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  •  A great launching pad for republishing... (86+ / 0-)

    my rant from a few days ago for the weekend crew.

    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 Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:31:00 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  agreed (28+ / 0-)

      don't like the swearing, but agree with your overall point.

      And everybody needs to remember, that the $450k is really a lot more:
      a) it's AFTER deductions; and
      b) it's not counting capital gains/dividends, but only ordinary income.

      So we are really talking about tax cuts for those making millions/year here.

    •  Seriously (22+ / 0-)

      about all I was capable of sputtering at first, when I heard that new limit, was variations on:

      fuck you, you fucking fuck
      Glad to see I wasn't alone ;)

      That being said, I find it strange that there's a 450k threshold for one thing, and a 250k threshold on another--in the same bill.

      It is time to #Occupy Media.

      by lunachickie on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:30:23 AM PST

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    •  I think the $450K figure (9+ / 0-)

      is absurd as a demarcator of middle-class income.  

      But I will respond to this:

      I am really tired of the faux San Francisco / Manhattan / Boston oh-woe-is-me-my-family-only-makes-six-plus-figures argument.
      There's nothing faux about this argument.  Until recently, I lived in Northern Virginia, in a middle-class neighborhood in Vienna.  2000 square foot split-levels on 1/3-acre lots routinely sold for $600K-$700K.  I remember visiting friends near Durham, North Carolina, and seeing a local paper with the headline Is This House Really Worth $157,500?.  It was a picture of the same style split-levels from my neighborhood.  

      Here's a link to a cost-of-living index for US cities.  It is, in fact, more than twice as expensive to live in Manhattan than in Akron, Ohio, which is right at 100 on the index.

      So, $450K?  Yes, that's a ridiculous figure for a middle-class income.  But in a neighborhood where a $100K down payment will get you a $500K mortgage (plus PMI), where property taxes will be $6K/yr, where daycare is $250/week -- that's @$40K/yr for housing, plus $12K for your toddler in daycare.  

      A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

      by deminva on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:38:38 AM PST

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      •  Only rich people can afford to live around rich (18+ / 0-)

        people.

        That in no way means they aren't 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 10:43:23 AM PST

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        •  That feels like a circular argument (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          radarlady, barbwires, TheOpinionGuy

          My old town, Vienna, has a cost of living index of @190 -- so almost twice the national average.  So a home that might cost $225K in many Southern cities like Houston (less than 100 on the index) or Jacksonville, FL (also less than 100) would cost closer to $500K.  

          If the Houston family of four living in that $225K home is considered comfortably middle class, why would the Vienna family of four be considered rich?  Pay tends to be higher in the DC area because the cost of living is so high.  I know from a military family that moved to Northern Virginia that their housing allowance is $3300/m = @$40K/yr, precisely because it's so expensive.  

          If a family in one part of the country has to spend, say, $150K to live the way a family in a less expensive area can live on $75K, what's the point of calling the first family rich?

          I'm not asking anyone to pity the family earning $150K, which on a worldwide standard is extraordinarily rich.  I'm simply trying to acknowledge economic reality.

          A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

          by deminva on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:14:19 PM PST

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          •  They'd be considered rich because they've elected (10+ / 0-)

            to live in an extremely expensive home in an extremely expensive area.

            I grew up in one of the most expensive metros in California in which to buy a home.  For almost everyone I know under the age of 40, buying a house is "win the lottery" shit.

            Being able to afford to buy a million dollar home, and afford to build equity in that home that can be turned into cash, means a person is rich.

            Particularly when compared to the person who has to just keep pumping their cash into rent, making some rich rent-seeking richer and richer as the years go by.

            "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 12:20:43 PM PST

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          •  Because no one forces you to live where the (5+ / 0-)

            cost of living is high.  I think of the children of friends who graduate from college and moan and groan and whine that they can't find the job they want in Manhattan or Seattle or LA when there are perfectly fine jobs in places like Fargo where forget about it they are not going to live, are you crazy, rather flip burgers forever.

            If you want your tax break in Manhattan or La Jolla, the least thing you can do is get me a seashore.  

