Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

I am offended when someone calls $80,000/year poor

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007) Donate to DU
 
Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:41 AM
Original message
I am offended when someone calls $80,000/year poor
And it isn't just because I or my family make less than that per year and think of myself as middle class. It is rather that I have been poor and known poor, who aren't even the poorest of the poor.
From my personal experience as well as the first hand accounts of people who I know well. I know what it is like because you have your electricity shut off because you cannot pay (not because you forgot to pay the bill). I know what it is like to have to carefully plan any errands because you might run out of gas in your car that you need to get to work before your next paycheck. I know what it is like not to be able to buy normal grocery items (items that are usually under $5.00/per pound) unless they are on sale. I know what it is like to have to have the heat down to 60 in the winter, not because you want to conserve energy for the good of the earth, but because you are struggling to pay the heating even on that. I know what it is like to wear clothes until they are worn out, not because it is your favorite shirt but because you cannot afford new clothes. I know what it is like to dread school field trips that have a $10 or more dollar fee because they are an economic hardship. I know what it is like to come into work when you are feeling really sick because you are paid by the hour (no paid sick time) and cannot afford to miss a day, especially if you might later have to go to the doctor.
Someone making $80,000 might struggle economically because of poor economic choices, expenses that really matter to them, or really unfortunate events. It might cost a lot to send their children to a private prep school. It might cost a lot to belong to a country club. It might cost a lot to live in a "nice" house. It might cost a lot to buy a new car every few years. It might cost a lot to buy a whole new wardrobe every season. It might cost a lot to regularly go out to eat at places that cost a bit more than fast food. It might cost a lot to have a boat, a second home, or other toys. These are choices that might seem like lifestyle requirements at times for some people, but they are choices. The "rich" can also struggle economically when they make poor economic choices. In some cases, like serious medical problems without insurance, there may be no choice, but really poor people can have serious medical problems too.
I guess my point is that people who consider someone who makes $80,000 per year doesn't really understand the plight of the poor at all. They cannot fathom any of the scenarios that I described in my paragraph about being poor.
It is not that the poor don't occaisionally make bad economic choices. It is just there is no room for error and it can be a struggle to pay for necessities even when they do make good choices and even small unexpected expenses, like the school field trips, can mean they cannot pay for the bare necessities.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Cerridwen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:45 AM
Response to Original message
1. No argument here and I think you stated it well.
Poor is when you have to juggle limited finances for necessities that those who are not poor don't even think about.

Well said.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
91. I live on $7236 a year, $80,000 would be fabulously wealthy to me
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 03:33 PM by Wiley50
It's the second half of the month now.
From here on out it's one meal a day
Two Jumbo Jack Hamburgers @ $1.42 each
day after day after day
One day a week I splurge on a $6.50
Lunch buffet at a chinese restaurant.

Why is it this way?
I should have enough to eat on $603/month
I pay $80/mo for internet access
a laptop wireless data card
cause I don't have a land line phone or cable tv
and, being disabled, hanging out on DU
is my only connection to the real world.

I also am trying to save enough
to get out of hock to the check cashing place
where I had to borrow $300 at 1048% APR (that's right) interest
when I had an emergency car repair
(and gas has been eating me alive like everyone else)

I, also, am trying to rebuild an old sailboat
for my escape from Amerika when everything blows
(It's my home and the most valuable thing I own
even though I only paid $2500 for it on Ebay)
I don't wanna live under martial law.
so I needed a few things this month
like paint, hardware,sandpaper and such

There's a guy on this board who says
his mom owns a Gulfstream V biz-jet
and laughed at how he spent almost $300,000
last year on travel. He says he
"had a big old time"
I pm'd him and asked if his mom had taught him
not to brag and be conspicuous about his wealth
He wrote back and said that he was not bragging
He was just telling the truth
that his family owed a big ranch in Texas
and He had worked real real hard
for money he had, obviously inherited

I wonder how many ranchhands (illegals mostly, my guess)
worked for shit wages to do the real work on that ranch

I'm so goddamn sick of the wealthy, even Dems
who have their head so far up their ass
to flaunt their good fortune in front of many
who barely have a pot to pee in

BTW (in case he reads this)
I got disabled by laying carpet for 30 years
at wages so low I couldn't afford insurance
or saving anything for a rainy day

Rolls of carpet are damned heavy
and carrying them on your shoulder for thirty yeats
can wreck your spine. My MRI's are testimony
It's a lot heavier work than I bet he did on
his mama's ranch
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
datasuspect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #91
102. i know many, many people with situations similar to yours
i guess when compared to your situation, a person bitching about living on 80,000 per year might seem insensitive.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #102
118. Thanks For Noticing. We are Mainly Ignored
Until something like Katrina puts us on the evening news.
But, even then, the public attention span is way too short
for us to ever see any help.

And you are right, there are many many more of us
and getting to be the largest demographic in the country
as the middle class is destroyed by plan

Just wait until it all blows
You'll have folks like me
and then
the super rich
no in between

And they don't care about us
even if they are related

for instance:
Last summer I got in a real emergency
and had to borrow $875 from my ex brother in law
a guy who I was real close to growing up.
Recently my mother died and I started
receiving $58.12 a month from my grandfather's trust
Even though he brokers liquor licenses in Florida
and, by his admission, takes in $10,000 to $15,000 a DAY
He demanded that I give it to him to pay the debt.
And he's really hounded me about it.
So, I'm giving it to him.
It didn't start out that way, we were quite friendly
until we started talking politics
See. Turns out he's a ditto head
and hangs on Rush Limbaugh's every word.
Now we only communicate by email
because I got tired of being beaten up
by his tirades over the phone
You can't civilly discuss issues with him
He goes off about how fucked up we liberals are
I don't think he knows enough about the issues
to discuss them
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:00 PM
Response to Reply #91
145. And you are not alone...
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 10:02 PM by Iowa
"$80,000 would be fabulously wealthy to me"


http://www.globalrichlist.com

Someone earning $80,000 is in the top 0.78% richest people in the world... and at $603 per month ($7236/yr) you are in the top 13.91% richest people in the world.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #145
146. 13.91% makes my belly feel full
except that in a lot of the world
the cost of living is much lower

In the USA
I still say

EAT THE RICH!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mntleo2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #145
164. I Have A Somalian Friend
...who explained to me what poverty really is. She grew up middle class in Somalia and has a college education. But she and her family wound up a victim of the war and genocide there. For many years she and her children lived hand to mouth until she got into a camp and was allowed to immigrate here. Living here, she contracted a bad type of TB from living on the streets and going into shelters, thanks to our crappy "safety net" and "superior" health care (yeah right). Some nights she coughs so bad she has interior wounds. She is a devout Catholic who converted from Islam, her cultural religion. I cannot even imagine the hell she came from and as a new American, she is very happy to be here, but says that she would be better off in Somalia in poverty (though it is still very dangerous).

As a poor person myself, she and I have talked a great deal about poverty. She says poverty here in America is different than poverty in her home country. She says poverty here is worse because the way we live forces people to do certain things in order to maintain a job and a living. She said that in Somalia if you are too poor to live in the city where you pay for rent, food and transportation, you simply go out into the forest and live off the land. This is not possible here. In order to work you HAVE to have a home and be able to keep clean, and get to your work, which for the poor, is often too far away to walk. For the working poor on the street it is almost impossible to keep clean enough to avoid disease, etc.

Margaret is my hero, I cannot tell you how much she has helped me to understand better about poverty.

So when someone tells me my little fixed income makes me so damn rich, I tell them about what Margaret said. It is not just her either. Her community is full of women who lived through the hell, rape. disease, dying children and murdered family members, and war and they miraculously survived. They add a rich, wonderful diversity to this country and their legacy will be the next wave of culture to color America. They would all tell you poverty here is hell, just like it was in their own countries.

To me, anyone whining about "only" making 80 grand a year is being a damn whiner. End of story. I am sorry but they just do not have any idea of what real poverty is ~ and I hope to God they never know, so I will tolerate in silence their whining if I can, but still inside, I am thinking, "What a damn whiner, I wish they could talk to my friend Margaret, but they would never listen to her anyway except perhaps to give some fake sympathy and then immediately forget her and go back to feeling sorry for themselves. See, the poor do not have much time to feel sorry for themselves. They are too damn busy scrambling until they drop, just to survive.

My 2 cents

Cat In Seattle
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #164
166. I agree...
"...anyone whining about "only" making 80 grand a year is being a damn whiner."

That sums it up pretty well. Interesting post.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
kineneb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #91
149. we live on $14K/year
Hubby never made more than $45K while he was working.
Now he can't work.
Three days a week he is attached to a dialysis machine.
He has been turned down for a kidney transplant, because of a bad heart and circulation.
He is 59. If he lives until 65, we both will be surprised.
Right now, he is sleeping after his Saturday session at the clinic.
He had problems with bleeding after finishing his dialysis today, and I just finished washing the blood out of his clothing.
Some people collect objects, he is collecting doctors. He is now up to 4: GP, Nephrologist, Cardiologist, Cardiac Surgeon.


I shop food specials, and avoid driving if I can.
My family helps us out by sending grocery gift cards.

I am trying to stay sane.

$80K/year sounds like something from another planet.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #149
153. Yeah Sis, I hear you loud and clear from where I sit
$6000 more a year than me, but I have only one mouth to feed.
I had four doctors until I lost private insurance.
Since I went on Medicaid, I only have one.
My liver disease is totally untreated
and totally ignored now.
They just manage the pain in my spine
and keep my blood pressure under control.
Oh. And make me pee in a jar
to make sure I'm not smoking pot.
Which would do me more good than almost anything
except that pot won't take care of spinal pain
the way an opiod does.
Sometimes I feel like I'm a palliative care patient
like they are just treating my pain
until I checck out
and stop costing society money

Fuck those Reptillian brained assholes

Eat The Rich!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
2. Very well put, Nikia.
I guess if you call yourself "poor" at $80,000 a year, you don't have to care about people who are making $25,000 a year. And you don't have to realize that not everybody has the same "choices". There are some people who would like to think that if you're not doing well financially, it's your fault. That absolves them of any guilt they might have to feel by taking an honest look at the situation.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Cobalt Violet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
3. Recommended.
Great post. I am offended as well.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
4. People with children making $80,000 generally don't belong
to country clubs, although they may have golf memberships in town and a regular tee off time on Saturday morning.

The kids won't go to prep school, generally, although they'll have all sorts of activities after school.

If they haven't squandered monthly wealth on a McMansion, these folks are able to pay for what they need with a little left over to invest. Their kids will have enough of their college expenses paid that their debts will be minimal and their jobs while in school intermittant. They get to take actual vacations every year, staying in motels at the beach instead of staying in a tent in a national park.

$80,000 a year in this country is barely middle class for the ideal family of four. They still have to be careful, but they can invest for retirement and save for rainy days.

If that doesn't put the average $40,000 a year into perspective, I don't know what will. The GOP has defined income downward. What they call poor is really destitute. What they call middle class is working class and even poor.

Don't fall for it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #4
17. Some of them have those choices and make those choices
If that is important to them.
You acknowledged that around $40,000 is average and some people make $20,000 or even less. Who has more choices? How do you think people live?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #17
21. Try reading the last paragraph,for starters
Sure, money brings choices, and I acknowledged the possibility of that $80,000 family making stupid choices like buying McMansions. It happens.

