Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tea Partiers look just like America. Except they're richer.

Matthew Continetti's piece about the Tea Party movement replays -- like so many similar pieces before it -- Rick Santelli's famous CNBC rant from 2009. But this quote leaped out at me like it hadn't before:

In Santelli’s opinion, American elites had neglected the people surrounding him, the commodities traders who made up “a pretty good statistical cross-section of America, the silent majority.

We already know that Tea Partiers are wealthier than most Americans, but it's worth pointing out that the median income for a commodities trader in 2008 was $68,680. The median household income nationally the same year was $52,029.

Now: $68,000 a year doesn't put silver spoons in your mouth. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a good income. But the Tea Partiers aren't a "good statistical cross-section of America" -- and the commodities traders who surrounded Santelli that day aren't either. Let's not pretend otherwise.

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