Skip to comments.What Is "Rich" and "Poor" In America?
Posted on 12/13/2011 7:13:16 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Class warfare and income redistribution rhetoric has always been fashionable among self anointed protestors and politicians who play the old game of divide and conquer, telling us the greedy "rich" need to "pay their fair share." This would be tedious if it did not have serious implications for tearing communities apart. Let's take a look.
According to IRS data, there are 1.38 million Americans in the top 1% earning at least $343,927 a year. This is a generous living but hardly the cash flow to purchase a corporate jet and luxury yacht. There are 138,000 Americans in the top .1% earning over 2 million a year. They more truly represent the vision we have of "rich," but only equal .04% of the population.
Going even further, we can say "rich" and attach images of Oprah and Gates, two of the 5,309 people who make over ten million a year, but comparing .004% of the population to the 330 million other Americans to define the economic fabric of our nation is statistically meaningless.
What do Americans earn? 91.7% make less than $100,000 a year, with 71% making between $0 and $50,000 and 20.7 % making between $50,000 and $100,000. Only 8.3% of Americans earn over $100,000 year while 1.8% earn over $200,000. Good incomes to be sure but hardy "rich" once Uncle Sam takes his cut.
Focusing on the extreme ends of the earning scale to define "rich" versus "poor" is like comparing Warren Buffet to a homeless person. Elites who smugly spew indignation to protect a frail sense of self may create moral melodrama, but choosing the vivid exception to statistical truth does not trump demographic realities. In short, the vast swath of Americans make between $25,000 and $75,000 a year. Instead of being a nation of "rich" and "poor," we are a nation of income equity and mobility.
So why do we see opulence? Because the so called rich" spent the better part of a lifetime working hard at building a business or career, saving and investing for a rainy day, paying off a home and planning for their future. Many no longer work, and live off their investment income and social security, but they certainly have paid their "fair share" along the way.
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Occutards should listen to themselves some time. They want to take away the wealth of the top one percent?
OK. Say we do that. Then what’s left? Another one percent! (surprise!) They may be less wealthy, but still... they are still greedy and evil. Force the gubmint to take away their money.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Pretty soon we will have total equality. Nobody has any money, but hey. At least all are suffering.
It’s a liberal utopia.
“The ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’ are not different people, just people at different stages of their lives. The top 20% retire while the bottom 20% increase their human capital and move up while younger workers enter the workforce and continue the cycle. $66 thousand a year gets you into the top 25%.”
How many of these people only earn that amount for a few years or only once in a lifetime?
Two examples are the professional sports star, or the real estate agent who makes the “once in a lifetime” sale? And....The same argument can be made for those who are earning over $350,000. For how many, is this a “once in a lifetime” event?
Then there are those whose high earning years cover only 15 or less years. For example, some surgeons and top lawyers do not even start earning that type of money until they are in their late forties, and unlike our nation's socialist teachers or other socialist government workers they must fund their own retirement and are burdened with school and profession office start up debts.
A better measure of wealth would be expected lifetime earnings (including socialist government pension and health benefits).
But, but, but...the homeless person is poor BECAUSE Warren Buffet is rich, or maybe it's Warren Buffet is rich BECAUSE the homeless person is poor, don't you see?
Just because someone is smart, well educated, works hard, and invests his money wisely, why should he have more than someone else? (/s)
“According to IRS data, there are 1.38 million Americans in the top 1%”
Um, no. That would mean that there are 138 million Americans.
Most likely, they mean American tax returns that show a net tax liability (100 million last I looked), or more likely American households (over 120 million in, IIRC, 2000).
They say “rich”, but they mean “bourgeoisie”.
The demonized “rich” are those that enjoy the fruits of their labors and receive compensation for their efforts.
This is antithetical to communism.
I disagree; progressives have equated income with wealth since the beginning of the last century, a distortion of the very definition of wealth which was acceptable to the "old rich" of the late 19th century who fully supported taxing the noveau rich via the income tax. Net worth is the definition of wealth, income is at best a means of attaining wealth.
I was trying to make the point in my post that the Marxists latch on to a number ( for example $2 million/year) as if the typical person earned that amount every year of his career. This is hardly the case. It would be my bet that many of this high earners do this **once** in a lifetime or only for a few years. That hardly makes them the richest people in America.
Rich? Poor? Easy question: Poor is what I have, Rich is what I want to have.
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