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.