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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:36 PM

$20,833.00 per month????

That equals $250,000 a year, who decided that was middle class?

or $33,333 per month equals 400K per year.


20k is what my mother made per year she raised 4 kids alone on that income. We never had any government aid because we were just above the proverty level and not 4% below it.

It's just odd to me that the starting point middle class has been set so high



ETA the starting point for negotiating tax increases or decrease not where the middle class starts altough if you are looking at this from the top down it is where they think the middle class starts

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Reply $20,833.00 per month???? (Original post)
Heather MC Dec 2012 OP
NYC_SKP Dec 2012 #1
Heather MC Dec 2012 #6
taught_me_patience Dec 2012 #18
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #23
pnwmom Dec 2012 #74
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #75
pnwmom Dec 2012 #101
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #87
pnwmom Dec 2012 #96
intheflow Dec 2012 #65
uppityperson Dec 2012 #70
intheflow Dec 2012 #88
lumberjack_jeff Dec 2012 #95
uppityperson Dec 2012 #105
nolabels Dec 2012 #107
pangaia Dec 2012 #154
datasuspect Dec 2012 #89
intheflow Dec 2012 #90
datasuspect Dec 2012 #91
intheflow Dec 2012 #108
Fawke Em Dec 2012 #102
taught_me_patience Dec 2012 #121
elehhhhna Dec 2012 #10
NYC_SKP Dec 2012 #11
a la izquierda Dec 2012 #2
Heather MC Dec 2012 #4
trueblue2007 Dec 2012 #3
Coyotl Dec 2012 #52
CJCRANE Dec 2012 #80
Coyotl Dec 2012 #86
doc03 Dec 2012 #53
abelenkpe Dec 2012 #5
robinlynne Dec 2012 #9
abelenkpe Dec 2012 #106
shanti Dec 2012 #7
lunasun Dec 2012 #15
robinlynne Dec 2012 #8
hfojvt Dec 2012 #12
Heather MC Dec 2012 #13
taught_me_patience Dec 2012 #17
JVS Dec 2012 #27
jade3000 Dec 2012 #31
stevenleser Dec 2012 #112
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #33
hfojvt Dec 2012 #72
JI7 Dec 2012 #36
Lydia Leftcoast Dec 2012 #49
stevenleser Dec 2012 #147
ForgoTheConsequence Dec 2012 #55
Occulus Dec 2012 #60
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #78
quakerboy Dec 2012 #84
lumberjack_jeff Dec 2012 #94
bluestate10 Dec 2012 #149
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #14
Heather MC Dec 2012 #21
Demo_Chris Dec 2012 #16
RedCappedBandit Dec 2012 #19
Heather MC Dec 2012 #28
stevenleser Dec 2012 #115
RedCappedBandit Dec 2012 #117
taught_me_patience Dec 2012 #20
Heather MC Dec 2012 #22
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #25
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #40
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #51
taught_me_patience Dec 2012 #26
Heather MC Dec 2012 #38
Incitatus Dec 2012 #45
Orrex Dec 2012 #50
taught_me_patience Dec 2012 #109
Orrex Dec 2012 #126
stevenleser Dec 2012 #116
Orrex Dec 2012 #125
stevenleser Dec 2012 #127
Orrex Dec 2012 #130
stevenleser Dec 2012 #141
Orrex Dec 2012 #143
stevenleser Dec 2012 #145
Orrex Dec 2012 #150
stevenleser Dec 2012 #152
Orrex Dec 2012 #155
stevenleser Dec 2012 #158
Orrex Dec 2012 #160
stevenleser Dec 2012 #162
Orrex Dec 2012 #163
Chathamization Dec 2012 #156
stevenleser Dec 2012 #157
Chathamization Dec 2012 #165
stevenleser Dec 2012 #166
Chathamization Dec 2012 #167
ForgoTheConsequence Dec 2012 #56
taught_me_patience Dec 2012 #119
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #128
Chathamization Dec 2012 #135
Trajan Dec 2012 #59
progressoid Dec 2012 #73
treestar Dec 2012 #82
quakerboy Dec 2012 #85
taught_me_patience Dec 2012 #120
Enrique Dec 2012 #99
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #24
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #29
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #30
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #34
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #97
aikoaiko Dec 2012 #32
kentuck Dec 2012 #35
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #37
Heather MC Dec 2012 #42
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #57
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #67
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #93
coalition_unwilling Dec 2012 #103
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #110
quakerboy Dec 2012 #131
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #132
quakerboy Dec 2012 #137
Luminous Animal Dec 2012 #138
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #61
Fearless Dec 2012 #39
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #41
Fearless Dec 2012 #48
Incitatus Dec 2012 #43
Heather MC Dec 2012 #44
Incitatus Dec 2012 #47
Coyotl Dec 2012 #46
DeSwiss Dec 2012 #54
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #58
DeSwiss Dec 2012 #66
mostlyconfused Dec 2012 #71
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #92
mostlyconfused Dec 2012 #104
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #111
mostlyconfused Dec 2012 #136
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #140
kardonb Dec 2012 #62
Heather MC Dec 2012 #68
ErikJ Dec 2012 #63
stevenleser Dec 2012 #114
DotGone Dec 2012 #64
moondust Dec 2012 #69
napi21 Dec 2012 #76
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #77
David__77 Dec 2012 #79
treestar Dec 2012 #81
Resonance_Chamber Dec 2012 #83
lumberjack_jeff Dec 2012 #98
stevenleser Dec 2012 #142
lumberjack_jeff Dec 2012 #151
stevenleser Dec 2012 #153
lumberjack_jeff Dec 2012 #164
veterancrozo658 Dec 2012 #100
stevenleser Dec 2012 #113
RedCappedBandit Dec 2012 #118
WCGreen Dec 2012 #122
uponit7771 Dec 2012 #134
WCGreen Dec 2012 #139
FreeJoe Dec 2012 #123
FreeJoe Dec 2012 #124
MADem Dec 2012 #129
kentuck Dec 2012 #133
Jeff In Milwaukee Dec 2012 #144
Yavin4 Dec 2012 #146
stevenleser Dec 2012 #148
killbotfactory Dec 2012 #159
Orrex Dec 2012 #161

Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:55 PM

1. I really have no idea. With two grad degrees I'd need three jobs to hit 250K

It it the biggest wtf in the whole discussion.

Who ARE these people????

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:11 PM

6. I know people who make 250,000K per year, they live on golf courses with elevators

in there 5000 sq ft homes How is that Middle class? Honestly I think they would be insulted if you told them they were Middle class

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Response to Heather MC (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:50 PM

18. It really depends where in the country they are

My wife and I make well over that, but we rent a half of a duplex and drive Subaru, Ford, and old BMW. We make way over 250k, yet still feel middle class.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:57 PM

23. Then you are doing something wrong and you are decidedly NOT middle class...

even in cities like NYC and San Francisco that is well over the median income.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:30 AM

74. In one of those cities an experienced firefighter and a nurse,

earning overtime, could have a combined income in that range. They're not trust fund babies or among other elites, so I can see how they would still consider themselves middle class.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #74)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:47 AM

75. They might consider themselves middle class but they'd be in the 20% of the SF population

and they would be deluded.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #75)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:35 AM

101. "Class" isn't a term strictly related to income, IMO. People who have an income in that range

but got there by working overtime in ordinary jobs are in a different class from people who don't need to work at all because they earn that much in dividends and capital gains.

