Mitt Romney, the richest man in the 2012 presidential race, reminded us of politicians' Scrooge McDuckish qualities last week after it was revealed he planned to quadruple the size of his $12 million oceanfront mansion in La Jolla, Calif. He says he'll merely double it, but either way. Romney isn't the only politician to make news with an expensive home-construction project this year. Just a few months ago, news broke that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is building a $3 million beach house in Florida.

However they got it, a lot of politicians have money. Sometimes it's a job perk, culled from astronomical speaking fees and lobbying contracts; more often, for the wealthiest among them, business success or lucky marriages left them swimming in cash.

And many of them enjoy the comfortable living arrangements allowed by such fortunes. Nothing against that, but given that 26 percent of homeowners believe they are underwater, the opulence of wealthy politicians stands in stark contrast to the mortgage problems facing much of the country. Here's proof: