Skip to comments.Are You Poor?
Posted on 09/17/2011 4:14:38 AM PDT by Kaslin
The folks are getting hosed. According to the American Debt Advisor outfit, 80 percent of us now owe money to creditors. If you exclude mortgages and car payments, about 50 percent of us are in debt. And that's why the economy is having so much trouble. Consumers have to be very careful about what they buy, or risk sinking into insolvency.
Some pundits place the blame on unemployment, which is currently just over 9 percent. But that's not what is driving debt. Taxation is.
The mean salary in America is just about $50,000. But if you live in Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco or New York, earning 50K means you're poor. The cost of living in most urban areas is now so high that a $250,000 salary is middle income. President Obama might not understand this, but we, the people, do.
Let's take the situation in New York State. New Yorkers like me pay federal income tax, state income tax, New York City income tax and property taxes if we own a home. In fact, per capita property tax in the Empire State is about $1,900 a year. Sales tax per capita, another $1,700 per year.
Gasoline tax in New York: 45 cents a gallon. Cellphone tax and fees of 23 percent are added to your monthly bill. There are also tolls, and taxes on your driver's license, cigarettes and alcohol. The hits just keep on coming.
The only relief for New Yorkers is knowing the tax situation is worse in New Jersey.
All over the USA, working folks are bleeding take-home pay. Obama says he wants to extend the payroll tax cut, and that's fine. But that's a proverbial drop of water into a bottomless well.
Folks just don't have much money to spend. So how on earth is the economy going to improve? Who's going to buy stuff? With so much money being taken from everyday Americans by their elected representatives in Washington and in the state capitals, there's simply not enough cash being spent in the marketplace to return the nation to economic prosperity.
Recently, I saw a bumper sticker that read: "Taxes buy civilization. Progressive values are American values." Well, balderdash. Taxes are strangling working Americans. They are creating a society not of self-reliance (almost unaffordable), but of dependence on institutions we can't control: banks, credit card companies, government-generated handouts. Now the feds have seized control of the health industry. That will mean even more taxation down the road.
Obama made a bet that his big-government vision would create jobs and prosperity. It has not worked. It never works. Ask Cubans and Venezuelans. Americans now find themselves struggling to pay the bills and utterly dependent on whoever is paying them a salary.
Upward mobility? Please. Most Americans are just trying to survive. This is not what the pursuit of happiness is all about.
That hits the nail so squarely on the head, that there really is no comment I can make.
Yeah, half a billion tax dollars that went to Solyandra for toilet paper, we have nothing to show for it but the bill. Our kids will be paying that one for a while, eh?
312,232,964 people in the United States a half a billion flushed—we all could have had a million dollars. Imagine what THAT would have done for the economy.
We are being so royally screwed. Taxing us, our kids and grand-kids just to throw money away. Well a politician and a few rich folk prob’ly made out good.
The federal government is spending nearly 25% of GDP right now. And that’s just the federal government. Then there’s state and local taxes... Government at all levels is spending us to death - literally.
I thought the article was good, but I have to add, that it gets old hearing about how “If you own your home, you pay property taxes, too.” Renters pay property taxes too, it’s just collected by the property owner and passed on to the government, like any other tax on corporations, etc. It is included in the cost of business. When I last lived in an apartment, my bill had the breakdown, including the amount in property tax I paid to them that they passed on. EVERYONE pays property taxes, unless their housing is paid for, for them.
That being said, taxes and regulation are strangling this country. It’s intentional. People have excellent ideas and means of producing goods and services in order to survive and thrive. But people are taxed and regulation to the point that they generally must go into debt to open a business, and the taxes/licenses are overwhelming if they even make it that far.
Half a billion dollars is about $5 a taxpayer - not anywhere near a million dollars each.
When Bush handed out Chinese money (stimulus), people saved it or used it to spend down debt (Wisely). That’s why you will never, ever, ever, see that type of payment again to the average person (The EIC winners get it every year). The income tax needs to be abolished. The permissive acts of allowing government to nickel and dime your income before you ever saw it was one of the greatest failures of the 1900’s.