For example: someone who earns $100,000 might be upper class, if it was solely unearned income. That person might have income-producing assets of a few million.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #74)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:49 AM

87. Upper Middle Class, perhaps, with that as a family income in a high cost city

No they are not by any means the super wealthy, but they still earn far more than most Americans. I would not be all that bothered by letting a family earning $300,000 a year keep all of the Bush tax cuts IF we were not at the same time planning to cut programs that support the working poor and changing the way we calculate COLAs on Social Security, where every dollar lost takes food out of peoples mouths

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #87)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:29 AM

96. I agree. We shouldn't be making cuts that hurt people on the other end. n/t

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #18)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:42 AM

65. Subaru and BMW are high-end cars

that don't lose their resale value as quickly as most other vehicles. The fact that you own one each, irregardless of their age, indicates a solid middle class status.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #65)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:05 AM

70. Subarus are high end cars? It depends. I live in Subaru-ville where yes, there are new ones

but a whole lot of $2000 ones also. Beamers more likely higher end, but not nec subarus. My last one bit it, traded it for a 2 wheel drive and now can't get home up the road when it snows (by the way, HI!)

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #70)


Response to uppityperson (Reply #70)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:26 AM

95. Subaru?



I paid $200 for mine, and now that it's repaired it's a serviceable $1500 car. High end? Not so much.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #95)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:16 PM

105. W WA, we have our Subaru subculture, don't we? If not a volvo, a subaru.

$200? Heh. I paid $2000 for mine and miss it now.

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #105)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:30 PM

107. I was looking for an older model Honda

with low miles. Maybe i should also check out a Subaru or two

On edit: I just am so happy there are things like edit and craigslist

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Response to nolabels (Reply #107)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 09:12 PM

154. I am on my 3rd Subaru.

I bought each at about 4 years old, 75,000 miles on. each..first 2 lasted past 250,000..my present 2003 has about 130,000 and going strong..
:>

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Response to intheflow (Reply #65)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:12 AM

89. irregardless is not a word

 

"regardless" is the correct usage.

-courtesy warning from the Grammar Polizei.

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #89)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:37 AM

90. Meh.

Merriam-Webster disagrees with you:

Definition of IRREGARDLESS

nonstandard
: regardless
Usage Discussion of IRREGARDLESS

Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.
Examples of IRREGARDLESS

I told them that irregardless of what you read in books, they's some members of the theatrical profession that occasionally visits the place where they sleep. —Ring Lardner, The Big Town, 1921
Origin of IRREGARDLESS

probably blend of irrespective and regardless
First Known Use: circa 1912


So the word may not be embraced upon by Grammar Polizei, but it is a word.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #90)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:49 AM

91. it's a free country

 

you're free to sound as unfinished as you like.

but beware: you only get one courtesy warning.

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #91)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:47 PM

108. I'll consider myself courteously warned, then.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #65)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:40 AM

102. It's a shame, too, because Beemers are pieces of crap.

Hubby had one that was in the shop 19 times in three years and it wasn't very old.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #65)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:40 PM

121. yes - solid upper middle class

never said it was anything other no matter where you live... yet middle class nonetheless.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:25 PM

10. professional class - accountants, physicians, engineers, geologists,

they get married and make some BANK - and couples do make 250 combined. AND they can afford an extra thousand a year or whatever in fed tax increases.

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Response to elehhhhna (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:32 PM

11. Do you have any data? Two income households. DINKS. I'm single... I'd need two times the income.

Two times the income of having three jobs at the going rate in education.

Fortunately, I have other sources of income but still don't reach 50% of middle class as a household.

And I've got engineer and architect and even stockbroker friends who are dying right now, not even making over $100K (but are close).

The $250K household even with two incomes is nothing like middle class, or median, or mode.

If you have some data I'd love to see it.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:57 PM

2. I have a phd and a great job...

And I don't make 1/5 of that.

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Response to a la izquierda (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:09 PM

4. My DH has a Masters Degree a full time job in the Military and several part time jobs one as a

Professor, and we don't come close to 100k let alone 250k.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:59 PM

3. $20,833.00 per month!!! my gosh

I DON'T EVEN SEE THAT MUCH A YEAR

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Response to trueblue2007 (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:11 AM

52. The 2003 Median Income of US households was $45,000.

That gives a little perspective.

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #52)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:21 AM

80. It's interesting how there's a dip in the 75 - 100k range

with more people/households making over 100k.

That suggests to me that either a certain group of people at the top are overpaid or the lower categories are underpaid.



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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #80)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:34 AM

86. This chart shows where the middle class ends with that dip, in my view.

Above $100k in not middle class, I think. A family with $200 gross income is upper crusty. That's enough money to buy a rental property a year!

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Response to trueblue2007 (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:11 AM

53. I get $18000 a year on SS and we hear the chained CPI is not

a cut in SS when after 20 years you lose the equivalent of one months check a year..

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:11 PM

5. Who said that? Nt

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Response to abelenkpe (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:24 PM

9. Obama and Boehner are going back and forth between 250,000 and 1 million as the cutcoff point

for who is middle class and needs tax breaks. Obama defines at as those who amke 250,00 or less a year. The GOP wnated a millio9n.
The "bargain" they agreed to was 400,000.

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Response to robinlynne (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:25 PM

106. Crummy bargain. We really need to win back the house. nt

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:22 PM

7. that's a lot of money, imo

i knew someone whose bf was a member of a so cal indian tribe who had casinos. she told me that her bf collected 20 grand A MONTH. i was floored.

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Response to shanti (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:46 PM

15. at least the tribe shares the money with its roll members

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:23 PM

8. I'm with you.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:37 PM

12. they've settled on $400,000?

But I am waiting for the "$200,000 a year is NOT rich" people to show up.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:41 PM

13. Only $16,666.00 per month, that's pennies how could anyone live off less than $16,666 per month?

200K can't be rich

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:48 PM

17. $200k is not much in expensive cities like NYC or Los Angeles

Come to my neighborhood and I'll show you what a $1.2MM home looks like... you'd be aghast.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:01 PM

27. That's the rich people's way of saying "get lost". It does not mean it isn't plenty of money.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:13 PM

31. I live in NYC

and I make much less than $200k and still do fine. Cost of living is a factor, but there are ways to make things work even in the most expensive cities.

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Response to jade3000 (Reply #31)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:31 PM

112. That is not what that person said. nt

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:20 PM

33. The highest average income (by area) per household in LA is $141,000....

and that is in Beverly Hills...

The vast majority of Angelinos live on much less.

http://zipatlas.com/us/ca/los-angeles/zip-code-comparison/median-household-income.htm

The average household income in Manhattan is $137,000.

Oh how oh how do those people manage to live on so little in the most expensive areas in the country.

http://www.point2homes.com/Neighborhood/US/NY/Manhattan.html

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #33)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:19 AM

72. the median income is $79,100 (from your 2nd link)

so 50% of households in NYC are making less than $80,000

Would they think that making 2.5 times more money makes them rich?

I think they would. That's not just a little bit more money than they make, it's a heck of a lot more.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:31 PM

36. that;s Crap, most people in NYC and LA don't have anything close to 200k, it IS enough

i guess it's not enough if people feel the need to keep up and buy things to show off to other wealthy types like a bunch of extra homes, thousands of dollars worth of designer crap etc.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:06 AM

49. It's true that you can't be a yuppie at less than those prices...

But I recall when the New York Times Magazine carried an article about a family that "couldn't make it" on $100,000 a year (this was in the 1970s, so it was probably equivalent to $250,000 now). It turned out that they were eating out a lot, sending their children to private schools, despite living in one of the best public school districts in NYC, and had a beach house.

PLENTY of people live in NYC or LA on less than $250,000. They're not living large, but they're not on the streets, either. Do you really think that all those schoolteachers and nurses and cops are making $250,000?

