Keller @ Large: Does Our Congressional Delegation Feel Our Pain?

BOSTON (CBS) – USA Today reporters have analyzed the current personal financial disclosures of our reps and senators in Washington, and the results make for fascinating reading.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

The pols only have to disclose an asset range so the paper used estimates provided by the Center for Responsive Politics to provide a rough guess of who’s worth what, and keep in mind, these figures don’t include their primary residence.

Let’s start at the top of the wealth pile, and of course you already know who’s there, Sen. John Kerry, third richest member of Congress, worth $231 million.

I hope he gave out the big candy bars on Halloween.

He can afford it.

Coming in at #7, fiery liberal populist Nancy Pelosi, feeling your pain but not her own, at $101 million.

Seven of the ten richest pols in the House and Senate are Democrats, the party of the poor, but also a big tent that welcomes the ultra-rich and their agenda.

They’re doing their level best to keep pace with the old masters of the country club, the Republicans, like Olympia Snowe, clocking in at an Olympic $20 million, John McCain, the man of many homes, at $16 million, and fiery conservative populist Eric Cantor with $5.4 million.

Then again, how can we ever take Cantor seriously again once we learn that he’s worth $3.3 million less than Al Franken?

What about the rest of the delegation, otherwise known as John Kerry’s household help?

After Kerry, it’s a big drop off, but suffice to say, Tsongas, Keating, Frank, McGovern, Markey, Capuano, and yes, Scott Brown too, are all worth seven figures.

All of the above are successful politicians, and they wouldn’t be where they are if they were completely out of touch with the lives of those worth far less than them.

But it does make you wonder.

And maybe the next time you hear one of them claiming they’re here to help you, you’ll think to yourself – sure you are.

Show me the money.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

More from Jon Keller
  • Denise

    They’re out of touch w/ the “average” person on the street. Until all laws/taxes and healthcare issues apply to them like the rest of us – they will never fix anything for “us”. I would love to hear one of them say they would live for 1 year on an average salary and see how they make ends meet. Just like the out of touch over paid athletes – they need to be realed back down to earth, put their feet on the ground and get to work. I would love to have their “vacation” schedules too… but my company probably wouldn’t stay in business if we took as much time off as the government(s) do! And I’ld love to get paid to drive to work too… Oh I could go on – but maybe we’ll have more “newbies” knocking off the old cronies that are out of touch – lets hope that they don’t get sucked in to the high life – before they can make a difference! Salary caps for all!!! LOL

  • tsal

    Denise I agree. Every one of them needs to have their health care and other benefits ended. They need the same health care coverage we all have. The problem is that they can afford the deductibles and high premiums so I’m not even sure what good that does. Some say they will only take a small salary or no salary but they can also afford to do that.

    Jon I’ve thought about your comment “All of the above are successful politicians, and they wouldn’t be where they are if they were completely out of touch with the lives of those worth far less than them.”

    I do think they are completely out of touch and I also think it’s easy to get where they are having been out of touch all along. They have the means (money) and the power. An average person has absolutely no chance to run a campaign let alone win it.

    We need to totally revamp the way campaigns are financed. Then and only then will they be on an even footing with the real Joe the Plumber – which by the way was the biggest joke of all since he was making over $250,000. Only a fool of a politician would equate that salary with the average person.

    • Patricia

      Joe the Plumber was making $250,000? Can you show me where you saw that? I am curious, I thought he was unemployed at the time. Thanks, appreciate it.

      • tsalt

        Joe the plumber’s claim was that Obama’s policy would hurt his business or one he planned to purchase that was making over $250,000 – makes no difference to me whether he was employed or unemployed – it was the fact that politicians went on to say $250,000 was middle class American. If you read what I said, it was in response to Jon’s comment that politicians would not be where they are if they were completely out of touch. I am not sure I agree with that comment. Any politician who feels that a salary of $250,000 is middle income is horribly out of touch.

        Hope that helps, Patricia

      • FireGuyFrank

        Question for clairty: Was Joe the Plumber taking a salary of $250k, or were the overall revenues of his buisness $250k, from which he had to pay all other employees and expenses?

        The answer is critical. It could be that Joe was only taking less than $50k for his own “salary”.

      • tsal1

        sighhhhh :) frank – I now am incredibly sorry I mentioned Joe the plummer – it was simply to point out (as I explained previously) that when we all heard about him the politicians referred to him as middle class American because he was making $250,000. He wasn’t then and he never is. Politicians are NOT in touch with reality.

  • Peter

    Almost every congressperson or Senator that comes into office leaves office a multimillionaire because they can use insider trading because they are immune to the laws against insider trading and they don’t have to follow the laws like the rest of us.

    • tsalllllll

      Not to mention other perks like the 1.6-1.8 million in consulting fees Gingrish reportedly made from Fannie and Freddie while all the time blasting them and the dems with regard to them. It just keeps getting better

      • Patricia

        I think its safe to say this is not a one party trick – please, both parties are just as reprehensible.