“And that's why the economy is having so much trouble.”
I do give him credit for mentioning the waste and the failed keynesian communism... he should have named it for what it is but... with that one sentence... o’bloviator excuses all of the decades of deficit spending and the open marxism of the left and the incrementalism that has brought us to the brink of collapse worldwide. Consumers are not spending... that is simply a symptom of the disease... IT IS NOT THAT SYMPTOM THAT IS KILLING US... IT IS THE CANCER OF THE COMMUNIST DREAM!
Our taxes are so high because of... redistribution programs of welfare (20 million flavors of that in America today) and ponzi schemes like socialist security... that allow the government to collect insane amounts of money from workers... promise that money back to them when they retire... plus a lot of other peoples money thrown in... and then allows them to spend that money today on socialist programs and green pipe dreams and corrupt slush funds for supporters... and at the end of the day... they have to borrow money from our enemies (chicoms) to finance the programs that they collected the money for in the first place... wake up bill... it may be too late to save America but you should have watch the destruction of America that you helped to bring about.
Yeah, I was a dumb azz there...oops *blush*
Though, it would still be more than we have to show for it now. This whole mess just makes me sick to my stomach.
Solyandra provides a perfect example of wealth destruction. Half a billion dollars in hard-earned taxes go in, or in this case a half-billon dollar IOU against future taxes plus interest, and that money vanishes as another politically connected company goes belly up.
Poor? You bet. Social Security survivor benefits don’t cover the bills anymore. One child, and that one well-educated (homeschooled), smart, sensible, wonderful — but not a prayer of going to college. Finding a job would answer our prayers. We go nowhere unnecessarily in our clunker car, that I can’t afford to fix or fuel up. Sewer tax is now higher than water usage. Electric has gone up, and space heaters will keep the pipes from freezing because oil is unaffordable. Medical insurance went out the window five years ago, along with property insurance and all but the absolute legal minimum of auto insurance. We do volunteer work delivering food to people with air conditioning, tv and fancy phones and spiffy cars — we have no a/c, no tv (you couldn’t pay me to turn one on if I had it!), a pay-go cell phone about 6 years old, and the car is a heap.
The scariest part is that everyone we encounter says the smart approach is to go to public housing — i.e., to go on relief. We have a house, and they say to leave it and get a free apartment! Yet we are in a rural area, mostly conservative.
People were softened up for this depression we’re in. They think government is the solution.
When you get really poor you begin to see it: more people than you ever imagined, are pushers and/or users of government.
Well, that and some happy and rich Obama donors who cashed out before TSHTF.
Nope. We don’t have a video-game console, more than one television, or cable. We can’t be poor.
15% of the population lives in poverty, and Obama says he won’t rest until we are all in the poorhouse.
The answer, I think, is that we have constructed a massive, complex economic system that simply relies on these unseen institutions (governments and others) to mask the fact that our high standard of living is largely an illusion. And what I mean by that is that in recent decades we have come to rely increasingly on GDP growth that isn't "real" at all. Instead, it is based on growth of business activity that has replaced personal "non-financial" activity (like schools and day care centers replacing parents for raising children) or entire industries built on the idea of third-party payment as the norm (health care and education, for example).
My grandson, a high school sophomore, wouldn't have a prayer of going to college either . . . if he depended on his parents paying for it. His dad has been unemployed for a couple of years and mom's paycheck barely covers household expenses for the family.
Instead, he expects to get a ROTC scholarship that will cover his tuition, provide a textbook allowance, cover most lab fees, and they'll give him $500 spending cash per month to boot!
He's in the JAFROTC now and loves it! He's one of four Flight Commanders in the school and supervises about 40 cadets.
My homeschooler wanted to join the service, but I started opposing it when Obama became Commander-in-Chief. We’re not far from a military base, would have been convenient, financially a big relief, and the kid wants a legal career. But if you go up the chain and Barack Obama is on top...NO. Flat out NO.