However, I know first hand what it's like to live on $10,000/year. I've done that for the last three years. I inherited money this year so I don't have to do it any more, so I see the other side, as well.

Destitution, what the GOP has mislabeled poor, means you have NO choices and are earning less than it takes to live on. Poverty, which the GOP has labeled working class, means few choices and you aren't being paid enough to live on. Working class, which the GOP has mislabeled middle class, means you have enough for necesities and even a few luxuries now and then, but forget about saving much for retirement and your kids will go into debt if they go to college.

Too many people out there living in poverty or even destitution have allowed class to be misdefined in this country. Again, don't buy it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #21
86. I don't buy whatever you are selling
there is nobody who has NO choices. To define poverty upwards and the middle class upwards is a mistake. Republicans love to do that. Take the per child tax credit, please. In May of 2003 it was bumped up from $500 to $1000. This did absolutely nothing for families making less than $25,000 (and it did even less for childless people, but that's another story). That's a tax cut that excludes the lower middle class, which I would call the working class. The house passed a bill to extend that credit to families making more than $110,000 and the Republicans wanted to call that the middle class. 90% of all families make less than $110,000 a year. So that is definitely not "middle" class. Neither is $80,000, which is more than 75% of families make.

I see families at all levels as having lots of luxuries. It depends on how you define a luxury. Is a TV a luxury or is a plasma screen a luxury? Is a college education a luxury or is a Harvard education a luxury? A struggle or striving for anything above bread, to me, is a luxury. It may be taken for granted in this society, because we do not see alot about the 2 billion people on this planet living on less than $2 a day. Too many people living in luxury have allowed luxury to be misdefined, and that is more of a threat to our ecosystem than the opposite.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
RB TexLa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #86
143. as for your "another story" remember that will always fall on deaf ears
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 09:58 PM by RGBolen
It's no longer American values, it's family values. Politics and government no longer value Americans they value families.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Orangepeel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
70. $80,000 a year is not rich, especially in some parts of the country
but it isn't poor, either.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
85. A family of 4 or 5 will pay over $1,000 a month for health insurance alone
While I agree with you, people who have 2,3 or 4 children at this income level are not living the country club lifestyle. Not poor, but not well off either.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #85
92. that is not true, at all
I have an employer who pays $400 a month or so for my health insurance. I pay $15 a month for the 'good' coverage. If I had a family it would cost me more, but my employer would pay more too. Thus, income is a deceptive statistic. $25,000 a year is not just $25,000 a year for me, it is $25,000 a year plus $5000 or so of insurance that is paid for me. (It is also $25,000 a year minus the $1,000 that is withdrawn for my retirement (not by my choice - I have no idea what my employer contributes) and minus $4,000 which I put into my IRA (and save about $800 in taxes by doing so)).
To me, the 3rd and 4th children are also luxuries. Gotta figure that the 3rd child is gonna cost at least as much as a new car in their 18 or more supported years.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #92
103. I pay $500 a month for my portion of healthcare
and that is to cover a family of 4. My husband's employer picks up the rest of the tab remaining.

If I had to COBRA...it would be around $1400 which would include a pharmacy benefit.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #103
112. ouch. Showing that I have a very good employer
Coverage for a spouse costs 229.30, for a family it is 256.6 and my employer is kicking in 622.5 for the spouse and 709.58 for a family. It pays 384.46 for a single person, and so an employee with a family is sorta getting paid an extra $325 a month more than a single person who is doing the exact same job.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #103
144. Right, that's realistic
About $1,000 per month for a regular plan for a family and $1400 for a good pharmacy plan. More and more people are having to bear those costs themselves.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #92
142. Not everyone has employer paid health care costs
fewer and fewer do, and in cases where they do, more and more of the cost is passed on.

While the cost of health care for an individual may be $500 it is far more than that for a family with children.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 03:06 AM
Response to Reply #142
187. not everyone doesn't
that was my point. Since some, however few, have coverage from their employer, it is not true that every family will spend $1000 a month on health insurance.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:06 PM
Original message
I pay $600 a month
that is for adequate coverage--dental, medical, and prescription for four people. There are cheaper plans available through my employer, however, not if you want anything covered.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #4
136. I think I understand what you're trying to say here...
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 08:54 PM by Iowa
...but there are so many variables involved that it's difficult to just take a number (like $80,000/yr) and draw specific conclusions. Variables include such things as regional differences in cost of living, stage of life, variability of income, job security, benefit packages, debt load, etc.

"$80,000 a year in this country is barely middle class for the ideal family of four. They still have to be careful, but they can invest for retirement and save for rainy days."


In my area, given zero debt, $80,000/yr, decent benefits, a modest home, and spending habits that aren't knee-jerk... in 13 years, a couple could:

--finish raising three kids
--put two through college debt free
--live a decent standard of living that involved modest self-control, but no "dumpster-diving"
--end the 13 years with between $750,000 & $1,000,000 in assets (depending on investment choices and market returns)
--semi-retire and spend an inflation indexed ~$27,000-$40,000 per year from assets, plus maybe $20,000 from a part time job, then replace the part-time job with SS at 62.

Not many take this route - but a few do.

$80,000/year is far more than a family of four would need to live a decent life in my area. It would be enough to enable a couple to pack away enough to truly change their lives in just over a decade. Or they could just piss it away, always believing that they're barely making ends meet. In my area $80,000 would provide choices.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 02:56 AM
Response to Reply #136
186. Huh?
I'd really like to know how you figure that a family earning $80k could put two kids through college and save $750K in just 13 years.

I live in a 'cheap' area and I still don't see how it would be possible unless you're counting on internet bubble style appreciation in investments.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 04:58 AM
Response to Reply #186
191. Nope, no internet bubble type investments...
This is too long to cover here, but in a nutshell:

--Don't spend $38,000 of the $80,000. Max retirement plans (which may trigger an employer match), place the rest in taxable accounts, and manage to live on $42,000. We spend way less than that and live well. Living on $42,000 is doable for someone who lives in a low cost area like mine.
--Get 7% on investments. $38,000 per year at 7% for 13 years = $765,000.
--Kids learn good study habits early on, work 10-15 hours per week after age 16 (plus work summers), go to state schools, live in the dorm, and don't have cell phones, cars, cable TV in their dorm rooms, etc. Parents contribute too. Shop for good, low-cost schools.
--Live in a modest home, in a small town, 5 minutes from work.
--Drive small, cheap cars.
--Work for an employer that provides decent benefits (anyone making $80,000 is likely to be in that category).

I could go on, but with an income of $80,000/year, this wouldn't be difficult for me. Nobody can predict what the future of the financial markets will bring, of course, but if it's anything like the past, this can be done. Most people immediately reject it out of hand - but a small number are actually doing it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
5. I'm curious..
... who said that?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #5
89. I didn't, if OP refers to me.
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 03:12 PM by skids
I said they were lower class (and that would be upper-lower class.) Lower class is not poor. Lower-lower class is poor.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #89
93. I find it offensive when somebody says $80000 is even middle class
I would call that lower-upper class or the high end of upper-middle class. I guess it depends if anybody can see the big picture or if everybody is gonna think that they are middle class and people above them are rich and people below them are poor.

I am not sure if it is more offensive than it is deluded or misguided. 'I am so poor that I can barely make payments on my lexus.'
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #93
108. I think a family living on $80,000
in NYC or surrounding suburbs, where a studio apartment costs $1500 per month, is firmly entrenched into the middle class. Perhaps in some areas of the country, it could trickle in Upper Middle Class, but living in NYC, I know many 30 somethings who have a combined income of $200,000 for their families, and they are living in two bedroom apartments without a lot of crazy luxuries that would help them be considered Upper Class. I know that NYC is different than the rest of the world, of course. And I in no way hold that a person making 80000$ a year would struggle to eat. I would never claim that they were poor or Lower Income, either. But, I don't see how they can be considered anything but Middle Class. (And that is for a family. Mother/Father/Children. That doesn't mean a single income earner, which is a totally different story.)

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #108
113. And one sick child will wipe them out.
$80,000 is one illness away from being on the street.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #108
116. well, I would like to see qunitles broken out for urban areas
I cannot find my quote now, but I believe the statistic was that 1 in 5 workers in NYC is making less than $10 an hour. If those families are making it on $40,000 a year, then it does not make sense that a couple making twice as much should not have alot of money left for luxuries. Even after rent and $20,000 for taxes they have $42,000 for disposable income. But, it is the DI that matters more than the GI.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:34 AM
Response to Reply #116
169. Of course...
NYC is such a complex place. There are rent controlled buildings, and many long time residents here have just stayed in their buildings. My cousin-in-law currently lives in a rent controlled three bedroom in Chelsea. His mother and father lived there before they died, and they pay only $350 per month in rent. It's crazy. Rent Control has helped keep Manhattan affordable for those who've lived there long term.

I, however, moved to NYC six years ago. I struggled in Manhattan to make ends meet. (Over half my salary went to rent.) I have moved out of Manhattan and live in Brooklyn now, and I love my neighborhood. It is a bit less expensive, and I don't over-extend myself that much. But, I had a choice. I don't make little. I don't make tons, either. I live comfortably. I have enough to go out for social meals and drinks, go to a play every few months, buy lots of books and go to the movies. All things that I enjoy. I would have a hell of a lot more savings, however, if I lived in a rent controlled apartment. Hell, landlords have been known to murder over them in the past. (If they get the tenants out, they can charge more rent for the place!)

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #93
111. Then we'll have to agree...
...to consider each other deluded. Step back just one decade to 1996 -- that $80,000 was $61,500 even if you are using just the bogus government CPI figures. If you use a more realistic inflation indicator it is much less still -- probably about 50K.

I was raised on a household income of around this area. We lived in a neighborhood right on the border between lower middle class and upper lower class. Had my parents not been utter tightfists, god bless them, college would not have been affordable. Several of my friends did not go to college. Other than good grades I likely would not have either.

At some point this country has to admit that the middle class has shrunk drastically. Or they can just go on believing that they have acheived the American dream when the reality is their house won't be fully paid off by the time it is passed on, that there's only one house for three kids and their families, and that the kids are in debt and will be extremely lucky to even be so kind as that to their grandkids.

I'm sorry, barring some sort of mishap, middle class families do not have to wonder whether life will be improved finacially for their next generation. If you are truly middle class, that is supposed to be a given.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #111
117. CPI is not relevant here (not that I have those numbers)
In actual figures $50,000 in 1996 was the bottom income of the 3rd quintile, which I would call upper-middle class, but it is close to the higher income of middle-middle class. However, college education for kids is one of those luxuries that have become much more expensive due to Republican policies. I am not sure when college was supposed to have been a middle class necessity, but the increased demand for college is another factor driving its price up.

Of course, as my signature quote says - real income for the bottom 90% has been stagnant for 30+ years while the upper 10% has prospered, so the middle class lifestyle ain't what it used to be, but those at the 75th percentile are still doing better than 74% of their neighbors. Not as well as the 75th quintile did 30 years ago, at least they have not been advancing. Lack of advancement does not, however, make them lower middle class.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 02:20 AM
Response to Reply #117
182. Class status does not follow the people.
This seems to be the crux of the matter. If all "middle class" meant was "middle income" we wouldn't need the term.

