This gap is statistically demonstrable. Something like 8 percent of American adults are millionaires, while members of Congress weigh in at about 50 percent. To anyone paying attention, this discrepancy is too large to be written off as mere coincidence.
This trend has worsened in recent decades. According to a 2011 article in The Washington Post, as recently as 1975 “it wasn’t nearly so unusual for a person with few assets besides a home to win and serve in Congress.” The article goes on to note that lawmakers “of that time included a barber, a pipe fitter, and a house painter.”
Today, things are quite different. Between 1984 and 2009, the median wealth of a House member “more than doubled,” while “the wealth of the average American family declined.” The chasm has only widened since then. According to BallotPedia’s “Personal Gain Index,” between 2004 and 2012, “the average increase in net worth for the top 100 [richest congressional incumbents] was 114 percent per year.”