Fat, dumb and happy: Can rich politicians truly represent us?

MoneyAs the majority of middle class America struggles to keep up with economic uncertainty and punishing new health care regulations, the American political landscape is chalked full of extremely wealthy politicians that are far removed from the reality that our nation faces.  Do these politicians truly represent us?

What happens to government when men of wealth are responsible for its day-to-day functions?  Can Americans reasonably expect decisions to be made in their best interest when the majority of politicians will never have to worry about their own retirements, finances or future?  How can a rich political class put aside its own selfish interests and instead focus on the people they supposedly represent?

The leaders of our republic are saturated with cash.  President Barack Obama is worth nearly $10 million, but that’s only a drop in the bucket compared to others like Mitt Romney, who’s net worth is estimated at over $250 million, or John Kerry at $193 million, or Ted Kennedy at $163 million.

How about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg?  He’s worth a whopping $22 billion (yes, with a ‘b’).  Arnold Schwarzenegger has nearly $400 million to his name, Jon Corzine enjoys a net worth of nearly $300 million and Darrell Issa at $220 million.  Politicians like Diane Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller, Mark Warner, Bob Corker and countless others – names you probably have never heard of, but serve in our government – are worth 10s of millions of dollars.

But, this does not account for the money needed to win national elections.  Including Super PAC spending, over $2 billion was spent on the 2012 presidential election alone.  $2 billion on one election!  That is more than the majority of Americans would see in 100 lifetimes.

This is not the way a democratic republic is supposed to work.

The elite cannot possibly rule over the masses in the best interest of the masses.  It is human nature to look after your own well-being, and when millions of dollars are available to do so, it gets much easier.  From lobbyists to kickbacks, from special interests to sweetheart deals, our political class is in the tank for nobody but themselves.  Why else would a campaign cost $2 billion?  Why is serving in our government worth spending more money than most Americans could ever dream of?  Because our government harbors wealth and protects the elite.

But let me ask a simple question: Who better to represent the middle class than someone in the middle class?  Serving in our government should be an honor and struggle, not a pulpit to be used to obtain and maintain wealth.  A man or woman who works hard every day to put food on their table at night is a person that knows the reality of our nation, each and every day.

Not just knowing the struggle, but experiencing the struggle, keeps politicians honest.  Sheltering politicians in Washington D.C. with taxpayer-funded aids, trips and resources removes the struggle that our political class needs to keep the best interests of the people in focus.

The people are forgotten as our political class continues to get rich.