…but then, I would say that. Because I’m a dirty-hippie-lefto-Marxist-revolutionary-tax’n'spend-Commie (or, in other words, ‘anywhere left of centre’).
Anyway, enough of my posturing. The smack down begins here, with Michael O’Hare tearing apart a law professor who complains that his nearly half a million per year income makes him just another Average Joe scraping by to make ends meet:
He is also whining about his and his wife’s education loans, $500,000, which are costing them about $50K per year in interest. [...] This leaves about $90,000, a lousy $245 a day, for food, clothes, vacations, cable TV, and like that. You can walk into Nordstrom’s on Upper Michigan and spend that in a minute, and for stuff you really need. Really, I don’t know how these people get by; their adaptive skills, economical habits, and modest living style is an inspiration to all of us. Perhaps they are careful to tip no more than 15% at the Sizzler when they splurge.
So how does our third-of-a-million-a-year law prof/doctor couple and their three kids, barely scraping by already and falling before our eyes to the very bottom of the top 1% of US families by income, make out under Obama’s rapacious soak-the-rich commie attack on all that is holy and American and fine? Wait for it; take a guess before the jump:
His taxes will go down $3700; he can buy one of those ties every two weeks! And this guy is threatening to fire the gardener and the house cleaner, take the kid out of art class, turn off his cell phones, and try to raise competent adults with only basic cable. Prof. Henderson, I’m ashamed to share my profession with you.
The full thing is even more illuminating. Mark Twain once said there were lies, damned lies and statistics; he clearly didn’t take Republicans into account.
Unhappy with having his arse handed to him on a plate, however, it seems that the law professor came back for more. Enter Brad DeLong, who lays the smack down not only on the facts, but also on the root cause of the problem: A pervasive sense of entitlement among the wealthy-but-not-super-wealthy.
Now it is time for a reality check on this “most working Americans.” The median household income in the United States today is $50,000. Half of all households make more than this. Half of all households make less. The big expenses in the Henderson family budget–their $60,000 a year in contributions to tax-favored retirement savings vehicles, their $25,000 a year savings building home equity, their $55,000 for housing, their $60,000 in private school costs, even their $10,000 a year for new cars–are simply out of reach for the overwhelming majority of Americans. Half of all households make less than $50,000 a year–the Hendersons make nine times that. 90% of households make less than $100,000 a year–the Henderson’s make 4.5 times that. The Henderson’s are solidly in the top 1% of American households, in the select 1% group that receives more than $350,000 a year.
By any standard, they are really rich.
But they don’t feel rich. They have a cash flow problem. When the bills are paid at the end of the month, the money is gone–and they feel that they have to scrimp.
Ahh…smell that? I love the smell of burning privilege in the morning…