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #49)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:24 PM

147. Sure you can. Most professions make less than $250K/yr. Nurses, IT, Accountants, etc make less.

YUPPIE=Young Urban Professional. Nothing to do with income.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:20 AM

55. Hahahaha.

I shot water out of my nose.

I lived just fine in NYC making under six figures. Sure there might be a few minorities around (other than your gardener) but 20 grand a month is a good wage anywhere in this country and if its not maybe you should find a different "neighborhood".

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:27 AM

60. I'm going to say it.

You're lying.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:27 AM

78. I made half that in LA and retired in 15 years. What I didn't do was pretend

 

that I was a millionaire. This whole "$250K isn't that much" meme is BS that people tell themselves to excuse the fact that they don't want to live like the wage slaves they are.

If you make $250K in SF, you're right. You have to buy a house in a less fashionable neighborhood or outside the city and commute just like all those other schlubs you think you're better than. If you make $250K in NYC and want to live in Manhattan, you have to settle for a fixer-upper or commute.

Yes $250K is not as much in the most expensive places in America, but it is BS to say that you have to struggle to make it on that kind of bank is either entirely self inflicted or bullshit.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:57 AM

84. Sure it is.

a 1.5 million dollar home is a 5000 Monthly payment.

200k is 16,666 per month. Be generous and assume they pay full taxes, $5000 per month.
Leaving 6,666 per month. You got electricity, gas, cable, phones. These can be had for the same price as a less well to do person. Figure you up your food game, where most people make due on a few hundred a month give or take, you spend a thousand. take out some for savings, some for retirement, some for cars, etc. You still end up with more discretionary income than most people have total income.

200k. Call it working class, I think it often may overlap. Its arguably even middle class. But calling it "not much" is insulting to the rest of us who may well not see that much in a decade, and yet manage to live reasonably, sometimes even comfortably. Its only "not much" if you are a consummate consumer without regard to personal fiscal responsibility. Even in "expensive cities" like NYC or LA.


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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:24 AM

94. Suitcases and U-hauls are cheap. n/t

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #17)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:35 PM

149. Exactly. I hate when people that live in inexpensive locations attempt to make values

judgments on other people's lifestyle based upon their lifestyles in their location. $250,000 provides a slightly higher than middle of middle class living for a family of 4 in cities like NYC, Boston, Chicago and LA.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:44 PM

14. And the proposed increase in taxes is levied on taxable income (after deductions and execemptions)

so the actual gross income is higher.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:52 PM

21. exactly so really for 250k it's about at 300k, and or 400k it's really 450K

They are not going to make real necessary changes until they all stop living in la la land

I believe they should have started at 150K , that's $12,500 per after adjusted Gross income. $250k should have been the higher nuumber they jumped too not the the starting number. IMO

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:47 PM

16. Great thread.

 

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:51 PM

19. I love it when people making that much try to act like they're struggling

If you're struggling at that level of income, I have to wonder just how the hell you managed to get that much money in the first place.

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Response to RedCappedBandit (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:05 PM

28. They are just broke at another level

Living within our means are considered dirty words now adays.
think about it, if someone really makes that much yearly, chances are they have credits out the wazoo because they were heavily targeted. The banks convinced them to buy the 2 million dollar home instead of the Modest $500k home. Of course now they have to fill their 4 car garage with atleast 3 cars. and they can't be just any kind of car it has to be a car you would expect to see in the drive way of a million dollar home. so three brand new highend cars. and a harley!

Their kids can't possibly go to public school yuck. and Insurance for all those yummy goodies.
then you have to have a wardrobe that matches the million dollar home. the perfect furniture. an interior decorator, a gardener a house cleaner, and a personal fitness instructor, that's where I come in I will teach zumba and make you do push-ups for $100 per hour LOL

once you throw in having to buy the latest apple invention every six months the state of the art home entertainment center with authentic popcorn machine from the Majestic theater that you bought on ebay for a mere $2000, and the parties to show off all your neato stuff to people you don't like but like to impress

ta da!!!! you are broke at another level.

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Response to RedCappedBandit (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:47 PM

115. By definition, middle class means you are NOT struggling. Obviously at the high end of that you

would not be. Not sure anyone here who makes that amount was inferring that.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #115)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:51 PM

117. For clarification, my post was definitely not directed at any particular DUer

I have read many anecdotes of people supposedly in that income bracket still living 'paycheck to paycheck' in various locations around the internet (as if they would even understand what that really means, making that kind of money.)

The other poster who replied to me nailed it.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:51 PM

20. 20k gets burned up real fast in expensive cities and high tax states

I can go through real world numbers if you'd like.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:54 PM

22. I live in the real world, I live in a very expensive area. I know the numbers thanks

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Response to Heather MC (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:01 PM

25. Yep. I live in San Francisco and most of the people I know make between $50,000 - $80,000

a year and manage okay.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:38 PM

40. $80,000 in income, and they can only manage? So $80k in San Fran isn't very much?

Or are you saying that's middle class there?

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #40)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:09 AM

51. I'd say $50K is working class. Rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is over $3000 a month.

80K is mid middle class. And a person at that wage bracket could NEVER qualify for a loan for a condo or house. That is why San Francisco is 70% renters, some older adults still live with housemates, most young families move out of the city.

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Response to Heather MC (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:01 PM

26. Well, you're the one who stated 250k households live on golf courses

So I guess you are ignorant, out of touch, and have no desire to understand.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #26)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:35 PM

38. I said I know people there's a difference in making up something and knowing facts

I know people who make that much and live in a gated golf course community. How can I be out of touch if I know people who live that way. Have a nice night

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #26)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:59 PM

45. I know a few areas with nice homes on nice golf courses, with home costs in the mid to high $200s.

There are other areas that the average a million and some several million. It's all about location, but it is possible to afford a very nice home on a golf course in FL on a 250k income. In other areas you might be in a small apartment or 2 bed 1 1/2 bath 1,200 sq ft on a small lot.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:08 AM

50. Sorry, but if you can't scrape by on $5000 per week, then you're an absolute failure

And for anyone who says that the price of living in such-and-such a place demands that level of income, I hasten to point out that there are families within one mile of those poor, poor $250K earners who are surviving on one tenth that much.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #50)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:01 PM

109. I didn't say you can't make it

I didn't even say it wasn't comfortable. But it is not "rich".

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #109)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:46 PM

126. Depends on one's perspective, I suppose

Ask the family getting by on 10% of that amount if they'd consider it rich.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #50)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:48 PM

116. You are attacking a point that no one made. nt

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #116)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:45 PM

125. I was addressing reply #20

And that same point has been made many times previously, even if not made explicitly here.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #125)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:05 PM

127. No, it hasnt, as the poster of #20 explained. No one is saying they cant make it on $250K/yr

That isnt at issue. The issue is whether it is middle class or not. The poster of #20 explained that a lot of that income can get burned in large cities on high rent and other realities of large city living. That isnt saying they cannot live on that money.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #127)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:05 PM

130. kind of the same point, then

Last edited Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:21 AM - Edit history (1)

No kidding it's not middle class.

My point is that there's no excuse for burning through $5000 per week, regardless of rent or bills, outside of catastrophic medical costs.

The argument that sky-high Manhattan rent justifies such huge expenditures is preposterous. It is in fact an argent for living somewhere else and commuting.

I don't doubt that one can burn through $5000 per week with relative ease. My point is that one's ability to do so speaks of wild financial irresponsibility rather than the hardship of making ends meet when those ends are a quarter million dollars apart.