When people stop being able to afford college education, that does not change the definition of middle class to include those that don't get college educations. What it does is it causes the middle class to shrink, as those people are not middle class anymore, they have become "upper-lower class", or "working class".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_class
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 03:41 AM
Response to Reply #182
190. according to that link from wiki
it is probably better not to use the term. In general usage, I took it to mean - most of America, those who are not rich (the top 5-20%) or not poor (the bottom 5-20%).

My point about college is that it never was available to most people, except perhaps in the late 1980s. In 1970 10.7% of the population had 4 or more years of college. In 1975 33.5% of the 18-21 year old population was in college. In 1999 that number was 43.7%. So back in the glory days of the middle class, 2/3 of the population was not going to college, much less graduating.

If middle class does not mean middle income, then it is a bit confusing to use the term, and our argument has been about "where middle income is".
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
anarch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
6. does anyone actually say that?
I mean, I can see the point that $80,000, or even $100,000 a year in salary does not necessarily make one rich, depending on the cost of living wherever that person is...but calling them "poor"??!? I remember when I first made $20,000 in a year (I think it was about 1998, and in the DC area, too) and thinking how great it was to not feel poor anymore. I remember, before that, finding an entire 5 pound package of dried beans that someone had thrown out, and being happy as hell that I wouldn't starve that week. People really need to get a grip if they think $80k per year is "poor".
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OwnedByFerrets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Anyone who thinks that should
be made to live on minimum wage for 3 months. :grr:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Monkeyman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. Yep a dim wit called Judy Barr Topinka
Running for Gov. Il . But hell she said assult weapons are just as bad as a rolling pin.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
anarch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. for me, this begs the question, what the hell was her point?
That we should increase minimum wage to the equivalent of $100k per year? That would be great...good luck with that one, I say.

Out of context, it's just seems like complete nonsense to me. If the point was that the cost of living in some places is so out of control that even the formerly well-off are now struggling, then I guess there is some kind of truth to it. $80k is still not "poor", though.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Parisle Donating Member (849 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
7. BRAVO, Nikia,...
---- You could not have stated it better. I have been there, too. The fact of it is that the "poor" in the country today are an invisible class,... they have no political power, no real spokesmen, no marginal "elbow-room" in which to operate,.. hell, they don't even have a ride to whatever incidental work they might obtain,.... and they are a very numerous class.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
CountAllVotes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
8. I am offended too
I have never made $80,000 a year, in fact never even half of that amount I will admit.

It is not due to lack of education nor skills either.

Not everyone has the chances and opportunities that others have, especially women.

I have lived well below the poverty level in the past and it was no fun and something I am not proud to admit. At present, I am still living just a bit above it and there isn't anything I can do about it.

Sadly, few people seem to understand that there are some people in this world that never will be able to rise above this level for reasons I won't bother to go into.

In any event, I have no sympathy for someone that is pulling in $80,000. a year and cannot pay their bills.

:kick:

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #8
23. There are many jobs and careers that don't command high salaries
I think that being a medical doctor is about the only profession where a person from modest means can go through a prescribed course and expect to make that much money. There are only so many who can become medical doctors of course and the loans can really add up. There are other professionals that could make that much money, but a lot of it depends on luck, who you know, and how well you get along with the right people.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ReverendDeuce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
10. Who said $80K per year is "poor"?
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 10:57 AM by ReverendDeuce
Maybe I missed a post or something...

I do know what being flat-out broke is like. After the dot-com bust in 2000, I was out of work for nine months. I was surviving only on a royalty check of $1200 a month for some software I developed. I had come from a $60K/year job. I had a car payment, insurance, rent, utilities, etc. When that job was lost and all I had was the royalties (and being young and naive, I had blown tons of money on bullshit because I thought there would always be a job around the corner). I made it for nine months -- but barely. If I had not had the car payment, I would have been just fine and could have made it indefinitely, but it would not have been comfortable. There were several times where I just plain had no food and could not buy any.

Of course, it does depend on where you live. In some parts of the country, $80K is barely enough to survive. Cost of living and all. Here in Nebraska, $80K is a fortune.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
HeeBGBz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
12. Very well said and so true
$80,000 a year is well-to-do in my world.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
buddhamama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
13. i understand your frustration
and i don't necessarily disagree with your post...

an average family of four is not rich at $80,000 a year. and they, like most families are one or two paychecks away from living on the streets. unfortunately, that is an all too common occurrence in this country.

something else i must point out. the formula for determining poverty was created in the 1960's and hasn't changed since then. It does not accurately reflect 'poverty' or the cost of living today. In the 60's the highest cost for a family of four was food. Today, it is housing; the outrageous housing costs consume a large chunk of a household budget. It is why i say that more people live in poverty than even they realize.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #13
20. A few years ago, there was an article in the NYT Magazine
about a family that was "struggling" on $100,000 a year.

Now, the cost of living in Manhattan IS high, but this family had all sorts of excuses about why they "had to" make certain expenditures, such as private school for two children and having a cleaning lady come in once a week.

I wonder what their cleaning lady thought about that if she read the article.

When I see a family headed by two professionals that is "struggling" to make ends meet, I usually see one that is living in a huge house in the exurbs (while the parents themselves grew up in a three-bedroom rambler in an inner suburb: one bedroom for the parents, one for the boys, and one for the girls), an SUV for each parent, as well as a car for each child over 16 (where their parents got along with one sedan, or perhaps a station wagon), that has their children signed up for every conceivable activity, and that has to have every latest fashion and electronic gadget. The cars alone are at minimum $6,000 a year each, and the demands of exurban life require constant driving.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
buddhamama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #20
24. well, i can't argue with you...
since for one, i did not read the article nor can i dispute that in many cases people have spent beyond their means.

i stand by my post, however. $80,000 for an average family of four is not 'rich'.

and i say this as someone who makes considerably less than $80,000 a year and, was homeless at one point in my life.


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. No, it's not rich, but it's not poor, either
"Poor" is wondering what you have left to sell or how long you can avoid paying your utility bills in order to be able to afford your rent.

"Poor" is seeing that Target is running a 50% off sale on an item that you desperately need, and you still can't afford it.

"Poor" is living on cereal and milk for the last three days of the month, at least until the milk runs out.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
buddhamama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #26
30. i know what poor is
i have been there. i could be there tomorrow. again.

please don't lecture me on what 'poor' is. i have known 'poor' for more yrs than i have known just barely getting by.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #30
34. Sorry, buddhamama, I wasn't trying to lecture you
I was agreeing with you!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
buddhamama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. forgive me
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 12:07 PM by buddhamama
i got a little too worked up and missed the point of your post. poverty is an issue that is 'close to my heart'.

i have always respected you, Lydia. sorry again. we're still 'friends', right?! Peace.


edited to add content
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. No problem!
:loveya:

It's sometimes hard to figure out a person's intent on a message board.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #24
100. why isn't it rich?
if you can afford 2 nice cars (one probably a minivan) and an expensive new house and lots of eating out and a big screen TV and the NFL Sunday ticket and high speed internet, etc., etc., etc. Why isn't that rich? It's not super-rich, but if you are wealthier than 70% of your fellow citizens, why isn't that rich? It may not be obscenely rich, but it is still rich. How are these words being defined? If people are divided into rich and non-rich, then anybody above median income is rich. If people are divided into poor, middle class and rich and the middle class is 3 times the size of the poor and rich classes, then anybody in the top quintile is rich. The bottom income of the top quintile is $83,500 which is pretty close to $80,000.

Of course, income is not everything. A retired couple making $30,000 and living in a $400,000 house which is paid for and with $70,000 in liquid assets is richer than an $80,000 a year couple which is still paying for their house, cars, college debt, raising kids and trying to save for college and retirement. But that same couple is still richer than the vast majority of other couples and single people living on much, much less in the same cities.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
buddhamama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #100
109. read the post
the dividing line between poor and middle class is practically non-existent. the formula is outdated. therefore any data put forth today or determination is incorrect. a total household income of $80,000 is one or two paychecks away from poor. the seperation exists only in the matter of that big blow-job called credit. without said credit, the example given would not be possible.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Broken_Hero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #13
104. My father
made between 80-85 k...and he had a family of 9 to support, in a expensive island town in remote SE Alaska....and we were never in want, or need for anything...I know my hometown isn't the most expensive ever, but it is above average in cost. Cost of homes, rent, and food prices is very high...its a town where 1 pound of ground beef is five bucks, where one head of lettuce is five bucks. Where a 1 bedroom apartment(crappy at that) is worth 65,000 dollars....

We(my family growing up) were not 2 paychecks away from going broke, or losing the house, but the advantage was my father having certain things in place, before having all the kids, we had a big house, that was paid off, which ties into your thought of high housing prices(which I totally agree with). If my wife and I tried getting what we have house wise here in sw missouri, up in my hometown, the cost difference is astounding. WE paid 85,000 for a five acre, three bedroom house...back home, the same thing would cost over 250,000 dollars easy...the land value back home is crazy.

This following paragraph is directed more towards the subject at hand...


I believe that 80,000 a year is a not poor, or even the middle, of middle class. I have been poor, but not dirt poor, I have never gone more than two days without food/water, and I have always had a roof over my head...my lowest income was around 12,000 a year, and it was barely enough to get by, even with numerous roomtes sharing expenses...but 80,000? Thats a far stretch from poor IMO...just my .02 cents... :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Ferretherder Donating Member (991 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
15. Well said. I, myself, cannot say I have ever been,...
...at least for an extended period of time, really poor. Sure, I have been flat broke a few times in my life, but I always knew that I had other options - parents and/or siblings who could help me out....and THAT doesn't count as 'poor'.

I currently make about 30k a year; installing plasma tv's and surround sound systems for the, mostly, local wealthy. When I and Ms Ferretherder talk about OUR situation, we both agree that we are WELL OFF! We have a roof over our heads(we live in a 1930's wood frame house that belongs to my father-in-law, that we totally renovated - rent-free, by the way!), we have plenty of money for whatever food we want, we have a relatively new Honda Civic to drive,...I could go on, but, you get the picture.

'Poor' is a relative state, I guess. However, for ANYONE to claim that $80,000 a year is 'being poor', well, that is just saying that you don't have ANY concept of money, or its worth. Period.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
acmejack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
16. I am infuriated!
What do you think they give a disabled veteran to live on? Do you think it approaches $80K? Do you think it approaches a quarter of that? Right! It is very fortunate I choose not to measure wealth in money or I would be poor indeed.

A car? A home? Go out to eat? Surely you jest!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #16
87. ditto!!!
I could live like a KING in ANY city in the USA on 80k per year.

... imagine all the used books I could buy! :wow:

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
18. There are those who consider it rich who are wrong as well...
and both sides cause the class battles that result in dividing otherwise like-minded people.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #18
41. bingo
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
never_get_over_it Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #18
62. Thank you
80K most certainly is not poor - and depending on where you live and how many people you're supporting with it will determine just how "rich" one might be

But 80K doesn't make you rich either - and the folks making 80K or even more are not the ones we need to be concerned about - they are not the ones who have benefitted from the tax cuts and all the other BS policies of this criminal adminstration - and are certainly not our "enemy"

Its the uber rich, those making money from their money - the coporate greed mongers - the CEOs who just can't seem to live on a million or two but have to constantly have more while they limit raisies and benefits to the real workers in this country.

