What with my previous eye-rolling at Charles Murray’s “New Elite,” it’s worth noting that there is actually a class of elites in the country — the same class of elites that we’ve always had: old, rich white men.
For example, the U.S. Senate is fairly “elite.” Yet, despite the fact that I bet not many of them have watched “The Wire” or mountain biked or live in a community surrounded by non-college degree holders, there are 54 of them out of 100 who are worth more than $1 million. That means the median Senator is a millionaire. (I can hear the cries now of “but a million dollars isn’t what it used to be!”) (For comparison, the median U.S. household has ~$120,000 of net worth.) The median age in the Senate is 63. Furthermore, the youngest current members of the Senate (Goodwin, Lemieux) are both being replaced by old guys.
There are 17 women in the Senate, and 83 men. There is 1 black Senator, 1 Hispanic senator, 2 Asian/Pacific Islander Senators (not counting John Ensign) and 96 white Senators.
The House of Representatives is slightly more stratified, but not much. The median net worth in the House is $366,000. The median age is 58.
There are 76 women in the House of Representatives, and 357 men. (Oh, and that gender disparity ain’t gonna get much better, Mama Grizzlies notwithstanding.)
There are 42 black Reps, 25 Hispanic Reps, 5 Asian/Pacific Islander Reps, and 1 Native American Rep. This means, of course, that we have 360 white Reps.
Barack Obama’s net worth is around $1.3M. John McCain’s net worth is around $40M. Hillary Clinton’s is around $34M. Mitt Romney’s is around $200M. (see here)
There are 16 female CEOs of S&P 500 companies, and the rest are men. (The worst part of that Bloomberg article — implying that the glass ceiling is broken, when 3.2% of S&P 500 CEOs are women.)
The 2010 election will also be driven by the Tea Party — people who are generally richer, whiter, older, and maler than the general population.
Those in power tend to be rich, old, white and male, just like they used to be.
Why define a “New Elite” when the old one is still doing just fine?