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Most Americans Say $150,000 Annual Income Makes You Rich (also, Walmart heirs $= Bottom 30%)

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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:50 AM
Original message
Most Americans Say $150,000 Annual Income Makes You Rich (also, Walmart heirs $= Bottom 30%)
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 11:59 AM by onehandle
Source: Huffington Post

It's not only one percenters that Americans consider rich.

More than half of those recently polled by Gallup said an income of no more than $150,000 would qualify that person as rich. When asked how much money per year would be necessary for them to consider themselves "rich," 53 percent mentioned an income of $150,000 or less, and 71 percent said an income of $300,000 would be enough.

Wealth marketing HNW Inc. considers an income of more than $350,000 per year enough to push someone into the one percent. But they also say most one percenters aren't aware of their exceptional status.

That may be because of extreme levels of income inequality among the richest of Americans. Steeper inequality exists among those in the top tenth of the income scale than elsewhere in the income spectrum, leading to a comparative sense of poorness for many wealthy Americans, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center cited by The New York Times.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/08/rich-median-in...



Americans need to be educated on this.

Here:

Walmart Heirs Worth Same Amount As Bottom 30 Percent Of Americans In 2007: Analysis

The Occupy Wall Street movement has brought increased focus on the disparity between the top one percent of earners and everyone else in the United States. But one American family paints a particularly stark picture of the country's wealth gap.

The six children of Walmart's founders, Sam and James "Bud" Walton, had the same net worth in 2007 as the entire bottom 30 percent of American earners, according to an analysis from Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist at University of California-Berkeley's Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics.

Though the 2007 figure is striking, the gap between the Walmart heirs and the rest of the country may get even bigger -- the Walton's combined fortune has grown by more than $20 billion, according to data compiled from the Forbes 400 this year.

Allegretto compared the Waltons' net worth in 2007, according to Forbes magazine, to the Federal Reserve's 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/08/walmart-heirs_...
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. Most americans think "rich" starts...
..." X% above what I make".

Plenty of people living middle-class lifestyles in Alabama think that a middle-class income in NY City is "rich"... (and the NY family can't imagine getting by on what the first family earns) but it doesn't change the fact that both have comparable lifestyles.

By my perspective... there are plenty of places in the US where 150k makes you pretty comfortable. Upper-middle-class certainly. But I can't think of many where you're "rich".
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. That sounds like a failure of imagination
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. You would be rich with $150,000 almost anywhere outside of
the major cities. It is only in the major cities, and in the specific places where rich people tend to live, that $150,000 would still be middle class, or not even enough to get by.

I know that in Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton or Albany, NY, or any of the non-urban parts of upstate New York you could live securely, and very incredibly well on $150,000 per year. Basically, anyplace in New York State other than New York City and Long Island, that much money would make you wealthy.

I bet it's the same in other states too.
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Beavker Donating Member (784 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I lived in San Diego
and my wife and I had a Household income under 70k. If our income doubled, even in SD, before the housing crises/economy downturn, we'd have been feeling pretty damn good.
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zogofzorkon Donating Member (256 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Cost of Mercedes S class 90K and up, Bertram 700 roughly 4 million, 2nd
and 3rd home another 500k to 50 million, staff, maintenance, furnishings, and perhaps a learjet and a mistress or two and 150k just doesn't go that far.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. I draw a distinction between comfortable and rich.
$150,000 for a family of four outside of the major cities still doesn't qualify one as rich in my opinion. Rich is when you don't have to give much thought to the purchases you make -- if you want it, you buy it. Household incomes of $150,000 in non-urban America is indeed comfortable, but definitely not rich. Spending priorities still have to be set. But I grant I may be rather simplistic when it comes to this.
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. Yep... and there's another distinction to be made.
The OP implies that we're talking about an income threshhold where you think people are rich. Instead, the poll actually asks people at what income level THEY would FEEL rich. That's really a very different thing.

A 20% raise might make me "feel" rich, but I wouldn't be rich. And I also wouldn't think that the family down the street that makes 20% more than I do is rich.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #9
26. If you are earning more then $157,000 a year you are in the top 9.0% of the population
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 04:19 PM by happyslug
FAMILY Income by Income with Percentage:
http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0...

