Tag Archives: economy

Members of Congress wealth increases 16% in last year, but they vote NO to extension of Unemployment Benefits prior to the Holidays

Just before they broke for the Thanksgiving holiday Congress took another vote on extending Unemployment benefits for the nearly 2 million Americans still looking for work. The GOP voted overwhelmingly NOT to extend the benefits. Now they’re comfortably at home or on vacation somewhere ready to enjoy their lavish Thanksgiving holiday.

Before Congress adjourned for their Thanksgiving break, House Republicans blocked a bill that would have reauthorized the programs for three months, insisting that its $12 billion cost be offset with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. Many expect Democrats to cut a deal by Christmas, preserving the benefits perhaps by attaching them to a reauthorization of expiring tax cuts for the rich.

Next we’ll see them try to use this as leverage to force the President into extending tax cuts for the wealthy. They will try to hold Democrats and The President responsible for THEIR NO VOTES while lobbying behind the scenes for their wealthy friends, donors and benefactors.

For all the complaining and lies they’ve thrown at the President over the economy they have had a good years. Their personal wealth went up over 16% from 2008 to 2009. Guess it hasn’t been a bad year for the fat cats in D.C. and those filling their coffers. Never mind the struggles of unemployment, lost homes, lost retirements, lost insurance for the millions of Americans now feeling the pain of George W. Bush’s dismal handling of the economy. Anyone think it’s not a coincidence we didn’t start to see and feel the full effects of his failures until he walked out of office free and clear.

In the House, the study found, median wealth grew to $765,010, up from $645,503 in 2008. In the Senate, median wealth grew from $2.27 million in 2008 to $2.38 million in 2009.

The new data comes as lawmakers consider whether to extend tax cuts for couples making $250,000 or more – a move that apparently would benefit many members of Congress. The Obama administration wants to confine the tax breaks to earnings under $250,000, although it has signaled it might be open to a compromise with Republicans over the issue.

Researchers at CRP also identified 251 millionaires in Congress, including eight lawmakers worth $10 million or more.

The top three on the list were Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), with holdings exceeding $303.5 million; Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), with $293.4 million; and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) at $238.8 million.


Politico recently reported we now have 237 millionaires in Congress.

The CRP numbers are somewhat rough estimates – lawmakers are required to report their financial information in broad ranges of figures, so it’s impossible to pin down their dollars with precision. The CRP uses the mid-point in the ranges to build its estimates.

Senators’ estimated median reportable worth sunk to about $1.79 million from $2.27 million in 2007. The House’s median income was significantly lower and also sank, bottoming out at $622,254 from $724,258 in 2007.

But CRP’s analysis suggests that some lawmakers did well for themselves between 2007 and 2008, even as many Americans lost jobs and saw their savings and their home values plummet.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gained about $9.2 million. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) gained about $3 million, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) had an estimated $2.6 million gain, and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) gained about $2.8 million.

Some lawmakers have profited from investments in companies that have received federal bailouts; dozens of lawmakers are invested in Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.

Did you catch the part in bold? Read it again if you need to. Read it slowly. We are supposed to trust that these very millionaires go to work every day in D.C. reminded of the pain and struggles of regular Americans? It’s very doubtful that any of these folks have ever experienced a complete wipe out of their savings or lost a home, had to tell a child there is no chance of college, or spend months sometimes years trying to find a job.

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FEAR vs HOPE

President Obama took on the GOP and Senator John Boehner (R-OH) in Cleveland in his continued fight for the middle class today. Today the President reminded us exactly why we elected him to lead our country.

He spoke of the disaster and misguided proposal of the GOP to grant permanent, budget-busting tax cuts to the wealthiest Americansand elaborated on his own proposals.

Some notable portions:
I know that folks are worried about the future. I know there’s still a lot of hurt out here. And when times are tough, I know it can be tempting to give in to cynicism and fear and doubt and division -– and just settle our sights a little bit lower, settle for something a little bit less. But that’s not who we are, Ohio. Those are not the values that built this country.

We are here today because in the worst of times, the people who came before us brought out the best in America. Because our parents and our grandparents and our great-grandparents were willing to work and sacrifice for us. They were willing to take great risks, and face great hardship, and reach for a future that would give us the chance at a better life. They knew that this country is greater than the sum of its parts -– that America is not about the ambitions of any one individual, but the aspirations of an entire people, an entire nation.

That’s who we are. That is our legacy. And I’m convinced that if we’re willing to summon those values today, and if we’re willing to choose hope over fear, and choose the future over the past, and come together once more around the great project of national renewal, then we will restore our economy and rebuild our middle class and reclaim the American Dream for the next generation.

Near the end:
A few weeks ago, the Republican leader of the House came here to Cleveland and offered his party’s answer to our economic challenges. Now, it would be one thing if he had admitted his party’s mistakes during the eight years that they were in power, if they had gone off for a while and meditated, and come back and offered a credible new approach to solving our country’s problems.

But that’s not what happened. There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner. There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy that we had already tried during the decade that they were in power — the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: Cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations.

Instead of coming together like past generations did to build a better country for our children and grandchildren, their argument is that we should let insurance companies go back to denying care for folks who are sick, or let credit card companies go back to raising rates without any reason. Instead of setting our sights higher, they’re asking us to settle for a status quo of stagnant growth and eroding competitiveness and a shrinking middle class.

Cleveland, that is not the America I know. That is not the America we believe in. A lot has changed since I came here in those final days of the last election, but what hasn’t is the choice facing this country. It’s still fear versus hope; the past versus the future. It’s still a choice between sliding backward and moving forward.

It doesn’t take a genius or financial wizard to understand that tax cuts for the top 2% in our country does nothing to help the rest of Americans. Just look back over the last 8 years since the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy went into effect what it has done to our economy.


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