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Tag: $250

Steven Mintz Responds To My Post – $250,000 And Poor

Steven Mintz

Steven Mintz also known as The Ethics Sage commented on my earlier post about a Internet publication’s post about the difficulty of living on a quarter of a million a year.

James, I agree with your sentiments. The divide between rich and poor with a growing middle class is expanding rapidly. I wouldn’t classify all billionaires as greedy. The pursuit of self-interest is always a factor and often at the cost of others as too often occurs in corporations. There are, however, a few good people that either use their money to better society, improve our educational system, help those who can’t help themselves, and even fight world hunger and illiteracy. We know of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates in the business world who have started foundations for these purposes. They seem to be trying to do the right thing. The jury is still out on Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, who has pledged to donate a significant amount of his money. Oprah Winfrey comes to mind and her charitable efforts as well as using personal gravitas to improve conditions around the world. Perhaps we can include someone like Angelina Jolie who seems genuinely concerned about the unfortunate circumstances of way too many people in other countries. That said, you are absolutely right that the fabric of our nation has changed and not for the better. The middle class get squeezed more and more. The sad part is nothing has be done, even with the financial crisis, to address these issues and I fear nothing will be done because of the influence and desire of those with the billions to continue the trend and the willingness of our Congressional leaders, many of whom are already wealthy (or hope to be so after leaving office)to support the obsessively rich because they hope to join their ranks some day.

I recommend you add The Ethics Sage to your favorites.

James Pilant

$250,000 And Poor

That headline caught my eye. This is from The Fiscal Times. The whole article is called Down and Out on $250,000 a Year.

My first response was to see how far I could read before I got the joke. But I was wrong. This is not a joke story or a satire. From the article –

By most measures, a $250,000 household income is substantial. It is six times the national average, and just 2.9 percent of couples earn that much or more. “For the average person in this country, a $250,000 household income is an unattainably high annual sum — they’ll never see it,” says Roberton Williams, an analyst at the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

But just how flush is a family of four with a $250,000 income? Are they really “rich”? To find the answer, The Fiscal Times asked BDO USA, a national tax accounting firm, to compute the total state, local and federal tax burden of a hypothetical two-career couple with two kids, earning $250,000. To factor in varying state and local taxes, as well as drastically different costs of living, BDO placed the couple in eight different locales around the country with top-notch public school districts, using national data on spending.

A reader begins to get the idea that we are going to explore the difficulties of getting by on this sum of money each year. So, you read further on, things like this –

Some of the expenses incurred by couples like the Joneses may seem lavish – such as $5,000 on a housecleaner, a $1,200 annual dry cleaning tab and $4,000 on kids’ activities. But when both parents are working, it is impossible for them to maintain the home, care for the kids and dress for their professional jobs without a big outlay.

And it keeps going like this. If I was from a distant part of the world with no knowledge of the United States, I might have gotten teary eyed. However, I do live here and I’m not going to cry over those suffering with a quarter of a million dollars in income.

Why don’t you read the article? If you feel sorry for them and wish them better, please let me know.

James Pilant

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