Oh the Poor Rich...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by miloblithe, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #1
    http://finance.yahoo.com/retirement/article/106934/Wealth-Less-Effect-Earning-Well-Feeling-Otherwise

    So wait, they tithe $1300 a month, own land other than their home and a share in a vacation home, and have $1200 a month left over after food, utilities, charity donations, mortgages, car payments, retirement investments, college funds, insurance, etc. are covered. So in other words, after every single one of their expenses are covered, including investments for the future, they have at least $2500 a month left over to do anything with they please, and think that they are not living a life of luxury?

    Some people just really, really, really don't understand what's going on in the world. These people are rich.
     
  2. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #2
    Agreed. I'd love to have this 'dilemma'.
     
  3. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #3
    Minor point, but it says they have only 1,200 a month left over.

    edit: I see that you're factoring in the tithe now.
     
  4. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #4
    And don't forget the week at the beach resort in the time share or whatever they share with the rest of the family.

    Though it does say how much people were stretching with their home, at least these people left something in the tank at the end of the month.
     
  5. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #5
    I wouldn't say these guys are exactly rich but they are weathy (any I with 14,000 excess cash from the income of one parent just from income. And I fail to see anything wrong with the people who have gotten so much from this much from the country giving a little back in a time of need.
     
  6. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #6
    And yet it seems you refuse to listen when people try to give you one.

    Besides, it should not go unnoticed that at $260,000, the church donations alone move their taxable income comfortably underneath the $250,000 threshold. A "family of five," suggesting three children, will knock another 10,500 off that taxable gross. They're paying two mortgages, which means interest on two mortgages. The 401(k) contributions are pre-tax.

    These people should probably have a quiet word with their H&R Block guy before making a big scene in the media. Even as well as they are doing, and however they "seem," mathematically they are not "the kind of well-off couple President Barack Obama has in mind" for tax increases. As well as they're doing, to be hit with that deeply burdensome 3% marginal tax, they'd have to be making substantially more.
     
  7. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #7
    On the question of who is wealthy, there's I think a simple statistic which gives a sense of it. The median family income in the United States was ~$50,000 (2006-2007).

    So, if you're making essentially five times the *median* income, you should probably stop talking about your middle class status.

    Of course, there are levels of wealth going into the stratosphere, but for most comparing oneself to outliers like Bill Gates is disingenuous at best.

    The people cited in the article may have a liquidity problem, but compared to people who have to choose whether to pay the gas bill or the electric bill, their problems seem rather minor.
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    They still have $2500 per month after they have already saved towards their retirement, and paying for a vacation home? How can they not afford a larger home, afford a newer car, or pay for renovations? The house must be in a really expensive area that's a bit out of the "middle class" price range. And the car they can't afford to upgrade must be due to the high price of the cars they want. Those two things put them beyond middle class, doesn't it?
     
  9. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #9
    'Nah there's an Infinity in every driveway in my neighborhood. They come with Proof of Purchase with four boxes of Fruit Loops.
     
  10. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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  11. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    #11
    OK, got to love the jealously here... wealth envy reigns supreme. However this guy did spend a long time getting to where he is. It is this type of person who invests much of his life to get something who is being punished by the new taxes.

    See, the wealthy like Obama (he paid almost 3 times what these people made just in taxes) are conveniently protected from his new tax the rich schemes. Do you really think Obama is going to get taxes passed that affect him or those in Congress?

    No, they are going to play the wealth envy card and rely on the ignorance of the average American of who the rich are. In other words, they are going to bandy about the phrase "rich" expecting you to equate it to the Paris Hilton types while they turn around and soak the working people who make great salaries.

    So cherry pick a few stories to show some people who are well off but otherwise have normal lives. The problem is that most who denigrate them for their earned wealth won't invest the time or effort to reach the same plateau and would much rather have the government punish their betters.

    Want to stay above water, work just 40 hours a week. Want to get rich, put in sixty or more which can include schooling and other such efforts over a regular work week.

    What disgusts me more are those who won't and then vilify those who do.