I know that $250K isn't middle class. I simply dispute the legitimacy of the claim that non-voluntary costs of living make it hard to get by on such a pittance.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #130)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 06:45 PM

141. Its not the same point at all. I think $250K/yr is definitely middle class as I noted in this post..

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #141)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:13 PM

143. I have a suggestion: cut the $250K person's annual income by $200K

Then ask them how similar their lifestyle is before and after.

We're not talking about the difference between annual income of $250K versus $200M because that's a pointless comparison. It would be like asking which is stronger, an ant or an elephant? That appears to be the discussion that you want to have.

However, the difference between $50K and $250K is still more profound than you seem willing to admit, for some reason. A family of four earning $250K can reasonably expect to afford everything that they need to survive in comfort while also building up their savings. A family of four earning $50K per year can reasonably expect to be living from paycheck to paycheck for at least part of every year, stressing over how to pay heating bills in the winter while also paying the $500 mortgage, $600 in student loans, and $300 in groceries each month. Plus gas for the car and other extravagant luxuries like electricity and water.

Such concerns simply aren't a factor for the $250K crowd, and if they are a factor, then that family has much better options for relocating.

And once you've come up with a menu of excuses for why you think the $250K family still has more in common with the $50K family, we can discuss how similar you think they are to the $20K family, of which our fine nation has plenty.


You've been making the same basic point over and over again in this thread, and you've been shot down in each case. At this point I'm not even sure of what you're arguing, nor am I convinced that you're sure, either.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #143)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:18 PM

145. You keep creating straw men and are deluded into thinking that they are logical points. They are not

You keep attacking points that other people do not make, i.e., creating straw men.

Once again, I am not saying that $250K is the same as $50K. I am saying that a household income of $250K has a life that is more similar to one of a household making $50K/yr than one where the household is a 1% household.

That has been my point from the beginning and it is one you have not addressed. You keep addressing all kinds of other points that no one has made.

If we cut anyone's income by 80% it is going to be a severe change. No one asserted otherwise.

On Edit: Here, you need this badly:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

A straw man or straw person, also known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.
.
.
.
Structure

The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern of argument:
1. Person 1 has position X.
2. Person 2 disregards certain key points of X and instead presents the superficially similar position Y. The position Y is a distorted version of X and can be set up in several ways, including:
1.Presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent's position.
2.Quoting an opponent's words out of context—i.e., choosing quotations that misrepresent the opponent's actual intentions (see fallacy of quoting out of context).
3.Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as the defender, then refuting that person's arguments—thus giving the appearance that every upholder of that position (and thus the position itself) has been defeated.
4.Inventing a fictitious persona with actions or beliefs which are then criticized, implying that the person represents a group of whom the speaker is critical.
5.Oversimplifying an opponent's argument, then attacking this oversimplified version.


3.Person 2 attacks position Y, concluding that X is false/incorrect/flawed.

This reasoning is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position does not address the actual position.




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Response to stevenleser (Reply #145)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:37 PM

150. No, you're offering up a comparison that has no meaning

You're arguing about the difference between preposterously astronomical income vs very secure huge income and very secure huge income vs meager income. You've apparently fooled yourself into thinking that, by doing so, you've hit on some hitherto unrealized point.

Here's the kicker: the point that you're congratulating yourself for discovering was already obvious to everyone in the discussion. What took you so long?

If we cut anyone's income by 80% it is going to be a severe change. No one asserted otherwise.
But your'e still not getting it, your pleasant euphemism notwithstanding. If you cut the $200M family's income by 80%, they'd still be in the top 1%. If you cut the $250K family's income by 80%, that "severe change" will still leave them well above the country's median income. If you cut the $50K family's income by 80%, then they'll probably be homeless (at the very least) in a few months. In that equation, two of the three families will survive just fine, even if it means fewer trips to the riviera.

That difference in ability to withstand "severe change" or catastrophic circumstances or unforeseen emergency is the difference that you seem eager to dismiss, all while claiming that no one is calling for such dismissal.



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Response to Orrex (Reply #150)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:42 PM

152. You are now arguing with yourself about your 80% straw man. My comparison is EXACTLY the point

This is a discussion about what is middle class. My comparison is that a household making $250K/yr has more in common with a household making $50K/yr, an income level we all would agree IS middle class, than a household that is a 1% household, a household we would all agree is rich/wealthy.

That is a point you cannot refute, you have not even attempted to refute, and it means that my point is made.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #152)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 10:02 PM

155. Go on with your bad self

What, exactly, is the point in setting up these comparisons, except to demonstrate the futility of the catch-all expression "middle class?"

Again, you're making a self-evident point by saying that the preposterously, astronomically rich have little in common with the $250K crowd, but that's irrelevant. And I'm not even sure that anyone claimed otherwise, at least not until you showed up in the thread, though I admit that I haven't read every single post outside of this subthread.

You're the one who posited the 80% disparity, incidentally, by telling us how much $250K and $50K have in common. So if it's a straw man then it's yours to own. The $250K crowd has, at the end of the day, little in common with the $50K crowd.

The distinction should be between families that can barely scrape by versus all the rest. Every argument that you're making is an effort to pretend that the quarter-million family faces, ultimately, the same hardships as other "middle class" families, or at least you're suggesting that they suffer more so than do the multi-million families.

If you're trying to show the commonality between $250K and $50K, then the posited 80% reduction is entirely valid and relevant, despite your wishes to the contrary. A family making 500% of median income has little in common with a family making just the median income.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #155)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:17 PM

158. Maybe this will help you understand.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2094610

Look, I am guessing you are an Occupy supporter, right? So am I. There were several points to why Occupy targeted the top 1% of wealthy folks as receiving too favorable treatment and the rest of the 99% as not getting our fair share.

Virtually all growth in wealth in the last 40 years was among the top 1%. Beneath the 1% wealth grew by either little or virtually zero amounts.

Here are graphs that illustrate the point by income and then by wealth:
Income:


Wealth:


The problem is not 99%ers that earn $250K/yr, the problem is the policies that unfairly benefit the top 1% in wealth.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #158)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:42 PM

160. You're still arguing that we should subsidize the $250K lifestyle

Do you or do you not agree that the tax cuts for $250K should be allowed to expire?

If you do agree, then ultimately we're on the same page, and there's nothing more to discuss.

If you do not agree, then ultimately you're arguing to further subsidize the wealthy, and there's nothing more to discuss.


Pretty simple, when you get down to it.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #160)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 12:25 AM

162. No, that is just your latest strawman. I never remotely said any such thing. nt

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #162)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 12:41 AM

163. Then answer the question

Last edited Sun Dec 30, 2012, 05:38 AM - Edit history (1)

Do you or do you not agree that the tax cuts for $250K should be allowed to expire?

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #152)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 10:18 PM

156. "More in common"

doesn't tell us much. Low one-percenters probably have more in common with families making $250k a year than they do with high one-percenters. But they're living qualitatively different lives than the majority of Americans.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #156)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:06 PM

157. The bottom threshold for top 1% of wealth is $8.4 million

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/measuring-the-top-1-by-wealth-not-income/

A household making $250K/yr has much more in common with a household making $50K/yr than in common with one that holds wealth of $8.4 million.

A household with $8.4 million in wealth is generating a minimum of around $300K/yr in investment income which as we all know is taxed at a low rate of around 15% meaning they keep and can spend $255K/yr without working a single minute of a single day.

That is a very different life experience than a household of folks working fulltime to earn $250K/yr who then see that income taxed at double the rate of the 1% household.

The entire wealthiest 1% idea raised by Occupy is about wealth, not income. Many right wing groups try to talk about top 1% of income, that isnt the point, the point is the amount of wealth held by the top 1% and how it makes their lives different from the rest of us.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #157)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:39 PM

165. So you're moving the goal posts

Comparing the income of people making 250k to the wealth of others. The person making 250k is likely to have much more than 250k in wealth.

