secretary of the Treasury but we wonder whether a $200 million deferral and a tax free diversification of his portfolio rather than noblesse oblige explain the decsion.


GMadScientist's picture

$3T and climbin'...definitely in both the "real-estate investor" and "heavy trader" categories.