The Waltons could buy Congress 32 times

Slate reports that more than half of 534 current members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics (CPR) (see here also).

That might explain why the federal minimum wage is stuck at $7.25 per hour – too many of our legislators just don’t understand what it means to by scrape by on poverty-level wages in today’s Walmart economy.

Members of Congress are doing a lot better, on average, than your typical American family. But how does our nation’s legislative branch stack up against the closest thing we have to an aristocracy – the Walton Family, majority owners of Walmart?

Using CPR data we estimate the average net worth of a member of Congress at $7.2 million. This year, the Waltons will take home $8.5 million in Walmart dividends every day – that’s $1.3 million more (every day!) than the average net worth of a member of the richest Congress in U.S. history.

What if we look at Congress as a whole?  Based on the same CPR data, we estimate the total net worth of the Congress at $4.5 billion. The Waltons, with their $144.7 billion fortune, are 32 times richer than the entire Congress.

Congress shouldn’t feel too bad, though. After all, the Waltons’ billions make them as wealthy as 42 percent of American households – combined.

Updated January 14, 2014

  • Included link to CPR blog post
  • Specified that the CPR study shows that more than half of 534 current members of Congress are millionaires (there are 535 members of Congress)