Joe Biden Declares Himself The "Poorest Man In Congress" So We'll Forget About Hillary
Joe Biden has always been something of a People's Politician. Despite having some business successes in his family, he grew up solidly middle-class; his first congressional campaign was even ran entirely by his family members. But after 40 years in Washington, D.C., Biden has accumulated some wealth, right? Nope: Vice President Biden is "the poorest man in Congress," or so he declared at the White House Summit on Working Families. Because of his background, Biden said he can relate to working-class families struggling to make a comfortable living.
So just how poor is the vice president? He claims he doesn't have a savings account or own any stocks or bonds. “But I got a great pension and I got a good salary," Biden added. "I’ve been really, really fortunate."
He certainly does have a pretty good salary: As vice president, Biden earns $230,700 annually. That's quite a bit higher than the average U.S. salary of $46,600 in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median U.S. household income isn't that much higher, at roughly $51,000 in 2013. However, it's also nowhere near low-income wages: The Census Bureau found that 15 percent of Americans are living in poverty, with the established poverty level $11,720 for an individual and $23,492 for a family of four.
So, is Biden "poor"? Well, it doesn't seem like it. But Biden knows what it's like to be a single-parent household: As a single dad, Biden chose not to have a fancy house in Washington, but to commute by Amtrak each day so he could raise his sons.
Biden also has a net worth that's much, much lower than his fellow political colleagues. According to the Center of Responsive Politics, Biden's net worth is estimated to be between $39,000 and $800,000. For some comparison, 268 members of Congress had a net worth of at least $1 million in 2012.
And The Washington Post found Biden's claim about his non-existent savings account to be true, though it looks like his wife, Jill, has one with zero to $1,000 in it. The Biden's also have between $276,030 and $943,201 in assets, according to financial documents released by the White House in early 2014.
Those numbers sound pretty good — until you realize the Biden's also have more than $2 million in debt, which actually throws them into a negative net worth for the year. Still, the Biden's reported a taxable income of more than $400,000, which again is nowhere near the $51,000 median income of American families.
Why is Amtrak Joe still trying to show that he's just like the working people of his home state of Delaware? It could be an attempt to distance himself from Hillary Clinton's recent gaffe. In an interview with ABC prior to the release of Hard Choices, Clinton claimed she and Bill were "dead broke" when they left the White House, adding that they "struggled" to pay mortgages and their daughter Chelsea's Stanford University education. "You know, it wasn't easy," she told Diane Sawyer.
Clinton, of course, was dragged through the mud for her comments. Although it's true that she and Bill were in millions of dollars of debt at the end of his presidency, many pointed out that the Clinton's had a lot more options than the average American. Not to mention, they also charge hefty speaking fees: Hillary reportedly takes in $200,000 per appearance.
Clinton has defend her "dead broke" statement, though she admitted at a recent event for Chicago Ideas Week that she should have said it "more artfully." Clinton also slightly changed her position in an interview with The Guardian published on Sunday, saying she and Bill were "not truly well off." (But at least they actually paid their income taxes.)
But the damage is already done, or so it seems; many pundits are skeptical whether Clinton is losing touch with the people and can still appeal as a populist presidential pick. At a time where low-wage jobs are the bulk of employment growth and three million Americans qualify for federal long-term unemployment benefits, a politician who can truly relate to the working- and middle-classes is what America needs.
So who better than Amtrak Joe to come to Hillary's rescue?