Middle Class means SOMETHING, in the pre-Depression day it meant those FAMILIES NOT in the top 3% but the 10 Percentage of the population below that number. Only 2.6 % of Families earn more the $250,000. 5.0 % over $200,000. 10.9% over $150,000 a year. 20.6% earn between $100,000 and $150,000, thus under the classic definition of what is the Middle Class it is any family whose income is over $150,000 a year.

In more recent decades middle class has become a meaningless term, multimillionaires call themselves members of the "Middle Class" as do people on Welfare.

Thus we have to decide on a definition of who is Rich, who is Middle Class and who is poor. 13.8% of the population earn less the $25,000 a year. That is close to the traditional percentage (10%) given for the poor. If we assume 10% of the population is rich, that is roughly anyone making more the $150,000 a year (5.7 % of families earn between $150,000 and $200,000, while 5.2 % of all families earn more then $200,000 a year. Thus the percentage of families earning more the $150,000 a year is 10.9%. Thus if your family's income is among the top 10% of family income, a definition of the term "Rich", $150,000 is the bottom end of the top 10% i.e. the bottom end of the "Rich".

That leaves roughly just under 80% of familes making between $25,000 and $150,000 a year.

Now, when people are asked what economic class their are in, people choose overwhelming to be "Middle Class" but if you give them a choice AND the choices are Poor, Working Class, Middle Class and Rich. That same group divides itself almost evenly between Working Class and Middle Class. Given that Median FAMILY Income is only $60,088, Working Class is a family that is making Roughly between $25,000 and $60,000 a year, Middle Class is a Family roughly making between $60,000 and $150,000 a year.

Median FAMILY Income for 2009:
http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0...

Just pointing out what is the income of American Families and that rich can mean someone making $100,000 a year.
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Samba Donating Member (13 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. ++
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:24 AM
Response to Reply #9
39. If you have an income of $150,000, you could save
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 01:28 AM by JDPriestly
a meaningful part of your money or invest it in real estate, the stock market, gold or a business.

If you have an income of only $40,000, you probably don't have much left over after you pay for necessities to invest in much of anything.

That is why people with average incomes -- which would be maybe $30,000 to $40,000 if you are excluding people who earn more than $150,000 from the pool from which you calculate the average -- think that an income of $150,000 would mean they were rich.

If they had an income of $150,000 they could invest or save -- and people who can invest or save can earn money just by virtue of the fact that they have money.

Being able to invest makes you a part of the class that has power, the class of the bosses.

Actually, $150,000 may not be "rich" to economists, but in terms of social class and power, it probably is.

If you can't save or invest on $150,000 anywhere in the U.S., you need to change your lifestyle.

I should add that I would exclude people earning $150,000 or above from the income pool from which I would calculate the average income for purposes of my post simply because I only wanted to include those people who think that an income of $150,000 was "rich." I doubt that a person earning $150,000 would think that he or she was rich.

So, I am not using the term "average" to mean the average income in our society but rather the average income of those who would probably respond to the poll to the effect that those who earn $150,000 a year are probably rich.
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boppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 03:58 AM
Response to Reply #39
41. "I doubt that a person earning $150,000 would think that he or she was rich."
Why do you think that is?
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #41
59. Because when most people earn that kind of money, they
find really "necessary" things that weren't "necessary" before they had the money -- and end up barely able to make ends meet.

Sometimes, of course, a lot of money goes into purchases that are necessary for work or health or other real necessities.

But too often, people find it "necessary" to have that bigger house, that newer car, etc.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #6
20. In the DC area, $150,000 joint income is barely middle-class and paying the bills.
This is still the home of the $400,000 1950s tract house on a quarter-acre lot, four-hour daily commutes, and $1200/mo grocery bills for a family of four.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. $1200/mo for groceries? Seriously? Someone needs to go to Aldi
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #20
27. If you are earning more than $150,000, you are in the top 10% of all families
And that traditional definition of the "Rich" has always been the top 10% of the population. That someone in the top 10% of income can NOT see themselves as "Rich" is NOT a good sign. Karl Marx made several errors in his books, but the one point he observed and reported has NEVER been disproved. That point is when the "Petty Bourgeoisie" as he calls the people on the low end of the Classical Middle Class (i.e, in my example above those making between $100,000 and $250,000 a year), start to see their Income DROP in real terms, a revolution is just around the corner. The reason for the drop, is the Working class can NO longer provide the excess profits demanded by the rest of the Middle Class, and start to eat their own.