            If the cost of living is too high eventually jobs migrate to where the cost of living and the cost of wages are lower which isn't a bad thing either for a balanced economy.

            Not many people anywhere who are going to sympathize with the high cost of living around DC.  Why can't some of those jobs be dispersed to other areas of the country?

            •  What you say may be true (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SingularExistence

              On the other hand there are many reasons why people choose to live where they do and I presume that nobody here would feel comfortable if that choice were taken away. Though in fact it often is. If you can't afford to live in a particular place, you cannot in fact choose to live there.

              I grew up in New York City (with a couple of brief forays to Maryland and Long Island when I was very young). I then moved to DC and then to San Francisco. I am comfortable living in big cities, not because they are expensive but because they are diverse and there is lots to do in them. I ended up ultimately in SF because I like the political climate, as well as the meteorological one (okay, I could survive if it were a few degrees warmer).  Also I have to confess that I would feel considerably less comfortable living as an openly gay man in Fargo or Billings or Akron or Peoria or a host of other more affordable but also more limiting places. I don't know other gay people in most of those places but I've met a gay man who lived in Billings and it was not pretty for him (he eventually moved to Memphis).

              The choice to live where one lives is not something that should be second guessed.

            •  I think you're missing the point (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gharlane

              People aren't asking for sympathy; they're asking that that the definition of middle class be based on what provides a middle class life in the place that they live.

              It hardly matters that your income would make you rich in Haiti if you live in Chicago.

              I hear your resentments but I'm not understanding where they're directed. Do you blame people who live in DC for the lack of jobs elsewhere?

              We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

              by denise b on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 04:56:27 PM PST

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          •  There are plenty of people (14+ / 0-)

            who leave places that are too expensive because they want to increase their quality of life.  If you're taking down six figures, but feel broke, there's plenty of places to go where you won't.  But, the question is, are the salaries commensurate with the cost of living?  In these high cost of living areas, you still have plenty of people who aren't making even close to six figures.  So yes, even in wealthier areas, if you're making six figures you're doing alright.

            Where I have a problem is that IMO the median income in this country, as a whole, is well under the living wage.  I don't believe that $47K for a family of four, anywhere, gets you a middle class life.  You are struggling and living paycheck to paycheck.  You are not saving, you're not taking vacations, you're not sending your kids to college, and you're lucky to have health care but if you get sick you're fucked.

            Middle class, in my definition, is being able to pay basic bills, fulfill basic needs, be reasonably secure in your health and your future, and still have discretionary income left over for modest vacations and such.  In the lowest cost of living areas in the country, that should be at least $70K for a family of four.

            "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

            by La Gitane on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:45:27 PM PST

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            •  I totally agree (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              La Gitane, glorificus

              $47K for a family of four is incredibly hard to live on, no matter where you're living!

              A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

              by deminva on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:54:24 PM PST

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              •  And therefore, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tardis10, isabelle hayes

                if median income is to be truly middle class, then the median income should be about $70K.

                And I guess it also depends on what your definition of "middle class" is anyways.  Is it a quality of life, or is it just how the majority of Americans get along?

                IMO, I've always felt that middle class is the American dream.  Being in a position that is secure, while providing your progeniture the opportunities to move ahead further than you did, is what I consider "middle class".

                "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

                by La Gitane on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:16:28 PM PST

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          •  The MIC is alive and well (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gooderservice, austropithicus

            in Northern Virginia. Armies of lobbyists. And the rest of the USA is paying for it in many ways.

            "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

            by tardis10 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:53:22 PM PST

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        •  I think it's fair to say (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          isabelle hayes, sfbob

          that a lot of formerly middle-class neighborhoods have been overinflated through the housing bubble, which jacked prices of houses into the stratosphere. A lot of  people bought those houses/got those mortgages. That wasn't a good decision, but I'm not going to moralize about it, seeing as how it's pretty clear a pretty effective con game was being played by the richest among us.

