American Politicians: Rich

Something I’ve been following with morbid curiosity is the way American press (well, TV really) keeps freaking the fuck out over the fact Alexandra Osario-Cortez is not incredibly rich and has to do things like not move to Washington until the Congressional payroll department gets around to paying her. The first time was maybe a pardonable slip, the second an error, the third culpable.

Roll Call has an amazing page tabulating the net worth of the previous US Congress in order, from Darrell “Congressman from Qualcomm” Issa with $283m to David Valadao with -$17.5m. The startling thing is how rich they all are, especially as the reporting requirement doesn’t include their main residence. You don’t hit a non-millionaire until you get to the 207th richest. Also, hockey-stick inequality is well and truly in effect. Tellingly, the reporters who put that Tableau viz together didn’t need to use units other than millions.

MPs don’t have to disclose so much information, but I am weirdly fascinated that when Philip Hammond famously forgot to report £3m worth of property, that would have made him only the 84th richest congressthing. George Osborne’s £5m fortune would have put him in 53rd place between Michael Bennet and Vicente Gonzalez. Also, applying the same rule to both and subtracting the value of their main residence would knock them back substantially.

This is one way in which Britain is definitely different.

2 Comments on "American Politicians: Rich"

  1. Said it before but while there are lots of reasons not to take Bannon’s “Move into Europe” too seriously, one thing to watch out for is that by American standards UK (& European) pols are absurdly cheap to buy.


  2. “This is one way in which Britain is definitely different.”

    Is the percentage of wealthy Brits (for each given wealth range) going into politics actually smaller, or is this a consequence of sampling a thinner Hockey stick?

    Does the picture change if one includes the House of Lords?


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