Inequality.org

connecting the dots on a growing divide

Washington’s Promiscuous Protectors of Privilege: A Congressional Inequality Report Card

Mitt Romney and I both grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a wealthy suburb of Detroit.  For much of our childhoods, we were represented in Congress by a tireless defender of the rich and powerful, U.S. Representative William Broomfield.

Indeed, we would be hard-pressed to find a politician more faithful to the interests of the 1 percent than Bill Broomfield.

Any legislation advanced to cut taxes for the rich or funneling subsidies to transnational corporations, Bill Broomfield was a champion. And when it came to legislation helping middle class kids go to college or working families and the poor, there was no foe mightier than Bill Broomfield.  He did everything he could to block help for the 99 percent.

Not every member of Congress is as clear cut in their allegiances as my former Congressman.  Which is why our new Institute for Policy Studies “Congressional Report Card for the 99 Percent” is so useful.

Do you wonder which members of Congress routinely side with the richest 1 percent and Wall Street?  Which lawmakers consistently vote to cut taxes for the rich, protect off-shore tax havens for transnational tax dodgers, and ensure that wealth is taxed more favorably than income from work?  Who tirelessly side with global corporations at the expense of domestic small businesses?

On the other hand, are you curious which members of Congress are committed to an economy that works for everyone, not just the 1 percent? What lawmakers back a level playing field between small business and transnational corporate conglomerates?  Who are the voting champions for people who work for wages, dream of health insurance, and aspire to education their children without decades of debt?

IPS examined 40 different legislation actions in the House and Senate –votes and legislation introduced –to ascertain the real allegiances of sitting members of Congress. These include votes to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, levy a Wall Street speculation tax, invest in infrastructure, protect workers, and student financial aid.

Not surprisingly, the most promiscuous protectors of the privileged were Republicans.  But 17 lawmakers in the Democratic party also got low marks.  For example, in the U.S. Senate, Montana Senator Jon Tester and Virginia Senator Jim Webb –sometimes considered progressive –showed up on the list of “1 Percent Friendly Democrats.”  Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR), Joseph Leiberman (I-CT), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) also shared the “1 Percent friendly” distinction.

The Report Card also graded politicians for their commitment to reducing inequality and boosting the 99 percent.  The report’s “Honor Roll” gives an A plus grade to 5 members of the U.S. Senate and 14 House members, including Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Bernard Sanders (VT-I) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Nine Republican members of the House of Representatives got passing grades in the effort to reduce inequality.  These included Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Justin Amash (R-MI).

The personal wealth of a politician did not dictate whether they were allied with the 1 percent or the 99 percent.  Of the 20 wealthiest members of Congress, including the ten richest Republicans and Democrats, 13 of them got passing grades in reducing inequality and only 1 got an “F” grade. The failing grade went to Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey whose $22 million fortune makes him one of the 16 richest members of Congress.  He ranks as the top “rule rigger” on behalf of the 1 percent, casting votes that only boost his own wealth and power.

The politics of deflection has worked for decades to divide and distract voters.  If pro-1 percent, pro Wall Street candidates can get their constituents to blame the poor, immigrants, people of color, and gays and lesbians for their economic challenges, then we will likely get policies that favor the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. But if voters put on their “99 to 1” special glasses, then we can look forward to a political realignment in the coming years.

  • marlaspuds

    Talking about Mark Pryor as a protector of the privileged — how true. But they pay him for it. He definitely is a protector of the 1% but it didn’t take much to turn him out. Pryor sold out President Obama and sold out his own party for a few dollars from the Koch brothers . And he’s a cheap trick, too. The Kochs have given him $35,000 – not millions – since 2007. Not even a lump sum of $35,000. How fast this guy turned on his own for pocket change is shameful and disgusting. If you have a hard time believing me, go to http://southernexposed.blogspot.com/

  • BigPattyMac

    An article in the Arkansas Russellville Courier this past June reported that “U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat, was the poorest member of the state’s delegation, reporting that he and his family had between $16,001 and $65,000 in two bank accounts. Pryor reported two mortgages valued up to $550,000 as his liabilities.” That would place him far from the 1% club. So does he think that by protecting the privileged few he’ll eventually rank among them? Sen. Pryor has some money and tax issues, too. According to http://www.retirepryor.com, since 2006, Senator Pryor and his wife may have been taking as much as $24,000 every month from a company that owes the IRS millions of dollars.