    I guess giving so much to others; their tithe to the church; is somehow bad now? Go figure, real generosity like theirs should be celebrated. How many others contribute over 5% of their GROSS salary? (I only do a little over 1%, just a little less than 2% of my gross)
     
  12. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #12
    I'm not jealous. I'm simply of the opinion that they're not middle class.


    I also don't mind if they get taxed a bit more than they do. It's not because they're rich. It's just my belief that richer people should be taxed more because they have more to gain from supporting the entire social and economic system in place....and have more to lose if the entire infrastructure goes pear-shaped.
     
  13. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

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    #13
    Sounds like poor financial management, 2 mortgages, tithing (really?), vacation home - geeze, somebody needs to tell them that it's easy to save money simply by not spending so much.

    Sell the vacation home, the land, get rid of the second mortgage or as much of it as possible.
     
  14. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #14
    These arguments always seem to go this way. Someone points out that 250,000 is a good amount of money and then the response is always the above. I don't see jealousy, in fact I'd argue that some of these posters could, for all you or I know, be doing as well or better. Rather, the collective eye-rolling is always about the "woe is me" attitude of the people cited in the article. Compared to people who worry about losing their homes, the above problems seem pale and silly. This isn't class warfare, it's the reality of the situation.

    I'm very impressed that they give 5%, although I know people who give 7% and 10%, but there are people whose threshold is so narrow that 1% is the difference between economic survival and disaster.

    As for the whole 40+ hours argument, I'd agree except that in some markets its impossible to work more than 30 hours because of cut-backs, and working two jobs is very difficult (I've been there).

    Life is unfair, but if you've gotten a particularly good hand you should be thoughtful about your position compared to others. Even the poorest Americans can afford things that are luxuries in certain parts of the world and we're all a little spoiled.
     
  15. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #15
    Just my opinion, and I'm not trying to start a religious war - but if I were giving away more than 10% of my gross pay each month to church, and I started feeling a financial pinch, that would be the first thing I would cut out of my budget.

    I'm not as financially well-off as these people, but I can say that for my family of 3 $1200 will NOT cover a month's worth of food, utilities, car payments, student loans, daycare, and insurance - I spend about 2 1/2 times that much each month on those items.

    This family certainly makes much more than my family does, but I still wouldn't call them "rich," I would say "upper middle class." I once heard this analogy: you're rich when your money works for you instead of you working for money.

    I know I'm not going to convince anyone otherwise, but I have to disagree. I think they have more than adequate resources to make a comfortable living for themselves, but I still wouldn't say they're rich.
     
  16. Greenhoe macrumors regular

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    #16
    Everyone works for the life they have. This guy has went to school for years to become a surgeon worked his but off to get where he is at now and paid thousands of dollars to earn his degree.

    Most people would not have the intelligence or the work ethic to withstand the schooling to be come a surgeon so he deserves everything he has.

    I know most democrats feel that most rich people get rich by luck and they deserve to support the poor, but the truth is majority of the Rich are rich because they are smart and work hard.

    I would get upset to after working my butt off 7 days a week knowing most my money is going against things that I'm not for, or going to people who live of the system and just want free handouts instead of going out and working for it.
     
  17. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I tend to agree with you on this, they're certainly not rich, but they definitely should be doing better than they are. They're living in a state that isn't terribly expensive and they have an income that is substantially higher than most, from reading the article it seems like they mismanage their finances somewhat. Tithing $1200 a month is definitely a little excessive.
     
  18. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #18
    I wouldn't say "rich" necessarily either. Good line about being "money works for you" that seems about right.
     
  19. CalBoy macrumors 604

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    #19
    Conversely, one might say that he is also the type of person who benefits enormously from a healthy government and social infrastructure, as he has decidedly more to lose in anarchy than one who possesses few skills or assets.
    Obama's wealth in 2008 was primarily the result of his book sales; prior to that, the Obamas together, while high earners relative to the average American, were not earning vast amounts of money.

    What's more, the largest tax scheme that benefits the wealthy is the varying rate of investment taxation. Warren Buffet famously lamented the fact that his secretary paid more of her income to taxes than he did, and that was largely the result of the lower tax rate we have on certain investments. This tax scheme is not enshrined so much to protect members of Congress as it is meant to appease their most vocal constituents: the wealthy.