There is a class war going on in this country but it is not between the folks that make 40K and those making 80K - the 80K folks are getting screwed too.....
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
lukasahero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #62
83. Bless your heart
There IS a class war going on in this country and the "uber rich" are doing they're damnedest to make sure it stays between the have nones and the have slightly mores. That's right folks, keep fighting amongst yourselves... don't mind us while we write more laws to protect our wealth...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #62
129. True. But they need to stop voting Republican.
That's where they get the bulk of their votes.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
never_get_over_it Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:53 AM
Response to Reply #129
172. True enough
lets face it no matter how much people make there are a hell of a lot of people voting against their own self interest - and the sooner the true working class in this country wakes the hell up and realizes this and votes accordingly we have a big problem - and then there are a hell of a lot of working class people who don't bother to vote at all...

Bottom line is this criminal administration and it ridiculous polices are not intended to help the "poor" people or the middle class - they are working for their uber rich friends and the corporations - and anyone who isn't one of those folks should wake the hell up and band together to take their country back.....
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
blossomstar Donating Member (772 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #62
158. Bingo.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
deutsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
19. I come from the "working poor"
Let's just say, my mom's waitressing job brought in no where near $80,000 a year (even including tips :sarcasm:).
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mongo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
22. I know many, many people
who would consider $80K/year "rich".

Anyone that thinks $80K is "poor" needs to get out of their McMansion in the subbards.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Patiod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #22
45. And I know many who consider that "poor"
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 01:04 PM by Patiod
Many of my friends make triple my salary, and can't imagine not having a big house in the "right" neighborhood, 2 "status" vehicles, riding lessons for the kids, etc.

My one friend was bemoaning her life as a "single mom" and not having the perks (like a beach house) that go along with TWO people making $200K, instead of just HER measly little $200K that she and her son have to struggle along on. I always have to say "uh, one more time - do you remember who you're talking to?" and then she gets flustered - she's used to complaining about this to friends who also make $200K, not me, who is "poor" at $70K (only by their standards, not mine)

As someone mentioned upthread, most of them grew up with frugal parents, raising several kids on one blue-collar or middle-class while collar salary. No dining out, no car of their own until after college. Most had to work their way through college. Don't know where the "I'm entitled to $500K/year" comes from.

The key is that it's all relative. Economists have done studies that show this -- you're not happy if you perceive yourself to be at the bottom, whether the bottom is living off your SS diability check or living below the means of your ritzy-suburb neighbors who have vacation homes and send their kids to extraordinarily expensive privates schools and camps. People compare themselves to those around them at work and in their neighborhoods, not to any realistic standards of "rich" or "poor".
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
25. Depends on where you live, and how many people
you support. For a family of seven in a big city I'd say it's lower-middle-class if not poor. You would definitely go through the economies you mention (saving gas, etc.)

The implication I don't like is that these economies somehow ennoble people. Actually, having gone through them myself for many years, I'd say they demean people.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Union Thug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
27. Anyone who calls 80K/year 'poor' is a moron. Period.
I have been in both places... 80K allows you to save, to invest in classes and explore interests that would never be available to you making 18K/year. At 80K/year I never worried about paying the bills, I was able to explore my interest in video production, could buy the electronics necessary to support these interests, I was able to get my kids into whatever it is that they are interested in trying/exploring. We could travel - anywhere on the planet. Basically, at 80K, the world was opening up for us. Jobs paying 80K come with benefit packages far exceeding those of my lower income jobs. Add to all of this the little perks (all of us received cards that got us discounts at local merchants, restaurants, etc.), not to mention free health club memberships and access to help for smoking cessation, weight control, etc. In short, making 80K per year is just the beginning. The benefits add another 20K-30K that might not appear directly in your bank account.

When I was making 18-25K, life was much different. Exploring interests? HA! Don't make me laugh. I was too busy trying to afford parts and make time for repairing our worn out car. We were lucky to save ANYTHING. Emergencies meant credit cards had to come out, and they never were paid back down. Crappy health insurance packages left us strapped with medical bills. Education? Right. Where's the time for that? I took every bit of overtime I could to help keep the bills paid. The kids were loved, but we did not have the resources to expose them to diverse ideas, art, culture, etc.

Anyone who says 80K/year is poor has never lived on 20K/year and should be disregarded with the same disdainful disregard as a fly on a pile of dog crap.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DenaliDemocrat Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
28. In Alaska
$80,000 a year is getting by, but not in luxury. $4.00 a gallon milk, and heating oil for your house for seven months out of the year tend to drive costs upward.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #28
39. But the comment came from an Illinois candidate for governor
And while tomatoes may cost more in Alaska, let's remember that in Alaska most tomatoes are larger than Volvos.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tigress DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #39
52. Cost of living in Illinois could be quite high end.
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 01:57 PM by Tigress DEM
AND what we are also dancing around is the fact that in this "different world" the rethugs are creating they are purposefully shifting the tax burden from the wealthy and the middle class is getting hit harder and harder every day AND getting less real services for our money which is going into God knows whose pockets.

Chicago's main saving grace is a great transit system.

It costs an ungodly amount to park your car if you work downtown. My husband is in his 40's and in his 20's when he went to Chi-town on a trip parking was double what it is in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis/St Paul.

Random Price Check
Chicago...
http://www.chicagotraveler.com/chicago_parking.htm
Parking costs for 1-4 hours range from $7-17, 5-24 hour fees can range from $15-24.

Versus Minneapolis...
http://parking.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/parking_rates.php
Parking costs for 1st hour range from $.50-$3.50, 3-12 hour fees can range from $4.00 -$13.00 with 24hrs not widely available but as low as $5.00 to $12.00.

So even though Illinois is the "Mid-West" it is still can have a high cost of living. Also any of the states that have to deal with heavy winters, have snow removal and increased road construction because the salting and sanding destroy the roads and a lot of city overtime because the snow has to be removed ASAP or it causes road fatalities to rise - as we experienced here when Pawlenty decided to wait 24hrs to do snow removal in certain cases.

http://www.dps.state.mn.us/ots
Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2005, reports 559 fatalities a 1.4 percent decrease in traffic deaths from 2004, and more than a 14 percent decrease since the 655 deaths in 2003.



update due to forgot to identify mpls parking costs and show link


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bigdarryl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
29. With the tax structure in this country a person GROSSING!!
80,000 a year isn't bringing home 80,000. they may be only bring 45,000 a year home. i make 70,000 gross a year BUT my bring home money is 41,000 a year
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
InkAddict Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
31. The trick is to actually work
a full year at that wage! One can be hired at that figure and only work 7 weeks followed by months to years of frantically hunting for any type of employment that will pay for just the basics: housing, health care, food, utilities, transportation and associated insurances. It doesn't take long to get to the point-of-no-return to self-sufficiency. Young folks have more time to recover from the "mobbing" that's going on in this country than those not quite of retirement age that have also encountered personal illness or caretaking duties and/or those that made reasonable choices previous to this admin's homewrecking policymaking to invest in their children's advanced educations (whether or not completed). The backlash of creating financial hardships and/or failures in the lower middle class has far greater reach than the fudged statistics are revealing up and down the societal structure.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
32. One dimension that must be considered is whether that is 2 incomes or 1
Not to disagree because mostly I do agree. But whether that is 2 incomes or 1 makes a difference.

One person who makes $80,000 who has a spouse that stays home with the kids is probably financially better off than a family with two adults each making $40,000. In the first situation, the family doesn't have extra childcare expenses, they have half the work-related expenses, and if I'm not mistaken, half the social security and medicare tax...?

I would tend to think of the first situation as solidly "middle class" while the second situation is closer to "working class".

I can't imagine calling either situation "poor".
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mntleo2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
33. Me Too Nikia!
Whenever I hear someone like that cry they are "poor" I immediately file them away in my opinion as self-indulgent whiners. The kind of person who thinks it is an emergency because they have a hangnail or something. You could easily support 3 kids with all the trimmings on that. By "trimmings" I mean, own a home, a car, have 3 kids and a dog you could afford to take to the vet, feed everyone quite nicely, and live in a nice part of town. Sheesh!

Cat In Seattle
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tuvor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
37. As others have already asked: Who's saying $80K/year is poor?
Who are we offended by, please?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
38. The Damn Pope Said That!!!!
Death to all Papists!!!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
fortyfeetunder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #38
48. The Pope said that?
$80K? Wonder if he was thinking in lira or marks....who knows???
:shrug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:38 PM
Response to Reply #48
162. You guys aren't taking into account the Cost of Living in Rome.
I once had to live in Rome on even LESS than $80,000 a year and believe me, I could not even afford a MODEST palazzo at that income.

Cherished works of art? Forget it. Maybe one or two antiquities if you're lucky. Pope-mobile? Don't make me laugh. Kawasaki Ninja that I scrmped and saved for, and Vespas for the kids. And my employer, an international spy agency, wouldn't even give me enough benefits to cover my frequent injuries from skiiing off cliffs, poison darts, you name it. People think international spies are upper-middle class. HA! Most are washed-up soldiers who live in vast warehouses that they got at tax auctions. And that's not even factoring in the cost of secret internet connections and self-destruct buttons. SHAKEN Martinis? Try frozen. Play the tables at Monaco? Only if you know how to win. So I say, the Pope does not need to apologize.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
40. My wife and I combined
have never made more than 40k a year and its usually around 20. I wouldn't have a lot of sympathy for "poor" people who only make 80k either.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
42. Well written, and thank you!! All this moaning from those who
haven't a clue is offensive!

:pals: thanks for understanding!

ONe of the things that really gets to me is "Affordable Housing". PAH!! What it usually is, is housing for those who are muddleclass. $200,000 homes are NOT "affordable housing"!!

People need to get a grasp of reality.

Thanks so much for posting this!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ananda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
43. gads, even 40k/year isn't poor!
80k is well above the average income of Americans.

People can live very very well on 80k.

I'm living now on about 47k. i'm careful with my money
now, but I'm still saving.

Sue
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MUSTANG_2004 Donating Member (688 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
44. So who called a $80K income poor?
Or is this a hypothetical that you are taking offense at?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #44
54. That was my question.
Did something spawn this?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
46. I agree. $80,000 a year is enough to make ends meet for a
family of four and still be able to save $2,000 a year in an IRA for future retirement. It's not rich by any means but does buy a comfortable middle class. My son-in-law and my stepdaughter make that between them and are able to own a small ranch, two cars, indulge in hobbies, take vacations and save money as well. They don't squander money because they are careful shoppers.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #46
56. Not True.
My wife and I would never be able to make ends meet comfortably and still save 2000 a year. Don't be so limited in your thinking. You think that wage in NJ would be equal to that wage in Kansas? Do you actually think your broad generalization of making ends meet under a certain wage applies to every state and county in this country and all things are equal? Do you truly think that because your son-in-law does it that means every other family regardless of circumstance can do it? How silly.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #56
61. Wow, calling me a liar are you?
I don't live in Kansas. I live in coastal California, one of the more expensive states in the union. $80,000 a year is not rock bottom. Neither of my children went to college, but managed to get jobs that pay enough for them to buy their dreams just through hard work and careful planning.