  • Guest

    I’m watching you on FSTV
    “Pirate Television.” You said that the “underlying grievances
    are not going away…I believe that pressure will continue to build in various
    ways, and that ultimately there will be some pressure and some realignment
    politically and socially that will force some king of change.”

    This is best address I have heard
    from an so called activist. Not that you are “so called.” When you
    say, “grievances,” this is a predicate that falls under the subject
    of ability to “redress.” In fact, our revolution occurred, because it
    was alleged in the Declaration that “a right inestimable to them (1%) and formidable
    for tyrants only,” prevented “representation.” It was alleged
    that this was prevented by “mock trials and judicial tyranny,” inter
    alia. So we all believe we have a First
    Amendment right to “redress a grievance.”

    However, the Supreme court
    “rule rigged” our first amendment, and like you said, we should
    “focus” on taking down “rule riggers.” Bogan v. Scott-Harris in 1998 US, articulated
    that “If corrupt…the law will not tolerate a citizen redress…”
    grievances. They said it was the 11th
    amendment that repealed the citizen right to redress, way back in 1793. A year later, in 1999, Alden v. Maine the
    Supreme Court stated that they were “Sovereigns” which makes them
    “eminence” due to the common law of Blackstone in 1769, who cited,
    King Henry VIII, and Elizabeth 1st, “conclave of clergy.” Thus “sovereign immunity” is born
    in the USA, to “rig the rules.” Even though, Blackstone asserted in
    Prerogative of the king, immunity was a right the King didn’t have to breach
    contracts or abuse power to violate the “right of the people.” He was
    immune from liability from other equal potentates in other nations.

    Nevertheless, I’m not aware of
    anybody who is aware that we have no redress right, yet don’t blame the
    messenger! The 11th amendment is older
    than 200 years. That amendment is the
    least understood, see articles:

    http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2235&context=llr&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dalden%2520v.%2520maine%2520defendants%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D2%26ved%3D0CE4QFjAB%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fdigitalcommons.lmu.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D2235%2526context%253Dllr%26ei%3D8g4PUNSfA-fmiwLXzYHQBQ%26usg%3DAFQjCNGGGQKWI0leW9WoffElcmmSkS1YoA#search=%22alden%20v.%20maine%20defendants%22

    http://www.reformationalpublishingproject.com/pdf_books/Scanned_Books_PDF/TheContestAbouttheConceptofSovereigntyinModernJurisprudenceandPoliticalScience.pdf

    http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/students/groups/oslj/files/2012/03/63.6.gey_.pdf

    Your premise of
    “inequality” is spot on! You
    got it! However, there is what Sun Tzu
    identified, that parallels with Aristotle and syllogism major premise, in the
    Art of War chapter 3 v 7, ” With his forces
    intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a
    man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.” The two previous verses, describe a foolish irritated
    battle that will destroy many lives and end up not solving the problem, like
    you identified as a “swarm” that the 99% are doing. Your 98% is non sequitur because you ignore a
    constitutional right that cultivates corruption.

    However, you recognize the “rule rigging,” and inequality of
    grievances, but you never mention the 11th amendment, which we find is now
    trumped by Alden v. Maine,
    in 1999.

    You miss the point, “we have to get at the root of the incentive
    program,” is what you said.

    Commerce is regulated under the commerce clause of the constitution. Alden say’s officials are not bound by the
    supreme law of the land to obey it.
    “only Faith binds them.”

    We have to end the 11th. amendment and Alden v Maine, ending the dogma inspired immunity
    that has been misconstrued by 5 tyrants in the Supreme Court. This is immunity protecting 1% in government,
    who hand down this same immunity to mortgage companies. Occupy was attacking corporations, because
    they equivocated abuse as if our screwed up constitution as if the 11th
    amendment had nothing to do with cultivating abuse, which is its purpose.

