Sanding our assholes with 150 grit.

PE is delusional on the rich and middle class

"See I think that is true. Middle class is now the $350k-$10 million range... and just getting by"

Are you insane?  That isn't middle class.  Ask yourself this question.  Or maybe you are talking about two parent income.  350 / 2 = 175 which is still high.

When I think of middle class, I think of nice public schools.  3-5 bedrooms in the suburbs.  Mini vans.  A 3-5 bedroom house and the center part of America will probably cost you $250k - $500k which is afforable for a two person household with $150k? (male and female) annually.

Are you telling me, that in middle-class Mississippi there are people making 350k to 10 million.  I dont think so.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 23rd, 2007 9:23am
Maybe he is thinking of the upper class

my idea of middle class is what you just described
Permalink what are you reading for? 
July 23rd, 2007 9:27am
obviously, middle class Mississippi is something different than middle class NYC
Permalink Send private email Locutus of Borg 
July 23rd, 2007 9:27am
If he's talking about net worth, then yes.

If he's talking about yearly income, then he's WAY off.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
July 23rd, 2007 9:30am
You can have a decent "middle class" life on $100K for a family of four.  You just have to be reasonable about how many luxuries you think you're entitled to.

Everyone wants to live like a millionaire these days.
Permalink AMerrickanGirl 
July 23rd, 2007 9:31am
Some would consider, two person family working at walmart as middle class.  What does a walmart employee make $8-$15 a hour.

So making $10million is a lot more.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 23rd, 2007 9:31am
Here is what wikipedia has to say about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_middle_class

"Sociologists such as Dennis Gilbert, William Thompson and Joseph Hickey estimate the upper middle class to constitute roughly 15% of the population. Using this figure, one may conclude that the American upper middle class consist of professionals making more than $62,500 who commonly reside in households with six figure incomes.[18][19] [2][6] Both of these figures are considerably above the national median of $32,000 regarding individual income and $46,000 for households. Many upper middle class professions feature salaries above $67,348, which was the median household income for a household with two income earners in 2003.[20][21] For example, the median salary for economists was $72,780"
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 23rd, 2007 9:35am
"Some would consider, two person family working at walmart as middle class.  What does a walmart employee make $8-$15 a hour."

"Some" would consider this middle class?  Who would that be?  Probably not the people trying to live on a Wal-Mart salary.

Most of them probably make closer to $8/hour than $15.  And many of those with little or no benefits such as health insurance, adequate vacation, a consistent work schedule so you can rely on child care, etc.

Part of middle class living is quality of life as well as money.  If you're constantly tortured by worry and stress, you might as well be poor.
Permalink AMerrickanGirl 
July 23rd, 2007 9:39am
>Middle class is now the $350k-$10 million range... and just getting by

$350k/year puts your household income in the top 2% of all households. If that is "middle class" then what the hell are the lower 98%+ of the US? Serfs? wetbacks?

In the US, people like to pretend that they're classless, so all folks pretend to be "middle class" even when they are so blatantly obviously upper class.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States
Permalink Peter 
July 23rd, 2007 9:39am
Also middle class doesn't just mean the money you make, its also about the job you have within society. Teachers and Doctors etc
Permalink what are you reading for? 
July 23rd, 2007 9:39am
"Also middle class doesn't just mean the money you make, its also about the job you have within society."

I disagree.  If you're making $100K and living in a nice house, you're middle class regardless of whether you're a teacher or a "sanitation engineer" (garbage collector - they earn a decent living!).
Permalink AMerrickanGirl 
July 23rd, 2007 9:41am
What type of jobs make $100k + over there? Walmart?
Permalink what are you reading for? 
July 23rd, 2007 9:42am
"In the year 2005, there were approximately 113,146,000 households in the United States. 17.23% of all households had annual incomes exceeding $100,000,"

Note, keyword is household.  So wouldnt that make some of the people on CoT rich.  And wouldnt that we should quit bitching on this issue.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 23rd, 2007 9:44am
The point i'm trying to make is that middle class isn't just defined by your earnings but I agree they have quite an impact because it open mores doors to the typical middle class lifestyle
Permalink what are you reading for? 
July 23rd, 2007 9:44am
Sorry, gotta call BS on that one.  In America, "class" IS all about the money.  The money determines where you can live, and the quality of the life you can live there, and the quality of the public schools in that area.