Don't ever say it's not enough because it's not enough for other spendthrifts who are not wise managers. My husband and I were able to save two thousand years in IRAs, which we retired on and we made much less between us than they did. So don't say it can't be done.

I personally live on less than $20,000 a year and that covers all my medical insurance, car insurance and property insurance. As a matter of fact insurance eats up more than a third of my income, yet I can still indulge in little luxuries like satellite TV, my computer and gardening for a hobby. I am very frugal though. There are no trips to the beauty shop, gym memberships or weekend trips unless it's camping.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #61
65. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #61
94. Yup, that's his M.O.
Peace.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #94
98. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #94
123. What Are You Talking About? Please Elaborate.
Since I didn't call that poster a liar to begin with, your out of the blue unprovoked claims of that being my M.O. are completely without merit. I also see that you chose not to respond to any substance of my argument whatsoever but instead offered nothing more than personal attack. I would ask that you not attack me personally in the future, but instead follow the rules and respond to the substance of my post. If there is something about it you disagree with, than please state those things and the reasons why rather than just empty attacks on me personally.

Thanks.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:11 PM
Response to Original message
47. I am poor now but I think that when compared to Billionaires they
are poor. The problem with not understanding that is that if you think you are not among the "poor" then to many vote for things like the tax cuts for the rich thinking they will be included. If they are not "poor" then they are suckers for playing on the rich man's side.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tigress DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
49. "In Context" would be helpful. $80,000 can be called "working class poor
$100,000.00 a year could be a call for a "living wage" versus the "poverty line".

Most people's wages have stayed stagnant while inflation has risen terribly. So $80,000.00 ain't what it used to be. Except the top 1% (all those billionaires created by *ush) the rest of US have seen costs rise exorbitantly.

The mark where the tax incentives tip you into that "privileged" bracket is about $336,000.00.

The high cost of gasoline has rippled through the economy making everything cost more. While the rich get to pay only .01 cent a gallon for their corporate jets after tax rebates or $100,000.00 credits for buying gas guzzling hummers, the rest of us pay $3.00 a gallon (except at election time) and if we buy the hybrids only a $2,000.00 rebate or credit.

So, rather than take offense, and I have lived on $40 expendable monthly income after rent and bills with diapers to buy and food stamps in my pocket that made me sick to my stomach to use.... so I KNOW what YOU mean by REAL poverty...

BUT rather than take offense, realize that by raising that bar and point out that in America where we have so much, that it still is a TRUE Poverty that people making $80,000.00 a year are a paycheck or two away from crashing and burning because the cost of day to day living has gone up so much and the increasing tax burden on those in the $40,000.00 to $80,000.00 has gotten so heavy that it is crushing the American family's ability to stay afloat.

Rather than take offense I wonder if the person proposing this isn't wondering why CEOs make sure they have billions in pensions set aside even as they cut their workers pensions afloat in bankruptcies? When the CEOs & high level execs pensions and various payments are up-wards of 30-40% of the pension fund, wouldn't it make more sense to limit the most expensive end and be able to give more to the people that actually do the day to day work?

The rethug way of cost cutting has been always to target the expense of paying the workers, whether it's shipping jobs overseas, using temps instead of full time employees, or allowing companies to renege on their obligations to their workers while sending their CEOs out in golden parachutes.

Asking for a living wage is a way to address that fatal flaw in the rethug way of doing things. If companies pay their workers a living wage, they can't create high paid aristocratic dynasties. It causes their agenda to be put up to scrutiny.




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:37 PM
Response to Original message
50. Yeah, I've heard people here on DU complaining that 100K
was tough to make it on, so now that figure its 80K :eyes:

Pardon me while I :puke: because I know what it's like to drive the car on fumes and buy less than a gallon of gas-all in change. I know what it's like to pawn an engagement ring-bought in happier and better off times-and lose it to the pawn shop. I know what it's like to go to the payday loan places and pay insane interest on a $300 loan. I know what it's like to juggle bills and have the phone shut off more than once in a year. I know what it's like to donate plasma for a lousy 20 bucks just to put gas in the car. I could go on and on, but won't.

When someone making 80 to 100K has to live like that and worse, then I'll feel bad for them. Otherwise, spare me! :mad:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
51. Excuse You, But We Bring In Over 100,000 And We're Still Struggling.
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 01:52 PM by OPERATIONMINDCRIME
I wouldn't consider ourselves to be poor, of course, but though I'm aware your intention of this thread was a good one I did resent your characterization of middle class families who are struggling. I think it was extremely unfair to claim that they make poor decisions or are struggling because they send their kids to private prep school, belong to country clubs, live in nice houses, buy cars every few years, buy wardrobes every season, go out to eat in nice restaurants and have boats or second homes. I think that sentiment was absurd and it completely ruined for me the otherwise good intention of your post.

The fact is, we are in NJ and though we bring home six figures, we still are having trouble keeping up with the bills, though for now we are handling it. My wife and I both work. We by no fucking means have what many would consider a nice house. It is a drafty 80 yr old house with a finished basement that our master bedroom and family room is in. It has just one other bedroom for my two toddlers. We pay $1800 for the mortgage and that's for what is considered a starter home. Since we both work we need full time daycare. That's another $1863 a month. Add to that $125 for electric, $250 for heat during the winter, $300 total for two modest car payments, $700 a month for food for the 4 of us, $300 a month for gas for two vehicles, $175 a month for car insurance and $350 a month for miscellaneous bills like garbage, sewer, water, phone, gas, internet etc you will see that all of our income is eaten away. That's without any fucking toys, fancy restaurants, boats, prep schools, wardrobes, second homes or membership to country clubs. My wife and I both need clothes and are sick of the same tired old wardrobes. But we do what we gotta do.

The point is, I agree with you that poor is far more severe. I lived in my car for 8 months total during two different winters so I know what poor is. But that doesn't mean you have the right to undermine and dismiss middle class families who truly are still struggling to a degree, as having made bad choices or belonging to country clubs. I found that to be extremely misguided and foolish.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mark414 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #51
55. you don't need to take it so personally
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 01:56 PM by mark414
and you just proved her point that people only think about their own experience in any given context
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #55
59. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #55
126. My Reply Wasn't Limited To Being Personal.
I drew from personal experience as an example, but the logic itself can be applied to far more than myself alone. If we are still struggling to a degree, than it is likely there are many others struggling under those terms as well. It was extremely misguided for the OP to claim that when middle class people struggle financially it is because they join country clubs, put their kids in private prep school, eat in fancy restaurants and buy new wardrobes every season. The fact is that the sentiment is completely false and unsubstantiated.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #51
64. I can see with your mortgage and child care where you would
have problems. You may be struggling now but that starter home will be your nest egg in the future. This can be used toward your retirement when that time comes along. DH and I never bought a home but rented. Instead we preferred to put what little money we had in IRA's for the future. It's too bad that we don't have national child care like other enlightened countries. Places like France, Sweden and other progressive countries have state run nurseries for working parents and they are free and very high quality, staffed with trained teachers and child care specialists.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #64
67. Ok, You Don't Have To Answer My Post Above Then.
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 02:19 PM by OPERATIONMINDCRIME
I'm glad you saw where I was coming from a bit better. My wife and I were thinking about selling the house and just sayin "heck with it, let's just get an apartment", but the amazing thing is that even apartments around here big enough to accomodate the 4 of us would still cost practically as much as my mortgage. Especially since we'd need one that allowed pets, since there's no way we're givin up our two cats. :)

The problem really is Jersey. I don't believe what it costs here for certain things in comparison to other states. I wish to hell we could get out of here and go somewhere else but right now I have to accept that simply isn't going to happen. Maybe someday, though.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #67
72. Keep your house even though it's a trial right now.
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 02:36 PM by Cleita
In retrospect, I wish we had done so. All that rent just goes down the drain. When you put it into a mortgage it increases your wealth. Maybe a second part time job might be in order for one of you. I did it for years. I had my regular office job that didn't quite make ends meet and I worked weekends and one night a week as a bartender. I did it for the tips, not the minimum wage.

On edit: It's not that hard if you are doing something different than your day job. So my day job was sitting on my ass crunching numbers, but my part time job was physical, on my feet and moving around. Restaurants and bars are always looking for part time help to fill in those shifts that the regular help don't want to work. Another thought too, although the mortgage may be a burden now, once you gain some equity, you can refinance for lower payments in the future.

Also, kids don't need childcare forever unless you have more. They go to school and eventually get old enough to not require childcare. By that time they could be enrolled in afterschool programs like sports or music. One of my friends, just told her kids to go to the library and do their homework after school where she picked them up after work.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
datasuspect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #67
78. used to live in chicago
neighborhood i grew up in (near southwest side) was up until a few years ago a cheap place to live. it was the ghetto mind you, but you could find a decent enough apartment for about 350/per month about 6 or 7 years ago.

i went through there last year and the gut rehabs started springing up, condo conversions, and young "artistic" types walking their labs in what used to be a relatively safe gang-infested neighborhood.

those are the "pioneers."

point is, the building i grew up in, that sold for 15,000 in 1971 listed at around 450,000 recently.

the same is true all over chicago.

the best example is what used to be the worst part of lincoln park near north/halsted. in the early 70s you wouldn't be caught there after dark, nowadays, the same 100-120 year old worker cottage type buildings sell for 1,000,000+

1800 for mortgage in jersey (i wonder about your proximity to NYC) seems like a relative bargain. i'm not familiar with housing price patterns in the northeast, but i am sure they are well above the national average.

and yes, you could move somewhere else. where i live in texas, you can get a decently modern house and a couple of acres for about 70,000, but the wages here are horrifying, and the poverty is almost universal.

but sticking it out with the house might be a very wise decision. when you look in 30 year cycles, a neighborhood can go from working class to ghetto, to upper income wealthy class in that time frame.

sounds like you made a shrewd investment.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #78
80. Well Thankfully We Got The House Right Before The Boom.
At the time, we paid only $218,000. We could probably sell it for $340,000 now, so it has been a hell of an investment. We are relatively close to NYC, about 30 miles west or so.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
datasuspect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #80
81. 30 miles or so from NYC?
that clarifies A LOT.

i can see where you feel put upon.

that MSA is notoriously difficult to get along in.

you'd be fucking poor if you tried to live any closer to that place on what you make.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #81
82. You're Right. We Can't Go More East At All.
I wish we could. My wife works in Weehawken and has one hell of a commute. It kills her because by the time she gets home she has like no time left to enjoy the kids before they go to bed. I'd love to live closer to her work but we know there is no way to afford it. I'd rather move further west, even to the PA border where it's far cheaper, but I just can't do that to her with her commute. It's painful enough on her already.

She is currently searching her ass off for another job more local so that we could then consider moving further west and getting a better house for our kids.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #80
88. That's a $1200 mortgage - not $1800
For the record. Same as homes sell for where I live.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #88
90. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #90
99. Of course
And even as high as taxes are in NJ, they aren't $500 a month on a $200,000 home. Again, you're the one who came in here pretending that a six figure income was poor, so don't talk to me about unreasonable vendettas and whatever other kind of insults you want to dump on me. You aren't poor, nobody earning $80,000 in the US is poor or anything remotely near poor.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
rainbow4321 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #99
107. A $183,00 = annual local tax of $4812/year
Divided by 12 months is $401/month.

Again, from my relatives home per NJ tax records website.

The website is below..I didn't/am not link directly to a relative's info, it's just the website that lets you search by county/township

http://tax1.co.monmouth.nj.us/cgi-bin/prc6.cgi?&ms_user...


$200,000 home = $500/month tax doesn't seem very out of the ordinary, IMO.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #107
110. And taxes in Hopatcong
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 05:11 PM by sandnsea
On a $200,000 home are $3,000 a year. So what's your point?

http://www.gnrgmac.com/2262410
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:23 PM
Response to Reply #99
120. You Have No Idea What You're Talking About When It Comes To MY Mortgage.
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 07:49 PM by OPERATIONMINDCRIME
Don't argue with me over what my own mortgage bill is please, since you have no idea whatsoever and speak out of ignorance to the topic.

Like I said before, if you want me to scan my mortgage bill just to prove you wrong I will. Our taxes are 4200 a year. That's 350 a month bub. Throw in 72 bucks for house insurance and 100 bucks for flood insurance each month on top of the 1260 or so P&I payment and you got your 1800 bucks. Once again, don't preach to me about what my own mortgage bill is, since the fact is you don't have a clue.

Oh, and on edit, I never said a thing ANYWHERE that said we were poor, and if you bother to read my original reply you'll in fact see I acknowledge otherwise. Please don't throw out false accusations. Thanks.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:34 PM
Response to Reply #88
124. Don't Tell Me What My Own Mortgage Is Nor Assume You Have Any Idea
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 07:35 PM by OPERATIONMINDCRIME
what it is.

I don't know why you think you have the right to argue with me about what my own mortgage is, or why you feel you have any legitimacy in telling me how much it is. But for the record your numbers are totally wrong, which would be expected since you have no idea what my mortgage would be to begin with.

Our mortgage is 1800 a month. Dispute it all you want but since you don't have any idea what it would or wouldn't be, and since it's my mortgage and I WOULD know what it is since I pay it every month, I'd think I have the better leg to stand on here.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #124
132. OMC! Dude, Cool off before you pop an artery!
Hey, I read you saying you had sat down today to do the budget and try to trim some fat and
try to make it ease up on you. I'm destitute poor now, but I was once in your shoes before
it all fell apart and I am where I am.
And I know you guys from NJ can get real cooked up over things.
But You're starting to sound as fried as Chimpy did yesterday in the rose garden.
Difference is: I don't care about him
but as a fellow DU'er, I care about you
and I'm afraid you're gonna blow an anuerism in an artery.

Go do something else for awhile. Let it ride.
It will all be here tomorrow

Peace
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #132
133. You're Right Bro.
I don't know why I let this thread get to me so much today. I guess part of it was some posters having the nerve to assume they know my situation or can actually tell me what my mortgage is, as if I'm making it up. Funniest thing was that my original reply was merely stating dissatisfaction with the notion that if you are middle class and struggling to pay the bills, it simply means it is because you make bad decisions such as buying boats, putting your kids in prep school, or joining country clubs. I still haven't seen anyone argue the merits of my dissatisfaction, so I think the reason I got all antsy pantsy is because I had such vitriol thrown my way without provocation by some who seemed to merely want to get my goat. I agree with you though, in that some of my posts were a bit more emotional than I'd normally want them to be and I must admit I was almost ready earlier to literally start really crossing the line and telling some of them what I really thought without holding back. I didn't though, and had realized that I should probably step away for a while. That's why I didn't have any posts past like 4:30 or so, cause I knew I better take a breather. I guess it just pisses me off when someone has the gall to say my mortgage is really 1200 not 1800, when I just paid the damn 1800 last night LOL

Thanks for your words though. Like my siggy says, I shouldn't ever let the keyboard bullies get the better of me.

Peace to ya :toast:

OMC
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #88
135. Here Ya Go. Now You Can Give Me An Apology.
I wanted the direct print screen, but unfortunately I have no idea how to paste it on DU. Instead, this is a direct copy and paste. I'd say it's close enough to claim 1800 wouldn't you? Obviously your claim of 1200 was quite simply wrong.

MORTGAGE 0127315xxx ( Account Profile )
Next payment DUE ON 09/01/06 (Make a Payment ) $1,791.40
Total amount due to make loan current $1,791.40
Last payment received on 08/16/06 $1,791.40
Outstanding principal balance ( View Payoff Statement ) $196,982.61
Interest rate 5.875%
Escrow balance (taxes & insurance) (Escrow Details) $1,952.49
08/15/06 PAYMENT ( Details) $1,791.40 $196,982.61
07/25/06 CITY TAX PMT $1,065.59 $197,235.45
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
calmblueocean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 02:13 AM
Response to Reply #135
181. That's just crazy!
I've been following your thread, and I have to say, I never knew NJ was that expensive. I know $100,000 a year is not a typical income even for many who have families... so how they heck does someone making $40,000 a year get by in NJ?!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 02:36 AM
Response to Reply #181
184. My Wife And I Ask That All The Time. How The Hell Do They Do It?
I guess they simply rack up their credit cards and push themselves deep into debt like so many other americans. That's one thing I'm good at. I pay my cards off in full every month. But we do wonder a lot how other families are able to do it, and I guess the answer is if they only make 40000, then they ain't generally living in northern jersey. They'd have to be living in some of Jersey's more lower class neighborhoods.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #51
101. I didn't see this post with figures before I posted on the other...n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #101
121. Oh Ok, Fair Enough. :o)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
53. So who said this?
Several of us have asked. Obviously 80K is not poor. It certainly isn't rich either, and if you are trying to support your basic family of four in any of the major metro regions 80K is not even well off.

Here is my definition of rich: having assets not including your primary residence worth around $3,000,000. (Of course if you are 80 this number is considerably lower, the 3,000,000 is enough to keep a very comfortable life style indefinately by just living off the interest from those assets.)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #53
165. Less than $3,000,000 + house is NOT upper middle class. $80K is upper is
Edited on Sun Sep-17-06 12:12 AM by Leopolds Ghost
$80,000 for a family of 2, or $130,000 for a family of four, is upper middle class, IF you live in a major metro. Anywhere else, anything over $70K is upper middle class. My parents were proud to consider themselves UPPER middle class on those figures, even when I argued that we were less well-off than most of our neighbors (many of whom were Democratic Party activists and union organizers!) and we lived in one of the most expensive areas of the country there is (just outside DC, in a historic neighborhood with good schools and very expensive prices.) They didn't pay much for their house (bought it long ago) but reverse-mortgaged it and came this close to having to sell it when my father got cancer... but close only counts in horseshoes.

$750,000 or more in assets is rich in most parts of the country, unless you own a farm or other small business that is your livelihood.

Anyone who complains that they are barely getting by on $80 K in an expensive area where they feel safe sending their kids to school needs to acknowledge the 75% of Americans who could not afford to live where they do, regardless of how crummy their house might be, and often were forced out of the same house before you moved in (and forced to live in just as crummy conditions farther away from the city) by rising real estate prices.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Herman Munster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:59 PM
Original message
It depends
Have you ever lived in NY or California or any high price city where a 3 bedroom 1200 square foot house in an average neighborhood costs $500k?

It's not easy to do on $80k.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
57. A family with $80K is gloriously comfortable.
(Unless of course they live somewhere like midtown Manhattan, but come on!)

Not fantastically rich, perhaps, but far, far above the point where you feel anxiety every time you buy the "good" cuts of meat or the pricier produce for your family.

I've earned that much a couple times, (and had other years barely getting into five digits) and it is nowhere NEAR poor.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #57
60. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Union Thug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #57
68. You are dead on. As I said in my previous post, there is NO WAY...
any rational human being would call 80K poor. I won't repeat what I said previously, but my income has been in both the 80's and the low 20s, and I am offended that anyone would try to compare the plight of an uppper middle class income earner with those that are trying to survive on 20K/year.
It's unbelievably offensive to me. Anyone in the 80K range who complains to me about being poor is going to get a hearty "fuck off" in return.

There is NO comparison. NONE.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
CarlVK Donating Member (632 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
58. Who the hell thinks $80k a year is poor??
That's just whack.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Herman Munster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #58
63. where do you live?
$80k is great in small towns in the midwest or south. You are definitely not poor there.

But people seem to have no perspective how expensive it is to live in big cities.

Try living on $80k in New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angelese, Boston. EVERYTHING is more expensive.

In those cities, $80k will afford you a lower middle class lifestyle and if you get help from your parents or an inheritance maybe a middle class lifestyle with some of your housing costs subsidized with help from a down-payment.

It's not poor anywhere. But it certainly isn't upper middle class or rich.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
CarlVK Donating Member (632 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #63
77. Ah, so you're saying "lower mid class" in some areas. That's different
And I'd agree, especially after having lived and worked in the East Village of Manhattan for a brief time.

But let's not go overboard and say "poor". Poor is a very serious condition and shouldn't be revised to accomodate "inconvenienced".
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
66. Even the Average American Earning Half That
is using unbelievable amounts of energy. And to prop up the vaunted middle class lifestyle is to guarantee little or no future for the next generations.

The average American consumes six times the energy of the average person in the rest of the world.1 Yet we dont seem to realize the cost of our massive energy consumption on the poorer people of the world, on our own health, and the health of the environment.

The average American child from birth to death will generate 13 tons of waste paper, 10,355 tons of waste water, 2.5 tons of waste oil and solvents, 3 tons of waste metals, and 3 tons of waste glass. From manufacturing processes, mining and agriculture used to support this individual, there will be 83 tons of hazardous waste, 419 tons from mining (not including coal mining), 197 tons from manufacturing in general, 1,418 tons of carbon dioxide, and 19 tons of carbon monoxide. Consumption of materials during a lifetime will include 1,870 barrels of oil, and 260 pounds of pesticides used to produce the food to sustain the individual.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #66
114. The middle class...
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 05:51 PM by skids
...that small portion of us who really are middle class and not lower class with delusions of lucor, does not need to wonder whether or not they are going to be able to get a loan to install solar or geoexchange. The middle-middle class and up don't even need the loan, they can pay out of their savings.

So to say that "prop up the middle class lifestyle" is to promote energy waste is wrongheaded. It's those who do not have the luxury of considering alternative energy who will continue to use and use energy. Those in the middle-lower and lower-lower classes spend 25% of their income on energy. You really think they don't want a way out from under that load? They don't have an opportunity to afford much more than a few CF bulbs and if they are extremely lucky, a newer fridge. They waste a whole lot of energy with their secondhand appliances -- and really cannot be blamed for that or their inefficient housing for that matter since most of them rent.