Let's go by taught_me_patience's own numbers (which are only for 250k, even though they claims they makes well above that). He's buying a million dollar house. With a 5% increase in property value (average increase), you're looking at a house that's about $4.3 million. Even without any match from his employer (which is unusual), his 401k, assuming he keeps payments inline with inflation, will be worth about $3 million after 30 years. So ~$7.3 million just from these two things alone, but then you have to factor in inflation. Averaging at about 3%, we get around $3 million dollars in assets from just the 401k and the house.

This is only based on two of the investments mentioned in that post. Once you factor in other things (assets like cars, furniture, jewelry, what happens to that 1k a month once you pay off your student loans or the 2k a month once your kids are gone, pensions, etc.), people making 250k can easily end up with wealth well over $4 million.

The median household wealth of Americans between the age of 55 and 65 in 2007 was $239,000. Since a lot of that was property value, I wouldn't be surprised if there's been a drop since the bubble burst.

You're trying to argue that people with a wealth of $4 million+ live a very different life from those with twice their amount of wealth, but a similar life with those who have 1/20th of their wealth. A conclusion that can only be reached by moving the goal posts and judging the 250k people on their salary not their wealth and the one-percenters on their wealth not their salary.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #165)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:56 PM

166. Sorry, no. Comparison of what is middle class or not IS the goal according to the OP. nt

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #166)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:37 PM

167. Yes, and comparisons show

that they're closer to low one-percenters than they are with most Americans. If you want to compare their income to that of low one-percenters, that's the case, and if you want to compare their wealth, that's also the case. What's silly, though is to compare the income of someone making 250k with the wealth of a one-percenter. If you can't understand the difference between income and wealth, you shouldn't be making comparisons.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:21 AM

56. Yes please.

I've lived in expensive cities and have never made close to that. Go over the numbers.

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Response to ForgoTheConsequence (Reply #56)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:38 PM

119. Here you go

Gross income 20k/mo
pre tax savings - 1,500
pre tax health insurance - 200

Net income - $18,300
Federal Income tax (23% effective rate) - 4,200
State Income tax (7% effective rate) - 1300

Net income after tax: $12,800

Expenses:
mortgage (950k @4%) $4,535
prop taxes $1,000
student loan $1,000
car $800
daycare $1,950
food $1,000
gas $300
cable/water $200
insurance $400
misc $500
total $11,685

So you're looking at approx. 1,000 left over after expenses, which may seem like a lot, but is only 5% of gross income. Now, you may also argue that you're socking away 1,500 to a 401k every month, but, I'd argue that this long term asset acts like and "expense", at the moment that it occurs (it is also less than 10% of gross income). The $800 loan is two Honda type cars ($16k financed at 4% over 5 year term).

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #119)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:12 PM

128. First mistake, buying a $1.2M home.

Which results in the 2nd mistake. $1000 a month property tax.

Third mistake, new cars. I haven't paid more than $2000 for a used car over the past 30 years. 4 of them and each has lasted at least 5 years with about $500 in repairs a year.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #119)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:32 AM

135. Looking at this

We assume that your children won't spend too many years in daycare and will soon grow old enough that they can enter the public school system. At that point you have approximately $3,000 a month left over, or ~$36,000 a year to do with as you like (as opposed to the ~$12,000 you have now because of daycare). Also keep in mind that ~60% of your mortgage is going to your equity, and you'll get it back when you sell your house or after 30 years when you have a place to stay rent-free. So that's about ~32,652 a year, plus the $15,000 a year from the 401k, so ~$47,652 in savings a year (and this isn't touching on the fact that eventually your student loans will be paid off, and you could cheaper cars or a cheaper house if you needed to).

I understand that you don't feel rich. You still have to pay attention to your finances, you have to think before making a major purchase and perhaps make some adjustments (or not make the purchase), etc. But to have the equivalent of someone's salary as your investment money and at the same time having the equivalent of someone else's salary as "extra income" certainly puts you in a class well above such people.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:27 AM

59. OK .... I would like ....

Show me the real world numbers ....

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:19 AM

73. ...




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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:24 AM

82. good grief

most people who live in the same expensive cities don't make near that.

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:08 AM

85. I would like the numbers.

I can estimate, but I am curious to see your numbers.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #85)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:38 PM

120. see my post #119

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Response to taught_me_patience (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:33 AM

99. yes, in Mitt Romney's neighborhood

that income would be considered working class.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:57 PM

24. It is not the starting point but the end point....

and it is for a couple....$125K each. $200K for a single person. Anything above that and you are no longer "upper middle class" It also takes in 97% of small business owners or S Corporations.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:07 PM

29. The increase is on taxable income after deductions and exemptions. A small business owner with $200K

taxable income is doing just fine.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #29)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:09 PM

30. No one said he wasn't....n/t

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #30)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:22 PM

34. I wasn't implying that you were but I do question your assertion that 97% of small business owners

end up with $200,000+ taxable income.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #34)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:30 AM

97. Awkward phrasing on my part....

97% of small businesses have taxable income below the $250K threshhold. Sorry.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:16 PM

32. I would call that upper middle class.



They're still working for paycheck for the most part.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:28 PM

35. Do you need any more proof?

Just how much they are out of touch?

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:34 PM

37. There's a lower, middle, and upper middle class.

At least that's what I always heard it referred to as. Lower middle class is close to poor. Would be considered poor by wealthy people, but technically not poor. They're lower middle class. Middle class is what you are thinking of. The average Joe and spouse. Then there's the upper middle class, which to the lower middle class may seem rich, but technically not. They are upper middle class, close to wealthy. Nice houses, expendable income, can probably save for their kids' college education, etc.

I would consider $250k, esp for a two-income family, to be upper middle class, not wealthy. Although they certainly do well. But I think of rich as someone who doesn't even need to keep track of income; he just puts money in the bank over and over again. Maybe someone with an income of several hundred thousand for an individual? (depending on where the individual lives)

And don't forget that in the northeast, California, and maybe parts of other areas, $250,000 income is not that much. But $250,000 in Mississippi would mean you're flying high.

But there has to be a country average, and the line has to be drawn somewhere.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:49 PM

42. This is 250K adjusted Gross Income

not total income.
I am not saying they are wealthy, real wealth is when you make money weather you get out of bed or not like Mitt Romney.
This is working class rich levels.

I just believe the conversation for who should get tax cuts and who should started too high. It should have started at a much lower point and worked up to 250K not begin at 250k up to 1 million back down to 400K

perhaps would should let bush tax cuts expire on everyone at all income levels and then revisit in another 10 years

but of course all we can do is speculate

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Response to Heather MC (Reply #42)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:23 AM

57. The tax increase for them is ONLY for the amount OVER that income...

that to me is more important than the income.

So the increased tax rate will apply only to the income OVER $250,000. So if you earn $300,000, you pay the old, lower rate on the $250,000, and the new higher rate only on the $50,000 over that. That's what I heard on TV. That's not right. An income tax rate should be higher for a person's earned income, period.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #57)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:25 AM

67. Think about it, it is a progressive tax rate and does make sense...

Everyone gets taxed at the same rate for their 1st $15,000 taxable income.

Then everyone gets taxed at the same rate for their next $15,000 - $30,000 taxable income.

Then everyone gets taxed at the at the same rate for their next $30,000 - $60,000 taxable income.

I think that our tax brackets are too broad.

I think the tax brackets should be narrower.