My family of six has an annual income of about 80 grand. Although we are a one income family, a good amount of people aren’t. If we were a two income family, we would definitely be over 100 grand. That is good money but having my wife at home is 100 percent worth living on a lower amount of money. Is that 50,000 only one income per family. I don’t know of any families with TWO incomes making 50,000 or less. I think they are fudging the numbers.
I went into the service in 1987 and a few years later Clinton was President. I survived. Completed 24 years in June. Don’t keep your son out of the service over a President who won’t be there in one year or five years. The service is VERY good regardless of the naysayers on this site who have become anti-military zealots. Code pink is very proud of those folks.
In the days of my youth the sales tax rate in South Carolina was three percent! We routinely now pay eight percent with different rates on different things rather than one constant rate. In my world it makes no sense that we need such steeply higher rates, especially when I reflect that we have a much more dense population now. Why should we need a HIGHER rate as population density INCREASES? What happened to economy of scale? If we got along OK back then with three percent (and I know we did) then we should be able to do OK with maybe two and a half percent now but instead we pay nearly three times the old rate. I think it is absurd and this is a state that is considered by the left to be “UNDERTAXED”, I say that if we are undertaxed Michael Moore is underweight and Bill Gates is broke. The state is becoming far more of a burden than the federal government used to be and the counties are trying to do the same.
There are plenty of two income families in my area who make less than fifty thousand. There are retired couples who make less, there are working couples who make less and I mean gross income before taxes.
There are plenty of two income families in my area who make less than fifty thousand.
Wow. That means each one is making 25K a year.....they must be entry level jobs. It is sad but they probably could look for other work even if they have to move. 50K is not enough to live on especially if both people are working.
I had to do the math on that. That means 13 dollars an hour. It might help if they go to college at night and get that degree. I know they can do better than that. I know a guy in college working during the evening making 10 dollars an hour and he is 20......those people need to do something to make some money or they are going to be in BIG trouble later in life. How are they going to be able to replace windows? roof? reside the house. It is extremely expensive to do any of those things and easily could finish off their savings quickly. I feel for them but hopefully they wake up and improve before it is too late.
There is truth in what you say.
I served under Reagan, then joined up again under Bush, seven years ago. Except for the mis-named "repeal" of DADT, I can't say I have any complaints about Obama as CinC. Military service is still a good career choice for those looking to have a better life.
It is enough to live on in this area if you don’t have medical problems and IF YOU KNOW HOW TO MANAGE MONEY, a big if there. If my parents were still living they would show you how to pile up mounds of savings on fifty thousand a year for two.
With all due respect Naps, I think it could help to know more about the economic situation in the country. On;y about 1/3 of the workforce even has a college degree, and even fewer jobs actually require it.
As to your earlier question of whether a 50K+ family has one or two incomes, actually it doesn’t matter. I ran a business with a former accounting professor (retired) for a few years, and learned a lot from him in addition to my own education. (Not only had he been an accounting professor for decades, but his father had been also, both intimately and immensely knowledgable about personal income, finance, etc.)
First, the number of workers in a family really doesn’t matter. On average the amount of extra income that two earners get is somewhere around $1,000 difference. This is an average, so individuals may vary, but after the price of an extra car, gas, servicing, babysitting, wardrobe, and so on and so on, tax structure, etc, etc. It doesn’t pay to have two incomes, in general.
Secondly, you may not understand that “Entry level” wages in one ares, are creme de la creme in others. The average income (median), in my metropolitan area was somewhere around 26k last I looked. My parent’s county (another state on the other side of the country): 23K.
The fact is that wealth, and opportunity are systematically being wiped out in our country, and the solution is not to send more family members to work. The solution is to get government OUT of the business world first, and to resolve the market naturally (by removing the legal loopholes for some, incentivizing some and weakening others).
