Pity the poor rich; let’s take up a collection

I really get tired of these “How tough it is to be rich!” stories the eastern news media seems to be in love with. Ever since the economy crashed, both the NYTimes and the Washington Post have regaled us with a series of these things, all with the theme that, really, the rich have it tough.

Consider this (click) example in today’s Washington Post, which analyzes a “typical” but fictional family living on $250,000 a year, which number has become the new dividing line between rich and poor based on tax cuts proposals before Congress.

It says — Surprise! — that someone living on $250,000 a year is going to be losing money.  

Yes, I am taking a collection. Please send donations that are most definitely NOT tax deductible to “Charlie’s Retirement Fund, c/o Standard-Examiner, PO Box 12790 Ogden Utah.”

(Any money that actually shows up will, I swear, go to the YCC’s Christmas fund.)

Because, get real, someone with $250,000 in income is too rich, do not give me any of that crap. This story is rigged.

The story says this family is poor because its taxes are high, housing is high, retirement savings are high, debt payments are high, and on and on and on, as if these poor people are trapped in a lifestyle just inches beyond their means and there’s not a single thing they can do about it. Poor babies!

Give me half an hour with their budget, I’ll do something about it.

Big house you can’t afford? Gone. Satellite TV? Gone. Multiple cars? Outa here. Dining out more than once a month? Never happen. Vacations anywhere but the back yard? Dream on. Grocery bill too high? Learn to cook beans.

And so on.

It says that in Glendale, NY,they’d have a $750,000 home, but in Twin Falls Idaho, they could get the same home for half that, or $375,000? Hey people, guess what? You can get a nice two bedroom home — with a basement for the third bedroom — for under $200,ooo — well under — in most normal American communities. Have more than two kids? Buy some bunk beds.

I love this story’s idea of “common” expenses: 

“But factor in common additional expenses for a working couple with two children – music lessons, day camp costs and after-school sports, entertainment, cleaning services, gifts and an annual week-long vacation – the Joneses get deeper in the red in Huntington to the tune of – $24,380. In Alexandria, they would be down by $7,280. In Bethesda, by $8,406, and in Washington, by $10,557. In Plano, the best-case scenario, they would have $4,963 to spare.”

I would love for the Washington Post to now go out and find some family living on $50,000 a year and let us know how they’re managing.

Really, if $250,000 is just getting by, anything less must be poverty level.

Share
This entry was posted in Blogging the Rambler and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Pity the poor rich; let’s take up a collection

  1. ctrentelman says:

    GREAT comment from the WaPost’s comment section on the story I am discussing. Few of the commenters have any sympathy for the hypothetical family.

    Big surprise, huh?

    Judy-in-TX wrote:
    My father was a chemical engineer, my mother, a former nurse, stayed home and I’m their only child.
    We lived in a small, 3-bedroom, 2 bath, frame home in a smaller Texas corporate town.
    I won a 4-year tuition free scholarship to college, which enabled my parents to build a new home.
    My husband was the product of a military family with 3 children.
    After basic service in the U.S. Army, he spent 30 years in the reserves, for which he receives retirement and military health care.
    My husband and I are in our late ’60s.
    I’m retired; he teaches high school (loves it).
    We own our home and get the over-65 lower property tax on it.
    We own 2 vehicles; mine is a 1993 GMC mini-van, still in good shape.
    My husband drives a small 2003 Dodge Dakota truck to work.
    We take more local vacations — rest at home, go to Houston for entertainment, go visit other areas in Texas or Louisiana for a few days.
    We live on around $50K per year and do very well.
    I don’t need a lot of clothes; I bought good clothes when I was working.
    (I do have a fixation on interesting t-shirts :-) )
    My husband buys several new shirts and pants to wear while teaching each August during the tax-free weekend.
    We have adopted several stray cats and have regularly had a dog, but not currently.
    Joe Cocker died about a year ago after a happy life, once he was rescued by a state trooper at a 7/11.
    We have recently bought new computers and we read a lot.
    We are relying on Social Security to be there, if the time comes that my husband can’t work.
    We are adamantly opposed to privitization.
    My husband worked for 2 companies, basically, for close to 40 years.
    I worked from the time I was 16 until I became ill in 1996.
    We had a 401(k) with one company, no retirement with the other.
    The 401(k) cratered during the Bush years.
    We have resources thanks to that most old-fashioned of means — we inherited them.
    We don’t live in Plano, but we do live in Texas, which has no income tax.
    That does make a difference.
    So that’s how we make it.
    We don’t resent paying taxes.
    We support our military and we believe we owe it to our country, the opportunities of which have done so much for us.
    Besides, we like to feel safe.
    True, we won’t be soaring through the air overseas, as previous retirees we have known have done.
    That’s a “perk” lost to most retirees today.
    But we don’t see it as the end of the world.
    We’re basically happy because we believe in being content.
    We object to the rise in the national debt.
    We didn’t allow ourselves to get into that kind of debt and we know how difficult it was to get to the point where we are basically debt-free.
    We need to face reality in this country:
    America is failing and the GOP are no friends of America; they want us to fail.
    They preach failure.
    They refuse to do their jobs in Congress.
    They are the GOP Taliban and we have no respect for them.
    Anyone who follows their siren call hates America and deserves to suffer mightly if they can’t make it in the world they voted for.