          Some of those people are now pretty well screwed, and so, yes, you get people who make over six figures who now find themselves in economic trouble, where they really didn't expect to be back when they made the decisions to buy those houses. Among other things, they didn't expect the whole economy to be tanked by a bunch of bankster bastards.

          I am not without sympathy for these folks. But that doesn't mean that those who make between 250K and 450K are middle class. It means that the upper middle class is being screwed by the .01% just like everybody else is--only slower. The pain will hit those with the least first, and work its way up until everybody except the ultra rich is screwed.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:36:46 PM PST

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        •  Don't forget the servants and the entouragi (0+ / 0-)

          Slow thinkers - keep right

          by Dave the Wave on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 04:23:20 PM PST

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      •  So? (4+ / 0-)

        $40K/$450K = less than 10% of income for housing. Not many people are at that low a level unless they own their home outright.

        Color me unimpressed.

        •  What about $40K/$100K? (0+ / 0-)

          I was responding to a comment decrying the need to have an income of $100K to live in certain metropolitan areas.  $40K/$100K = 40%, which is a very unhealthy ratio for living expenses.

          A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

          by deminva on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:05:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  oh please. (8+ / 0-)

        I managed to live in a decent apartment in the heart of San Francisco on around $20k/year for the last few years.

        I have a roommate, and I don't spend money on stuff I don't need to live (except living in San Francisco, which is my big luxury).

        Nobody needs $100k+ to live (one reason we know this is because almost everybody manages to keep living despite not making that much).

        •  $20K/yr for one person's housing! (0+ / 0-)

          That's incredibly expensive, but unsurprising.  When my brother moved to SF more than a decade ago, he was told that his one-bedroom apartment was "a steal" at $1400/m.

          Now, what about the typical family of four?  Could they live on your half of your apartment?

          A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

          by deminva on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:08:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  no (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cai, gooderservice, schnecke21

            I meant that I made $20k/year and was able to live in the heart of SF, with a roommate.

          •  Median rent for an apartment in SF these days (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            deminva, CalGal47

            is about $3k/month. And the median home price is $789k (both figures appeared recently in the SF Chronicle but they are tough to locate on the paper's site unless you have more patience than I do).

            I find both of these to be absurd. The reason however is not that rich folks choose to live around rich folks but because San Francisco is a nice place to live, therefore lots of people want to live here, and the number of apartments available for rent/homes available for sale is finite.

            There are certainly people who made specific choices, accepted living with a roommate and, I am guessing, were also quite lucky to find the place they've found to live. Median price tells you what's typical but it doesn't speak to what EVERYTHING costs in ALL locations.

            The other side is that while there may be housing in neighborhoods were rents and home prices are well below the median, those places may not such as some people would find appropriate for them.

            Likewise it might be true that nobody is forced to live in any particular city or state but that doesn't mean that being, in effect, forced to live where someone does not wish to is really desirable either.

      •  Still a tiny (0+ / 0-)

        percentage of the country.

      •  Hence the vanishing middle class (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deminva, Richard Cranium, schnecke21

        I am sure all your numbers are good.  That is the budget frame of many of my friends and relatives.  

        It's faux because if you can pay 12k for child care,and 40k for housing -- then -- while you may be culturally middle class, very hard working, and scared of what happens sans the next paycheck -- you are pretty darn privileged compared to most Americans.  So very much so that the people who are choking on nothing may feel very cold indeed about the differences.  

        Given the remark above about SS disability being 8k a year, it is easy to see why.

        In a good year I can clear 120k and make it last for two years exploring the world and having an interesting life, without much pain, single. (We won't talk about bad years, this is one of them, albeit my choice in large part).  There's nothing to rent for 2k a month?  There's no child care for less than the cost of a nanny?  That's some pretty nice living, however poor one feels, and it reflects choices, conscious or not, about minimum levels of appearance and consumption.  I would argue that those choices reflect class values and will not be shared widely beyond that level of income and privilege.

