Poor Struggling Multimillionaires
At a townhall in Montana, a constituent asks his congressman about the economy and wonders what his net worth is:
REHBERG: I’m a small businessman. My wife is a small businessman. She hasn’t taken a salary in ten years as a result of business. We’re struggling like everyone else. With the ecnoomy.
CONSTITUENT: What’s your salary?
REHBERG: I’m land-rich and cash-poor. Like ranchers and farmers and small businessmen throughout Montana. [...]
See, they're just like you and me, folks. Average Americans, =trying to get through this economy by hook or by crook. In fact, they're hurting.
Well, it's all a matter of perspective:
While Rehberg calls himself poor and complains that he’s struggling, the fact is that he is, as of 2009 records, the 14th richest member of the House of Representatives. Opensecrets.org estimates that his average net worth in 2009 was $31 million.
That must be hell. I don't know how they're managing it.
I'm sure he honestly believes he being squeezed. After all, a few years ago he was probably worth 40 million and he feels like he's slipping. But this is exactly the sort of person who rolls his eyes to himself when his constituents complain about Social security and medicare being cut. What do they know about financial pain? "Try seeing your stock portfolio go down a million dollars and then tell me about loss..."
Conservative multi-millionaires, operating as they are from a perspective that says altruism and empathy are for losers, simply cannot fathom that being deprived of a couple of hundred a month could possibly make a difference in your life. That's tip money. So they think that people who are complaining about it are being petty whiners who refuse to accept even a tiny, insignificant reduction in their benefits. Everybody needs to sacrifice --- and lord knows the rich have sacrificed enough already. Look how much wealth these multi-millionaires sacrificed when they gambled and lost!
Update: And here's some evidence of the political and media superstars commiserating with each other about how tough it is out here.
And I have to make an apology. In a previous post I said that the WHCD was a gathering of B-list stars and has-been rockers. That is obviously no longer the case and I was wrong to demean it as a low rent affair. This was a glittering gathering of America's VIP tribe, A-list all the way, from Rupert Murdoch to Scarlett Johanssen to Eric Holder to Newt Gingrich to Gloria Borger. The rich, powerful and famous are America's aristocrats, no less resplendent than the Royals of Windsor. (They did metaphorically hang one of their own in effigy, but then the nobles always do that from time to time, just to appease the peasants.)