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  •  the people i know who make 400,000 arent 'rich' (5+ / 0-)

    the people I know who make 40 Million are.

    but I live in a state that has a higher income level then many other states... so my view of wealth is skewed

    I fall into neither of those categories...  dont even come close so I am poor by comparison...  but I might not be so poor if I lived elsewhere in the country but if I did live elsewhere my family income would probably be less since people are paid less for the same kind of work in other states

    relativity is a bitch... especially when talking about Money

    "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

    by KnotIookin on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:25:25 AM PST

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    •  How would they feel if they had to get by (21+ / 0-)

      with $350,000 less in income?  Would they still feel "middle class''?  I don't do math, but I don't recall the 98th percentile being in the middle.  But maybe this is new math.  I never understood that.  

      •  if people who are "well off" had to live on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mommyof3, misslegalbeagle

        a lot LESS they would be broke.   if I had to live on a lot less I would be totally broke too.  relativity :)

        its not new math... its the same OLD math.  most people live within their means... some have more means to live within then others and in some areas of our nation it takes MORE means to live simply then in others.

        someone making 400 thou drives a better car, has a nice home, goes to more expensive restaurants, buys at higher end stores and has a higher income nut to crack to break even...  they count dollars while I count pennies but, in my area of the country, neither of us is considered RICH

        "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

        by KnotIookin on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:56:08 AM PST

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        •  Would you consider $3 million a year rich? nt (5+ / 0-)
          •  3 mill is rich, even in NYC BBB /nt (0+ / 0-)

            "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

            by KnotIookin on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:49:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, one could argue that it isn't. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, liberaldemdave, priceman, wsexson

              I mean, you can make $3 million in NYC and make a fair claim to being middle class. That is if you accept the relativist viewpoint.

              •  Three mil anywhere in America is wealthy (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ferg, qmj23

                LA, NYC, DC or wherever. It's wealthy.

                Only in some alternative universe would that be considered "middle class." By definition, even in relative terms.

                If a person makes 101K or more, they're already in the top 20%. That puts them above the middle class. If you're making more than 80% of the country, you can't be in the middle.

                And a lot of people exaggerate the difference in cost of living between cities and towns. I've lived in wealthy metro areas and relatively poor, semi-rural areas. The cost of living, aside from real estate, is not that different. In fact, certain things, like health care, actually cost more in rural America. The costs for cancer treatments, for instance, are higher than they would be in most metro areas.

                People in the big cities have access to a wider variety of consumer choices, including discounts. Again, about the only thing they can't break free of is real estate cost, and they can get all of that back once they downsize and move to a less costly area.

                As in, someone with a million dollar house in Big City X can move to a more rural area and pay cash for a home. Own it outright. The reverse can't be done. And then, most other expenses are about the same.

              •  I'm listening to (0+ / 0-)

                Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ while reading this discussion. It somehow makes the whole thing better.

                if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:40:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know..... (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron, 3goldens, Chi, MaikeH, priceman

          I live in Maryland and most folks that earn that much money a year are kind of rich because they have more assets. Wealth is not based solely on income as else Mitt Romney wouldn't be nearly as rich as he is. When you have a higher income, most people manage to invest enough of it to become richer. Yeah some dumbos will spend it all, but most don't. All that stuff they buy that you and I can't afford adds to their wealth. So I do consider them rich for the most part.

        •  Then I don't believe you do math either (7+ / 0-)

          I mean at what percentile do you put rich?  OK, affluent is a nice word if you don't like rich.   But middle class they are not unless you think someone in the bottom 3% is middle class.  Sorry, but the department head doesn't socialize with his admin.  The physician doesn't socialize with the nurse's aide.  The partner doesn't socialize with the legal secretary.  

          And I don't buy the your part of the country thing either.  That old lady in the Bronx has to get by on less than $20K in Social Security.  I can direct you a gated community in Iowa where you might want to earn $400K before you apply for your mortgage but that doesn't mean you have to live there.  

          That my area of the country thing is so darn elitist.  I need to live where people are rich so by definition it is only fair that I should be rich too.  Hello!  Only people raised in affluent suburbs and who feel entitled to remain there regardless of effort really believe that.  You live where you can afford to live and if you aren't earning in the top 2% or so you can't afford to live some places.  Sheesh, I have cousins in Manhattan and La Jolla.  I'd like to have a home in both places.  That would be even better.  I can't afford it.  Doesn't mean I deserve a tax break so I can have both.

