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Since Pete Peterson apparently thinks that it's a real fucking stretch to live on $250k/year, I would like to introduce him to the Great American Household Budget.  It's one of those things us working slobs have to come up with whether we like it or not in order to make our lifestyle fit into our mother-fucking income.

I'm going to do mine with $50k a year.  Let's see if poor Pete can master the fundamentals of both ADDITION and SUBTRACTION.  Apparently subtraction is not taught in those snooty charter schools and Oral Roberts-type universities that the Pete Petersons of the world attend these days.  

Over the orangee filligree fore moreee.

So, $50k a year.  That works out to 26 paychecks of about $1923, or not quite $3900 a month (four weeks).

Your tax bite out of this paycheck varies but it will probably be about $300 depending on your withholding and so far.  Your net pay is now down to around $1500 every two weeks.  If you are paying the extortionist rates for insurance that most families of four are paying, you can expect to also give up anywhere between $200-$800 a month.  Let's say $300 per check (this is what I pay right now).  This means before you ever see it, your check has been reduced by about $600.  So you take home $1,323.

Whether it's a mortgage or a rent payment, you have to pay for your house somehow, or at least most people do.  That works out to anywhere between $400 (for a total crapola apartment or trailer) to $8-900 for a higher-interest house payment.  Let's say $800 a month.

So far, let's look at the math.  Remember that - sign is more than just a dash.  It also means to subtract things, something I know the Pete Petersons of the world never do for themselves.  Here is how it works, motherfucker:
WEEK 1 (house payment due)

$1923
- $300 (taxes)
- $300 (insurance and other deductions)
- $800 (house payment)
$523

For the next two weeks, this $523 will fill my gas tank and belly.  For the benefit of the dumbfucks who can't manage on $250k a year, here is how the money usually flies out your window:

Gas is near $4 a gallon these days.  A reasonable commute to work is 10/20 miles.  Most cars, still operating at the fantastic level of fuel efficiency pioneered in the god-damn early 20th century by Henry Ford, manage about 25-30 miles per gallon.

This means it costs about $6 a day to drive to and from work.  If we assume 15 miles to work in a 25mpg car.  Over the next 14 days until I get my next check, if I do nothing but drive back and forth to work for the weekdays, I will then expend 6x14 or $84 on gas.  That leaves me with around $450.  Groceries for a family of four for two weeks can easily run $200-$300.  So now we're down to $150.  Maybe we can eke out one movie from that.  Or a couple of cheap dinners out.  At any rate, two weeks have passed, and the money's fucking gone.

FINAL WEEK 1 (house payment due)

$1923
- $300 (taxes)
- $300 (insurance and other deductions)
- $800 (house payment)
- $90 (gas)
- $300 (food and groceries)
= $150 discretionary spending

Now, I have the rest of the bills to pay.  Week 2 starts with $1923.  Again using personal experience with a modest house (around 1100 square feet, about the size of the house I grew up in in the 1970's except I have no basement) here's the breakdown of bills:
$1923
-$300 (taxes)
-$300 (insurance and other deductions)
-$150 Electricity (with air conditioning, absolutely not an option in southern Indiana)
-$70 Gas (stove, water heater)
-$50 Water & Sewer
-$150 phone (I give my kids cell phones for safety)
-$50 car insurance (Indiana is very cheap if all you want is the mandatory minimum)
-$90 (gas)
-$300 (food and groceries)

=$463 discretionary spending.  This covers any car repairs, incidental medical bills, or other items one might need from time to time.  Two or three visits to the movie theater could wipe this out, which explains why Redbox and Netflix are so popular.  

Something of course you aren't seeing in here is the cost of medications.  I have the great fortune to have established an FSA account for myself and my family this year which accounts for about $300/mo of my insurance costs.  It has made the difference this year as our monthly bill for insulin alone is around $100, not to mention needles and test strips (test strips are an outrage, costing $1 a test which can run into the hundreds of dollars, and testing is the single most important part of being able to control your sugar since you can't calculate your carbs or your fucking insulin dosage without it -- 3-4 times a day testing adds up fast to $120 a month JUST IN TEST STRIPS).  

So what I'd like to see is the Pete Fucking Petersons of this world figure the fuck out how to live with the numbers I just posted.  Notice things that are not on here

CAR PAYMENT
SECOND MORTGAGE
VACATIONS
FLATSCREEN TELEVISIONS
COMPUTERS
FUCKING IPADS

Yea.  All that shit that is supposedly the anchor of our consumer economy -- kind of out of reach for working slobs, Mr. Fucking Peterson.    If you're still fucking confused about why people are mocking you and angry that you would have the unmitigated gall to whine about how tough it is to make it on $250k, give me a fucking call.  I will help you figure it the fuck out, motherfucker.