Two teachers making $20,000 a year ain't gonna be able to affort a $200,000 modest home in the DC area.  No matter what "class" you'd like to assign them to.  No matter how much you might admire them for choosing to educate our children.

In point of fact, all this "Class" talk is nonsense when it comes to the US.  It's TRYING to be a euphemism for "who should pay more" -- so you can say stupid stuff like "the upper class pays 90% of the taxes", or "the lower-class doesn't PAY taxes".

In point of fact, it's all about the money.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
July 23rd, 2007 9:45am
Haha, well that god i'm not in the US :)
Permalink what are you reading for? 
July 23rd, 2007 9:46am
*thank
Permalink what are you reading for? 
July 23rd, 2007 9:46am
i mentioned this in the other thread:

middle class is how much you have in assets as well.

someone who didn't have to pay their way through school will have saved up much more money in their 30s than someone who had to take out a student loan.
Permalink Kenny 
July 23rd, 2007 9:50am
> Also middle class doesn't just mean the money you make, its also about the job you have within society. Teachers and Doctors etc

Are teachers and doctors in the same class? Do they go out to the same restaurants, vacation in same spots?

And there are far more professions than ever (I read about someone who specializes in interior decorating *of garages*). Money, for all its sins, is, at least, a fairer measurement than any other.
Permalink strawdog soubriquet 
July 23rd, 2007 9:51am
"one may conclude that the American upper middle class consist of professionals making more than $62,500 who commonly reside in households with six figure incomes"

Ugh. This is a symptom of why we're broken - even the guys doing income studies automatically assume a two-income household. No parent at home raising the kids = the state raising the kids (and they don't do such a great job of it)
Permalink Send private email Philo 
July 23rd, 2007 10:56am
I make more than $62,500, our family has a six figure income, and I'd never consider myself *upper* middle class.
Permalink Send private email muppet 
July 23rd, 2007 10:59am
Middle class is definitely dependent on where you live, in addition to your salary.  Back when I was married, our combined income was $70k, and we had a nice house in a safe neighborhood, 2 cars, etc.  Very solidly middle class.  But that's Indianapolis.  $70k in San Francisco would be sharing an apartment.
Permalink Aaron 
July 23rd, 2007 10:59am
Without a doubt though.  There is also a difference between always having a lot of money in the bank and/or making a good income over 70-80k.

Eg, my parents make pretty good (but now about to be retired), make 250-300k (as far as I can tell) combined but have to pay a lot in taxes and also move a lot so they spend a lot of money during certain times and then don't have any of that cash but after taxes accumulate money.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 23rd, 2007 11:27am
Hey Bot, I thought I was qualifying it some where in there by saying in the big cities, I meant the coasts mostly. But even so, college for the 2.3 kids is not really affordable to parents under the $350k bracket unless the kids will assume so debt or parents will take a mortgage out or dip into retirement.

I base this on people I know. Families making $250k in SF, no fancy cars, and yet they struggle to make it each month.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 23rd, 2007 1:25pm
"Are you telling me, that in middle-class Mississippi there are people making 350k to 10 million.  I dont think so."

There are some. But you are wrong that there is much of a middle class in Mississippi.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 23rd, 2007 1:26pm
"$500k which is afforable for a two person household with $150k"

A typical $500k mortgage is not 'affordable' with a $150k income. You'll qualify, but you'll not be living well, and if you lose your job for 3 months, you'll be on the street.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 23rd, 2007 1:28pm
"our family has a six figure income, and I'd never consider myself *upper* middle class"

See Bot this is what I'm talking about. Muppet is six figure income and we all know he has a lot of financial issues from debt and also from circumstances. Now muppet probably thinks he's middle class, sure we all want to hold on to that dream. But I'm saying, look the rich are saying $10m is 'entry level rich'. Rich is where you don't worry about how much spending money you take on vacation. So middle class is below that. Middle class is not struggling. I think muppet shouldn't be buying video games and stuff until his debt burden is gone, but in reality, it's only a few hundred we're talking about and it's not like muppet can run out and buy an SUV without worry if he finds himself with 3 kids and they don't fit in his sedan. So I'd place him at upper lower class as far as lifestyle goes. Upper lower is surviving and doing OK, but lose a few months income and you're out on the street, or have a medical emergency and maybe you can't get the surgery you need because you just don't have the money or insurance coverage.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 23rd, 2007 1:35pm
I dont mind your description of lower, middle class, etc, etc and everything you have said.  I just object to your upper bound figures.

"But I'm saying, look the rich are saying $10m is 'entry level rich'"

So, 9.9 million is middle class.  I can't see that anywhere in America.  These figures say there are only 1.9 million people in the US with 1 million dollars in net worth.  There are 300 million people. 1.9ppl < 300million ppl.

"report by Capgemini[5] for Merrill Lynch on the other hand stated that there are approximately 1,900,000 households in North America whose net worth exceeds 1 million US dollars (which include "private equity holdings stated at book value, ...publicly quoted equities, bonds, funds and cash deposits.. offshore investments are theoretically accounted for, but only insofar as countries are able to make accurate estimates.." as well as real estate not used for primary residences)"

That is only 1 million dollars. What about 10 million.  I bet the pool of those people gets a lot smaller.

I just can't manager anybody anywhere saying, "Dammnnnn, I only have 9.9 million dollars, I sure can't wait to get out this middle class lifestyle, cant wait to afford that second car"
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 23rd, 2007 2:08pm
I'm setting the rich bound where the rich guy in the other article said it was, I guess he would know, I myself don't have experience with that sort of income so I have no idea what lifestyle $10M/y buys.

For middle class I'm saying that the middle class lifestyle is a known thing, so we ask if someone making X in city Y is living that lifestyle. Well, $100k don't buy you that lifestyle in the cities, and it's questionable that $200k does.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 23rd, 2007 2:48pm
The general theme here is that the middle class lifestyle where thinks are OK, no worries. You go to college, get a good job, and you can raise a family without constant struggle, that is not available now like it once was.

One reason for this is the cost of certain things. College is unaffordable for almost everyone unless willing to be a slave to debt. Medical care is fuck-are-you-kidding-me level. Housing in most areas where the jobs are is a joke. Little taxes here and there add up as well.  Virginia now has speeding tickets that cost $2500-$5000 for going a few miles over.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 23rd, 2007 2:53pm
Ok, I still think 200k to 10 million is a large jump. .9k-2 million is entry level rich to me.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 23rd, 2007 2:53pm
> Virginia now has speeding tickets that cost $2500-$5000 for going a few miles over.

Only way for cops to dream about being in the middle class.
Permalink strawdog soubriquet 
July 23rd, 2007 2:56pm
Most of the money goes to the state general fund. There's three costs to tickets - the mandated fine, the judge discretionary fine, and court fees. All these are now hidden taxes.

Court fees are a big hidden tax in most states now. You have to pay the cost of your trial. For a 5 minute kangaroo trial in some areas, you might be told the court costs there was $2000. It doesn't cost that much and you're getting double-billed since courts are paid for by taxes already. The cash you pay ends up financing other things.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 23rd, 2007 3:01pm
How much would you give a cop to not write you a ticket? It depends on how much you're saving.

