America’s Richest Congressman, Worth Almost $500 Million, Says Poor Americans Are Doing Great

Judd Legum

Judd Legum Editor-in-Chief, Think Progress

Congressman Darrell Issa, America’s richest Congressman with a net worth of nearly $500 million, says the nation’s poor are actually doing very well. Issa told CNN that “our poor are… the envy of the world.”

Issa said that, compared to India, America’s poor were living with greater incomes, more opportunity to climb the economic ladder and better access to quality education. CNN reporter Cristina Alesci rejected the comparison. “We don’t want to compare ourselves to India, we want to set the bar pretty high,” she said.

But Issa persisted, suggesting that if wages for lower-income Americans grow too high, American products would not be able to compete on the global marketplace. Watch it:

In reality, economic mobility in American is lower than in many developed countries. According to research by Miles Corak, there is less economic mobility in America than in Switzerland, Pakistan, Singapore, France, Spain, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark.

Even in terms of raw dollars, America’s poor are far behind “compared with their counterparts in other affluent countries.” At the 10th percentile of income, for example, Canadians make 30 percent more and Norwegians makes 60 percent more.

According to a study by Luke Shaefer and Kathryn Edin, “millions of Americans live on less than $2 a day — a threshold commonly used to measure poverty in the developing world.”


This has been reposted from Think Progress.

Judd Legum is Editor-in-Chief of ThinkProgress. Previously, Judd was the Research Director for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. He also worked at American Progress from 2003 to 2007, when he founded and edited ThinkProgress. Judd holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from Pomona College in Public Policy analysis. He is a member of the Maryland Bar and has practiced as an attorney, focusing on civil and criminal trial work. Judd has also appeared frequently on radio and television, including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and CNBC.