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View Diary: Deal-haters, here's what I don't understand (UPDATED x3) (392 comments)

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  •  When did having nearly $1/2 millon / year income (47+ / 0-)

    ...become MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS???

    For that matter, when did $1/4 million / year income become MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS???

    I am really tired of the faux San Francisco / Manhattan / Boston oh-woe-is-me-my-family-only-makes-six-plus-figures argument.

    My rant has nothing to do with whatever number is eventually settled on for permanently extending MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS tax cuts.  My rant is about what's considered MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS.

    If you're making $1/4 million per year, and you're not getting along quite, quite well, you really need to take a hard look at your life choices and understand the difference between "wants" and "needs".  You are not MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS or even UPPER MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS at this income level, you are upper class.  Period.  End of discussion.

    Sorry, just had to get that off my chest.

    "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

    by Richard Cranium on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:02:24 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  if $450K is the new "middle class..." (29+ / 0-)

      Shouldn't ALL of that income be subject to FICA?

      Why hasn't there been ANY discussion of raising the FICA cap, now that Obama wants to "tweak" Social Security?

      -8.88, -9.59 In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. -Tenzin Gyatso, H.H. the Dalai Lama

      by BobSoperJr on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:08:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  thank you! (6+ / 0-)

      middle class for a family of 4 is certainly less than $100,000 even today:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      These are the numbers we need to start talking about to be serious in the affairs of the nation.

    •  Excellent Point! Isn't it interesting how (7+ / 0-)

      "geographical location" almost never comes into play, regarding government benefits 'for the poor.'

      IOW, it doesn't matter where you live, when determining the monetary amount you qualify for in food stamp program.  

      From what I understand, what you receive depends on 1) your income, and 2) the numbers of dependents you have [and that was restricted as great deal, years ago].

      It is shocking that so-called progressives rarely raise their voices to this nonsense!!!

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:19:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not so much. Most benefits are set state-by-state. (3+ / 0-)

        Including the degree of poverty one must be in to qualify for them. That's even true for Medicaid benefits, which I think is deplorable. Shows what "states' rights" will get us.
        SSI benefits are the only federal ones that I can think of that are not contingent on one's state of residence.
        I am certain someone will correct me if I am mistaken, and I will watch for that.
        Lest I be misinterpreted, I'd like to make it explicit that I think all so-called poverty programs in the U.S. are far below an adequate level, and that there should be adjustments in multiple arenas to bring everyone up to a reasonable, healthful, sustainable income (which would be at least 200% of the current official poverty level, and probably more).

        Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

        by peregrine kate on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:53:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I'll see if I can locate (2+ / 0-)

          the video from C-span's Washington Journal call-in show, with a representative from the federal SNAP program.  The episode was filmed several years ago, and the SNAP representative indicated that the SNAP program was based on federal guidelines, to the best of my recollection.

          Now, the TANF Program (what is the so-called "welfare benefit" of days gone by, IS a "state-based" benefit, so to speak.  [TANF is the "cash assistance program," which is virtually nonexistent in many states, because level of benefits offered is left up to the states, in regard not only to the amount of the benefit, but "who" qualifies, with only very loose federal guidelines.]

          And, regarding SSI, there is a "federal" SSI program, and SOME, BUT FEW STATES offer a "state-funded" SSI benefit.  The state I reside in does not, but a handful of states offer an additional state-funded SSI benefit.

          I don't claim to be expert on any of these programs.

          However, I try to be accurate.  So thanks for raising a question about SNAP.  If I can't find the C-Span video, I'll try to clarify your points using another resource.

          Certainly, if it is a "state-based" benefit, and I misspoke, I stand corrected.  And I will correct my post, to the best of my ability.

          Thanks again.

          “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:53:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Looks like you are right re SNAP; (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Phoenix Woman

            here's the federal webpage on eligibility requirements.
            There must be some sort of monitoring relative to the purchasing power of SNAP funds in different states, but in any case I'd be confident in saying that the level of assistance provided is not sufficient no matter how low the cost of living in any given state. (To say nothing of the problems of food deserts, etc., in poverty-stricken areas, urban or rural.)
            So yes, you are quite right in your original comment. I took it to be a more global statement than it was--regarding government benefits for the poor--rather than as being limited to the so-called food stamp program.

            Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

            by peregrine kate on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:13:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you for checking this out, peregrine kate. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Phoenix Woman

              I needed to finish up on another thread, before I searched for the video.  

              So far, I haven't located it, but sometimes it takes a while to locate very old videos.  I'll post it in this thread, if I can find it, 'cause it really was fairly informative, especially for a call-in format.  The SNAP program speaker was really articulate and focused.

              Anyway, you are spot on that "but in any case I'd be confident in saying that the level of assistance provided is not sufficient no matter how low the cost of living in any given state."

              “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

              by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:26:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  ROFL......Loved that one Richard !!! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glorificus, Actbriniel

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:22:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even worse (4+ / 0-)

      That $400k, and even the $250k, refer to AGI. So, the reality is that these folks are making significantly more than that.

      It's ridiculous.

    •  I live in Manhattan and I agree. (4+ / 0-)

      If you cant make it on $250k per year, there's something wrong in your life.

    •  Sounds like a lot, but it's not... (8+ / 0-)

      I'm the first to admit I'm lucky. My husband and I make a good living and we're able to provide for our family, but I resent the notion that our choices are the results of "wants" and not "needs." Let me explain... My husband and I both quit our teaching jobs about 15 years ago to go to graduate school--he became a doctor and I am now a professor. So, yes, we chose to go to graduate school and we took out signficant loans to do so. We are STILL paying for our student loans--should we not have dreamed for graduate degrees--is that a "want," or a "need?" And why does Mitt Romney's version of a "need" become a "want" when it's people like us? Why should a graduate degree be seen as a luxury--everyone should have the choice to get a graduate degree--wouldn't you agree?  So, with over $100,000 left in student loans, our so-called high salaries are not all that. I still teach--which is a nothing salary, even though I have a Ph.D. He gets more, but because he chose to treat getriatrics patients, he gets FAR LESS than you'd think a big-time cardiologist or neurologist would. He's an internist whose ENTIRE patient-load is on Medicare--which already paid less than other insurance companies and he's now going to get a 30% pay cut from those patients. So, a good doctor, great at his job, will probably have to stop treating the elderly because of this Medicare crappy deal. Was he wrong to want to work with these patients? He's the ONLY board-certified geriatrician in the county--a rural county in Kansas. They will have NO ONE if he quits. They'll piece together family practice docs to fill the gap, but he is specially trained to deal with their needs and their families, but we can't afford to take a 30% pay cut and still keep paying our bills.  We also have a daughter who was born missing several permanent teeth--just about all on the top of her mouth, requiring over $50,000 in dental work--implants are a FORTUNE!! We're lucky that we could figure out how to cover these expenses, but we had to take out two loans to do it. We are still paying for that. Are her teeth a "want" or a "need" in your book? We kind of thought the kid would need to eat and chew her food! This same kid is now in college herself, so we're paying for her to attend state school--are we wrong to think of this as a "need?" She's not in private school. We couldn't afford it. So, give me a break! Again, I'm lucky that we could at least scrape up the money to help her and that we can take care of our family, but I'm sick and tired of people thinking that just because we worked our asses off and have a decent living, that we haven't (AND DON'T CONTINUE) to pay our fair share--and P.S. WE'RE WILLING TO PAY MORE!!!! We lived on NOTHING during graduate school--drove raggedy cars and sold our old clothes to make money. We were extremely poor, so I get it. But we are not the Romney's or the truly wealthy. My husband cannot afford to pay the taxes for his medical practice this year! He can barely afford to hire a nurse practitioner to help, and again, his patients will now be paying him 30% less than the lousy Medicare payments they were paying.

      We are just on the other side of $250,000, and again, we are lucky, but that goes fast when you have student loans, a MODEST mortgage (Kansas is relatively cheap), medical expenses, college tuition, etc. You and I on the same side, and we were and are willing to pay more, but don't paint everyone in this tax-bracket with the same, broad brush. Everyone is just trying to make it...

      Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed...

      by langstonhughesfan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:16:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No - you've made choices (5+ / 0-)

        With the exception of your child's medical condition you made conscious choices. And it's not for me to (nor will I) judge those choices.

        Your income is NOT middle class, despite your expenses.