Please note, Marx was using the traditional definition of Middle Class, not the top 3% of income earners, but that 10% just below that 3%. CIA even accepts this unpleasant fact and uses it when it plans a revolution. In my post above I use both the Classic definition of the Middle Class and the modern American definition. A person earning $150,000 a year fits Marx's definition of a "Petty Bourgeoisie" and thus why your statement that $150,000 is "barely middle class" is frightening.

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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #27
33. $150,000 a year here buys a decent house, 2 reliable cars, college education for 2 kids, puts food
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 10:02 PM by leveymg
on the table, one week at the beach, a paid-in pension, private health and dental insurance and little or nothing more without going deeply into debt. In other words, what used to be considered a normal American middle-class lifestyle with a salary, benes and a pension that is now only available to the top ten percent, or so.

By no means is $150,000 a year for two full-time wage earners anywhere near Petty Bourgeois territory - that starts at a quarter to half a mil a year and entails earnings off of the surplus labor of others - in other words, small business owners and day traders are Petty Bs, not two people with $75,000 a year salaries - that's peanuts, like two school teachers.

This is 2011, not 1951 or 1848, ferchizsakes.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. The problem is is $150,000 is Petty Bourgeois
I agree $150,000 should NOT be Petty Bourgeois, but it appears to be, that is why this is dangerous. Revolutions occur as the income of Petty Bourgeois DROP, which is what is happening. The income break for this 3-13% group should be $250,000, NOT $150,000, but the income break for this 3-13% is $150,000 NOT $250,000. The number are clearly showing an income drop since 1980, we are just seeing it hit hard today for we no longer have house prices going up. The increase in house prices permitted people to borrow to replace the lost income. That is no loner happening thus this problem is hitting us hard right now.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. The PB aren't defined so much by income as by social class and an attitude toward money
They are dangerous not because of their tendency toward revolution in economic crises but by their historical embrace of Fascism.

What do you mean by 3-13% percent group? That includes many people who are upper-middle class -- professionals, consultants, other self-employed -- people who are not normally considered PB either by ownership of small businesses or by conspicuous consumption.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. The Traditional Definition of Middle class is the that group
Basically the old landed nobility was about 3% of the population during the middle ages, with 97% of the populations were peasants. The Middle Class came is out of the upper end peasants and by the Renaissance was about 10% of the population, below the Nobility of 3%, but above the 87% of the population who were still peasants. This was the definition till after WWII, and then the expansion of the term Middle Class to include the Working class (Which replaced the peasants do to the industrial revolution and the movement from the farms to the Cities).

In the US, the traditional Middle Class is called the Upper Middle Class in the post WWII US, but we are getting into one of the problems of today's politics, the term "Middle Class" has become meaningless, but lets go with the pre-WWII definitions for this discussion.
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ChangoLoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:56 AM
Original message
Petit bourgeois?
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
56. Petit bourgeois is a Marxist term
It is term to mean low end management and other low end members of the classical definition of middle class. The classical definition of the middle class excluded peasants and others workers, but included foremen and low end management. Marx pointed out it is when such low end members of the middle class start to see their income drop steadily, a revolution is due. This was based on Marx analysis of history, and as to this observations, Marx has been found to be correct.

Just explaining what the term means.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #35
49. It's Not the Income Dropping, It's the Expenses Rising
In medical insurance, housing, food, clothing and education.

In addition, streaming technology now demands a monthly payment for items like cell phones, internet and other monthly service bills that have become utilities as much as our monthly electric payments.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #49
57. What people look at is NET INCOME.
Thus it is unimportant if income is dropping or expenses raising, you are still seeing an actual real income decrease. Thus a drop in "real income" and that is the problem.
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boppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:05 AM
Response to Reply #33
42. "one week at the beach"?
"college education for 2 kids"?