Perhaps 0% for up to $15,000 taxable income. 4% for $15,000 - $22,000. 7% for $22,000 - $32,000. 12% for $32,000 - $45,000. 18% for $45,000 - $60,000. And so on up to 70%-75% for every source of income - wage and investment whether earned in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #67)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:23 AM

93. No, we don't. Maybe that's the basis for the tax rate for a certain income....

but we get taxed a certain rate, if we fall within a certain income range.

If I fall in the 25% bracket, I pay 25%. Period. Makes no difference to me HOW they arrived at the 25% figure. What matters is the rate of 25%.

So if tax rates are to revert back to the levels (for the wealthy) of pre-Bush tax cuts, they will not apply only to income over the old rates. That is not a return to the pre-Bush tax cut rates at all. It is a lower rate than that, only not as low as the current rate.

So if someone with an income of $1,000,000 is to have a 39% tax rate...in order to have that tax rate, the 39% has to apply to the entire $1M. If it applies ONLY to a portion of the $1M, then the rate is less than 39%.

I see this as a trick to the public, who will be told, and who will THINK, the $1M guy has a rate of 39%, but his rate will really be, say, 37%.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #93)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:44 AM

103. Actually, you are wrong. If you fall in the 25% bracket, it means that you earn enough that

 

a portion of your income is taxed at the 25% rate, but not all of your income. Some of your income is taxed at lower rates.

The 39% rate you reference applies only to that portion of income over $1,000,000 and not to the first $1,000,000. That first $1,000,000 would be taxed at a lower rate.

I think the term accountants and economists use for this is 'marginal' but there's another term floating around on the tip of my tongue that I can't remember also that describes this.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #93)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:29 PM

110. Please but you are wrong. Please see the worksheet below.

The three scenarios presented below include incomes that would all fall into the 25% bracket on ordinary income. None actually pay 25%. The highest in that bracket comes close when adding SS and MED FICA but considering federal income taxes alone, the lowest will end up paying 11% federal income taxes and the highest will end up paying 18% federal income taxes. (The percentage tax computation chart that I used comes from the IRS 1040 handbook.)

This pattern holds true for every bracket. The lowest ordinary income in a bracket will pay a smaller percentage of federal income tax than the highest income in the same bracket.

What skews the percentage for the wealthy is that they rarely take the standard deductions because their mortgage, property tax, and charitable contributions combined will be much huger than the standard. Also, long term capital gains are taxed at 15% and the wealthy can take advantage off off-shore tax shelters. And keep in mind that SS FICA is only assessed on the first $106,000 in income.

That is why people like Mitt Romney and Warren Buffet are able to pay a lower percentage of their income than someone in the 25% tax bracket.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #110)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 03:58 AM

131. Your examples prove his point

percent of tax paid differs because 1 variable changes, the amount taxed at the highest rate. Exactly as the previous post describes.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #131)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 04:28 AM

132. Um no...

This what was said... "If I fall in the 25% bracket, I pay 25%. Period."

I demonstrated that that is untrue. People who fall within the 25% income tax bracket will pay between 11% and 18%. The bracket is not an absolute.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #132)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 02:38 PM

137. My appologies.

I got the posting order wrong(thought your post 110 was an attempt to rebut 103, not a rebut of 93). I was trying to argue agreement with what you are saying, and mistakenly thought you were arguing the opposite. I apologize for causing this confusion.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #137)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 02:41 PM

138. No problem :)

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Response to Heather MC (Reply #42)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:31 AM

61. Well, I looked it up, and I was wrong. $250k does seem to be above "middle class" income levels.

I found this, if it's correct:

Where does this concept of $250,000 as the appropriate cutoff come from? According to the data in the Census report shown in Table 1 below, which presents the thresholds for being in different parts of the income distribution, the median household in 2011 had an income of $50,054. A household with an income of $143,611 was at the 90th percentile point, or in the top 10th of the income distribution. A household with an income of $186,000 was at the 95th percentile, or in the top 5 percent. The table does not even show households with $250,000, but they must be in the top 97th or 98th percentile.

http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-10-17/finance/34513774_1_household-income-income-distribution-middle-class

But then the article explains that $250k is a good dividing line for other purposes, even though it's not really middle class:

And a recent study by Emmanuel Saez shows that within the top quintile the distribution is also very skewed, so that the top one percent receives about 20 percent of total income.

Thus, while the $250,000 threshold makes no sense in describing the middle class, it seems like a relevant divide for defining where the money is. Nevertheless, dividing the nation’s households into the “wealthy” and “the middle class” doesn’t seem like a useful exercise. It pits the majority of Americans against the top 1 or 2 percent. It suggests that the majority of Americans should not be called upon to solve the nation’s fiscal problems. It violates the notion that we are all in this together. Yes, the rich can contribute more, but we can all contribute something.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:38 PM

39. That is disgusting

I'd be lucky and I mean LUCKY to clear 33k this year.

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Response to Fearless (Reply #39)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:42 PM

41. The $250k figure is not the amt cleared. It's the gross income. nt

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #41)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:06 AM

48. Yes I know.

Thankfully we still have some semblance of a progressive tax structure.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:52 PM

43. Who considers the starting point of middle class to be $250K

I thought that was the high end.

Are people seriously saying a person making $150k is lower class?

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Response to Incitatus (Reply #43)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:58 PM

44. 250K is considered the end of Middle Class and the start of the rich class

I know confusing, so essentially it's the beginning and the end!

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Response to Heather MC (Reply #44)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:05 AM

47. I think that there's so much dispute here about $250k still being middle class indicates that it is

in the ballpark. I don't see much argument about $400k being considered upper class, thought I think the number is lower than that.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:05 AM

46. That is not the middle class threshold, it is way above it.

That is just the cutoff now considered for the tax cut renewal.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:12 AM

54. It's a system of enforced poverty that was designed that way......

Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. From the moment when the machine first made its appearance it was clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore to a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations.

And in fact, without being used for any such purpose, but by a sort of automatic process — by producing wealth which it was sometimes impossible not to distribute — the machine did raise the living standards of the average human being very greatly over a period of about fifty years at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries.

But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction — indeed, in some sense was the destruction — of a hierarchical society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable.

For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.


George Orwell


- It's really not that difficult to see or understand why TPTB created this system. If everyone benefits equally, or just fairly from the earth's bounty and man's invention -- then there would be no need. And without those who are always in need or dire poverty, then capitalism can't exist......

K&R

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Response to DeSwiss (Reply #54)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:27 AM

58. This all started during the Reagan and then the Bush years...with education cuts.

Education. The one way someone in a lower class can rise to be in a higher income class. It's not the ONLY way. But it's the MAIN way.

They started taking college tuition assistance away. Chipping away at it more and more. Then cutting student loans and raising the rates.

The top 1% does not want the average worker bee to be more educated than is necessary to do his job.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #58)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:17 AM

66. Reagan/Bush was an adjustment. This system goes back much further. n/t

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #58)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:10 AM

71. interesting fact. federal education spending was not cut under those guys

At least not according to the US Department of Education. http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/history/index.html

But education funding was much smaller under Reagan and Bush because the department was just created in the last year of Carter's presidency (well, originally more than 100 years prior, but it had no real budget until the 80's). It grew only from $14 billion to $20 billion under Reagan, and is up in the $70 billion range today, with the largest increases in percentage terms coming in the 2000's under Bush.

Haven't gone through all the line items in the spreadsheet yet. Money for pell grants went up under them as well, but some of the other lines may not have.

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Response to mostlyconfused (Reply #71)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:08 AM

92. I'm old enuf to remember Bush Sr. cutting college grants.

I'm not talking about funding the Dept of Education. I'm talking about assistance to the people to get a college education.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #92)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:01 PM

104. those are in the Dept of Ed budget, and went up under Bush Sr.