Originally posted to slippytoad on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 08:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    Just in case you forgot today: REPUBLICANS VOTED TO END MEDICARE. AND THEY'LL DO IT AGAIN.

    by slippytoad on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 08:27:29 AM PDT

  •  slippytoad - Peterson (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG

    earned a BA from Northwestern and an MBA from the University of Chicago. My guess is that he understands basic math. I don't think that Peterson was making the case that a family making $250,000 was having trouble making ends meet, but rather that those families were not "rich". We all have our own definition of "rich", mine is those people who don't fly commercial. Rich people fly in jets they own, lease or charter.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 08:40:33 AM PDT

    •  1% flies commercial (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10

      Unless they pilot as a hobby.

    •  "My guess is that he understands basic math" (6+ / 0-)

      Apparently the fuck not.  Peterson's premise is that families making $250k a year are struggling.  It's utter bullshit.

      I don't think that Peterson was making the case that a family making $250,000 was having trouble making ends meet, but rather that those families were not "rich".

      Here's the quote from the actual article:

      The bottom line: It’s not exactly easy street for our $250,000-a-year family, especially when they live in high-tax areas on either coast.

      My point is that I am going to mock, deride, and belittle these stupid motherfuckers until they can at least come back to fucking earth with the rest of us and quit making up ridiculous nonsense.  $250k a year is way fucking easy street, and there are no "high tax" areas where it will not be super, duper, totally easy for someone making over $80 an HOUR to manage, unless they are complete idiots who cannot do math.

      It's up to Peterson to prove that he and his organization can actually do math.  I posit that they cannot, and that their stupidity immediately exits them from any conversation regarding the cost of living in America.

      Until they make a smidgeon of effort to prove otherwise.

      Just in case you forgot today: REPUBLICANS VOTED TO END MEDICARE. AND THEY'LL DO IT AGAIN.

      by slippytoad on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 09:05:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Rich" is relative, yes, but the top 3-5% is rich (0+ / 0-)

      by any reasonable person's definition.

      Further, affiant sayeth not.

      by Gary Norton on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 10:18:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gary - the top 5% is a household income of (0+ / 0-)

        $175,000, based on the latest data available.  In California that could be a family with two working spouses, a fireman and a CPA, a nurse and an engineer. While these are people who are comfortably in the middle class, and their household income is 3 to 4 times the national average, they are not rich.  I stand by my definition. The real rich don't fly commercial, they fly jets they own, lease or charter.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 11:46:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The top 3% is rich compared with the bottom 97% (0+ / 0-)

          It is relative. By your definition virtually all of us is middle class. That's good for you, but tell it to the median household making $60K. Words like "rich" "poor" and "middle class" lose all meaning as you appear willing to define them.

          Further, affiant sayeth not.

          by Gary Norton on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 11:52:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think there are more words than rich and poor (0+ / 0-)

            We have upper middle class, affluent, professional, and more I can't think of. The people who are truely rich don't worry about income, jobs, college tuition, mortgages, and all the things that families, even at the $250,000 level, worry about every day.  When you are rich you may have lots of problems, but none of them concern wealth or income. So in my view the rich are a fraction of the top 1%.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 12:04:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  not sure what you can rent for $800-900 (5+ / 0-)

    here in the Bay Area. Maybe OK if you are single person, perhaps with roommates.

    As a family of 3 or 4, it is not going to get you very far.

    I'm just sayin'.

  •  As much as PP can be excoriated (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, VClib

    there are distinct differences in the cost of living in different areas. Additionally, if you are living paycheck to paycheck it does not matter how much you make--you are a job loss away from not being able to pay the mortgage.

    Focusing too much on income distorts the picture--assets need to be considered as well. If you have no assets, you can make a pretty good income and still be financially precarious.

    My own case and point--My wife is a teacher in Montgomery County MD (Outside DC), and she's got an MA +90 and 18 years and she makes about 90K. For the last 12 years my income--based on work has fluctuated wildly between a low of 20K to a high of 130K. In the years when I made six figures we were OK. That put us in the 200K neighborhood. In the years I made closer to 20K we were really in bad shape. Further, if I were to lose my current job, and not find one in this horrible environment, we would probably be forced out of our house within a year or have to sell at a low price and lose much of the equity we built up over the last 10+ years.

    Are we on the verge of destitution? Certainly not, however, I have made some pretty good incomes in some years and I have never felt secure or that I was putting enough away from retirement. Are we struggling as much as many in this country? No, but again, I do not feel particularly secure, and I don't particularly appreciate people taking the attitude that my wife and I are nearly fat cats--hardly.

    Further, I lived in NYC for a time when I was much younger, and I came to the conclusion then that unless you made over 200K it was a very hard place to live with a decent quality of life, therefore I decided I did not want to live there.

    You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife, and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

    by FrankCornish on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 08:50:00 AM PDT

    •  Cost of living is not that different (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radmul

      That someone making $250k a year cannot figure it out.