    A tithe is not giving to others as there is no guarentee that the money is actually going to be helping anyone in genuine need. If it that was the case, ACLU and Greenpeace donations should also be considered helping others, and hence charitable acts.

    The only real difference is that the tax code values Christianity more than it does civil liberties or the environment.

    More to the point, it isn't really "bad" to tithe, but you can't complain about not having enough money to go around if you give away $1,300 every month. In tough times we all cut back, and this family clearly has the capability to do so without making any real lifestyle adjustments.

    IIRC, that was Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show when Vanessa complained about being labeled the "rich" girl at school. :)

    More to the point: this family isn't "rich" but they have more than enough money to handle paying an extra 3% on their income above $250,000. Even if we pretend that their taxable income is $260,000 (I believe Gelfin already noted that with their children, interest deductions, etc, it is far lower than this), the total tax on this would only be an additional $300 per year. That's only $25 per month. I'm sure their church isn't going to care if their tithe drops from $1,300 to $1,275 (oh the horror!).

    Of course then we ignore the bitter reality of generational inertia. A hispanic child with two working parents that don't speak much English can work just as hard as a white suburban child and still not get as far in school. In fact, he will have to work even harder to get to the same place as that suburban child. Should he then earn even more money in his profession and pay less in taxes compared to his suburban counterpart (since he did after all earn that right)?

    Moreover, why do we reward intelligence if what we want is a meritocracy? Intelligence is largely the composite of genetics and the developmental encouragement you received as a child. You have control over neither of these factors, which means your IQ isn't in fact something that we can value in a meritocratic way. Should we then only reward hard work? And if we do that, how do we measure who is working harder? I might graduate this spring with a GPA that is better than some of my classmates, but I can bet that many worked harder than me. Do they deserve lower tax rates?

    What, pray tell, are those things you so abhor? Perhaps you should have a realistic idea of how the Federal budget is distributed before you make the claim that your tax dollars are going to "handouts."
     
  20. apsterling macrumors 6502a

    apsterling

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    #20
    What is there to abhor?
    There's the needless war in the middle east
    There's expenditures on dead end public works programs from decades ago
    There's redistibution of the tax money with no plans set in place

    Throwing money at a problem does nothing but waste it unless there's a structure upon which you're building and planning.
     
  21. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Not to mention social security, medicare, and medicaid programs that are budgeted at about $1.4 trillion of spending in 2010.
     
  22. CalBoy macrumors 604

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    #22
    One which was not started by a Democrat, but one which is expected to be solved by a Democrat. And yet, when a segment of that solution is brought forth, the ones who got us into that particular problem protest (and quite loudly).
    Which isn't a handout. Greenhoe doesn't want to give money to those people who don't merit it; he hasn't said anything about public works projects.
    What redistribution is that exactly? And what do you call a plan for universal health insurance and energy modernization? Or do they not fall into the narrow band of "plan" you find acceptable?
    I consider investing in our human capital to be an immensely positive structure on which we can build and plan.

    It certainly beats out the "plan" of killing and demonizing of the previous administration.
     
  23. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #23
    by any reasonable definition these people are rich.
    look at the number, they still make 12000/month AFTER all taxes, medical care and the pension fund.
    with that 12000/month thy have to pay their mortgage, car, food and "regular" living expenses. plus the charity donations and the church contributions. That is a lot of disposable income. that they chose o dispose it so that they are left with around 1200 dollar is their choice, but certainly they are a far cry from 'middle class'
     
  24. .Andy macrumors 68030

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  25. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Biblically, it should be the last thing to go. Christians acknowledge that everything belongs to God and we are just stewards of what he entrusts us with. A tithe is a reminder of that stewardship and if we are faithful with a little, God will entrust us with more.

    Actually giving $1200 isn't even tithing for this family. Tithe literally means a tenth so tithing in their case would be $2,166.67 per month.

    Giving to the ACLU Foundation or to the Greenpeace Fund is completely tax-deductible.

    I agree that they shouldn't be complaining. Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's...
     

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