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View Diary: Mitt Romney: Reduce taxes on middle-income people. You know, the ones making $250,000 (162 comments)

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  •  has the president ever said what he considers (6+ / 0-)

    the top end of the middle class?

    Just what is the top end of the middle class?  I'm in that $200k range for a family of 5 and I certainly don't feel rich, or even upper middle class.  We don't have a BMW or Mercedes, vacation in Europe, or live in a McMansion.

    My wife is a Nurse and I teach people to use Ultrasound....when did we suddenly become "rich".

    We aren't suffering like many, but we aren't living large either.

    •  well you are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PsychoSavannah, Janet 707

      "rich", whether you "feel" like it or not.

      •  Standards of living are different. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        historys mysteries, mattc129

        Most likely, Fall line lives in a relatively expensive one. May also have extensive school debts.

        •  so what? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Janet 707, JustinBinFL

          if he chooses to spend his money on living in a particular place and on expensive schools, that in no way changes that he's rich.

          a person isn't non-rich because they spend their money on stuff that other people don't spend money on.

          •  Doesn't quite work like that... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            historys mysteries

            Most jobs also pay more for the same work in areas with a high standard of living; if he or she lives in such a place, they might get significantly less money doing the same job in a place with lower standard of living. Student loans aren't a vanity purchase either.

            There is a reason that President Obama draws his line at 250k+, and not 150k+.

          •  I use a different measure (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fall line, mattc129

            though I'd love to see a few diferent measures applied here. Maybe someone has handier access to the stats?

            Anyhow, to me, Fall line has a high-paying job. Losing that job would likely have a rapid effect on his standard of living. That may be "well-off", but it isn't "rich" as I use the term. To me, "rich" means you can maintain the standard of living you desire without a paycheck; i.e., your income is derived from dividends, capital gains, &c. Most people who fall into that category earn a whale of a lot more than people with paychecks, even high-salary paychecks.

            So what percentile is $250,000/year anyway? is it literally the threshold of the 1%?

            into the blue again, after the money's gone

            by Prof Haley on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 12:39:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  see my comment above (0+ / 0-)

              under your definition, a person making a billion dollars a year is not rich if they are spending it all rather than saving it to make even more off of it.

              you are entitled to your own definition, of course, but strongly disagree.

            •  Prof Haley - the start of the top 1% is just under (0+ / 0-)

              $400,000/yr which is a lot more than $200,000-250,000.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 02:07:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  100% agree (0+ / 0-)

              I live alone in a well-to-do Brooklyn neighborhood, and as a single, 25 year old guy, I do very well for my age, but it is NYC after all. I can't spend unlimited money and certainly have and stick to a budget, but my "don't look" purchases are at the grocery store and concert tickets for upcoming bands. If I spend $50 this week on groceries but $70 the next week, I lucky enough that I don't care.

              I think people's "don't look" categories vary by wealth. I still consider prices when going out to eat; to me, rich is literally not looking at the bill. I still look at the bill.

              There is a huge disconnect here, albeit warranted at times, with regional wealth. Yes, I don't feel pity for bankers whose bonuses are "less" and thus can't afford a live in nanny. But sometimes it really is hard for non-city Kossacks to understand the purchasing power of $200k in a top 5 city, especially if you have a family, is simply not as much as Mitt Romney buying whatever he wants.

          •  expensive schools? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mconvente, VClib, mattc129

            My kids go to public school.  

            I'm not complaining about my income.  I know I have it easier than most when it comes to paying my bills and putting food on the table.  I also have the ability to save for my kids college education and my retirement...something that many cannot do any more. So yeah, I know I have it good.

            My point in my comment above is that those of us at the upper end of the middle class pay a very high marginal tax rate as compared to the real rich (the ones who make their money not from wages and salary, but from capital gains).  I don't think it is fair to lump us in with the guys at the very top who are making Fuck You money.

            How do I define the rich?  Rich is not having to care how much a car costs, or the cost of gas.  Rich is not caring how much health insurance costs, or the yearly tuition at Stanford.  Rich is being able to send your kids to private school without a thought, or going blowing $1000 at French Laundry and considering it just a nice dinner.

            There is no reason to vilify those of us in the 200 to 250k range, we pay our fair share of taxes.  The guys that need to pay more are the ones making $1m or more a year...that's the real rich.  

            •  I was responding (0+ / 0-)

              to somebody saying that you probably paid a bunch for schools.

              and if you are making $200,000, there's no way you should have any problems whatsoever owning a car. go get one for 15k and be done with it.

              I'm NOT "villifying" somebody making more than $200k. they are rich though.

              I'm really not sure what it is that you spend your money on, but at $200k, you are buying better or more stuff or saving a lot more than the vast majority of families can afford. that makes you rich, whether you enjoy those things or not.

              •  And this is the problem (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib, mattc129

                because you think we're rich you don't think we have the same worries and concerns that you do.  We still worry about keeping our job.  We still worry about providing for our retirement.  We still worry about our public schools and our public school teachers.  We still worry about paying for our kids college.  We still worry about the student debt bubble.

                I don't have a new car because we don't need a new car...and I would rather put that money away so my kids can graduate college debt free.

                And that's another problem...with as much money as my family earns, and how much we pay in taxes, I shouldn't have to save the majority of my paycheck just to make sure I won't lose my house if I lose my job, Or to make sure my kids can go to college debt free, or to make sure I won't have to declare bankruptcy if I or my wife gets ill.

                Being rich means you don't have to worry about any of the above.