When exactly, was such kind of luxury "middle class"?

"that's peanuts, like two school teachers"... who are making 2-3 times the average wage, going by your 75K number.

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Shoe Horn Donating Member (54 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
28. It's all relative, but I agree, 150k sounds pretty cushie.
Poverty in America would be middle class in Africa, etc etc etc.

It's wealth. it's relative.
Isn't that why they have different prison sentences for different people?
Well, that and the other thing. y'know---> Corruption.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #6
48. You'd Be Doing Damn Well Pretty Much Everywhere
Inside the city limits (proper) of the top 5-6 markets, you couldn't buy a big house with cash, but you'd be able to rent long enough to gather a huge down payment and get an affordable mortgage and sock away enough money per year to pay back the loan early, take care of your living expenses, and put money aside for a Very Nice, early retirement.

To most people, as long as you weren't stupid about how you spent your disposable income, you'd be *very* well off.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. I would be extremely rich with that income. I now live on $8376 and that
includes my $4 raise in January.
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. Most Americans don't understand the difference between income and wealth.
You can make $250,000 a year, which is a great income anywhere in America and will allow you to live any sort of lifestyle, but a $250,000 a year income alone doesn't make you wealthy or rich. "Wealth" and the state of being "rich" are generated by the accumulation of assets unrelated to your actual income. Donald Trump and Bill Gates could start giving away every penny of their income tomorrow, and they'd still be among the richest men in America. Why? Because their wealth is derived from their accumulated assets, and not their paychecks.

If a doctor and a lawyer get married, and have a $250,000 annual income, they can live pretty high on the hog, but that doesn't make them rich. If they both lose their jobs, they'll be just as broke as you and I. Unless they specifically invest their income to start building a base of wealth, they're ultimately just living a more opulent version of the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle that you and I live. When the paycheck goes away, so does the opulence.

Not a single member of the 1% relies on a paycheck to pay their bills. The truly wealthy don't actually have to work to live their lifestyles.

To me, that's the difference between having a good income, and being "rich". You're "rich" the day you have the assets to quit your job without taking any financial hit.
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Muskypundit Donating Member (417 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. Perfect explaination.
Rich people dont have paychecks in the traditional sense.
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DinahMoeHum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #11
54. Amen, brother. This is surely why so many pro athletes go broke
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 10:00 AM by DinahMoeHum
after their playing careers end.
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truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #11
58. You're dead wrong.
And I should know. I'm in the 1% and I live paycheck to paycheck. I can't live any way I want. I had to sell my house when the mortgage went under water. I lost $300k+ selling all of my properties. A whole year's income. My savings is limited to $100k. I have no investments other than my business, which is worth between $3M and $6M, and has fully insured inventory worth $1.5M. I pay my taxes at a steep rate, the second-highest rate there is. I do not profit from any investments, don't own a single stock, and do not enjoy any of the tax benefits of the extremely wealthy. Over $40 of each $100 I earn goes directly to the state and federal government.

You're living in a dream world. I'm on your side, but you're spreading lies about people at the bottom of the 1%. It's the 0.1% that are destroying America, not people like me. I pay 100% of my employees health insurance and match their health savings dollar-for-dollar. I'm the kind of businessman that every businessman should be. I employ as many people as I can at the highest wages I can afford.

I'm a true patriot.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
17. For most people , $150,000 a year would pay off the mortgage,
buy a dependable car, a two week vacation and maybe some decent furniture. Most people have no idea how rich people manage to spend all their money!
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #17
24. What you've described is smack dab in "middle class"
"Rich" starts well above that point.
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panzerfaust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:22 AM
Response to Reply #17
45. The median US home sale price in May 2011 was $166,500
166,500
-150,000
-----------
- 16,500