Sure there are rich and middle class morons that waste tons of energy. All classes have their morons. I think, however, that "propping up the middle class lifestyle" is not such a bad idea condsidering people who aren't in it cannot afford the transitional expenses to make the leap to other forms of energy.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #114
138. It's a very bad idea
and it really doesn't matter what either of us have to say about it. The notion of the American "middle" class is based on perverse notions of wealth and one of short-sightedness that requires copious amounts of resources which must mostly be taken fron other people's lands.

It's not those obvious energy slobs that are the problem it is far more widespread and systematic. It's just that we've become accustomed to certain ways that even those of us who are doing all we can to conserve are still at the high end of resource usage when compared on a global scale. It's built in.

In the middle of your second paragraph you touch upon an important point which leads to a larger problem which is that the requirements are grossly high for all of us to get by.

Either way it's all going by the wayside as resource depletion and the hard truths of geology will supercede any political or economic theorizing. As this reality evolves we will learn to live in different ways with much less. At least we can hope for that.

In short what we have been conditioned to think of as middle class is complete luxury compared to most of the world and there is not enough planet to support more of it or even what we've got at the present.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 02:27 AM
Response to Reply #138
183. Let me get this straight.
Edited on Sun Sep-17-06 02:28 AM by skids
Having the flexibility to change jobs and location of residence is "a bad idea."
Being relatively immune to economic fluxuations is "a bad idea."
Getting a college diploma is "a bad idea."
Having a small amount of power as a citizen through one's work is "a bad idea."
Owning one's home is "a bad idea."

That doesn't seem right to me. To me "a bad idea" is a nation full of people who do not want to admit that they are working class, and live beyond their means to prove it.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #114
170. Do you think $40,000 a year is "lower class with delusions of lucor"?
Edited on Sun Sep-17-06 12:44 AM by Leopolds Ghost
In an earlier post you said you consider $80,000 poor (or lower middle class at best.)

Sounds like my neighbors talking. (many of them work for the Democratic
Party or union organizing work. I have not met a union organizer or
Democratic Party paid activist in DC who lives in a poor neighborhood,
but I'm sure they exist.)

For Democrats, I find their lack of... "class consciousness" disappointing. Whats worse is, they are the grass roots types. The DLC types are all wealthy (and consider themselves solidly middle class and private school a necessity in an urban area). I guess the genuinely middle class, average Democrat could not afford to live inside the Beltway or near Manhattan, and nobody seems to mind that.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 02:12 AM
Response to Reply #170
180. No, that's not what I said.
Edited on Sun Sep-17-06 02:14 AM by skids
If you were keeping track, $80K is where I put the boundary between upper-lower-class and lower-middle-class. Upper-lower class is most definitely not poor. It is basically middle class without the employment flexibility, full insurance, and a few of the perks.

Maybe the below link will help you get your definitions into line with established parlance. What you seem to want to call "middle class" is, among sociologists, considered nothing more than the "statistical middle." Now "true middle class" and I would imagine "genuine middle class" by extension is a term used to specifically not refer to this group.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_middle_class#Defi...

You'll note that this page takes the needed step to end this argument, apparently judging from the response here and the hedging in the article one that makes people who think they are middle class but are not, in other words Amercians, uncomfortable. It lays down
a hard number for the true middle class -- at 1/5th of the population:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_middle_class#America...

And this one has the data that tells us about what that means income wise (though certainly other factors pertain than simply income: )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_quintiles

The number is $88K per year. Now that $88K dividing line includes the rich, but the rich are a very small population, so it only has to be fudged down a bit, and $80K is about my guess.

And that is about the area where I have lived most of my live both as a child and on my own -- right near that line between class boundaries, usually just south of it. As such I am intensely aware of it.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
stepnw1f Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
69. I'm with You (nt)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Marr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:24 PM
Response to Original message
71. Add my name to the list of people asking who said $80k/year was poor.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:47 AM
Response to Reply #71
171. Judy Barr Topinka n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mark414 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
73. stop ignoring the post by asking "who says that?!?!" and start talking
about what was actually said
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Marr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #73
75. Because if it's not happening, it's sort of dumb to get outraged
about it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Marr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
74. I am offended when someone says squids teach algebra.
Who said $80k/year was poor?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
rainbow4321 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:39 PM
Response to Original message
76. Salary calculator (compares cities/states)
http://www.homefair.com/homefair/calc/salcalc.html


Lets you enter your income in your city and then calculates what you would need to "make it" in another part of the country.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
deek Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #76
84. excellent resource---thanks eom
,
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
79. In some circles, you are poor at 80,000, but "poor" is relative
Of course, if you're in the elite group that pulls in over 10,000,000 a year in payroll and unearned income, 80,000 does look poor.

But 80,000 is not poor as far as securing food, water, and shelter is concerned, the basics.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:45 PM
Response to Original message
95. I don't see how anyone can make it on $80k
My country club alone costs almost $12,000 or so a year.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
datasuspect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #95
96. mine is 12,000 per month
yes, the vulgar do have it rather rough.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #96
97. they do!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 04:34 PM
Response to Original message
105. This is why we Democrats have problems...the peasants fight amongst
themselves.

Let us face it.

If you have to work to pay for your way in life (both necessities and luxuries)...you aren't rich, doesn't matter the salary...you ain't rich if you have to work in order to live and pay the bills.

The real rich do not have to work. They work to "keep busy". They have investments, trusts and other income sources. They can choose not to work. That is rich.

Pitting the poor and the middle class against one another is stupid, because we are basically in the same boat. Most middle class households in this country are only a few paychecks away from being poor.

So...in some areas of this country $80K a year is the bottom rung of the middle class and it is the middle rung in others...look at living in San Francisco or New York versus living in Pittsburgh or Cleveland.....those areas have different costs of living.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
106. Okay.
Did someone call people with an $80,000 annual income poor? :shrug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tuvor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #106
115. Apparently not. But suggesting so makes for great flame wars.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:57 AM
Original message
Judy Barr Topinka, and many other political figures
over the years (including Democrats).

If you are a Dem activist making less than $35,000 a year in the DC
area, people are going to look at you funny and even disregard your
perspective. I know from personal experience.

Therir inside-the-Beltway (or more accurately, "major metro") attitude
is that the genuine Working class, whom they consider working poor, are
a dying breed in this country, destined to live in hovels in the exurbs
if they do not "get an education" and that the transition will be
wrenching but necessary.

That is the neoliberal attitude.

If you think that's an exaggeration, consider that the __Republican__ Congressmen who live in DC consider __$200,000__ to be lower middle class, and have famously said so. I thought everyone had heard about this. Oh yeah, and they (and their DLC/lobbyist/journalist/foreign service friends in DC) take offense at anyone who suggests private school is a luxury; to them it is a necessity.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 06:48 PM
Response to Original message
119. Yes. But I'm also offended when $80,000 per year for a couple means debt-
and no opportunities because they're getting ripped off left and right by utilities, health care companies, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, student loans.

People who make 80K per year have more in common with the poor than with the super-wealthy CEOs who pay 15% in tax on millions from stock option sales and have no problems with indebtedness.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #119
125. Hear! Hear!
These arguments about $40,000 vs. $80,000 vs. even $160,000 are how the real wealthy
people cloud the water.

They have more money than they or their children or their children's-children could
ever spend.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #125
159. Exactly right.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AllieB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #119
130. What infuriates me is when these people that make 80K vote Republican
because they believe that they have more in common with the super-wealthy than the working stiff. Most people who make 80K are an illness away from bankruptcy.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #130
156. That's the democrats' fault for not making the obvious arguments to
compel them to vote democratic.

I have faith that the democratic nominee just might figure out how to do this in 2008.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 01:04 AM
Response to Reply #119
176. No opportunities for what?
Edited on Sun Sep-17-06 01:05 AM by Leopolds Ghost
I agree that upper middle class people need to join forces with poor people, but that does not mean their lifestyles are similar. Student loans in and of themselves are a huge opportunity that many lower-middle class kids will never get. So is mortgage (if they bought an expensive house at the height of the boom, they only have themselves to blame. I know "struggling middle class" types who purchased homes that housed up to 4 apartments, and ensured that the previous occupants were evicted. They are HAPPY that apartments are no longer in their neighborhood and PROUD of their "struggling middle class" status. Their property tax bills are ENORMOUS and rising every year, wotta gyp!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
122. Please provide a reference, otherwise this is just a straw man
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #122
128. Thanks for sounding the Strawman Klaxon BlueEyedSon.
Good job.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #128
131. Hardly a klaxon, just a question
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 07:48 PM by BlueEyedSon
otherwise this VERY long thread is a tempest in a teapot.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 01:09 AM
Response to Reply #131
177. Judy Barr Topinka
Edited on Sun Sep-17-06 01:10 AM by Leopolds Ghost
Plus numerous inside-the-Beltway types, Democratic and Republican alike. I grew up in the DC area and used to hear about it all the time. One Republican Congressmen even said $200,000 was lower middle class. More common are Beltway Democrats who think $35,000 is working poor and a salary they would not want for their grandkids even to start on. (as I mentioned, the Republicans and DLC types are much worse -- they are solidly rich and still complain about the cost of living.)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 07:37 PM
Response to Original message
127. Thank you
I've seen posts on this very site bashing the working poor for supposedly squandering their money. No offense to anyone intended, but they tend to come from former "struggling college students" who ate ramen for a few years and think that gives them an insight into grinding long-term poverty. It doesn't.

I was a Navy sailor living off $400 a month at one time. I got medical care and food and housing (if you could call it that) and I was young and healthy but I sure didn't have any extra money. I do not for one minute believe that I now get to claim some kind of street cred and wag my finger at people whose lives I cannot fathom.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #127
137. The phrase 'poor graduate student' sends me off the deep end
for just the reasons that you stated. There is a qualitative difference in being broke while pursuing a masters and not knowing if you will ever be able to make ends meet and living among others in the same straits for months and years at a time.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
COSPRINGS Donating Member (41 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #137
141. Yeah, no kidding...
poor guys.. with 100K jobs in their future.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
alittlelark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #141
147. Uh, what field would that be in?
A few scientific majors could be there in 3 years - maybe 25% of MBAs.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
trekbiker Donating Member (724 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 02:38 AM
Response to Reply #147
185. Engineering...
50-60K to start. 100K within 5-10 yrs. forget the ivy league schools. 2yr JC and then 2-3 yrs state college.

Drive used Corolla's, dirt cheap to own/maintain, I've owned several. Expensive wardrobes??? Ha!! most engineers dress cheap and dont care about that crap. If you absolutely have to get married, hold off on the kids till mid-30's. Live like a college student and SAVE, SAVE, SAVE... INVEST. watch the Suze Orman show (I'm half serious about that one)

by mid-40's (barring bad luck) you'll be set for life..
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 01:15 AM
Response to Reply #137
178. Not to mention that the truly poor will never be able to get a
high-class education because of class prejudice and indifference to the years of struggle just to survive, which supposed "liberals" in major cities tend to see as "lost years" that these people are obliged to "break out of", as if poverty were an addiction. They think poverty itself (even voluntary poverty!) is pathological.

It's like Republicans who believe people "choose" to be gay.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
nini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
134. I make 80k and I'm not poor but I'm not living large either
I started the job I have now at 22k.. I look back and don't know how I did it while I was raising my son by myself. With hard work and some luck I've earned raises and promotions. I am grateful for what I have. Being said, this salary is definitely relative to where one lives. I live in the L.A. area where we all know the cost of living is high. If I had tried to live beyond my means as many do these days then I still wouldn't say I was poor - I would say I was stupid because I don't live within my means - I definitely agree with you there.