They don't call you PE for nothing.
Permalink strawdog soubriquet 
July 23rd, 2007 3:03pm
Hm, that's a very very good point. With these high fines and low cop salaries, it's certain that the primary effect of this sort of shit will mainly lead to further corruption.

Good call there strawberry.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 23rd, 2007 3:06pm
You will note that such self/cop-imposed taxes are regressive - they fall nominally equally on the poor as the rich. The rich however can pull strings.

Isn't it Finland where fines take into account one's wealth or income if convicted?
Permalink trollop 
July 23rd, 2007 10:40pm
I'd say middle class is 40k minimum. For any household. This is of course, for an area such as the midwest with lower cost of living. In DC, that's prolly around 70-90k-ish. Upper bound? I'll go with the "don't worry about money when you spend it" with the condition that "a rational, not financially foolish person wouldn't worry" clause.

It's amazing how different environments change your perception. A friend's gf (complete bitch who was cheating on him, reason a I didn't like her) yelled at me for saying her family was rich when her parents had a 4k+ sq ft house (only 2 children), a new "whatever the most expensive is" oldsmobile (before they went out of business) and a 30th Anniversary Firebird (or whatever the Pontiac version of the Camaro was) including "track tires", road tires, and winter tires, plus the previous Firebird that was given to their college age son, and the accompanying track, road, and winter tires. Yeah, people that have all that shit and live in Naperville Illinois are no longer middle class in my book. And their daughter went to a 20k/year private college where she was an RA so she wouldn't have to pay room and board.
Permalink Send private email tim 
July 23rd, 2007 10:49pm
Tim, that friend really is middle class. You are probably poor, lower class. I know it's hard to accept that, but it's probably true.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 23rd, 2007 10:54pm
This is crazy talk! Anything above $6000 is middle class. People making above $25000 are the ultra rich. Some of those bastards even have houses.
Permalink Homeless Guy's perspective 
July 23rd, 2007 10:56pm
Actually, no, single at 40k+ in the midwest is middle class. Sorry PE. And a family of 3 could make do on it if they wanted.
Permalink Send private email tim 
July 23rd, 2007 10:56pm
Let me qualify. If you work downtown Chicago (midwest) and cannot both take public transport in town and live outside the suburbs (I'm completely unqualified to speak on Chicago's transport situation) then 40k is poor if you need to live within a certain radius of Chicago.

If you work in Madison or Milwaukee WI, you can live outside at a reasonable distance on 40k quite nicely. It might be lower middle class, but it's definitely not bad. Your situation just gets better at that income if you talk about some place like Des Moines IA or the Quad Cities (IL/IA border), Omaha NE (big defense industry area), and I'm sure other places in what is considered the midwest.

And just so this isn't interpreted as "gotta defend my small income", I make in the 50's (yeah, big deal for most of you), and I'm basing my calls on what I've made in the past, and other folks I know in the midwest.
Permalink Send private email tim 
July 23rd, 2007 11:03pm
tim, the lower class has always been able to live comfortably if they are careful and only live in certain areas. I think many of you are really confused about the difference between lower class and middle class.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 23rd, 2007 11:39pm
Also, this line that as long as you are not married or have kids or obligations, you can be middle class on this salary is completely contrary to definitions of middle class.

The middle class can AFFORD to get married. If getting married or having kids is going to affect you that much, you are definitely lower class, not middle, and you are in fact lower lower class. Upper lower class can afford to get married and have kids, it's only the real bottom of the class totem that can't do that.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 23rd, 2007 11:43pm
The middle class had affordable housing when we were on the gold standard. Bring it back.
Permalink strawdog soubriquet 
July 23rd, 2007 11:46pm
I like how definitive PE is being about such fuzzy concepts as class. He's the same way about economics.
Permalink Send private email Colm 
July 24th, 2007 8:02pm
I'm pretty fuzzy actually. What I'm not doing though is putting the bar in some weird place, or calling the bar a circle.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 24th, 2007 10:14pm

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