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 04:01:36 PM PST

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      •  $6k /yr property tax???? (0+ / 0-)

        more like $26k/year

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:04:58 PM PST

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    •  further, a handful of parts of the country (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, austropithicus

      should not dictate national tax policy. A single country should have a single policy. And we shouldn't have policy that effectively artificially inflates the cost of living in these areas. Relocating is an option and one of the ways that costs stay in balance across the country. Tax policy designed to keep these areas expensive doesn't help.

      •  Hmm (0+ / 0-)

        It isn't easy to set a single number, whether for taxes or minimum wage, that works equally well in every part of the country. The plain fact is that the cost of living varies widely, which in effect means the value of a unit of currency varies from place to place.

        There are economic hotspots and comparative dead zones. That's not likely to change, and although I agree that national policy can attempt to smoothe out the differences somewhat, we also should want to encourage the hotspots because they are the main drivers of the economy.

        •  I disagree about 'hot spots' (0+ / 0-)

          there is no inherent reason for certain areas to be more expensive than others. There is a natural process of movement to lower cost areas that takes place and should be allowed - no reason to artificially inflate an area at the expense of everyone else.
          As far as minimum wages, those are set locally.

          •  to clarify my point, there is a reason for some (0+ / 0-)

            difference in cost of living (access to resources, etc) but no reason to institutionalize a higher cost of living in an area - wages and costs should fall into a natural balance if there really is a reason for the cost to be different.

            •  There is a federal minimum wage (0+ / 0-)

              And there are inherent geographic reasons for 'hotspots'. Virtually every major city is where it is because of some initial geographic advantage. That initial advantage never goes away, but is typically augmented by cumulative cultural advantages added on top. E.g. San Francisco is where it is because of SF Bay; Stanford and UC Berkeley are where they are because of SF; Silicon Valley is where it is because because of Stanford and UC Berkeley; many high paying jobs are in the SF Bay area because of Silicon Valley.

              To me, all that looks like "inherent reasons" for higher economic activity, higher incomes, and higher cost of living.

              •  I think we are arguing apples and oranges (0+ / 0-)

                There is no reason for governmental policy to make up for the cost of living in certain areas. If someone lives in an expensive area, then their income should support that (ie, employers should compensate for that). There is no reason for a federal tax code that redirects wealth from lower cost areas to higher cost areas to make up for employers not willing to pay for their employees.

                And if someone does like the cost of living, they can move (as they frequently do). If employers don't want to pay for the cost, they can move the jobs (as they frequently do). The federal income tax thresholds shouldn't try to prevent this.

    •  I'm perfectly fine with the swearing! (0+ / 0-)

      The real middle class should be cursing out our Congressmen on a regular basis if this is what passes for "thinking" on their part.

    •  Let's stop the constant arguing for downward (0+ / 0-)

      mobility. The American dream is based on upward mobility and telling people what they should or shouldn't strive for is not your right.

      And take an income of $250k in your 'faux' areas (not sure what's faux about them but whatever)
      after taxes that's $125k or so - yes really, after all the local, property taxes etc.

      So two kids in college and a parent in a nursing home, there goes, $125k

      of course hopefully some of that will come out of savings - which that 'huge' income would have theoretically provided for

      so go to a cheaper college? why? so the kids can have a lower standard of living than their parents? who are you to tell people to do that?

      these 'faux' areas pay more into taxes than they ever take back, paying for red states education since they won't pay for it themselves. have high property taxes, so move to a cheaper place? why? because you say so? and those high property taxes ensure a good public school system which EDUCATES the populace and pays good salaries and pensions for teaches something which liberals supposedly are always espousing, well how do you propose it get paid for? so people in these faux areas pay for their own kids education, others' kids education even if they have none, as well as those of the red states who refuse to fund their own schools

      and NY state for example has the most generous Medicaid benefits of all the states - where do you think the funds for that come from? someone has to pay for it.

      and after all those bills are paid you begrudge people should spend something on themselves, strive for themselves and a better life for their children?

      Nice rant you're entitled to your opinion but who the fuck are you to be telling people what they need to examine or not examine? They need to examine their life choices according to the Richard cranium principles of what is acceptable and what isn't?

      "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

      by eXtina on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:02:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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