The Tea Party has been asserting for some tome now that the best remedy for Congress would be to throw all the members out and start over. They may have a point; the wealthiest one-third of members of Congress did well during the Great Recession, although more than 20% of the members were worse off than before. Meanwhile, from 2007 to 2010, the average American’s net worth dropped 39 %, while members of Congress saw their median net worth rise 5%, and the wealthiest one-third of then gain 14%.
In 2004, the estimated wealth of Congressional Republicans was 44% higher than Democrats, but by 2010 they were at the same level. Between 2004 and 2010, 72 Congressmen looked as if that had doubled their estimated wealth.
How do the wealthy Congressmen and women do so well? As Peter Schweizer has pointed out, insider trading doesn’t hurt. Schweizer found evidence of this with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), as well as Democrats like Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), who invested between $7 and $35 million into a medical tourism company that would profit immensely from Obamacare, which he was fighting for. Schweizer also went after Republicans like Spencer Bachus of Alabama.
The access members of Congress have to inside information is enormous. It isn’t surprising that the wealthiest members often flourish while their constituents back home are suffering.