  2. Sven says:

    Charles said:

    “The story says this family is poor because its taxes are high, housing is high, retirement savings are high, debt payments are high, and on and on and on, as if these poor people are trapped in a lifestyle just inches beyond their means and there’s not a single thing they can do about it. Poor babies!

    Give me half an hour with their budget, I’ll do something about it.

    Big house you can’t afford? Gone. Satellite TV? Gone. Multiple cars? Outa here. Dining out more than once a month? Never happen. Vacations anywhere but the back yard? Dream on. Grocery bill too high? Learn to cook beans.”

    ___________________________________________________________

    Now this is interesting! So you feel that Americans who cannot afford a certain lifestyle need to make changes by cutting out additional expenses and live on a budget? Funny liberals never have this same demand of the “poor babies” in the federal government. Just as you have NO pity for those making $250K crying about things being tough; we also have no pity for the federal government crying about what they have to live on with our current tax rate. Hey, at least those making $250K per year work for their money. All the federal government does is take our money, and decides what’s “fair.” If this family has to live on their budget and make SPENDING CUTS where necessary, then so too does the federal government. Charles, I think we agree on this issue! ;)

    Just so you don’t think they’re completely greedy; the top 10 percent of wage earners in the US pay 69 percent of the tax burden, while the bottom 50 percent of wage earners in the US pay about 3 percent. Let’s also not forget those who get paid for not paying taxes (by the rest of us selfish people) through the Earned Income Tax Credit. What a country!

    Charles said:

    “I would love for the Washington Post to now go out and find some family living on $50,000 a year and let us know how they’re managing.”
    __________________________________________________________

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I would also love for the Washington Post to ask this same family how they’re coping with the new taxes from the new FREE health care law (with benefits not being available until 2014), and the cap and trade tax? In all fairness I should say, if this tax helps combat the myth of Anthropological Global Warming, then the increase in energy costs and fuel costs on this family making $50K per year will have been worth it. Hey, so they struggle a little bit financially…we’ve got a planet to cool, and Al Gore has money to make on his carbon credits. What a country! :)

    • laytonian says:

      Sven

      WHAT “cap and trade” tax? There IS no such thing right now, so it’s not harming your children’s environment.

      The POINT that you miss, is that a whiner complains about not having enough money to buy all of his nice things…..and is trying to live an upscale life on a budget that doesn’t allow it.
      $250K is a nice income, but not enough for an over-spender. Take away the taxes they pay, and they’d still be in debt or overspending.

      Those “financial geniuses” blame the gubmint for their situation, but if you read the links, you’d find that their $250K joint income required an expenditure of $63,000 in student loans.

      Some investment, eh?

      Of course, YOU, Sven, do not take Social Security, military retirement, Medicare, Medicaid, government retirement, work for the government, or have any other government-provided income. RIGHT?

      As for that healthcare bill you whine about: Wait until IT happens to you. Just hold a spaghetti dinner, and we’ll all pitch in $1.50 for your chemo.

      • Sven says:

        laytonian said:

        “WHAT ‘cap and trade’ tax? There IS no such thing right now, so it’s not harming your children’s environment.”
        ___________________________________________

        This is what the Democrats are threatening to ram through during their lame duck session. If for some reason it can’t happen in the legislature, the executive branch is threatening to push it through the EPA as a new regulation. There is a very high probability that this additional expense is going to come about one way or another. For a family already struggling financially, how are additional home energy costs and fuel costs going to help them (and please don’t tell us “Green Jobs”)? Where’s the compassion for this $50K (or $40K) family now? Instead of addressing this issue on a very real hardship about to be placed on American families, the left simply engages in class warfare.

        laytonian said:

        “The POINT that you miss, is that a whiner complains about not having enough money to buy all of his nice things…..and is trying to live an upscale life on a budget that doesn’t allow it.
        $250K is a nice income, but not enough for an over-spender. Take away the taxes they pay, and they’d still be in debt or overspending.”
        ___________________________________________

        I think this exemplifies the federal government to a tee! Just as you feel that “$250K is a nice income, but not enough for an over-spender,” many of us feel what we pay in federal taxes are enough for an overspending and bloated federal government. Why is it the people must always cut back and work on a budget, but the federal government can spend like there’s no tomorrow (And yes, I include GW Bush in this)?

        laytonian said:

        “Of course, YOU, Sven, do not take Social Security, military retirement, Medicare, Medicaid, government retirement, work for the government, or have any other government-provided income. RIGHT?”
        ___________________________________________

        I pay into Social Security, but will never collect it (There won’t be enough people to pay for it). We pay taxes for public education, but have no children. I’m retired military and collect a pension. We’re also in the top 10% of wage earners, which means our group pays 69% of the federal tax burden. So in essence, I’m helping to fund my own retirement. My wife and I don’t rely on the Government for our security, we rely on ourselves. This is not to say that there shouldn’t be some government programs in place to help people, but we as a nation are broke; we cannot afford to be all things to all people. Doubt me? Greece and many European nations who’ve grown up on Keynesian Economics (wealth redistribution) are now finding their economies collapsing. We are headed down this road very quickly.

        laytonian said:

        “As for that healthcare bill you whine about: Wait until IT happens to you. Just hold a spaghetti dinner, and we’ll all pitch in $1.50 for your chemo.”
        ___________________________________________
        I’ll take you at your word that you believe this government run Health Care will help families who couldn’t otherwise afford it…ok, fair enough. But let’s also consider a few things about this health care program. First, the projections for the cost of this thing over the next decade are in the neighborhood of 4 Trillion dollars! Prior to this monstrosity becoming law, we were told by Obama, Reid and Pelosi that it was going to save huge amounts of money on health care costs. In fact in September of 2009 Obama was all over the place saying how much money it was going to save; then the following September, he said: “we knew we weren’t going to cover 30 million people for free…” and began backtracking on the bogus savings claims. I guess this explains why they are collecting taxes beginning this January, but the American people won’t see any “benefits” until 2014 (I’ll get the noodles ready, you make the sauce). So how are these taxes going to help the working family? Again, how do you think that this price tag on the new health care law is going to be paid for? There won’t be enough “rich” people to ever pay for this. Families at all income levels will have to pay for this monstrosity. Both Massachusetts and Hawaii’s government run plans are going broke, and have long waiting lists for medical procedures. Hey, just like Medicare!

        Interestingly enough, to help pay for this great new health care for the person who gets cancer, will be “Death Panels.” The days of doing everything you can to fight your disease are over. Doubt me; just ask a person on Medicare…they’ll tell what no choices are really like. What’s that I hear? Sarah Palin lied when she spoke of death panels? Both Paul Krugman and Robert Reich also spoke about the Government making life and death decisions with regards to our health care in denying certain treatments that are “too expensive.” Call it what you want, but to control costs in this new health care bill, not only will taxes on everyone be demanded, but certain treatments will be denied. I think we may have to raise that spaghetti dinner from $1.50 per plate to at least $5.00.

        So our $50K family will not only be taking it in the shorts with additional taxes, they have a good possibility of being denied medical care. And we thought only those big bad insurance companies denied people care. Who would’ve thunk it? ;)

  3. ctrentelman says:

    i really don’t understand why sven is on my case here — i see a situation where people with a lot of money can’t live on their income and I tell them to SPEND LESS MONEY.

    Somehow he says that makes me a liberal? Then goes off on a rant about “you liberals” as if I were one of those.

    I’m not, sven. I’m a fiscal conservative, and have taken strong fiscally conservative stands on government spending, such as saying that before the government spends a dime on a war, it should raise the money through a war tax.

    then he went on about Al Gore — not sure why. Again, I’m the conservative here an Al talks about conserving resources, does that make him a liberal too?

  4. Bob Becker says:

    Anyone can’t at least break even running a family of four on a quarter mil is unquestionably fully qualified to be CEO of Bear Stearns, Chase or City Bank.

  5. Bob Becker says:

    On reading the article a second time, I wonder if Charlie perhaps mis-read the intent. It doesn’t read to me as an article sympathetic to terrible burdens of the wealthy family. I read it as more of an expose’. And from the comments it’s drawing, that seems to be how many post readers read it as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>