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Does It Really Cost This Tea Party Congressman $200,000 to Feed His Family?

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What do Tea Party congressman feed their families? On Monday, Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), a member of Michele Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus met with MSNBC's Chris Jansing to discuss President Obama's proposed tax increases on the wealthy. Using his own income as an example, Fleming gave an interesting glimpse into the world of Tea Party economic theory ... and economic justifications.

Unlike many of his fellow legislators, Fleming's taxes would rise under the Obama plan. This is because, in addition to his $174,000 congressional salary -- which is far below the minimum threshold for Obama's tax increases -- Fleming also pulls in an impressive $6.3 million from his investments, including several Subway franchise restaurants and UPS stores.

However, Fleming was quick to explain that he only brought home a small portion of his $6.3 million gross income. As he told Jansing, "That's before you pay 500 employees, you pay rent, you pay equipment and food. The actual net income of that was only a mere fraction of that amount." In fact, according to Fleming, he made a comparatively paltry $600,000.

While decidedly less than $6.3 million, Fleming's $600,000 is still nothing to sneeze at: Given the $49,455 that the median American household brought home in 2010, the congressman's yearly income equaled the take-home pay of more than a dozen average families. But, as Fleming noted, even that princely sum was not all it appeared. In order to create more jobs -- and, not coincidentally, expand his business -- Rep. Fleming needed to invest more money: "By the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment ..."

So, let's see: $600,000 minus $400,000 for reinvestment leaves $200,000 that Fleming has budgeted to "feed his family." In other words, the congressman's yearly food budget is more than the total take home salary for four average families.

And how many people does Fleming's $200,000 feed? Well, the congressman and his wife Cindy have four grown children. Assuming that the pair still has all of their children living under the same roof, the USDA's food allotment under its "Moderate-cost" plan would total $378.90 per week, or $19,702 per year. So, Congressman Fleming is budgeting more than 10 times the average yearly food cost for a family his size.

When Jansing pointed out the vast gap between the average American salary and Fleming's, the congressman responded: "Class warfare has never created a job."

Apparently, however, it puts a lot of food on the table.

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.



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s0yankee

Clysta, let's not mix church and state here. All men are created equal and in the US you should be able to keep your earnings. Then it's up to your religious convictions if you donate to those who are worthy of charity. The Congressman here says "feed my family" and clearly means his household roof, bills and food.

A flat tax with NO LOOPHOLES, NO Credits, no deductions for ANYONE would ensure every business and every one pays their fair share.

October 12 2011 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Clysta Jones

"To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked." Luke 12:48

October 09 2011 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank

Many Questions for the Congressman - !st -do earn this money for your business or do his employees while making sub standard wages ????
Isn't there a conflict of interest running these businesses and being a law maker ?
Where do you get the time to operate this cash cow empire of yours while devoting your full time to representing the people that elected you ! Or is your office a part time position only ! Mr. Congressman on 600,000 net after taxes my family could live very well for 12 years or more - it seems that for a fiscal conservative republican you simplly do do know how to manage your finances !!!! Class warfare - No - your kind has stolen everyrthing from the hard working Ametrican middle class worker !

September 23 2011 at 7:55 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
larry

4 people eating 3 meals a day, $200,000.00, he is paying $43.68 a meal per person. He could eliminate the world hunger with his leftovers.

September 22 2011 at 2:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
larry

Reply to Adele
How can you make $7.00 an hour add up to $12,680.00 a month?
$7.00 x 8 = $56.00, 1 day.) 5 x $56.00 = $280.00, 1 week.) $280.00 x 4 = $1,220.00, 1 month.)
If you ran a company and used your pay scale you would be broke in a month.

September 22 2011 at 2:07 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
dmhthefan

OK people, you all have good points. Finally some good conversation. Devide and they will conquer. That's what they want. Don't let that happen. Do your reseaech and don't let them get away with it. We are not the bad guys. Lets hope they see all these posts and jump off a tall building. And soon. They are the ones we need to investigate not each other. We are all in the same boat. Vent your anger in there direction. Not eachother.

September 22 2011 at 12:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
savemycountry911

Adele, Stop the lies and seek the truth.