        •  If you make $400k anywhere and don't feel rich (23+ / 0-)

          you're spending too much.

          Places like New York the California coast are full of opportunities to spend money.  But a level of spending that chews through $400K and leaves you counting your dollars is not required.  It's a choice.  

          •  people who make 400 thou dont spend like they (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            misslegalbeagle

            make 50 thou.,,and why should they?  people who make 50 thou should not spend like they make 400 thou either :)

            "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

            by KnotIookin on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:50:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chuckvw, JesseCW, wsexson

              if someone making 400k lost 75% of their income, they would be fine; sad maybe, but fine, even in NYC (I lived happily in NYC for years on considerably less).

            •  of course not (7+ / 0-)

              but it is really silly to say that somebody isn't "rich" just because they spend most of their huge income on stuff that most people can't afford.

            •  Maybe not... (3+ / 0-)

              People who make $400k shouldn't feel obliged to spend like they make $50k...but if they're smart they will spend like they make, say, $200 to $300k, allowing for substantial savings.

              In addition, if they're smart they might want to arrange their spending such that they can cut back if needed.

              And they certainly shouldn't expect a lot of sympathy over their "tight finances" from people who make less than a quarter of what they do.  Over the course of the debate over marginal tax rates, I've seen far too many whining articles on how tough it is to get by on "only $250k/300k/400k/whatever".  And there are few things more annoying than listening to a bunch of whining from people who are too dense to understand that they're doing better than 98% of the population...

              Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

              by TexasTom on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 11:57:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Very true. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            schnecke21

            I live on a very modest salary, and fit my spending into that. I grew up in a much richer area, near the top in affluence for the nation, and could not afford to live there on what I make now. But if I were making 400K in any Big City, I could easily adjust and downsize my spending, other than real estate. I would then have tons of money to spare.

            Typically, real estate is the one item that can't be solved by smart consumer choices and less conspicuous consumption. Real estate prices are what they are . . . and they're much higher in most metro areas.

            But, you can buy a nice Honda or Ford instead of a BMW and save a fortune. You can find nice restaurants that charge $20 a meal, instead of $75. You can buy groceries and clothes at Costco for a fraction of what you might spend at high-dollar stores.

            All kinds of ways to stretch your dollars. Anyone who feels up against it while making 400K needs to tone down their consumption. They really don't have a right to complain.

          •  the real estate con job makes this a bit worse (0+ / 0-)

            and more difficult.  Like I said, I'm not totally without sympathy.  The upper middle class is going to get taken down by the .01% too.  But they're not middle class.

            if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:41:26 PM PST

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        •  The problem is there's no level between (3+ / 0-)

          "middle class" and "rich" other than "upper middle class".  If you earn $250k/year, you're well off, but I suspect your spending habits have more in common with someone making $80k/year, than someone earning $1 million per year (or even than someone earning $500k/year).

          Don't get me wrong - I'd favor a limit of keeping the Bush tax cuts that's lower than $200k - more like $150k, or even lower.  I just don't think $250k is "rich", which seems to make it "upper middle class" for lack of a better label.

        •  so what? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw, wsexson, schnecke21
          "someone making 400 thou drives a better car, has a nice home, goes to more expensive restaurants, buys at higher end stores and has a higher income nut to crack to break even...  they count dollars while I count pennies but, in my area of the country, neither of us is considered RICH"
          you are basically saying that somebody who makes a ton of money, but spends most of it on luxuries, isn't rich....because they spend it on luxuries.

          how does that make any sense at all?

        •  What utter nonsense (3+ / 0-)

          We lived in San Fransisco in the 80's-90's and both had good paying corporate techie jobs. We were in that city the working poor. We could not  find decent affordable rental housing couldn't even qualify to buy a house. The cost of living was to the BMW I've got mine screw you crowd. The rest of us were peons or philistines as I was called in a local eatery that got taken over by the yuppies.  

          We moved and sure we make less in OR but can live on less. We bought a house in the early 90's before the CA greed head mentality started here. Nowadays we could not afford to buy a house on our block Why should the real middle class those who are working hard suffer to support an economy that is only geared to the wealthy. This is the heart of the matter and it's acerbated in places like NY city or SF.

