According to a recent Gallup poll, 81 percent of Americans feel that members of the U.S. Congress are “out of touch” with the public’s concerns. The host of NBC’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd, said on the weekend news show that Americans need not go any further than seeing the income disparity between members of Congress and average Americans in order to understand why the U.S public feels underrepresented.
 
On December 7, Todd went through some numbers to offer evidence for his thesis.
 
He noted that the mean annual income for Americans in 2014 is $53,891, as opposed to the salary paid to members of Congress - $174,000. This does not include their other perquisites such as hairdos at reduced price and healthcare. Nor does it include the salaries paid to their respective spouses. Todd also said that the median net worth of Americans rose by 37% from 2004 to 2014, while members of Congress did much better: an increase of 15.4 percent.
 
It is in the area of net worth where members Congress truly outshine their fellow Americans. According to Todd, the average net worth of Americans aged 55 to 64 in 2013 was $165,900. Members of Congress averaged at $1,008,767, excluding real estate holdings that they are not required to report. Moreover, 5.8 percent of Americans fall into the category of millionaires, but their leadership in Congress is doing much better: 50.2 percent of the members of Congress are in the millionaire bracket. "That's all you need to know," said Todd so as to understand Americans' perception that Congress does not represent their concerns.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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