September 21 2011 at 8:03 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Adele

Blue Mark — 8/2/11 6:36am
The national debt is a bit over 14.4 trillion dollars - including internal debt owed to government trust funds like Social Security, Medicare, Highways etc. - of that 14.4 fully 12.4 belongs to just 3 presidents: Reagan, Bush and Bush. - that includes the amount the debt increased on their watch (from fiscal year to fiscal year) plus the interest on their increases that was passed on to their successors - 2.2 trillion dollars of Clinton's debt was interest on the debt increase under Reagan and pappy Bush. Of course almost all of Obama's debt is due to GWB's two wars, the unfunded Medicare part D (designed to bust Medicare), tax cuts for millionaires, and the Great Recession - but we are only subtracting the 700 billion in interest on the Reagan/Bush/Bush debt from his 'responsibility'. Oh, and Congress? Congress, whether Democratic or GOP controlled, never passes a final budget more than a percent of so different from the president's budget proposal - and often authorizes less - so you can't argue that Reagan's or Bush's deficits are because of Congress.

Debt before Reagan-Bush I's first fiscal year begins (9/30/81)......($0.998 trillion)
Debt at end of Reagan Bush I administrations (9/30/93).................$4.411 trillion
Increase.......................................... ......................................................$3.414 trillion
Interest cost of Reagan Bush I debt increase during Clinton..................$2.212 trillion
Debt at beginning of Bush II first fiscal year (10/1/01).....................($5.807 trillion)
Debt at end of Bush II administration (9/30/09)................................$11.910 trillion
Increase...................................................................................................$6.102 Trillion
Subtract portion of Obama stimulus spent before end of final Bush fiscal year.........($0.036)
Interest on Reagan, Bush, Bush debt during first two Obama fiscal years....$0.714 Trillion

Grand total Debt "owned" by Reagan, Bush & Bush ..........................$12. 406 Trillion

There you have it - over 85% of the national debt is completely due to 3 Republican presidents.
This analysis is mostly from zFacts.
Data sources: Treasury Direct 1, Treasury Direct 2, Recovery.gov

September 21 2011 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Adele's comment
savemycountry911

Get your info from someplace other than a looney lib source. It is FULL of lies.

September 21 2011 at 8:02 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Adele

I think the funniest thing about this subject is that Representative from Louisiana (R) Fleming spends most of his time hollering about the minimum wage. Get rid of the Bill... let them fend for themselves. Not Constitutional,
has warts, etc.....
Well, making $7.00 an hour gets you $56.00 for an eight hour day.
$56.00 a day gets you $12,680 for a month. Notice I say 30 days because this person is desperate for money
He probably has more than one job.
$12,680 x 12= $ $15, 216 a year. Good Grief , look at this figure for an annual salary. marvelous. Don't you think.
NO... IT IS NOT!
Even if this man's wife works and makes the same amount of money, $15,160.00 x 2 = 30,432.00.
"THE CHRISTIANS resent giving these workers a break.
Republicans are greedy. They should ask Jesus what he would do

September 21 2011 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Adele's comment
Joyce Greer

Adele - please tell me where you bought your calculator. I just did the math using pencil and paper and come up with $56 x 5 (days per week) = $280 per week X 4 (weeks per month) = $1120.00 per month x 12 (months per year) = $13,440.00 annual salary. I am definitely not a Republican and want to turn everyone out on the streets, nor am I a Tea Bagger who has to spend $200,000 to 'feed' my family a year - but I am at least smart enough to double check my figures before I post something online and look like a beauty school dropout.

September 22 2011 at 2:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank

Where do you get the time to operate this cash cow empire of yours while devoting your full time to representing the people that elected you ! Or is your office a part time position only ! Mr. Congressman on 600,000 net after taxes my family could live very well for 12 years or more - it seems that for a fiscal conservative republican you simplly do do know how to manage your finances !!!! Class warfare - No - your kind has stolen everyrthing from the hard working Ametrican middle class worker

See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/ojc9WB

September 23 2011 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pwaldmeir

Hey, Watson. You're sure no Sherlock Holmes. When Fleming says he's paying $200K to "feed his family," you know exactly what he means. That's his personal expense for a family of 4 - not just food, but , like all of us who have funded families of 4, it's the whole shebang. You Ariana-clones are always eager to dump on the Tea Party folks. Frankly, I don't like 'em either. But I spent 50 years in the newspaper business as a reporter and columnist. That's an intentional cheap shot aimed at impressing the front office and you know it. So what if that guy's business nets $6.2 mil. He's paying salaries to a lot of folks who probably can't find work anywhere else in Mr. Obomber's socialized and broke USA. How many people do you support on your $200K a year? Get a real job where you don't have to suck up to the boss like that.

September 21 2011 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pwaldmeir's comment
savemycountry911

The libs never believe the truth.

September 21 2011 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply