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Why Does Maryland Have The Most Millionaires Per Capita? The Answer Might Make You Angry

Raining MoneyThe fat cats in Washington D.C. are living the high life, and they are doing it at your expense.  Over the past decade, there has been one area of the country which has experienced a massive economic boom.  Thanks to wildly out of control government spending, the Washington D.C. region is absolutely swimming in cash.  In fact, at this point the state of Maryland has the most millionaires per capita in the entire nation and it isn’t even close.  If you have never lived there, it is hard to describe what the D.C. area is like.  Every weekday morning, hordes of lawyers, lobbyists and government bureaucrats descend upon D.C. from the surrounding suburbs.  And at the end of the day, the process goes in reverse.  Everyone is just trying to get their piece of the pie, and it is a pie that just keeps on growing as government salaries, government contracts and government giveaways just get larger and larger.  Of course our founders never intended for this to happen.  They wanted a very small and simple federal government.  Sadly, today we have the most bloated central government in the history of the planet and it gets worse with each passing year.

If you were to ask most Americans, they would tell you that the wealthiest Americans probably live in cities such as New York or San Francisco.  But thanks to the Obama administration (and before that the Bush and Clinton administrations), the state of Maryland is packed with millionaires.  In particular, the Maryland suburbs immediately surrounding D.C. are absolutely overflowing with government fat cats that make a living at our expense.  Every weekday morning, huge numbers of them leave their mini-mansions in places such as Potomac and Rockville and drive their luxury vehicles to work in the city.  As the Washington Post has detailed, at this point approximately 8 percent of all households in the entire state of Maryland contain millionaires, and the rest of the area is not doing too shabby either…

In Maryland, nearly 8 out of every 100 households in 2014 had assets topping $1 million, giving the state more millionaires per capita than any other in the country, according to a new report from Phoenix Marketing International.

The rest of the Beltway isn’t lacking in millionaires either: The District and Virginia ranked in the top 10 among those with the highest number of millionaire households per capita in 2014. In Virginia, which was No. 6 on the list, 6.76 percent of the state’s 3.17 million households are millionaires. And in the District, which rounds out the top 10, 6.25 percent of its more than 292,000 households are millionaires.

And while not too many of them are millionaires, your average federal workers that toil in D.C. are doing quite well too.

Once upon a time, it was considered to be a “sacrifice” to go into “government service”.

Not anymore.

If you can believe it, approximately 17,000 federal employees made more than $200,000 last year.

Overall, compensation for federal employees comes to a grand total of close to half a trillion dollars every 12 months.

In fact, there are tens of thousands of federal employees that make more than the governors of their own states do.

Does that seem right to you?

If you want to live “the American Dream” these days, the Washington area is the place to go.  Just check out the following description of the region from the Washington Post

Washingtonians now enjoy the highest median household income of any metropolitan area in the country, and five of the top 10 jurisdictions in America — Loudoun, Howard and Fairfax counties, and Falls Church and Fairfax City — are here, census data shows.

The signs of that wealth are on display all over, from the string of luxury boutiques such as Gucci and Tory Burch opening at Tysons Galleria to the $15 cocktails served over artisanal ice at the W Hotel in the District to the ever-larger houses rising off River Road in Potomac.

And of course let us not forget the fat cats in Congress.

According to CNN, our Congress critters are now wealthier than every before…

The typical American family is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, but Congress is getting wealthier every year.

The median net worth of lawmakers was just over $1 million in 2013, or 18 times the wealth of the typical American household, according to new research released Monday by the Center for Responsive Politics.

And while Americans’ median wealth is down 43% since 2007, Congress members’ net worth has jumped 28%.

Not only that, there are nearly 200 members of Congress that are actually multimillionaires

Nearly 200 are multimillionaires. One hundred are worth more than $5 million; the top-10 deal in nine digits. The annual congressional salary alone—$174,000 a year—qualifies every member as the top 6 percent of earners. None of them are close to experiencing the poverty-reduction programs—affordable housing, food assistance, Medicaid—that they help control. Though some came from poverty, a recent analysis by Nicholas Carnes, in his book White Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policymaking, found that only 13 out of 783 members of Congress from 1999 to 2008 came from a “blue-collar” upbringing.

Incredible.

But even though almost all of them are quite wealthy, they don’t hesitate to spend massive amounts of taxpayer money on their own personal needs.

For example, according to the Weekly Standard, more than five million dollars was spent on the hair care needs of U.S. Senators alone over one recent 15 year period…

Senate Hair Care Services has cost taxpayers about $5.25 million over 15 years. They foot the bill of more than $40,000 for the shoeshine attendant last fiscal year. Six barbers took in more than $40,000 each, including nearly $80,000 for the head barber.