Also, in case you weren’t aware, the college bubble is collapsing (Also caused by the government), because tuition is raised magnificently every year, as it’s being subsidized by the government. Some numbers indicate that if you go to college for a Bachelors, your net loss in income (on average), is nearly $300K between the cost of tuition, and opportunity cost by not working. And that’s if you can even find a job when you get out (unlikely, given the 18-25 yo unemployment rate).
I’m all for College, if it is necessary to one’s field, but the fact is, that it is beneficial for very few people, and significantly so, for even fewer.
People are able to take care of themselves, but the government is forcing people onto the government teat. It’s not the fault of the 20-30 year olds, it’s directly the fault of the largest generation in history and the fact they refused to leave anything for their children and grandchildren when they were done, leaving only a legacy of overregulation, taxation, and destruction of wealth.
Please excuse any typos.
I noticed the math error in that it wasn’t a million dollars per capita, but I noticed you attempting to correct a math error with a math error.
I have a PhD in Statistics and I get headaches when I have to do arithmetic. Would you mind redoing your grade school arithmetic so that I don’t have to dose up on acetylsalicylic acid?
Agreed. A family can live off of 20-30K a year, easily, barring medical problems. It depends on what you feel you can live with, and what you can’t live without. The biggest problem currently, is the overinflated real estate (that problem, fortunately is still fixing itself, but government will do all it can to overinflate the prices). And, without medical subsidy (they call it “insurance,” which it is not) it’s unlikely that many could pay for a major medical problem even with a 200K+ salary job. (I know people who racked up a million dollars in two weeks in a hospital).
Money management is the key. Sadly, the average U.S. citizen has lived of the subsidies of other nations for a long time (As long as we run a deficit, someone is subsidizing us). When that ends, all the social welfare programs end (as the rest of our curreny collapses), and the facade that we’ve been living in will quickly melt away. It’s good in the long run, but will be devastating to many in the short term.
“How are they going to be able to replace windows? roof? reside the house.”
In my case I did all those things myself, I danged sure didn’t hire union labor. My wife and I own our home and eight acres on a small river, a nice car and an F-150 extended cab, tractor, small backhoe, new forty eight inch riding mower etc. all free and clear of debt and we have done it all on what you would apparently describe as not enough money to live on. A lot depends on WHERE and HOW you choose to live. By the way we each have our own computer with cable modem, cell phones, large screen televisionS, she has a laptop also. We owe nothing!!!
He said “taxpayer” not every person is a “taxpayer” in the eyes of some (They usually mean Federal Income Tax-taxpayer, which only about 50% of tax filers are). Hope that helps.
Study, Study, Study.........
I assure you that once you get it you will never let it go.
College? All MIT classes are available to the self-motivated at http://ocw.MIT.edu and many other schools.
Job? You’ve got a computer and Internet access. Make a job. Start a website/service. Write books, publish via Amazon. Blog. Buy/scavenge cheap stuff and sell it on eBay. Got a Mac? $99/year for Mac and iPhone software development tools, trivial sales via Mac & App Store. Got a PC? similar options available. Get that kid busy while s/he has no responsibilities, dependents, or expenses. Non-computer work? do grunt work, learn a skill from a book and teach it (via library, church & other community service outlets), talk to stores about repurposing odd waste they produce (Home Depot wood scraps, tree service free wood mulch, restaurant water/liquids jugs, etc.), a million options await you & the kid.
Housing? Look into Tumbleweed homes and TinyHouseBlog.com for nice, cheap options. $20 gets full plans for building a home that can be made from cheap/scavenged materials. Watch the foreclosure & tax seizure properties for creative options of where to put these nice little houses.
Thanks for the link — all these years of homeschooling, we have lots of resources but missed that one!
