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April 02, 2016


"Your modest lifestyle is their freaking nirvana."

But, you know, the average annual income in lots of countries is less than $1,400 a year. Most of the people in the US that live below the poverty line live in nirvana compared to those people. Should we take the money from people making under 24,000 a year, too? Its a policy question.

Should we take the money from people making under 24,000 a year, too?

I'm not sure I understand what point you're trying to make.

If you're trying to make some kind of point about income redistribution, then no, we shouldn't take money from people who live in the US who make less than $24K a year because people who don't live in the US make less.

The people who live in the US *live in the US*. In the US, $24K a year is actually poor.

The Slovenian dude who I trained as my replacement at my last job is living really nicely for about $25K a year. Maybe he should send a nice check to the people in this country who are making $24K a year.

Or better yet, the dude in LA with the spreadsheet who is getting a nice bonus this year because of all the money he saved sending the jobs my former development team used to have to Slovenia should cut a nice big check to all of the people in this country who are making $24K a year.

But really, as is always the case, what I'd really like is for all of the people trying to live on $24K as a full time wage to be making $50K.

Then nobody has to redistribute anything.

I hear cavemen didn't make a whole lot. We should probably tax anyone who possesses government-backed currency. Oh, wait! We do!

Anyone making about $35K or more a year are members of the world's 1%.

That's not a big surprise, Charles. So, what's your take on that from a policy prospective?

Well, when I was kid hunting tapirs in the rain forest, no one knew what money was, so I suspect we could tax all of it away from everyone, no matter how poor.

YOU have NO idea what it is really like to sneak out of the latest flophouse residence because your Moms pimp was high and beating her again.

my alcoholic drug-addicted bi-polar mother got the shit beat out of her every fucking night by her alcoholic drug-addicted asshole boyfriend, and i got to watch.

i learned to roll joints when i was four.

during one fight, i somehow decided i'd had enough of it. so i picked up a glass from the living room table next to the couch where i was sleeping and threw it as hard as i could against their bedroom door. glass absolutely everywhere. he came running out of the bedroom, onto a kitchen full of glass shards and he cut his feet up. when he saw me and figured out what happened, he ran across the room and jumped on me, hands around my neck.

luckily, i had already called the police. and i managed to tell him that. that's when he stopped strangling me.

so yeah, NO IDEA.

I would ask why this was a point that needed to be made at all. Other than to try and marginalize his personal experience


None of us has any idea what the others have no idea about, until they tell us. But you guys make my alcoholic mother and stepfather look like June and Ward Cleaver.

The point I was trying to make is that what "living lavishly" means depends on the eye of the beholder.

Which makes our bottom 10% Scrooge McDucks to most of the rest of the world.

My point--a limited point--was that most people making 1mm a year are not profligate douche bags. Earnings at that level tend to come at the end of the career, after the earner has learned how far a dollar will and will not go. Most making that kind of money know that, to have a comfortable retirement, most of what they make must be saved, not spent. The polar opposite of WJ's caricature.

I get it that I have a really, really good life.

Some people would be shitty lawyers, but are great nurses or plumbers or schoolteachers. Your modest lifestyle is their freaking nirvana.

Correct, however I never described my lifestyle as modest. That is your word. I said it was not extravagant. That said, if someone goes into teaching or nursing expecting to make a significant six figure income, that person has reality issues.

The folks Russell and McKinney describe are merely "comfortable" or "affluent", not wealthy (mostly).

Correct. Unlike, say Chelsea Clinton, I couldn't touch 1500 square feet anywhere near Central Park.

You get their money with real estate and consumption taxes. That's pretty much it.

Because these extra special people who "fund their own retirement" and "pay their own health care" really do need that million bucks a year...

No. Read the rest of my comment, in context, and if it's not clear after that, read my comment immediately above. The point to be derived from the limited quote you picked out is that, unlike most people, at that level, retirement is entirely self funded as is medical care. Also, for me, as an example, I pay 100% of my social security tax, not half. For me and for many, compensation is tied to performance. Which means, for example, I can take off whenever I want to and for as long as I like. However, I don't get paid for that time off. No Family Leave, Disability, Paternity, whatever. I don't mind at all, I'm just saying that at that level, what many take to be a part of their compensation, comes out of the earner's pocket. It's not an unfair trade, but it's not nothing either. All up my health care and self employment tax alone runs over 40K a year. That is 30K roughly after tax, as Ugh will know. All of which underscores the point that most people with the intelligence to make that kind of money understand the importance of conserving as much as the can.

On more important stuff, I'd like to see DJ win a major, but I'm never unhappy if Spieth is having a good day. Or McElroy. Or Day. I like most of the young crowd these days. Very sportsmanlike, decent guys with amazing talent.

Effective or marginal?

Fair question and worthy of its own post. Have at it--give us the tax rates according to Ugh, along with as much context as you wish, and let loose the Dogs of Words!

Cleek and NV, that's me making a play on words, not being anti-caninitic.

so yeah, NO IDEA.

I read this after taking my last poke at you, intending to make a joke. Bad timing, to say the least.

I can't come within light years of walking in your shoes. Beyond these terribly inadequate words, I got nothing.

McK, thanks.

let me say... yes, i was trying to one-up (err, one-down?) you, before. your comment seemed to downplay a situation that, for me and my family, was just terrible. if that wasn't your intention, then i misread. and if the situation you described didn't include the array of abuses that mine (and Marty's) did, then it probably wasn't as bad. i'm sure there are people who handle poverty much better than my mother did. but you hit one of my sore spots.

i think i'll take a break.

see y'all later.

clerk, I knew lots of people like you back then. I suck for using my life struggles to try to make yours less important somehow. You clearly do understand, I am sorry you do.

Also, for me, as an example, I pay 100% of my social security tax, not half.

You mean because half of most people's SS tax is paid by their employer, the same entity that issues the paychecks to those same people? So, because the number that represents my salary doesn't include half of the money that goes toward my SS, and because the other half comes from what is considered my paycheck, that means what in reality?

Don't you work for clients? Couldn't I just as easily say they're paying your SS, not you? That would be just as valid as what you're saying, IMO.


Plain old working folk are "earners", just as you are. To say you are "doing it all by yourself" is simply a red herring, and, I am sorry and apologize in advance, comes across as special pleading.

I have a conservative in-law who has done very well by himself as an accountant. Whenever we discuss wealth distribution/earnings it all gets turned into a red faced diatribe about how he came from "nowhere" and "earned every penny". This is because he sees my disagreement as a personal attack on him. Similarly, it is not at all uncommon to hear, "Well, I did it, why can't everybody else?" Then it turns into a big morality play about how the poor are just idiots or lazy.

That's not reality.

No matter how you slice it and dice it, a $million is a good chunk of change...more than many see over the course of a lifetime.

And what HSH said.

Now back to the Masters. Have a good day.

Apologies from me too, cleek, I wasn't following the thread too closely and I wasn't trying to make light of anyone's situation.

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