If you look at the source data, there is a category of Postsecondary that has several line items...

Federal Pell Grants
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
Federal Work-Study
Federal Perkins Loans
Federal Direct Student Loan Program
Federal Family Education Loans
Aid for Institutional Development
Federal TRIO Programs
Scholarships and Fellowships
Howard University
Other

Only one of those line items, Federal Perkins Loans, declined from 1988 to 1992. It declined by 26%. Another loan related line item, Federal Family Education Loans, was up 194% over that period. Collectively all the items under postsecondary were up 151% from 1988 to 1992. Interestingly, the postsecondary category was down by 29% from 1992 to 2000.

Perhaps there are some federal student grant and loan programs which are budgeted for somewhere other than the Dept of Education budget? Or maybe while the government increased spending in these areas under Bush Sr, maybe the amount of student loans given out by banks during that time was declining. I'd be interested to look at source data on that if you have it.

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Response to mostlyconfused (Reply #104)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:08 PM

111. Sorry...you must be wrong. I REMEMBER EXACTLY Bush on tv announcing the CUTS to college grants....

he hated having to say it. But say it, he did. This was during the time when he also raised taxes, maybe.

I remember the moment as if it happened last month. I remember it because I was horrified that that was one of the ways out of the budget problems he chose....I was upset by the news. I remember it.

Now, is it possible it was Reagan's admin., and he made Bush Sr handle this mess? Maybe. But I think it was Bush Sr's administration.

In any case, here ya go:

DUKAKIS: This administration has cut and slashed and cut and slashed programs for children, for nutrition, for the kinds of things that can help these youngsters to live better lives. It's cut federal aid to education; it's cut Pell grants an close the door to college opportunity on youngsters all over this country.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #111)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 01:09 PM

136. No. What you are suggesting is the Dept of Education's own numbers are wrong

Check the source data again: http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/history/index.html

I'm not making up a thing. I'm not providing any of my own numbers. I'm not quoting anything out of context. I'm not taking a campaign claim like the Dukakis line above and suggesting it is fact. I believe what you remember is Bush Sr PROPOSING some reductions in funding to the Dept of Education. The source data from the DoE clearly shows that he proposed some cuts. It also clearly shows that none of those cuts took place. The congress passed, and he signed, bills that led to overall funding for the Dept of Education increasing during his term. Funding for Pell grants increased as well.

Dukakis was not even making a factual statement about Reagan. Total DoE funding increased 143% from 1980 to 1988. Funding for Pell grants increased 197% over that same 8 year period.

I'm not about to join the Reagan or Bush fan club. Far from it, but I don't think we have very productive conversation on DU when we are not dealing in facts.

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Response to mostlyconfused (Reply #136)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 05:54 PM

140. Because a program is cut does not mean the dollar amount goes down, correct?

Because of automatic increases for COL or expenses.

If Social Security funding is cut, that does not necessarily mean a DECREASE in benefits immediately. It may mean FUTURE benefit decreases, or smaller increases. But it's a cut nonetheless.

I'll research this. It's possible Congress wouldn't allow the cuts to go through.

As for the increase 1980-1988, I'll research that. But I do know that, for instance, in the stock market, it shows a false picture to try to show an increase or decrease in value of a stock, or the market generally, during any one specific period of time. Within that period of time are multiple increases and decreases, for various reasons. A lot depends on where you are at the starting point. For instance, had Reagan already cut the grant in 1980? I doubt it, but that's an example.

As for increases....there are automatic increases in federal programs because of inflation. That is not considered growth in a program. For a program's funding to stay the same, it would have to increase every year, except during a recession (although I've yet to see anything cost less during a recession).

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:34 AM

62. middle class

when your mother brought you up . 20,000 a year bought a lot more than what is buys now . So that was a fairly good income then .

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Response to kardonb (Reply #62)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:46 AM

68. Not really there was no room for extra

Cars breaking down extra
my idiot brother running the phone bill up over $100 extra
doctor visits extra
new clothes because we out grew the old ones extra
winter time when the heating bill went up extra
joining a team sport and having to buy a uniform extra
girl scouts extra
dental visits extra I went to the the dentist twice in my life as a child luckily I have never had a cavity
Cable extra not that we needed cable but we didn't have it
bikes extra, unless we got lucky and found a cheap one at yard sale

There is alot we couldn't do
our health care plan was "give it a week" Thank God I was never sick

My mother was able to get a 45k house, with my grandmother and older brother co-signing on the loan.
Anything maintence on that house was also extra.
We lived for years without heat in the basement apartment which is where my grandmother lived because we couldn't afford a new heater it would have been extra

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:35 AM

63. Top 2% starts at $250,000

I think they classwify the bottom 20% as poverty so ......

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #63)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:44 PM

114. Poverty is classified by income, not percent. Whatever percent makes below X amount is considered

poor/poverty stricken.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:42 AM

64. I haven't seen 20K in the last 5 years combined

I've seen that only 3 times in my life and I have 3 degrees.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:49 AM

69. Warped sense of reality.

Somebody obviously doesn't have much experience with real people doing real jobs in today's race-to-the-bottom economy.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:06 AM

76. "Middle Class" is a range that (according to the gov't) tops out at $250M.

Most of the posts here are referring to "average income". That's different than Middle Class. Think of the american income earners divided into 1/3's. The TOP high income earners, the BOTTOM earners, and the balance are Middle Class. That range can be from $45M to $250M. I haven't seen the stats they used to calculate Middle Class or exactly what nimbers they're usiong in their range, but it's not meant to be the average.

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Response to napi21 (Reply #76)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:26 AM

77. please link some document that says the government has this definition of middle class. FYI:

 

According to the data in the Census report shown in Table 1 below...the median household in 2011 had an income of $50,054.

A household with an income of $143,611 was at the 90th percentile point, or in the top 10th of the income distribution.

A household with an income of $186,000 was at the 95th percentile, or in the top 5 percent.

The table does not even show households with $250,000, but they must be in the top 97th or 98th percentile.

http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-10-17/finance/34513774_1_household-income-income-distribution-middle-class

I don't believe the government has any official document which suggests the top 3% = 'middle class'.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:42 AM

79. I think the top quintile is not "middle class."

Broadly speaking, I think the term sucks. We have working people engaged in services, government, and manufacturing. Is income the sole determinant of "class," or is labor-intensity or labor skill? To me, small proprietors with no or few employees are "middle class" in the proper sense of being intermediate to big capitalists and non-capitalist working people.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:23 AM

81. Goes to show how few people are really affected

When it comes to "raising taxes" on the rich. And the thing is - the average right winger is no where near there. They are idiots to fight so hard against taxes going up on people who wouldn't even speak to them.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:37 AM

83. The fair Compromise on the fiscal Cliff

 

Austerity for the Red States seeing ALL of their Representatives in Congress and Think Tanks want it, so give it to them.
The Blue States will move forward with improving the Social safety net and infrastructure improvements.

Give the GOP and Red States exactly what they voted for and want.
Start with closing bases in red states and cancelling federal contracts in red states too.

President Obama was very wrong when he said America was not a collection of Red and Blue states and he is getting a very good lesson on how very wrong he is.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:30 AM

98. "Middle Income" means something. "Middle Class" is an arbitrary bullshit distinction.

It was invented to create a peer-group for the lower-end wealthy; the 95-99% -ers.

Middle income, on the other hand is between $18,500 and $88,000k a year - the middle three quintiles of income. The 20th through 80th percentiles.

