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View Diary: Piss-Poor Americans - 50% of Us Earn LESS than $26.5K a year - TRICKLE UP POVERTY (158 comments)

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  •  It freaks me out that my income (10+ / 0-)

    is apparently in the top 15%, and yet we struggle.  No kids, very affordable mortgage, student loans ALMOST paid off, driving old cars and wearing thrift-store clothes, and yet we STILL can hardly save a dime.  Something always eats up any sum we lay aside -- plumbing, vet bills, every few years a week's vacation out of state.  

    Okay, we eat out more often than did my parents generation.  And we choose to buy fancy organic groceries.  

    But I just don't know how people get by.  No wonder credit-card debt sneaks up on them.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 08:15:51 AM PDT

    •  Are you the only earner? (6+ / 0-)

      The caveat to the data in the diary is that it's personal income, not the more commonly analyzed family income. If your personal income is all you have for a couple (my current situation, for example), then you wouldn't be anywhere near the top 15%, since most couples are double wage earners.

      With every goddess a let down, every idol a bring down, it gets you down / but the search for perfection, your own predilection, goes on and on and on. . .

      by cardinal on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 08:25:01 AM PDT

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      •  The other caveat is... (5+ / 0-)

        ...that it includes those who are part time and want to be -- for example, a student who is working a few hours a week to get some extra spending money while still being (mostly) supported by parents.  Consequently, this data makes the income distribution look a little worse than it actually is.

        Not that the real situation isn't pretty dire.  As I recall, the average hourly wage in the US is somewhere around $18/hour.  On a full time basis, that works out to a little over $37k/year.

        Not an amount that I'd classify as supporting a life of ease and luxury.  And it assumes a full 40 hour week -- cut it back to 35 hours or 30 hours, as has happened for many, and you're talking about an income of around $30k/year.

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 08:50:56 AM PDT

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        •  Additionally where you live (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          War on Error, TexasTom

          also makes a huge difference in how far your money will go.  Lot's of top 20%ers feel downright poor or at least constantly stressed in the DC area; in another part of the country it would be a high salary.  It's really in the top 1 or even 0.1% of the distribution curve that the huge inequalities are present.

          Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

          by barbwires on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 02:31:13 PM PDT

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          •  Nonetheless... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            barbwires

            ...I think it is important for those of us who are in the top 20% to keep the perspective of remembering that we're well off compared to the other 80% -- at least from a financial perspective.  If it's stressful for folks at the bottom of the top 20% in DC, imagine what it's like for those in the bottom half...and DC still has plenty of poor people.

            That said, I agree that it's also important to remember that the real wealth and power is concentrated in a very narrow sliver at the top -- after all, if you're in the 98th percentile, you're probably still dependent on your labor for most of your income...whether that is as a well-paid wage earner, or as a self-employed professional.  

            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

            by TexasTom on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 06:40:45 PM PDT

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            •  I agree completely (0+ / 0-)

              and having grown up and lived for quite a long time in the bottom 20% I have a lot of empathy for people who have less.  And I try to do what I can to help those who need it, and don't begrudge the portion of my taxes that actually are used to help the disabled, the jobless, and the very young and old among us.

              Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

              by barbwires on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 11:59:55 AM PDT

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            •  98%, not so sure (0+ / 0-)

              but definitely at 95.

              "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

              by lgmcp on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 10:00:03 PM PDT

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      •  Median Family Income in America = $42K ish (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ilex, MissInformation, Desert Rose

        It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

        by War on Error on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 08:54:32 AM PDT

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      •  We hit near-top-ten stats (0+ / 0-)

        by couple OR as individuals (both professionals with graduate degrees).  Yet (what with both being wives) neigher are we above the middle earnings in our respective fields.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 09:59:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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