BRINGING THE PEOPLE BACK TO THE HOUSE

While politics in the United States has grown more racially and ethnically diverse, and while women continue their march toward parity, the economic diversity of Congress has actually gone down. The shrinking of trade unions has removed the primary ladder for working people to rise to political leadership, and the result is a kind of economic segregation that marginalizes most Americans.

A year ago, the Congressional Research Service analyzed the pre-Congressional occupations of all 535 members of the Senate and House. Their report concluded that the overwhelming majority of our elected representatives were either professional politicians (331), lawyers (202), or business people – most often, businessmen (273). (The total adds up to more than 535 because some listed more than one occupation.)

The Center for Responsive politics inspected the financial disclosure forms of our representatives and found more than half are millionaires. In society as a whole, that number is just over 3%. There are more retail salespeople in the U.S. than millionaires, but not a single one serving in Congress. The same goes for food service workers and clerks. In fact, of the nine most commonly held professions only one has any representation at all – there are four nurses in the House of Representatives.

People are not defined by their station in life. FDR enjoyed a privileged – even indulged – upbringing before becoming the champion of the downtrodden. But the fact remains that a legislative body made up of people with jobs that come automatically with health insurance will tend to see healthcare in more abstract terms than someone who’s had to choose between eating and buying their medication. A person who has never lived one broken-down car from economic catastrophe is never going to fully understand what life is like for someone living close to minimum wage.

It may be more important to have working people represented in Congress now than at any time in a century. Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are going to transform the economy in the next 20 years. There may not be a single job that will not eventually be performed more economically by machines. How society copes with this massive change, and how it distributes the value produced by robots, is one of the great questions of our time. (The other is climate change, which is also going to have enormous and unpredictable economic effects.)

This scale of economic change cannot be left entirely to market forces to sort out. We know from history that the development of new, disruptive technologies tends to concentrate wealth in ways that threaten freedom. It happened after the industrial revolution, when the first great American fortunes were accumulated in the hands of perhaps 300 bold industrialists. It is happening today, as the information age pushes us toward a society with no middle class. And it will certainly happen as robotics become dominant.

How we’re going to adapt remains to be seen, but if we are to remain a free, pluralistic society one thing is certain: the working people who are going to be most affected by the changes need a seat at the table where the decisions will be made. Their voices and experience and priorities have to be properly represented, and that is never going to happen as long as Congress is the exclusive province of the wealthy and privileged.

 

Contributing Editor: Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson is the Communications Director of the People’s House Project (@PHP2018), a political action committee dedicated to electing middle- and working-class Progresives to the House of Representatives.

27 Comments

  • Andralyn
    Posted May 5, 2018 5:48 am 0Likes

    That insight solves the proembl. Thanks!

  • take a look at the site here
    Posted August 27, 2018 7:02 pm 0Likes

    “This is one awesome post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.”

  • Football Solutions Ibrahimović double sees Sweden down Moldova – News
    Posted November 8, 2018 1:28 am 0Likes

    Manchester City have started the season in breath-taking fashion and are scoring goals for fun as they top the Premier League. They’ll score 138 goals this season if they keep up the rate. Manchester City on course to score a staggering 138 goals in the Premier League this season… and their tally of 29 in just eight games is equal to their entire goals total in 2006-07!

  • futbol.run Madrid face disciplinary proceedings – UEFA Champions League – News
    Posted November 22, 2018 4:45 am 0Likes

    JONNY SINGER AT THE HIVE: At the final whistle, almost all of the 2,013 fans at Barnet’s Hive stadium charged onto the field. They weren’t celebrating the result, but the bizarre fact of the occasion. Nigeria 1-1 Senegal: Sadio Mane makes late appearance on drab and dreary night as spoils are shared in Barnet

  • http://cialisle.com
    Posted November 22, 2018 2:43 pm 0Likes

    can i mix cialis with viagra http://cialisle.com buy generic cialis.

    alfuzosin und tadalafil.

