Do Congressional Millionaires Represent You?

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Change is not the same as progress. Change can be the exact opposite. It can be regressive, as we’re now learning from—where else?—Congress.

A flock of Tea Party-infused Republicans has changed the political dynamic there, and exultant GOP leaders are claiming that they are now the voice of “the people.” Most people won’t find themselves represented by this change, much less see it as progress.

That’s because the newcomers in Congress, whether Republican or Democrat, tend to live high up the economic ladder, way out of touch with the people they’re representing. Forty percent of newly elected House members are millionaires, as are 60 percent of new senators. While the great majority of workaday Americans are struggling to make it on about $30,000 a year—having, at best, puny pensions and iffy health coverage—these incoming lawmakers tend to be sitting pretty on accumulated wealth. Their financial reports show them holding extensive personal investments in outfits like Wall Street banks, oil giants  and drug makers.

Their wealth and financial ties might help explain the rush by the new Republican House majority to coddle corporate powers. From gutting EPA’s anti-pollution restrictions on Big Oil to undoing the restraints on Wall Street greed, they’re pushing for a return to the same laissez-fairyland ideology of the past 20 years that got our country into massive messes. At the same time, they’re out to kill a green jobs program, bust unions, cut Social Security, defund Head Start and generally stomp on the fingers of working families.

The change is Congress in taking America backwards, not forwards, for the new majority literally is the voice of millionaires. That’s not progress.

 

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