                •  i never said you don't have worries (0+ / 0-)

                  I think bill freakin gates has worries.

                  there is a hiarchy of needs, but that doesn't keep nearly everybody from worrying.

                  good for you to spend your wealth on your kids. very laudable. I'm sure there are lots of people who are not rich would would love to do the same thing but can't.  but that is a choice for you, because you make so much. it's not a choice for many, even most, people. having a big family is your choice. owning a home big enough for a large family is a choice. all choices to spend lots and lots of money, and something many/most cannot do. that you stiock a way money because you wish to be able to maintain your lifestyle does not mean that you don't make more than most people.

                  take 4 "normal" (median-earning) families. you make 4x-5x that much. that's rich.

              •  You make a lot of assumptions (0+ / 0-)

                about how $200k income families of 5 should simply have no "problems whatsoever owning a car."

                I don't know what it costs in the Bay Area (probably more), but I pay $1500 for a 350 square foot STUDIO in Brooklyn, which is actually a little under market for my neighborhood. I fully acknowledge that I choose to live alone and could save with roommates.

                A family of 5 requires would be mildly comfortable with three bedrooms: couple, two children share a room, and 1 child gets the final room. No idea what that would cost in the Bay Area, but in NYC, a 3 bedroom apartment easily costs $4000-$5000 per month, if not more. Remember, I pay $1500 and I don't even have a real bedroom!

                Let's take the low end, $4000 x 12 = $48,000 per year just in rent. I don't know the effective tax rate of Fall line, but still you see how that adds up.

                So to just "have money for a car" assumes a lot about Fall line's family expenses that neither you nor I know anything about.

                •  it's (0+ / 0-)

                  a CHOICE to have a family of 5.
                  you don't get to make a choice to have a bunch of kids, and then claim that you are not rich because you spend a ton of your huge income on them. you are rich whether you choose to spend it on those choices or other choices.

                  and just to show how BS your point is, the median household income is about $50k/year. if a person can pay about $50k year just in rent, then they are choosing to spend about the median income to live somewhere that most people cannot live. do you understand that?

                  I might as well say that Romney isn't rich because he spends so much money on his car elevators. sorry, but it's a choice. you don't stop being rich because you spend it all on stuff other people can't buy.

                  •  High salaries are typically attached to big cities (0+ / 0-)

                    So, his family would likely not make $200k per year in, say Kansas City where the cost of living is far less. Therefore, it's sorta relative.

                    Yes, having 3 children is a choice. But placement because of jobs is often not a choice.

                    As I've said in other comments above, rich to me means not having to worry about anything or can live off their liquid assets without a care in the world. I would place Fall Line's situation as having a high paying job, a job which affords his family luxuries that many others cannot obtain. But it's a far cry from being a millionnaire.

                    Also, I think age is a huge factor in associating oneself as rich. I'm 25, and if you gave me $1 million dollars, no strings attached, I would not feel rich because I would not be able to live off that for the rest of my life. I'd have a tremendous head start to invest, buy property, save for future kids' college, but you'd be naive to think someone can live the rest of their life off $1 million if they acquire it at 25.

                    •  arrgg, (0+ / 0-)

                      repeating myself too much.

                      i know big families in the Bay Area that make median wage and live somehow. they don't live in the same place or have as much room as somebody making $200k. somebody spending that money on children and housing IS CHOOSING TO SPEND THEIR MONEY THAT WAY RATHER THAN BUYING EXPENSIVE TRIPS. THEY ARE NO LESS RICH BECAUSE THEY SPEND IT DIFFERENTLY.

                      i'm getting really sick of this "yes, we buy stuff the vast majority of Americans can;t...but because we spend it, we aren't rich. what an "let them eat cake" attitude.

            •  To me rich is not flying commercial airlines (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fall line, mattc129

              People who are actually rich don't fly on United, and arrive two hours early, and go through TSA security, or are limited to bags that weigh 50 lbs or less.  They fly on planes they own, lease or rent. The plane leaves at their convenience.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 02:10:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  we don't feel rich either (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      i commented on that further down thread.  we're not poor but we don't live the high life.

      I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

      by blue drop on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 12:11:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you're in the $200k range, you're rich. (0+ / 0-)

      To put it in perspective, your household is (well) inside the top 10% of income earners. If that isn't rich, nothing is, because "rich" is meaningless.

      If you aren't living large, my guess is you're saving a lot or paying on a lot of debt (in the form of student loans or high mortgage payments or both, and possibly credit and other unsecured debt).

      •  The only debt I have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mattc129

        Is my mortgage.  To put that in perspective, I paid more in federal taxes last year than I paid in mortgage payments.

        We own one car..it is a 9 year old Honda.

        Your right, we do save quite a bit.  I figure it is my responsibility to fully fund my retirement and my kids education.  My wife and I make enough that I shouldn't have to depend on anyone else to pay for my kids to go to college.

        That's just me though.

        •  And that means you are rich, because (0+ / 0-)

          the vast majority of Americans don't have the luxury of being able to save anything approaching a sufficient amount of money to be self sufficient in retirement.

          It isn't "just you," though. You and I are with 10% of Americans. We are both rich. Although you are wealthier than my family. My wife and I pull in $140,000 or thereabouts, combined.

          •  You think you're rich? (0+ / 0-)

            Do you think you should be lumped in with Romney and Koch...they're rich too.

            •  Relative to the vast majority of Americans, yes (0+ / 0-)

              we are rich. Some might prefer "affluent" since (guessing this applies to you) we would not be able to go indefinitely without work if we lost our jobs, but I think that is effectively a distinction without difference and conflates income security with income utility.

              Lumping us in with Romney or the Koch's seems a bit bizarre to me. They're much much further above us than we are above everybody else on the income level.

          •  I'm 25, live alone, and still save, yet (0+ / 0-)

            my income is still in 5 figures. Does that make me rich? Ability to save is a pretty skewed metric for classifying someone as rich. You could save $50 per month and not be rich. The saving amount is the key metric, not simply ability to save.

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