Bryan Caplan  

Congressional Millionaires

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Factoids of the day:

1.  44% of Congressmen are millionaires. 

2. Consistent with the "limousine liberals" stereotype, eight out of the ten richest are Democrats.

I wonder how much of this can be explained by the vast overrepresentation of lawyers in politics?

Correction: I initially assumed that these figures were only for the House.  The true fraction is 237/535=44%, not 237/435=54%.


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COMMENTS (6 to date)
George writes:

I think the 8-out-of-10-richest (and 4-out-of-5-richest) being Democrats explains why the list goes to 15, instead of the more usual 10. Instead of 80% D, it's a more bipartisan-seeming 60%.

Blackadder writes:

My guess is that it has more to do with campaign finance reform.

Floccina writes:

Well and there is the fact some become millionaires after gaining political power.

agnostic writes:

The lawyer thing is right. Rich people are more likely to vote Republican, but it varies by profession. If I'm remembering correctly, lawyers are one of the groups (along with journalists) who Andrew Gelman says vote more liberal than their high income would predict.

If you looked at the leading businessmen, by contrast, you'd find more conservative rich people.

Hume writes:

I wonder if this holds true on the state and local levels. Does personal and/or family wealth have a direct impact on the likelihood of obtaining local political power? What does this say about the representation theory of governmental authority?

Ryan Vann writes:

Good question Hume, I'd wager that incomes scale in respect to the power of the office. So, your average mayor of Podunk Town, USA might be relatively rich compared to the inhabitants of said town, but are likely not as wealthy as say a Senator, Governor, or Mayor of a Metropolis.

As far as what the representation theory implications would be, it would add more ammunition to the critics of the theory. I personally think it is a bit of a farce.

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