    Corporations didn’t harass them or object to them, it was police protected
    under Qualified immunity, Monell v. New
    York, allowing them to abuse first amendment rights
    without deterrence of accountability by citizens suing them.

    Anyway, your misdirecting away from the source by pointing to a source that
    is under allowed to abuse while the 11th amendment exists.

    My research is under copywrite, but it is the major premise, the source of
    “rigging the rules.” http://www.the11thamendment.com I hope you would contact me about this so we
    can make a paradigm shift that was first inspired by Copernicus, who feared
    publishing his book. It was Galileo who
    inspired the Copernicus Revolution which should have ended dogma. We are educated enough for that to happen
    now! Sovereignty is medieval dogma, and
    it is time for it to end, at least in the USA. Then will we be able to make a deterrence to
    stop “rigging the rules.”

    I’m suspicious of intelligent people who could exploit masses in the 1%,
    when there is an overt law allowing abuse to be protected with immunity, and
    activists point away from this source.
    Focusing on corporations, could be a red herring leading away from this
    “rigging the rules” 11th amendment.
    Can you help me expose this?

    Pat Hamer

    [email protected]

    http://www.the11thamendment.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.hamer Pat Hamer

    I’m watching you on FSTV “Pirate Television.” You said that the “underlying grievances are not going away…I believe that pressure will continue to build in various ways, and that ultimately there will be some pressure and some realignment politically and socially that will force some king of change.”

    This is closest, “almost there” assessment I have heard from a so called activist. Not that you are “so called.” However, when you say, “grievances,” this is a predicate that falls under the subject of ability to “redress.” In fact, our revolution occurred, because it was alleged in the Declaration that “a right inestimable to them (1%) and formidable for tyrants only.” As you say, “rigging the rules” prevented
    “representation.” It was alleged that this was prevented by “mock trials and judicial tyranny,” inter alia. So we all believe we have a First Amendment right to “redress a
    grievance.”

    However, the Supreme court “rule rigged” our first amendment, and like you said, we should “focus” on taking down “rule riggers.” Bogan v. Scott-Harris in 1998 US, articulated that “If corrupt…the law will not tolerate a citizen redress…” grievances. They said it was the 11th amendment that repealed the citizen right to redress, way
    back in 1793. A year later, in 1999, Alden v. Maine the Supreme Court stated that they were “Sovereigns” which makes them “eminence” due to the common law of Blackstone in 1769, who cited, King Henry VIII, and Elizabeth 1st, “conclave of clergy.(immunity is church and state originated).”

    Thus “sovereign immunity” is born in the USA, to “rig the rules.” Even though, Blackstone asserted in Prerogative of the king, immunity was a right the King didn’t have to breach contracts or abuse power to violate the “right of the people.” He was immune from liability from other equal potentates in other nations.

    Nevertheless, I’m not aware of anybody who is aware that we have no redress
    right, yet don’t blame the messenger! The 11th amendment is older than 200
    years. That amendment is the least understood, see articles:

    http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2235&context=llr&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dalden%2520v.%2520maine%2520defendants%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D2%26ved%3D0CE4QFjAB%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fdigitalcommons.lmu.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D2235%2526context%253Dllr%26ei%3D8g4PUNSfA-fmiwLXzYHQBQ%26usg%3DAFQjCNGGGQKWI0leW9WoffElcmmSkS1YoA#search=%22alden%20v.%20maine%20defendants%22

    http://www.reformationalpublishingproject.com/pdf_books/Scanned_Books_PDF/TheContestAbouttheConceptofSovereigntyinModernJurisprudenceandPoliticalScience.pdf

    http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/students/groups/oslj/files/2012/03/63.6.gey_.pdf

    Your premise of “inequality” is spot on! You got it! However, there
    is what Sun Tzu identified, that parallels with Aristotle and syllogism major premise, in the Art of War chapter 3 v 7, ” With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.” The two previous verses, describe a foolish irritated battle that will destroy many lives and end up not solving the problem, like
    you identified as a “swarm” that the 99% are doing. Your 98% claim is non sequitur because you ignore a constitutional right that cultivates corruption. You will create just another “swarm” or at least remisdirect them.