      If someone seriously can't manage with eighty dollars an hour being dumped in his or her pocket, it is because they suck at math or finances, or have no god-damn impulse control.

      I provided my breakdown of costs from the Sunny Side of Louisville because it is in my opinion highly representative and illustrates also what low taxes gets you.  I HAVE to pay the exxon-mobil-bp extortionists because the public transit between myself and where I work is virtually nonexistent.  That's thanks to low taxes.

      Just an example.

      Just in case you forgot today: REPUBLICANS VOTED TO END MEDICARE. AND THEY'LL DO IT AGAIN.

      by slippytoad on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 09:09:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, you are right. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NWTerriD

        You argued so convincingly, and helped me to extract my head from my ass. You addressed every one on my points and now I realize I should be voting Republican--thanks. I'll make sure not to check into this liberal site again. Thanks for making it so clear. Man, you're good.

        You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife, and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

        by FrankCornish on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 09:22:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  When my wife worked at BoA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrankCornish, relentless

      Making ~200k picking stocks in St. Louis (cost of living =100%) the GENIUSES at corporate decided that they could find cheaper help in NYC (cost of living = 200%)doing the same job.  They offered 3 analysts a raise of $40k to move to NYC (more like a 30% pay cut).  All three were out the door in weeks to mid west firms, collecting the $40k in raises anyway..

  •  where on earth are these housing costs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, absalom2, VClib

    coming from?

    I haven't seen costs that low in the last 20 years at least, and I've lived in areas as varied as Green Bay, WI, Louisville, KY, NYC, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Alexandria, VA, Cols, OH and Philadelphia, PA.

    And I've lived the life of poverty that graduate students, itinerant academics and folks on disability must necessarily adopt.  

    In my experience housing costs have always eaten up at least 65% (closer to 70-72%) of my gross income almost all of my adult life.  Cohabitation, roommates, boarders, marriage or some other form of house-sharing has always been a necessity in order to make ends meet, even after marriage.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 09:04:13 AM PDT

    •  The author said Indiana. My guess some sort (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      of rural area there. When I lived in small town in Missouri, $500 could get you a good apartment. Even $300 if you're ok with 1 bedroom.

    •  less than $800/mo all over the Midwest. (0+ / 0-)

      My 2BR condo in Chicago is $820/mo.  My 1BR apartment in Austin is $510/mo.

      A family of four could have a fairly nice house in 40 of the 50 states for 800/mo.  (*Offer not valid in New England or California).

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:06:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But could that family of four (0+ / 0-)

        find work that pays enough to pay those rents?  What's the ratio of average wage to housing costs?  

        I can find cheap housing in my hometown in NC. I can rent a 2BR apt. with no amenities for $450 there, but I can't find a job that will pay me more than minimum wage, so $450/mo is probably as much money as I would earn.  That makes shaking up with someone else who earns the same minimum wage a necessity.  So even there, "cheap" is no longer "cheap".

        Given what you say about housing costs in the midwest, things seem to have changed drastically from the few years experience I had living in that region about 20 years ago.

        Never in my adult lifetime have I seen a mortgage for a home that was less than $1000/mo, anywhere, including when I lived in Green Bay, WI, Columbus, OH and Lexington, KY in the early 1990s.  And I'm talking modest 2BR, ca. 1930's constructions, what used to be called, in my childhood, working class neighborhoods.  

        Given that my salaries in each of these cities was below $24k (in two of them it was below $20k), mortgages were impossible to come by, especially in those days when interest rates were really high.  

        Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

        by a gilas girl on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:48:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You're not consistent. (0+ / 0-)

    You seem to conflate bi-weekly numbers with monthly numbers in a few places; e.g., house payment starts at $800 per month, but then $800 seems to be netted out of bi-weekly income.

    Fix.

    •  ?? (0+ / 0-)

      House payment comes out of one of the paychecks, and the other bills come out of the other one. Nothing inconsistent about it.

      "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

      by NWTerriD on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 10:11:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And that's a big reason why (0+ / 0-)

        so many Americans are always broke.

        They simply can't convert annual, semi-annual, and monthly real expenses down to their bi-weekly cash income.  Of course to get to such a level balanced budget requires a short period of minimizing discretionary spending and saving the damn money.

      •  All right. (0+ / 0-)

        Then you're overly busy. Use one set of consistent numbers. Does having both bi-weekly and monthly numbers add anything to the point? No. Why do readers need to see it, then?

  •  Math needs help. (0+ / 0-)

    Your very first breakdown is obviously wrong.

    50k/12 = $4166/mo, not $3900.  You're working on a 13-month calendar.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:07:32 PM PDT

  •  Your anger is mine and vice versa. (0+ / 0-)

    Pete Peterson, Sean Duffy, Paul Ryan are all interchangeable a$$hats whining about living off of the public dole even though they think they are above such manners. Ah, the true classless pricks are ruling. What did Plato say? "Those whom are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber."

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