The walls of the Capital building do a pretty good job of sheltering members of Congress, who on average have a net worth of $3.8 million, from the stormy economy outside. The collective wealth of members of both houses of Congress rose 23.6 percent between 2008 and 2010, according an analysis conducted by Roll Call. The newspaper calculated "minimum net worth" of each congressman and senator based on financial disclosure forms each fills out. It found that Congress's collective wealth jumped from an estimated minimum of $1.65 billion in 2008 to $2.04 billion in 2010. "Minimum net worth," as the name suggests, doesn't included every source of wealth for members of Congress (such as home values), meaning it's a big underestimation.
In any case, Roll Call's numbers have a few interesting wrinkles. First off, even on Capital Hill there vast wealth disparity--"Nearly 90 percent of that increase is concentrated in the 50 richest Members of Congress." Congress really is just like us! Second, while neither party has a significant wealth edge over the other overall, the divide between chambers is curious: "Democrats hold about 80 percent of the wealth in the Senate; Republicans control about 78 percent of the wealth in the House."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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