And in one recent year, an average of $4,005,900 was spent on “personal” and “office” expenses per U.S. Senator.

So the grand total would have been over 400 million dollars for a single year.

That seems excessive, doesn’t it?

And even when they end up leaving Washington, our Congress critters have ensured that they will continue to collect money from U.S. taxpayers for the rest of their lives

In 2011, 280 former lawmakers who retired under a former government pension system received average annual pensions of $70,620, according to a Congressional Research Service report. They averaged around 20 years of service. At the same time, another 215 retirees (elected in 1984 or later with an average of 15 years of service) received average annual checks of roughly $40,000 a year.

If you can believe it, there are quite a few former lawmakers that are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually.  The list includes Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.

Of course the biggest windfalls of all are for our ex-presidents.  Most Americans would be shocked to learn that the U.S. government is spending approximately 3.6 million dollars a year to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

So does this make you angry?

Or are you okay with these fat cats living the high life at our expense?

Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

Can America Survive If Americans No Longer Agree On A Core Set Of Shared Values?

Can America Survive If Americans No Longer Agree On A Core Set Of Shared Values? - Photo by DrRandomFactorWhat does America stand for?  That question is a lot more complicated than you might think.  Our Founding Fathers established a Republic that was based on a set of shared values that were embodied in the text of the U.S. Constitution.  But today, many of our politicians openly disregard the Constitution whenever they want and it has become fashionable to mock the U.S. Constitution.  For example, the New York Times recently published a piece by Georgetown University Professor Louis Michael Seidman entitled “Let’s Give Up On The Constitution” in which he publicly called the Constitution “archaic” and “downright evil”.  This is a man that has been teaching constitutional law to the next generation of lawyers at one of the top universities in the nation for nearly 40 years.  Unfortunately, Seidman is not an aberration.  The truth is that law schools all over America are absolutely packed with professors that teach that we should consider the U.S. Constitution a “living, breathing document” that must “evolve” as society evolves.  They also teach that when we find something in the Constitution that does not work for us today that we should just ignore it.  In fact, in his New York Times article Seidman insisted that “constitutional disobedience” is “as old as the Republic”.  But if we can just ignore the U.S. Constitution whenever we want, where does that leave us?  Should we be able to ignore all laws when they are not convenient for us?

Personally, I strongly believe that we should follow the U.S. Constitution, and there are millions of others out there that agree with me.  If we want to amend the Constitution, there is a procedure for doing that, but it is not easy.  Our founders did that to try to ensure that any changes to our Constitution would reflect an overwhelming consensus of the American people.

But today America is more divided than ever before.  We can’t seem to agree on much of anything.  We are at a period in our history when we desperately need to come together, but instead we are constantly at each other’s throats.

Is there anything that truly unites us anymore?

In the old days, if you would have asked people to give you a one word definition of America, many people would have responded by naming important values such as “freedom” and “liberty”.

Sadly, much of the country appears not to even value those things any longer.  One poll found that 51 percent of all Americans believe that “it is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism.”  Other surveys have found similar results.

Not only that, we continue to elect control freak politicians from both political parties that appear to be obsessed with constantly eroding our freedoms and liberties.  There are literally millions of ridiculous laws, rules and regulations that govern even the smallest details of our lives, and the government is constantly inventing new ways to watch, track, register, monitor and control all of us.  If you doubt this, please see this article and this article.  If we continue down this path, we are going to end up in a very dark place as a nation.

Well, what about economics?

Aren’t we united by a common economic philosophy?

Sadly, no we are not.

In the old days, Americans overwhelmingly believed in free market capitalism and overwhelmingly rejected socialism, but now that is rapidly changing.

According to a stunning Pew Research Center survey, 49 percent of Americans in the 18 to 29 age bracket have a positive view of socialism while only 46 percent of Americans in that same age bracket have a positive view of capitalism.

So what will the future look like if we continue to see this kind of shift among our young people?

And of course we have not had anything even close to a true free market system in the United States in a very, very long time.  Our economy is dominated by a partnership between the federal government and the monolithic predator corporations that dominate our society.  Individuals and small businesses that try to compete are being absolutely suffocated.  Our Founding Fathers were very suspicious of all large concentrations of power, and they sought to greatly limit the power of both the federal government and of the big corporations.  But today we have gone totally in the other direction.

Well, is there anything else that truly unites America?

What about religion?

Of course it is true that the overwhelming majority of the early colonists were Christian, and even 50 years ago it would have been accurate to say that America was a “Christian nation”, but that is definitely no longer the case today.