        "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

        by Richard Cranium on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:56:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your original post was quite judgmental... And I (5+ / 0-)

          don't care what economic class I'm assigned to--the point is that you shouldn't make assumptions about anyone in any class--which you did. I never said I was middle class. I only said I'm trying to provide for my family like everybody else, and that I'm stilling to pay more than I already do. You just want to think that anybody making over $250K is somehow the enemy. We're not.

          Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed...

          by langstonhughesfan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:14:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  *still willing (0+ / 0-)

            Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed...

            by langstonhughesfan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:18:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are you sure your AGI is over 250K? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              itsbenj, Brooke In Seattle

              Even so, let's say your AGI is 260K, you'd only be paying extra tax on 10K worth of income and even at that the increased tax is only a few percentage points.

              It is ridiculous to think that someone with 250K of AGI is not wealthy.

              The agreed upon $400/450K is a joke.

              •  There's wealth, and then there's wealth... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Heart of the Rockies

                We're lucky. I have said that. And I have said we will pay whatever extra is required--all while seeing a 30% DECREASE in Medicare payments that doctors like my husband will now receive. But it's also ridiculous to think that people in our boat don't carry a lot of debt for any number of reasons that are not at all the result of high-flying and jet-set living. We are on a tight budget because we took out student loans to pursue graduate school. We don't live large by any stretch. We need a new roof as I type this. So, if we have to take the crap--and I mean CRAP--Medicare "doc fix" cut, I sure as hell don't want our taxes to go up too! The image of the rich doctor is a FANTASY! And it's pisses me off that fixing Medicare means reducing payments to doctors like my husband whose only patients are on Medicare. He may have to quit serving them and get a job working for The Man to pay off our student loans. Right now, he's a sole practitioner with a lot of taxes to pay. He doesn't make enough to get the Romney-style breaks, believe me!

                Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed...

                by langstonhughesfan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:47:37 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That Medicare decrease to your husband's (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sydneyluv, Brooke In Seattle

                  payment you keep mentioning IS NOT HAPPENING!

                  We also got the Medicare doc fix patched, so reimbursements don't get cut by 27%,
                  I would expect someone in the field to be much well better informed than you sound, seriously.  It's right up there linked on this diary.

                  Plus, you're arguing that $250,000 + in rural Kansas isn't much? Are you for real?
                  San Fran and NYC have some credibility on discussing how far $250,000 can go because of incredibly high rents, but Kansas?
                  RURAL Kansas?  Give me a break!

                  "...I just want you to know there are BILLIONS of us rooting for you..." Sir Paul McCartney

                  by eden4barack08 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:03:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, I am happy to be mistaken about the medicare (0+ / 0-)

                    doc fix, thank you for pointing it out, but this is an ongoing threat. But you are indeed correct that it's not happening and I was wrong to use it this time around in my argument--and more due diligence was required on my part. But to be more specific, my husband's practice treats patients in rural Kansas, but we live just outside of Kansas City--not in a rural community at all. I also said that our mortgage was reasonable, but we have other expenses (debt) because of graduate school and medical costs. I also pointed out numerous times that we are lucky and that we are willing to pay more. I'm not quite sure what else you expect? Give ME a break!!!

                    Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed...

                    by langstonhughesfan on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:13:38 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  langstonhughesfan, I hear you on the student loan (3+ / 0-)

            issue.  I had $100k to pay off at the end of residency training and the big consolidated loan took 10 years and cost $1600 per month.  I referred to it as my 2nd house payment--it was about the same amount.  

            Unfortunately, the talk of tax rates on earned income misses many factors that go towards whether a person or family unit is wealthy or not, like existing assets or indebtedness.  A trust fund baby who has use of a family beach home and jet but works part-time making $25k per year and only has to worry about purchasing their own food is not "wealthy" when only considering yearly earned income.

            •  The shadow of college loans (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              langstonhughesfan

              I have a graduate school room mate who took out huge loans to go through medical school.  She is still repaying them, and her oldest 2 children are now in college themselves.  She also sees hospital administrators and insurance executives making a lot more than she does, with a fraction of the training and responsibility.

        •  Blame game (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          langstonhughesfan

          If we start basing our discussion on life choices, we might be able to make a case that everyone near the poverty line is there because of bad life choices.  Even if that's true, I don't think any of us want to go there.