The top 5% can afford to pay more, not just the top .5%.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #98)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 06:49 PM

142. The top 1% are the only ones who have made a killing in the last 30-40 years. And at the expense of

the lower tiers of income. They are the ones who should pay.

And the middle class as a distinction is an absolutely useful one to distinguish between the poor on one side, and the wealthy on the other.

You cannot say that a household making $250K/yr is 'wealthy', but all 1%'ers are definitely wealthy.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #142)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:40 PM

151. 2/3 of households who make more than $250,000 a year are 1 percenters.

1.5% of households have incomes > $250k.

If I can say that a household making $10,000 a year or less is poor (3.5% of households), I can easily say that a household making $250,000 a year is wealthy.

How's this? Let's call the bottom quintile "poor" the top quintile "rich" and everyone else "middle income"? Only 20% of households make more than $88,000 a year.

It's the bottom four quintiles which need help. Bending over backwards to avoid taxing ourselves or anyone we know personally is counterproductive.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #151)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:51 PM

153. It's not a percentage/percentile thing, it's a "What is their life like" thing. Thats my point.

A household that makes $250K/yr is not a 1% household. It doesnt resemble a 1% household. Their life is more like a $50K/yr household than a 1% household.

The 1% have made out over the past 30-40 years like bandits, not so much anyone else.

Let me ask you, how many folks in the 1% do you know well? Well enough to know their finances and purchasing decisions and in general what their life is like?

How many people do you know whose household income is $250K +/- $30K? Well enough to know their finances and purchasing decisions and in general what their life is like?

If you know several folks in both of these two categories, you know what I am talking about.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #153)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:24 AM

164. Almost none... which makes it easy for me to demand more taxes from "them".

I do know some people who are in the top 1 1/2% though, and although their lives are not all that much different from mine, they can still afford to pay more taxes - particularly in my state because people who make $250k pay less taxes as a percentage of their income than I do, and I pay more than truly poor people do.

Taxes aren't a punishment. They are the fuel for orderly society, so the point is to spread them in the least harmful way. The top 5% don't are where most of the money is and where the least harm comes from raising them.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:34 AM

100. Spam deleted by hunter (MIR Team)

 

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:42 PM

113. Household making $250K/yr still has more in common with one making $50K than a 1 percenter household

Once you go beyond that income, that changes.

Of course, to know that, you have to know one percenters really well and how they live and you also have to know middle/low income families well.

the 1% households I know never have to say 'no' to buying something used in everyday life beyond an expensive piece of real estate or a boat or a plane. Their children can go to whatever university they want with no worry about funding it, they vacation in the most exclusive places and stay in 5 star hotels when they do. They usually have a 5+ day a week person who cleans their home, if not more domestic help, and their children go to private schools for grades K-12. Many of the adults in 1 percenter households do not work at all and those that do generally have incomes above $750K/yr.

That is not the life of a household making $250k/yr. Once you go beyond that, particularly above $500K, the lives of the household looks more and more like the 1% household I mentioned.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:00 PM

118. They make in a day, more than I make in a week

Hard to imagine anyone thinks we're in the same boat.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:45 PM

122. I think because the Cost of Living in NYC, DC, Chicago is so high...

That they have to add that in.

Seriously, we get buy with about $ 55k, but if I didn't have close to $500 per month on maintenance medicine, we could get along with a little less.

I have clients that live in DC and have done taxes for people in NYC and Chicago and the cost of living is a lot higher than here in Cleveland.

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #122)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 09:39 AM

134. the median income is 80,000 dollars mostly in those cities nowhere near 250 Km

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #134)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 03:14 PM

139. That's the Median which, if I remember my math, is the exact middle point between

the lowest and the highest.

Not a good measure.


Check this info out


In Manhattan, the standard of living is more than twice the national average, the report found, while in Harlington, Texas -- the city with the lowest cost of living -- the standard is nearly 20 percent below the national average. The index was calculated based on regional differences between the cost of consumer goods and services.

Though the labor market may be poised to grow this year, Americans will likely still struggle with low wage growth, potentially placing even more strain on those people living in New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and other high cost cities. In some states, wages may be adjusting slightly to fit the rising cost of living; eight states raised or are slated to boost their minimum wages this year.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/27/cities-high-cost-of-living_n_1236841.html

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:30 PM

123. Upper Middle Class?

All of these class distinctions are pretty arbitrary and variable. There are few people in America that aren't rich by the standards of people living before this century. Most would even be considered rich by the poorest half of the people in the world today. On the other hand, to the extremely wealthy, people I think of as rich are probably people they think of as working class.

I have been fortunate to have been paid over $250K/year several times, but I think of myself as upper middle class rather than rich. Why not rich? Because I work for a living. Because it could all end for me tomorrow. Because I know a lot of people a lot better off than me that live a very different lifestyle. I suspect that rich is someone that makes several times what you make, regardless of what that is.

To me, someone that travels first class is rich. I guess to many people, the fact that I fly on some of my vacations makes me rich. To others, the fact that I take any vacations makes me rich.

My house is a little over 3,000 sq ft in the suburbs on a 1/4 acre lot. The people I see as rich have 7,000 sq ft houses on acre sized lots. I drive an 8 year old mid-tier luxury car (bought used) and my wife drives a 10 year old minivan. The rich people I know drive 7 series BMWs or S-class Mercedes and trade them out every few years for new ones. They probably think the people in Bentleys are the rich people. I subscribe to one of the basic TV packages. The rich people I know get HBO, ShowTime, the NFL Sunday Ticket, and all that stuff. My kids go to great public schools. The rich people I know send their kids to even better private schools. It's all relative.

As for the tax issue, I think that starting the tax hikes at $250K is too high. I understand the political reason for doing it and I'm OK with it. If I was the king, I would have started by asking anyone making more than median income to pay some additional money in taxes so that nation feels a true sense of shared sacrifice. I would start the tax increases very small and very gradual with the real bite starting around $100,000 and hitting progressively harder as they go up. I would also have blended an increase in rates with curtailing many of the tax breaks that are subsidies to the well off (home interest deduction, tax free muni-bonds, unlimited charitable contributions, etc).

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Response to FreeJoe (Reply #123)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:33 PM

124. Income Averaging

I would also add something to tax law so that people that have one year windfalls could spread that income over three years. I left a job once and had to exercise a bunch of stock options. It spiked my income tremendously that year, but it also had me taxed in a much higher bracket. Because our tax system isn't very progressive, it didn't really make much of a difference. If we had a fairer, more progressive tax system, it would have been much more painful and may have been enough to keep my from changing jobs. I think that people in once-in-a-lifetime situations like that should have some ability to spread that income across multiple years so that they get taxed in a way more commensurate with their average income rather than that single year spike.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:40 PM

129. Jesus, I know quite a few people who do not make that a YEAR.

I drive them to the polls.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:55 AM

133. Here is a good quick chart for percentiles...

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:15 PM

144. Actually, I think it' worse than that...

I assume the $250K figures is "taxable" income, which means that thinks like your 401(k) and other deferred income, itemized deductions, etc. have already been factored in. You're probably talking about someone with income of $350K or more.

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:21 PM

146. I've Lived in NYC, SF, and Los Angeles

There are very, very few people that make $250K and above, and that includes married people. Most people live on far, far, far less than that.

So, please stop with this nonsense that $250K is middle class in these cities. Hardly.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #146)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:30 PM

148. See my #113 nt

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Response to Heather MC (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:19 PM

159. Yeah, but that's after taxes, and private school, and the vacation fund, and the three car payments

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Response to killbotfactory (Reply #159)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 12:00 AM

161. And their dancing horses

Don't forget the dancing horses!

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