          Talk about income inequity. If the economy only exists to serve the people who 'win the race' and create wealth the rest of the people, the majority the real middle, are required to sacrifice a decent life even though we work. The working poor are required  to keep the rich, wealthy and dying with the most toys. People need an economy that enables them to live decently put food on the table, support their families and live decently within their means. The disparity between ordinary people's incomes and those who make over 250,000 a year is obscene and extremely anti-democratic.

          When you say that 400,000$ is not rich that makes the rest of us paupers. This seems to me to be the whole problem we have. It's a tainted perspective with no respect for the common good. Obama said 'We do not disparage wealth creation in America'. Maybe we should instead of worshiping wealth and gearing our entire nasty ass economy to those who think 450,000 gets pegged as the cut off point. Why in the hell should we all have to live without any economic justice and to top it off were told to sacrifice jobs, and a living wage. This is not the American dream this is a freaking nightmare for most of us, the working people who end up sacrificing to keep the wealth flowing to the top. Why should we have to do this? It's just Mammon.    
                   

        •  Someone making $400,000 likely has a (0+ / 0-)

          big savings rate, too--something the vast majority of Americans do not.

          And they don't "count dollars." They count n-thousand dollar bonds, investment bundles, high-yield CDs and the days or weeks it takes them (if they choose to go this route) to max out their IRA/401k/similar investment contributions.

          An individual earning that income is almost incomprehensibly wealthy, in terms of just what exactly that income affords them, compared to somebody earning even two or three times the median.

      •  there you go again, using numbers (0+ / 0-)

        and math. You reality-based reprobate.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:39:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You destroyed your own argument (7+ / 0-)

      when you mentioned that you get paid more (for the same kind of work) than you would elsewhere. That is also true for the people who you claim are not rich. High cost of living areas pay more. $400K is rich—anywhere.

      The problem is that we are conflating wealth and income. The reason we do that is because we are discussing income taxes. Someone who has a high income is not necessarily wealthy. If they are prudent then they will eventually become wealthy. Thus, we call them rich. We really mean pre-weathy.

    •  That's like saying 6'3" isn't tall since some (17+ / 0-)

      people are 7'2".

      It doesn't matter what state you live in.

      400k a year is fucking rich.

      "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

      by JesseCW on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:10:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, JesseCW

        If one spent (and invested) wisely, a person making that kind of money should be able to set aside a million dollars in five years or so. And, if they buy real estate wisely, once it's time to retire, they could flip their house, downsize, move out of the high-dollar region and buy a house for cash.

        If they play their cards well, they should be able to retire on several million in cash, plus a house paid off in full.

        That's "wealthy" by any standard.

        And I don't get the complaint about high cost of living. That's generally only for real estate, and can easily be rectified by moving later. And since they have more money to move in the first place, unlike the majority of the country, they aren't "stuck." They have far more mobility than most of the country.

        Personally, I can't work up a single tear for their supposed plight.

      •  I'm waiting for the argument that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse

        because people in sweatshops are making 50c/day, we're all rich and should stop whining.

        That one always comes up sooner or later.

        Race to the bottom, everybody! As long as you're not starving, you should feel grateful!

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:42:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, those people are "rich" by any reasonable (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jeopardydd, chuckvw

      measure. Their rich income affords them a lifestyle that fewer than 98% of Americans can afford. That's "rich" no matter what city it's in. Period.

      •  I'm starting to wonder if they really don't get it (0+ / 0-)

        I was talking to a "rich" friend.  I don't know the couple's current income but at some points it was <$250K in a state with low cost of living.  They take a couple of nice, week+ long, destination vacations a year.  When I mentioned getting in touch with me if I'd gone on an over-nighter to my state's coast she actually whined..."oh we never get to do that."  I was dumbfounded.

    •  umm, sorry, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kareylou, chuckvw, schnecke21

      anybody making $400k/year (after deductions, remember) is most definitely "rich".

      more than 70% of workers make less than 1/10 of that.

    •  bunk (6+ / 0-)

      the median income in nyc is less than 57k.

      http://quickfacts.census.gov/...

      a lot of people who are wealthy don't even know it.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 11:58:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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