This is not paid off, nor does it leave any $$ to buy all the other stuff mentioned.
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kcks Donating Member (81 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
2. Does
it matter what part of the country you are in it would seem to that a $150,000 in say Detroit would go a lot farther than New York city or LA, as well as number of other areas.
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. The polling method indicates it was taken over all 50 states and DC. That's a good sampling overall.
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 12:04 PM by onehandle
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RobinA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
16. Well, Certainly
On what I make there are parts of the country where I could buy a decent house for half my yearly salary. Where I do happen to live I would need four times my yearly gross income to buy a middle class condo.
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
5. Most americans are clueless or too young to remember the Great Prosperity.
They don't understand that 50 years ago the top 1% held 9% of the wealth and that now they hold 25% or what that really means.
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coalition_unwilling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
12. Explain to me again very carefully exactly what essential function the
wealthy serve in our society.

If I were a parasite, I'd be looking for new digs right about now. But I guess the 1% have forgotten 1789 and 1917.
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Dreamer Tatum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. Why does everyone have to have an "essential function?"
What is the essential function of a crack addict? An unemployed teenager?

What do you do that's essential to society? What do you do that I or anyone else critically depend upon?
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zogofzorkon Donating Member (256 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. The crack addicts essential function is to make the crack dealer rich or
at least an income of 150k a year.
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coalition_unwilling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #18
25. Because nowhere is it written as a universal law that anyone has
a right to amass obscene amounts of wealth while others in society go homeless and hungry. Unless one can demonstrate that some essential social purpose is being served by such a concentration of wealth, I say it's time to question whether the wealthy should continue to enjoy their privileged status.

I do nothing that's essential to society other than think. But then I'm not a 1%er either. I don't claim any special privileges for myself. If certain people are going to enjoy special privileges (like the 1%), by God they'd better be serving some essential social purpose. Or I say it's time for some 1789 solutions.
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watajob Donating Member (253 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
13. I would posit...
... that it's the cost of services that make the biggest difference. Moving from near downtown Chicago to the closest swath of cornfields to it has shown me that a gallon of milk/gas, a box of screws or a 3 pack of t shirts all cost about the same in both places. But, a plumber, someone to plow the driveway and "embedded" taxes are markedly cheaper out here. So, it's definitely geographically dependent to come up with an accurate assessment of "rich". The cost of housing also heavily weighs on my assessment. Our house cost the same as a parking space at a chi-chi condo back in the city. Even with the wage stagnation my wife and I have experienced, we're still, objectively, (there's a few bucks left at the end of the month, every month!), living better out here than in a large metro area. Now finding a good burrito or pizza is another thing... :D
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SoapBox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
21. ...I can't even ever imagine making 150K
I'll be lucky if I break 25K this year...Want to talk about living on a budget GOPBaggers?
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FirstLight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
23. Can't even imagine that kind of income
let's see, in 20 years of working, school and raising 3 kids, being on & off assistance...

I have NEVER banked more than $15-17K annually...and those were 2 very bumper years. On avg, i make around $10-12K, when i am working.
All the re-educating and life-experience means nothing when you can;t find work other than $10/hr reception/office assistant that may or may not be part time.

Recently there is talk among my newsie friends about a new project gaining financial backers...it would mean that there would be a salary for a full time reporter... dare I imagine what it would be like to make even $35K a year? ya, that would surely make me think i was rich for a while...it would be a nice novelty to have 'disposable income' for a change...

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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #23
30. Americans don't "get" money.
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 06:51 PM by Karenina
150K dependent on salaries is CHUMP CHANGE. I remember an article, maybe 5 years back, where 19% of Amis thought they were in the top 1%. If you cannot maintain your chosen or inherited lifestyle on PASSIVE STREAMS OF INCOME, you are NOT "wealthy."
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:51 PM
Response to Original message
31. Summary: We have no idea how we are getting screwed
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Samba Donating Member (13 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:59 PM
Response to Original message
32. Still too confusing.
First link talking about income - and income itself is pretty vague.

If the 150K earner forgot about the 20k of health policy and 10k worth of pension and 10k worth of 401k-match and 10k worth of paid vacation that makes their actual income more like 200k - and compare that to 150k that includes no benefits.