The number of Americans with no religious affiliation has absolutely exploded in recent years.  It has grown by a whopping 25 percent over the past five years, and meanwhile the percentage of people that identify themselves as “Christians” in America is dropping like a rock.  In fact, one poll found that the percentage of Protestants in the United States has dropped below 50 percent for the first time ever.  For many more shocking numbers that show the precipitous decline of Christianity in America, please see this article.

So what fundamental principles do most Americans actually agree on?

And I am not talking about things like “American Idol is going downhill” or “Justin Bieber gets too much attention”.

Is there still a core set of shared values that the entire nation can agree upon?

If not, where does that leave us?

Unfortunately, I think that it leaves us in a very difficult place.  The divisiveness that we have seen in Washington D.C. in recent years is just the tip of the iceberg.  We are living in a nation today that is more divided than I can ever remember.  A whole host of opinion polls have shown that anger and frustration in America are rising to very dangerous levels, and instead of focusing on the real reasons for our problems we all tend to point the fingers at one another.

In America today, we have been trained to group ourselves together by certain “categories” and to see those on the other side as “the enemy”.  This is a very dangerous thing.  It keeps the American people from coming together to fix the very serious problems that are facing our country.

The truth is that we are being divided in dozens of different ways today.  The following are just a few of the ways we are currently being divided…

Republican vs. Democrat

Conservative vs. Liberal

Rich vs. Poor

Black vs. White (or insert any other two races or ethnic groups)

North vs. South

Urban vs. Rural

Anti-Gun vs. Pro-Gun

Male vs. Female

Young vs. Old

Traditional vs. “Modern”

Religious vs. Secular

Of course we should never compromise what we believe just for the sake of “unity”.  That is foolishness.  But you can disagree with someone without hating them.

In America today, people will find a reason to hate someone else at the drop of a hat.  Surprisingly large numbers of Americans will hate others because of where they are from, what they look like, what their ethnic background is, what their political affiliation is or what their religious beliefs are.

If America is going to have any kind of a future, we have got to start loving one another.  That does not mean that we all have to agree with one another.  But we do need to start caring about one another and hoping for the best for one another.

For example, I fundamentally disagree with almost every single thing that Barack Obama does.  But I do not hate him.  On the contrary, I pray for him and his family.  I would love to see him experience a 180 degree turnaround and start fighting for the truth.  I believe that love is stronger than hate, and I believe that there is hope for every one of us.

I know that I have had my mind changed on a lot of things throughout my life, and if I could go back there are many things I would do differently.  I am thankful for those that loved me and had patience with me when I was younger.

And that is the kind of grace that we should extend toward others.  Yes, a stand needs to be made when others are promoting evil and trampling on our rights.  But instead of responding to hate with even greater amounts of hate, perhaps it would be better if we responded with even greater amounts of love.

And I am not saying that we always have to be “meek” in our approach.  For example, if I was pushing a shopping cart around the local supermarket and I came upon a young child that was about to guzzle an entire bottle of liquid bleach, I would yell and scream at that child to stop.  Sometimes yelling and screaming is the loving thing to do.  There is nothing wrong with “tough love”.

There are preachers and radio hosts that I know that express what they believe in a very vociferous manner, but it is coming from a good place.  They love their listeners and they love their country and they are just trying to wake people up.  There is nothing wrong with that.

On the flip side, there are others that truly do hate particular categories of people.  For example, I was on a radio show earlier today, and the first half of the interview went great as I explained the problems with our economy, how our cities are degenerating and how the Federal Reserve is at the very heart of our financial problems as a nation.

But then in the second half of the interview, the radio host started blaming one particular ethnic group for all of our problems.  I had not properly researched this particular host and I was horrified.  I told her in a very clear manner that I thought that she was wrong.  I don’t think that she appreciated that very much.

But the truth is that we are never going to fix the very serious problems that are facing this country if we choose to hate one another because of what we look like or who our ancestors were.  We are never going to fix the very serious problems that are facing this country if we choose to remain trapped in the “red vs. blue” paradigm and keep pointing fingers of hatred at one another.  We are never going to fix the very serious problems that are facing this country if we would rather indulge in hatred rather than love.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t fight for what is right.  There are most certainly politicians that need to be voted out of office.  There are most certainly big corporations that need to be exposed.  There are most definitely evil agendas that are being promoted at the highest levels.  Our society is clearly headed in the wrong direction and this country needs a massive wake up call.

But I think that we will get a lot farther if love is our primary motivation.  Without love, we are nothing.  Let us start to love one another as we would like to be loved ourselves.

So what do all of you think about this?  I am sure that there are probably some very strong opinions out there.  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

Women Wearing Oakley Sunglasses Under American Flag - Photo by Michael Dorausch

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