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Millionaires Make Up The Majority Of Congress: Here's Why That Hurts Us

Huffington Post

Millionaires occupy the majority of seats in Congress for the first time since ethics laws mandated personal financial disclosures, according to a new Center for Responsive Politics report.

Out of 534 members of Congress -- there was one vacant seat -- 268 have an average net worth of more than $1 million.

Because senators and representatives are required to report their personal finances only within ranges (such as $100,001 to $250,000), the Center for Responsive Politics calculated net worth as an average of the highest and lowest possible total. [...]

The over-representation of the rich in Congress may influence whose interests legislators are really protecting as they seek to address questions of inequality and need, according to J. Mijin Cha, a senior policy analyst at the liberal think tank Demos.

"This coming out now when you see Congress refusing to extend unemployment insurance is so telling," Cha said. [...]

Cha pointed to the repeated success in cutting capital gains taxes versus the difficulty in raising the federal minimum wage. "If you think about who is impacted by the minimum wage, and the sheer number of people who are impacted by the minimum wage versus capital gains, it just shows that the affluent and money is just dominating our policy," she said.