That being said. I have been poor - I know what poor is. I grew up poor and lived on next to nothing after becoming disabled in a car accident while trying to raise my son. It is possible for someone who makes a decent wage to understand the plight of the poor and quite possibly have lived it themselves - this is one of the many reasons I AM A DEMOCRAT. I don't believe anyone should go without health insurance, worry about feeding their kids, etc.. and all those thing you talked about. One's salary doesn't define their outlook on poverty in this country - their experiences and moral character do.


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Jim Warren Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
139. Nikia, I am with you
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
140. This is the STUPIDEST 'some people say' thread I've seen in a long time
The question has been asked over and over throughout this thread: "Who said 80K is poor?" No answer.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #140
150. "Some People Say" Shades of Faux News
Guess those people had enough to eat tonight

Me? I'd like to go out for a midnight buffet
but, I can't afford it
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #150
151. huh?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:47 PM
Response to Reply #151
163. It really doesn't matter who said it ( or really if it was ever said )
Edited on Sun Sep-17-06 12:02 AM by Wiley50
The point is it started a really gut level discussion
of where the class divide is in this country

You had a few who really got it:
The really rich don't have to work
and are playing us off against each other
so we don't go after them

Many, who discussed the the relativity
of differences in the cost of living
in different localities

And posts like mine
offer the perspective
of those, like me,
who live on the next to lowest
economic rung of our society
(the lowest reserved for those
who don't qualify for govt asst.)
as insane as that sounds.


All in all
whoever said it
it's been an enriching thread for many
(even though no money changed hands)
as attested by the number of recommendations
it has rung up.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #140
167. Answer: Numerous political activists have said this, especially in DC
Edited on Sun Sep-17-06 12:59 AM by Leopolds Ghost
But more specifically, Judy Barr Topinka said it, running for Governor
of Illinois, as has been mentioned already.

I live in the DC area, home of the Dem and Repub party elite, who live
in the same neighborhoods and attend the same schools.

I hear "$80,000 is NOT upper middle class, it is barely getting by,
when I started out I was only making $35,000, no nights out, nothing"
--all the time--.

In fact, their opinion on the truly poor is basically "It's unfortunate but a lot of those people really do have problems, there's no way in this economy they could not find SOME JOB and get out of an apartment and own their own home, but the reality is eventually, nobody who is THAT destitute (read: $20,000 or less) is going to be able to live in our city, they will have to join the ranks of the middle class or leave."

DC, supposedly the most "liberal" city in the nation, redefined poor as making less than 40% of the median income, and reelected "Democrats" who want to tear down public housing and sell MPDUs that only "middle-class" professionals WITH CREDIT can buy. Because hey... "middle class people are struggling too... and they don't have pathologies and all that shit"

Oh yeah, and if you are trainiung to be a City Administrator know that part of their job description is to limit the number of poor people and families that can live in the jurisdiction. That is FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINE in the real estate development industry, which is a primary training ground for people in local government, since facilitating real estate developers is their primary duty. The code word for this doctrine is "ratables".
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ikojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:06 PM
Response to Original message
148. Amen, Nikia!!! Anyone who makes $80k a year is
doing quite well for themselves.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
doc03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:35 PM
Response to Original message
152. I don't recall anyone saying $80000 a year is poor
you could call $80000 upper middle class but it is certainly not rich.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:41 PM
Response to Original message
154. Who said that?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
155. Who told you that $80K a year was poor?
where did you hear this?

Middle class..yes

Poor...it is not.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Singular73 Donating Member (999 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 10:53 PM
Response to Original message
157. 80K aint that much in New York....
I made more than that when I live in NYC, and lived in a crappy 2 bedroom apartment with my wife and son....it cost me on the order of $600 a month just to drive and park at work.

Yes, I could have taken the train, etc..., but it wasn't like I was buying a new car every two years....

I wasn't "poor", I considered myself "middle class", but not upper middle class.

To underestimate cost of living doesn't help anyone either.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #157
160. Well Said. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nikki Stone 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:57 AM
Response to Reply #157
175. Or Los Angeles
Not that I ever made that kind of money, but even at 80.000/yr, it's a stretch to buy a house in Southern California. The cost of living is higher, the gasoline is significantly higher, and there is no way to avoid a lot of those costs.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tinfoilinfor2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 11:35 PM
Response to Original message
161. I live in the Keys. My husband and I combined make close to 80.
Edited on Sat Sep-16-06 11:37 PM by tinfoilinfor2005
We live on a boat because very few houses in the Keys start at under six hundred grand. Anything under that is pretty much a condemned trailer. I pay close to a thousand dollars a month in order to just keep my boat in the water and tied to a dock. Our boat is not yet fully paid for so of course payments to the bank are separate. But both payments combined are still cheaper than if we tried to rent. Now let's talk about insurance on the boat especially after Katrina and Wilma last year. Then there is sky high health insurance, because ninety nine percent of the companies have left the Keys. Next add in the cost of living here at tourist central. We have to pay the same overblown prices at most of the stores that they rip the tourists for, and when we go to the mainland once every couple of weeks to stock up on cheaper items at the Costco, we have to drive an hour there and back on overpriced gas. And let's not forget all the other regular bills such as car payments, electric, phone, cable, etc. etc.

Even so, I don't feel poor, in fact I feel very blessed and fortunate. But I'm not in a mansion and I don't buy store bought nails and facials and my Gucci designer purse cost $14 at the flea market. All things are relative.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
greccogirl Donating Member (566 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:30 AM
Response to Original message
168. I actually know someone who
thinks that no one who makes below $100,000 should pay taxes. Seriously.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hyphenate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:55 AM
Response to Original message
173. For two years
I lived on roughly $300 a month, plus food stamps and fuel assistance. My unemployment had run out and I finally applied for the disability I should have applied for long before, but couldn't afford to do.

Thank the stars I had a friend who owned the house and has let me live rent free. I lost the use of my car for almost a year because I couldn't afford to have it fixed. I ran out of gas several times when I did have it working, and thank goodness I had AAA to help on that score.

As for luxuries, I really had none. An older TV, an older computer that I could work on myself, my satellite dish, for which I paid $50 a month, and my telephone, which provided me my DSL at a substantial discount as well.

That was it, folks. All of it. My mom sent me the $300 and when I finally got EAEDC in Massachusetts, she stopped sending me the $300, because that's what the state was paying me. The only good thing was that I had Masshealth. I was able to get to the doctor for treatment, and with my medical history, it's a good thing, too. Diabetic, with a history of heart attacks and CAD, depressive disorder and fibromyalgia, I needed it. When I left California, I had NO MEDICAL COVERAGE for five fucking years. I had to be my own doctor, pretty much, and when I had the heart attacks, I had to rely on the ER.

When I finally got my disability approved, and I got my back pay benefits, I spent it. I bought things. I went on a couple of trips. I entertained my friends. I wanted to save to buy a house, but it never happened. My credit was so sucky that I couldn't get pre-approved for a house loan, and with the monthly fixed income, I guess I wasn't a good prospect, anyhow.

Poverty? Yeah, I have been there, and I'm still there. I left SoCal because they raised my rent at the apartments--where I'd been for 12 years--from $850 to $1100, for a SINGLE bedroom piece of shit. But trying to move was worse--two months in advance most of the time, plus a security equal to another month's rent.

It's impossible for most people to live like that--or like this, let's fact it. A little over 14K a year is supposed to keep me alive, but thank goodness it's only me. My dad made no more than $24K in any given year of his life, and often worked two jobs just to make that. But rents were lower then, and houses were cheaper, and food was affordable. And my mom worked too. We didn't live any extravagant lifestyle, but a family of six--two adults and four kids--made what we had needed. Never owned a house--could never get a downpayment. A new car was out of the question--used only, and thankfully we had friends who worked on cars to save a little on mechanical work. No prestigious schools--public schools all the way. The only "vacation" was to go to my grandparents in Nova Scotia where we were able to go without an major expenses for two months a year.

Poverty can be perceived in so many different ways. I once accused a fundie I knew of never knowing what true poverty was, and she tried to counter it by saying when she and her husband first were married, they had to live in a dirty apartment. Her father is a doctor, and she an only child, so guess what? She had no idea.

But it really doesn't matter. We were happy kids. A trip to McDonalds was a joy--a trip to a Dairy Queen was divine. We lived in the streets of Boston and Brookline, and had imaginations, innocence and no idea of what it was like to have more than what we had. So when I had money a few times in my life, I spent it. Some scolded me and say I should have saved it. Saved it? For what? To a poor person, money in the bank isn't security, it's potentialities waiting to happen. It's that new book you want to buy or a video you can't wait to see, or a slightly nicer monitor than the 15" one you have had for five years which is getting darker and more blurry every day. It's the essence of "what ifs" that are just waiting out there.

I don't think I could ever have a lot of money, because money in and of itself means nothing to me. It's simply a means to an end, and if I can't have that "end" it probably wasn't very important anyhow.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 12:56 AM
Response to Original message
174. $80,000/yr is poor compared to $150,000/hr
(former Exxon CEO)

Methinks 80,000/yr means you still got to work in order to maintain your standard of living. You can call it rich, but there are others who are also called rich who don't have to work to maintain their standard of living - while that standard of living includes private jets and $1000 meals.

"Rich" and "poor"; two or even three categories of income is way to limited, given that the ratio between lowest and highest income is in the order of magnitude of 10,000 to 100,000.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 01:57 AM
Response to Original message
179. True, however--
In a few very high cost of living areas, that can be borderline poor (not real poverty, just skating on thin ice). People may or may not be able to move to cheaper areas in those cases.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
entanglement Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 03:22 AM
Response to Original message
188. Considering that the MEDIAN household income is only $43k or so,
it is absurd to call $80,000 per year 'poor'. In fact, these people are in the top 20% or thereabouts, so by their definition at least 80% of the US is poor. :eyes:

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
GreenTea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 03:38 AM
Response to Original message
189. We are ALL working class bros & sis....
Edited on Sun Sep-17-06 03:42 AM by GreenTea
And to divide, because one make more than you...leads where?

12k is supposed to resent one who makes 20k a year and the 20k should not accept those who make 50k - as not understanding...Is there really a cut off point?

Isn't the enemy the fascist corporations, who want to enslave us ALL for more profits...

If one has a degree and makes more, can they still not see and feel what is being done to all of us?

I think dividing points are what the fascist count on, because they see themselves as unreachable, untouchable and obviously deserving...so we take our frustration out among ourselves.

Not unlike blaming people on social programs as having it so good, yet no one would trade places...while the real corporate welfare (subsidies) go unnoticed, protected, accepted & considered necessary?

And we are pointing fingers, as unions, the ONLY representation for worker is being destroyed and perhaps being outlawed.

Divide and conquer! The tactics of the ruling class for centuries.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Broken_Hero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-17-06 06:53 AM
Response to Original message
192. Locking
Thread has become inflammatory

petersond
DU Moderator
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Jul 23rd 2014, 04:46 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC