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

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 ..."

Sponsored Links
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.


Myths About Quarterly Taxes for the 1099 Tax Form

For those Americans who pay quarterly taxes—or those who don't, but who think they should—understanding the rules governing estimated taxes is vital.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

How Short Sales and Foreclosures Affect Your Taxes

If you engage in a short sale or your mortgage lender forecloses on your home, there are some important tax implications that you'll want to consider.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

The W-4 Form Changed in Major Ways — Here's What's Different

In 2020, the W-4 form changed to help individuals withhold federal income tax more accurately from their paychecks. Learn everything you need to know so you can update your W-4 with confidence.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Getting Married: What Newlyweds Need to Know

Getting married? Have you thought about how it will impact your taxes? You may need to select a tax filing status, adjust your withholding and sell your home.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com
Read Full Story
Your resource on tax filing
Tax season is here! Check out the Tax Center on AOL Finance for all the tips and tools you need to maximize your return.