You feel richer making 150k and having the time and flexibility to catch little league games, pursue hobbies and volunteer time to causes? Still feel rich when its 150k made thru such grind that theres no time or energy for anything?

Point is - the meaning of 'income' varies - and that job security and the lifestyle demands of the job matter a lot.


Second link is about wealth - they use net worth.

They're comparing 6 cousins to 'one american family'. I don't think most people would think of siblings and cousins when they think of their family's worth. Still even comparing one Walton to one american family is such a huge difference.

But then they too mix wealth with income. When a Walton's worth goes from $20B to $24B - it would be logical to think that represents an income of $4B since we're used to earned income. From a Walton's perspective tho its an 'unrealized gain' and not income at all.



When people calculate their own worth - I'd bet they include the current value of their 401k/IRA but assign no 'worth' to a pension. Hey that account is definitely 100K - I can see it, touch it, withdraw it. The pension is 10k a year from 65 till I die - so ... given life expectancy of 75 ... its - probably - 100K of future income also but it could be $0 or $200k if I die young or live long - its uncertain so its worthless?

Not to confuse that sort of uncertainty with the uncertainty that a promised, contracted pension that says 10k/yr could be underfunded or get looted and only pay $5k/yr.

Clearly it has some worth - then so must 'social insurance' like Social security and medicare.

So whats the 'worth' of safety nets? Hope you never need them but if you ever should they can really add up.

So the 99% is income? or wealth? Is the $1M/year ballplayer in the same bracket as the Heiress who arranges for $1M/year in 'income' to pay the staff but has $50M in assets making another $4M/year of 'gains'?






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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 10:15 PM
Response to Original message
34. There are two ways to look at "rich"
The first way is the one most of us use: if more than 50 percent of your income could be classified as capital gains, you're rich. (This definition of rich requires you to have many millions of dollars on hand in order to generate the dividends and allow the stock sales.)

The other is what most non-DUers use: if you have more money than anyone you know, you're rich. If you live in "the real America"--outside the major cities--$150,000 would DEFINITELY make you rich. You could do okay with $150k and be rich with $300k in places like Raleigh, NC. $500,000 would make you, according to the "more money than anyone else" theory of rich, rich in almost anywhere in the US, except for maybe ten cities that you'd need low seven figures to be rich. (You won't be rich in NYC or LA with $300,000, but you would be in Seattle or Portland.)
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lazarus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:17 AM
Response to Original message
38.  I like Chris Rock's distinction between wealthy and rich
Paraphrased: Shaq is rich. The man who signs Shaq's paychecks is wealthy.
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saras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #38
55. Perfect summary of post #11
If you still get paid for what you DO, you're not wealthy yet, no matter what you do or what you get paid for it.

Wealthy people just have to EXIST to remain wealthy. The system of property rights does it for them.
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Scuba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 03:33 AM
Response to Original message
40. There's only one way to deal with this...
... more tax breaks for the wealthy. Yeah, that's it.
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Ter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:35 AM
Response to Original message
43. Than most Americans are buffoons
150k isn't close to rich, unless you're making that in a month.
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #43
46. It is when it is 2-4 times your income
You have to admit that most people would feel rich if they suddenly got that kind of raise. They could use the money to invest or buy items that they associate with the rich lifestyle.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 05:37 AM
Response to Original message
44. So some of the rich bastids see themselves as poor do they
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
47. Unrec - when one tenth of the top one percent controls so many assets -
6 Walmart heirs - 6 people - having more wealth than 30% of the country the problem is not folks making 150K a year.

The problem is that the very richest in this country - the 1% controlling 40% of the wealth - need to be taken down.

They will split us every which way they can to take the pressure off themselves. And I see folks here are buying that.

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GaYellowDawg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #47
50. That's the stupidest unrec I've ever seen. Here's why.
Did you even read the post?

No one, in the article, or outside of the article, said that "folks making 150K a year" was a problem. But it's extremely illuminating that people think that 150K is rich. Extremely, because it's a huge problem that people think of 150K as rich.