      • tsalllllll

        Not sure what you mean since I don’t think anyone has said it is one party or the other. It is without question across the board and across the aisle.

  • emom

    I Have said it before, ALL politicians in any branch are far from in reality and so out of touch its not funny. They will ask the questions WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU. But that’s it, that’s as far as they will take it . They then go into some speak of how they see the future, what they see for us and feel they will be the best candidate,,, AH WHAT you didn’t even address the problem or the questions.
    Explain to me how high lighting their future plan could ever be remotely close to answer the problems we currently are having. People are worried, fear their future will further fall apart, they will loose their homes, jobs, and their dignity. NO they do not listen to us they have never listened to us., I remember once when they allowed common people into a gathering in front of some candidates and such questions where given to those running, NOT ONE even answered them only ran around the question and trivialized what they felt was important. REALLY out of touch you bet they are, They no more hear us than they do the CRY OF THE POOR. OH but rattle a bag of change see them run. fan a bundle of hundreds and they will see you and hear you. l bet if you take away their perks, their paid for cars, cell phones, laptops and allowances, You know their meal ands travel allowances Oh you bet they will pay attention , they may even hear the buzzing of the people saying enough is enough,,, But We need to scream much louder, have them held accountable for their actions, make it a law of some sort to make them all account for their wrong doings and take away any perks they would gain if and when they are found guilty,, commit a crime you loose everything, steal from your people lose everything, No matter how long you have been in that position,.,,
    Make them cry and beg as they do to us the poor working class..
    OH by the way WHAT’S MIDDLE CLASS salary. really and they can not live on such a salary,,, Give it to me I will show you hoe to live and not worry. and Not live WAY ABOVE MY MEANS. It so can be done they choose not to try. only ask for more and take from those that have nothing left to give. Sorry my first born is mine, and I do not plan on giving any body parts all because of on thing on their mind,,,,,,, GREED.

  • Mark

    It is our fault for continually sending them back election after election. Term Limits are a must because you obviously cannot trust the electorate to make the right decisions.

    • tsal1

      Mark I thought term limits wee the answer also except many of the tea party members who were recently elected didn’t even care about a second term – they simply wanted to push for their agenda an get out. Before I get called on that – I don’t care that they are members of the tea party or any other party – I simply think there is then no investment. I would not want a person coming to work for me who planned to accomplish his agenda and leave. So I’m not sure about term limits. I am positive we need campaign finance reform

  • FireGuyFrank

    They’re the primary CAUSE of our pain! They feel nothing. The only thing they care about is more money and power for themselves.

  • tallred

    The questions to ask are: How much was each politician worth when they came to Washington, and how much are they worth after X years?
    I’m not defending Kerry or McCain, but they each married women with LOTS of money. Scott Brown’s wife is quite accomplished and probably makes good money.
    Nonetheless, your comments are right on, Jon. And the 60 Minutes piece last Sunday amplified the point.

  • Denise

    I still think some of our major issues would be solved if the government employees were not exempt from them. Healthcare shouldn’t be free – if you are a multimillionaire! You can afford it!!! Pay for it! Your mileage to and from your house to work shouldn’t be paid for… you have enough $$ to pay for it, your car, your insurance etc etc… But I don’t see any of these Multi-millionaires declining these “perks” for the greater good – donate the $$ to the Veterans organizations or to a program to help the homeless get back on their feet! I wish I had the ticket for $250,000,000 from CT… I could do so much good w/ it – and I would! Part of the problem is Charity starts at home… but we’re to busy taking care of everyone else and their welfare issues… our people are falling thru the cracks – No child left behind – well if the parents are left behind where is the child going to go? To many issues and problems to be solved on this blog! And who actually gets to speak to one of these “powers to be” you have to go through so many layers first… the assistants have assistants!

  • BostonIrish

    Tsal, I wanted to post a link which helps to lend credibility to your arguement about the segregation of income. Meaning the shrinking middle-class.

    • Tsal

      Thanks BI. I have read a lot of articles but hadn’t seen this one. The most disturbing is the percent of income gain as I have said multiple times. You cannot justify a nearly 300% gain for the top with middle and low income ranging from 18-40%. It’s across the board. The dems on the super committee are supporting cuts along with the reps. You cannot cut from those who have nothing left. The number of people living below poverty level is growing. I may be wrong but think it’s something like 1 in 6. I hope I’m wrong. If we can just work together

  • tsalllllll

    I was thinking this morning as I watched the Today show and listened to the blurb about Gingrich and Freddie and Fannie. First, it is incredibly sad that one by one the GOP candidates are literally falling in black holes. This is the best we have for leader of the free world? And I don’t think it is any different on the democrat’s side. Second, I wish that every member of congress went through the kind of vetting that these men are going through. Why do the serious problems these politicians have only show up at this point? I feel as if Democrats and Republicans alike should just run for president so the American people will see all of their skeletons. I’m a little afraid of what we’d find, however.

  • mikey

    To answer the question asked: nope.

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