    However, you recognize the “rule rigging,” and inequality of grievances, but you never mention the 11th amendment, which we find is now trumped by Alden v. Maine, in 1999.

    You miss the “major premise” of abuse of power, which are laws that allow “rigging the rules.” Its under our nose in the 11th amendment. Focusing on the minor premise, “corporations,” as they are regulated, albeit corrupt officials over-reaching allowed by the 11th amendment. “we have to get at the root of the incentive program,” is what you said, but you point away from the root, and you never even mention a law exists, and it is not a law that is hid, it is just misunderstood.

    Commerce is regulated under the commerce clause of the constitution. Alden say’s officials are not bound by the supreme law of the land to obey it. They said, “only Faith binds them.” So dealing with Corps without stopping official “rule rigging” is futile! We have to end the 11th. amendment and Alden v Maine, ending the dogma inspired immunity that has been misconstrued by 5 tyrants in the Supreme Court. This is immunity protecting 1%’ at the government level, who hand down this same immunity to mortgage companies, and those who influence them. Occupy was attacking corporations, because they equivocated abuse as if our screwed up constitution, better stated, as if the 11th amendment had nothing to do with cultivating abuse, which is its sole purpose.

    Corporations didn’t harass them or object to them, it was police protected under Qualified immunity, Monell v. New York, allowing them to abuse first amendment rights without deterrence of accountability by citizens suing them.

    Anyway, your misdirecting away from the source of most abuse, by pointing to a
    source that is allowed to abuse while the 11th amendment exists.

    My research is under copy write, and I intend to commit my life to asserting the awareness of this phenomenon, where very few understand what immunity has
    done to create inequality! Laws under “sovereignty” are the major premise, the source of “rigging the rules.” I hope you would contact me about this so we can make a paradigm shift that was first inspired by Copernicus, who feared

    publishing his book. It was Galileo who inspired the Copernicus Revolution
    which should have ended dogma. We are educated enough for that to happen now!
    Sovereignty is medieval dogma, and it is time for it to end, at least in the USA. Then will we be able to make a deterrence to stop “rigging the rules.” Yes
    corporations only benefit by what they can get our government to abuse, under
    the shield and protection of corruption liability of the Eleventh amendment to
    the Constitution, a tyrannical right!

    I’m suspicious of intelligent people who could exploit masses in the 1%, when
    there is an overt law allowing abuse to be protected with immunity, and activists point away from this source. However, I have never met a journalist who knew what the 11th amendment is, and only a few lawyers who know its history, of “rigging the rules” using the 11th amendment.

    This conundrum is two hundred years old, and it is still unnoticed, and outside of debate, 99.9%. I think the best solution is a documentary on this hidden history regarding the 11th amendment will speak to the masses. Can you help me expose this?

    Pat Hamer

    [email protected]

    http://www.the11thamendment.com

  • Guest

    The “Pressure” you want is will be aimed at this medieval doctrine that inspires our 11th amendment. When poeple understand what it is, they will vomit it from our nation. If you think about it, immunity, is dogma, from “church and state,” see Blackstone. Our world has never experienced life without the “rule rigging” immunity policy that cultivates a corrupt world, whose sole beneficiaries are the 1%.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.hamer Pat Hamer

    The “Pressure” you want will be aimed at this medieval doctrine that inspires our 11th amendment. When poeple understand what it is, they will vomit it from our nation. If you think about it, immunity, is dogma, from “church and state,” see Blackstone. Our world has never experienced life without the “rule rigging” immunity policy that cultivates a corrupt world, whose sole beneficiaries are the 1%.

  • JOEY ETYMOLOGY

    While Kwame Kilpatrick was Mayor of Detroit, his mother Carolynn Cheeks Kilpatrick had the worst voting record in congress . I don’t mean I don’t like her votes (though I don’t) I mean she didn’t vote!!!! Before she was our congress representative, the person with the worst voting record held the same seat, Barbara Rose Collins.

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