Foreclosures are indeed a good way to get a house. Costs a lot to keep it livable after the foreclosed-upon people got done abusing it, but absolutely worth the effort. I did that right :) and didn’t even need to build something on a lot. There are houses out there for $5k-15k, that can be brought back. In fact I would say it is better to buy a bad house than to buy a good lot — even if you’re handy (which I’m not) you have to deal with codes and permits to build, whereas if you take a distressed property and turn it into a decent home, its structural deficiencies are often “grandfathered” and the code office and the neighbors are grateful they’ve lost a rat hole. For example, our house has several layers of roof; you couldn’t do that today, but nobody would order me to remove all but one. Nobody even knows! :)
Re ebay: I used to sell on ebay. It was good. Wouldn’t have my house without the money I made there. But those days are gone.
Now the fees are very high, there are lots of bad faith buyers who have the advantage, and Paypal...I honestly don’t know how they continue to operate, no bank would ever be permitted to do business that way.
Small sellers with no “cushion” cannot risk ebay selling anymore. Bonanza.com is easier for fees and doesn’t inflict Paypal on sellers, but the market just isn’t there.
Anybody thinking of starting from scratch, selling on ebay, I say to them, “For heaven’s sake, DON’T!!”
Read the community forums on ebay and Paypal. Read about three-week holds on your money, including shipping funds; chargeback policies; foreign buyers and their delivery-insurance issues; “buyer protection;” and the innumerable unhappy reports from sellers who have run up against Paypal’s “sole discretion.”
Although there were some close calls (”Dear Seller, send your platinum ring to me in Budapest but please call it ‘toys’ or customs will steal it! I will send Paypal!”); I never got badly skinned on ebay, but the reports from those who have, would curdle your blood.
Well, Obama isn't going to be CiC forever. Even if he's president for two full terms (God forbid!), my grandson will still be in school when a new president becomes CiC.
I am a very big proponent of the FairTax. I was extremely dissapointed with Heman Cain when he decided that instead of supporting the FaitTax, he decided his 9-9-9 plane, which is actually closer to 18%, 9 on your income and a further 9% when you spend. He said he was trying to unite the FairTax and Flat Tax crowds, yet he combined parts of both to give us an even worse situation, an Income tax and a national sales tax. I will continue to suport the FairTax, and thank you for posting. This can be fixed!
Hey, finally something you and I agree with.
Okay, I guessed at the number of federal taxpayers there are...
I believe its around 100,000,000.
$500,000,000 / 100,000,000 is $5.
And I said “about $5” to allow for my less than exact guess at 100,000,000 federal taxpayers...
So please, go ahead and correct my “error” doctor.
As far as medical costs go I think we would be VASTLY better off if there had never been any government involvement, no medicare, no medicaid, no watchdog agencies etc. I remember when a week in the hospital without insurance was a major blow but a working man could survive it even if he had to make monthly payments for a while. Now if you spend a week in the hospital without any insurance or any help from anywhere you are ruined financially, probably for life, unless you are wealthy. I don’t buy the excuse that health care costs so much now because of all the advances in medicine. In any other field great technological advances result in lower costs not higher costs. I think the same would be true in medicine without the hand of government ruining everything.
Surgery that used to involve a long hospital stay is now often done on a one night or even an outpatient basis, why should it cost more rather than less?
Agreed, and thanks for overlooking my horrific typos, yikes!
Agreed. My father and I were talking about this very idea two days ago. When my dad was a kid, doctors still made house calls. I totally understand that the health insurance (subsidy, really), has skyrocketed the cost of health care, in addition to medical malpractice suits and insurance.
There have been many advances in the fields of medicine, and they are costly, but they always come down in price as the supply (availability) goes up. You make a perfect example of government getting into things and ruining them. All socialism must GO.
tell him to apply for the army and navy rotc as well as air force. The army scholarships are easier to come by and provide better benefits. You must work very hard in high school to fill out all paper work (on time)for the 4 year scholarship. In the army rotc almost nobody gets a 3 year scholarship after spending a whole year as freshman as a non scholarship student.
I’ll tell him but he likes the Air Force, which is the only ROTC program offered in his high school. He’s a great student and in the AICE program. Upon completion, he’ll be eligible for a Bright Futures Scholarship.
Thanks to Uncle Sam, I’m flat broke.