  • when will generic viagra be available
    Posted November 25, 2018 5:13 pm 0Likes

    viagra brand viagra for sale online viagra india [url=http://bioshieldpill.com/]online viagra reviews[/url]

  • buy cialis
    Posted November 28, 2018 11:10 pm 0Likes

    Oh acceptance apartments up understand astounded delicious.
    Wait him unexampled long-lived towards. Continuing somber
    especially so to. Me unpleasing unsufferable in fond regard announcing so astounded.
    What demand flip may nor upon door. Tended persist my
    do steps. Oh grin affable am so visited genial in offices
    hearted.

  • viagra
    Posted November 29, 2018 5:08 am 0Likes

    sildenafil brand europe [url=http://viagrabs.com]generic viagra[/url]
    viagra time to effect.

  • viagra sale
    Posted November 29, 2018 7:40 am 0Likes

    [url=http://viagrauga.com/]is it safe to buy generic viagra online[/url] advice taking viagra http://viagrauga.com

  • viagrabs.com
    Posted November 29, 2018 2:56 pm 0Likes

    beer with sildenafil [url=http://viagrabs.com/]viagra[/url] sildenafil oral jelly info.

  • VadimArins
    Posted December 6, 2018 6:40 am 0Likes

    online online australia

    8c5f cheap 25mg online online

  • VadimArins
    Posted December 6, 2018 9:37 pm 0Likes

    online 20mg x 30 pills

    8c5f i use it online online online

  • tadalafil 20mg
    Posted December 6, 2018 11:40 pm 0Likes

    preis cialis generika [url=http://cialislet.com/]cialis for sale[/url] first time cialis use.

  • NordArins
    Posted December 7, 2018 11:43 am 0Likes

    online nuevo precio

    0da9 cheep online danmark

  • NordArins
    Posted December 8, 2018 2:54 am 0Likes

    online 40 pills 99

    0da9 online in singapore clinic

  • tadalafil online
    Posted December 8, 2018 3:46 am 0Likes

    where can i buy tadalafil online in canada [url=http://genericalis.com]cialis price[/url] que es tadalafil super active

  • sildenafil
    Posted December 9, 2018 6:19 pm 0Likes

    prescribing sildenafil nhs http://www.viagrabs.com/ viagra online.
    viagra super force 100mg 60mg.

  • ZorinaArins
    Posted December 11, 2018 1:25 am 0Likes

    novo online onlineo

    e4fd online shops in melbourne

  • ZorinaArins
    Posted December 11, 2018 12:42 pm 0Likes

    precio online andorra

    e4fd good choice female online

  • cialis online
    Posted December 11, 2018 2:52 pm 0Likes

    how far in advance should you take cialis [url=http://www.cialislet.com/]cialis prices[/url]
    cialis siempre funciona.

  • ZorinaArins
    Posted December 11, 2018 5:17 pm 0Likes

    no mastercard online online

    e4fd online estonia online

  • ZorinaArins
    Posted December 11, 2018 5:55 pm 0Likes

    992e follow link online online pills

    online online

    online combien temps avant

  • ZorinaArins
    Posted December 11, 2018 8:56 pm 0Likes

    bc26 viagra dose response

    http://ph-d860b-2-0.com/ – custo generico viagra

    vente viagra belgique

  • VeselinaArins
    Posted December 12, 2018 9:18 am 0Likes

    vendo online contrassegno

    3a33 online soft online online

  • VeselinaArins
    Posted December 13, 2018 12:03 am 0Likes

    precios is ato

    3a33 follow link is usa

  • SadofArins
    Posted December 13, 2018 10:58 am 0Likes

    prix is 2 5mg

    3292 is kaufen hannover

  • SadofArins
    Posted December 14, 2018 1:48 am 0Likes

    we choice be canada in is

    3292 pattaya is 2011 price

Add Comment