Why is that a problem? Because people can think of 150K as attainable, if not for them then for their children. And when they think of a certain figure as both "rich" and "attainable", they start to identify with the "rich" as a means of wish-fulfillment. Then "rich" and "top 1%" become lumped together. All of a sudden, they're absolutely determined to defend the top 1% and identify with them because they think that they or their children will somehow, someday, be part of the top 1% through the good old Horatio Alger myth that working hard automatically brings vast wealth. Thus, a Tea Partier is born.

Anything that gives as much insight into how the masses on the other side are manipulated is extraordinarily valuable. I wish I could rec it 1,000 times.
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #50
52. You evidently didn't read all the threads after it complaining about folks making
$150K ... completely missing the point. As I said, Tea Party in action right here on DU. How can I not unrec that?
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #50
53. And, beyond your personal insults,
did you even read my post? What I said agrees completely with your assessment yet you chose to strike out. Nice.
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GaYellowDawg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
51. VERY illuminating article.
This is repeated from my reply just above, in case that reply gets deleted for its title.

It's extremely illuminating that people think that 150K is rich. Extremely, because it's a huge problem that people think of 150K as rich.

Why is that a problem? Because people can think of 150K as attainable, if not for them then for their children. And when they think of a certain figure as both "rich" and "attainable", they start to identify with the "rich" as a means of wish-fulfillment. Then "rich" and "top 1%" become lumped together. All of a sudden, they're absolutely determined to defend the top 1% and identify with them because they think that they or their children will somehow, someday, be part of the top 1% through the good old Horatio Alger myth that working hard automatically brings vast wealth. Thus, a Tea Partier is born.

Anything that gives as much insight into how the masses on the other side are manipulated is extraordinarily valuable. I wish I could rec it 1,000 times.
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 06:54 PM
Response to Original message
60. More proof of how ignorant Americans are.
.... $150K is barely middle class any more. To be in the top 1% you have to earn over $500K.

It's no wonder Americans are so easily manipulated, they really just don't know jack shit.
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harvey007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
61. $150,000 is not rich
The fact that more than half of those polled by Gallup believe an income of $150,000 makes one rich only goes to show how poor most Americans are.

People who make $150k a year create jobs and employ a lot of small business owners.....cleaners, contractors, gardeners, caterers, pet sitters, baby sitters, tutors, etc.

Remember, the per capita income in the U.S. is less than $30,000 a year. (More precisely...the per capita money income in (2009 dollars) 2005-2009 in the US was:$27,041.)

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

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Samba Donating Member (13 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 02:27 AM
Response to Original message
62. 3 different - overlapping - 1%s
Edited on Sun Dec-11-11 02:32 AM by Samba
top 1% of : 
Wealth
Income
Wage-earners

-The top 1% of Wealth - as in wealth concentration. 
  Usually - net worth - total assets minus debts.
    
  The Wealth top 1% starts about $1.2M of net worth.  
  They hold about 40% of the total wealth and 50% of all the
stock/bond financial instrument wealth. 
  This has to be under-reported - it wouldn't include stuff
in off-shore tax havens or some overseas investments or even
current values for a lot of real estate. 

  If you tell a retirement calculator you want 35K a year for
25 years it will tell you to save up $1.2M to be 'safe'. 
  So a lot of this lower-end of the 1% - life savings - were
never in the 'income' 1%   

  Theres a difference though between these 'prudent
retirement planning' 1%  and the truly rich. 
  0.5%     > $3.1M    (1,550,000 people)
  0.1%     > $5.5M    (310,000 people)
  0.01%    > $24.4M   (31,000 people)
  0.00013% > $1050M   (Forbes 400)
  
 http://whorulesamerica.net/power/investment_manager.html 


-The top 1% of income - perhaps the easiest to get stats for
- but often mingled in interchangeably when making points
about wealth. 
   The Income top 1% bring in about $350k+ per year. 


-The top 1% of wage-earners - for some stats 
   SSA uses this - it comes from W2 forms.  So its not
actually 'wages' as in 'hourly wage' but includes salaries
and bonuses and such. 
   The top 1% of Wage earners bring in about $250K+ per year
in earnings. 
   Many of them will be in the 'income' 1% once you add other
income thats not on a W2

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