          I agree with langstonhughesfan's summation.

          don't paint everyone in this tax-bracket with the same, broad brush.
          Just as we shouldn't paint everyone in much lower tax brackets with the same broad brush, as the Republicans are wont to do (bad choices, lazy, etc.).
      •  You can definitely afford more (3+ / 0-)

        paragraphs. Hard to read without the paragraph breaks.

        The Fierce Urgency of Later

        by Faroutman on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:19:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What about the daughters born to people (0+ / 0-)

        on the other side of 250K?

        I am glad you could afford to give your daughter the best. I am glad you worked hard for your dreams. But you still get painted with the same brush, because you are still the same color. You think you deserve your daughter's health because of the choices you made, instead of thinking you deserve your daughter's health because you're human beings. And as long as you think that, you're the same color as them: green.

      •  Doesn't the "deal" include... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sewaneepat, langstonhughesfan

        ...a Medicare doc fix?

    •  When income inequity became such a huge problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sydneyluv, Heart of the Rockies

      in this country that the purchasing power of 1/4 million per year income dropped.

      Note, this is not an argument for saying that tax rates at this level should not go up. I believe they can can and should. But it is arguing that the class terms should have some sort of meaning outside of raw percentages because those percentages will never change. There will always be an upper 10%, an upper 25%, and upper 1%, a lower 10% etc. It is very important to look at the gaps between and how they change over time because that is where the income inequity, IMHO, becomes very visible.

      So I think the top 5% to top 2% range (or top 10%, whatever) and really even the bottom of the 1% range are upper middle class. They're comfortable, but the upper middle class should be comfortable. The middle class should be comfortable. In a healthy country, the entire range of the middle class should reasonably be able to own a home, support children, not worry about how to afford sending kids to a college of their choice, not worry about a short-term medical issue, afford vacations. People should not be worrying about paying off student debt through their 50s, being bankrupted by an accident or medical issue, how to afford childcare, etc.

      To me, to be meaningful upper class, an income needs to be able to provide more than a comfortable living. It needs to provide a degree of excess. And I think it's important that we are all aware of how very few people in this country currently even make a comfortable living all so that the slim percentage of people making excess continue to make buy-political-offices degree of excess.

      Again, that's not to say that anyone should be crying for or worry about those in the comfortable range or that tax rates shouldn't be raised on them. It's just to say let's not lose sight of how bad income inequity is and that pretty much anyone who has a non-executive level job is on the butt end of that stick.

    •  I live in the SF Bay area and I agree... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phoebesdatter, Brooke In Seattle

      ...with you.

      The meme that's been flying around the media the last few days about $250K being "not that much" in CA and NY is total BS.

      I'm in the East Bay, not SF proper but, I'm a (single) technical professional with 20+ years in my industry, own a home (with mortgage), and my AGI is roughly half the $200K figure that is being bandied about.  I'd be swimming in cash like Scrooge McDuck if my AGI was actually in the $200K range.

      This seemed like a deliberate effort in the media to conflate income with wealth and also to confuse gross earnings with AGI or below-the-line earnings.

      Anyone who makes $250,000 to $450,000 in net income next year, after deductions (individual/family) or after expenses (business) will be doing really, really well -- even here.  That's not "middle class" let alone "working class".  Let's call it "executive class" or "ownership class".  Yes, housing is the highest expense here, but there is a wide distribution of options, even within SF (the city) proper, so I don't have much sympathy for the top 2%, of which I am nearer to being a member than the vast majority of workers in the Bay Area.  I am blessed and have no problem paying for the infrastructure and expenses that are part of living in a civil society.

      By not capturing a more progressive tax on those who are, let's call them comfortably wealthy vs. uber-wealthy, we simply set ourselves up for more revenue shortfall and more demand on the working class to "give back a little more" on "entitlements".  We need a broad distribution of taxation, progressive across mid- to upper- incomes as the math otherwise doesn't work.  

      (If you taxed the ultra-uber-incomes at 100% there wouldn't be enough of them to bring in the revenue needed, but they certainly should be generously taxed.)

      It's the band of incomes between the middle and the "uber-" where a modest progressive rate will do the most good in recovering the revenues foregone in the past decade and I'm sorry but I can't define $400K net per year as "middle".

      Bringing the actual corporate tax revenue inline with supposed rates (close the loopholes) and bringing military spending down to earth would certainly help too.

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