Richest man in Congress says poor Americans are the ‘envy of the world’

America’s poor are “somewhat the envy of the world,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told CNN yesterday.

Issa is the richest man in the U.S. Congress, with an estimated net worth of around $450 million.

Issa, who has made his fortune as CEO of car-security giant Directed Electronics, compared American poor people to the lower class from India, a developing country not usually classed in the same economic league for individuals as the U.S.

“If you go to India or you go to any number of other Third World countries, you have two problems: You have greater inequality of income and wealth. You also have less opportunity for people to rise from the have not to the have,” Issa said.

When compared to the developed world, however, the U.S. poor don’t fare well enough to be envied. The living standards of American poor are below the developed world average, though they do beat out some European nations by certain measures.

As income inequality becomes a more important issue in U.S. politics, Issa’s comments have sparked no small amount of controversy, particularly from American liberals.

Screengrab via CNN

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill is a notable cybersecurity reporter whose work has focused on the dark net, national security, and law enforcement. A former senior writer at the Daily Dot, O'Neill joined CyberScoop in October 2016. I am a cybersecurity journalist at CyberScoop. I cover the security industry, national security and law enforcement.