What Do Americans Mean by "Rich"?

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A week ago on Dec. 6, 2011, in Osawatomie, Kansas, Obama fired the first shot in what Financial Times is calling a “class warfare election.”
In a speech that set out the guts of his 2012 campaign, Obama says the belief in capitalism, individualism, and small government, although is “in America’s very DNA,” not only “doesn’t work. It has never worked.”
Instead, Obama calls for a society where “everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules” — whatever that means. Blaming the Great Recession on the “breathtaking greed” of the financial elites — the very same financial elites whom he has bailed out ($7.77 trillion to Wall Street!) and who are his cronies (e.g., Jon Corzine, ex-CEO of the now-bankrupt MF Global) — Obama calls on the rich to pay a higher share in taxes.
Words have different meaning to different people.
During the 2008 election season, in his now-famous encounter with Joe the Plumber, Obama had called Americans who make more than $250,000 a year “rich”. The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement say they represent the 99% and call those who are in the top 1% of income distribution to be the super “rich.”
Oddly, some who are in that top 1% insist they are not “rich”. Actress Roseanne Barr, who has a net worth of $80 million and supports the OWS movement, says Americans who make more than $100 million should have their heads chopped off.
Now we have polling data from Gallup about what ordinary Americans consider as “rich.”
Catherine Rampell reports for the New York Times, Dec. 9, 2011, that Gallup has surveyed Americans to ask what they believe the cutoff for being “rich” should be. The median response was that a person would need to make at least $150,000 to be considered rich. “Median response” refers to the income figure — in this case, $150,000 — that cuts the poll sample into two halves.
Here’s a breakdown of the responses:

Answers to Gallup’s survey question on the threshold for being “rich” vary by demographics. Men, those younger than 50, college grads, those with kids, city-dwellers, and those with more than $50,000 in annual household income cited a higher figure for what they consider to be “rich”:

According to the Tax Policy Center’s calculations on income distribution, a household earning cash income of $150,000 would fall somewhere between the 89th and 90th percentiles, that is in the top 10-11%. In other words, the typical American believes anyone in about the top tenth of the income distribution counts as “rich.”
Obama and others, on the other hand, have set the cutoff around $250,000 when discussing “raising taxes on the rich.” Households earning cash income of $250,000 are somewhere between the 96th and 97th percentiles, that is in the top 3-4%.
So if you make $150,000 or more a year, watch out for that hand reaching into your pocket!
~Eowyn

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6 responses to “What Do Americans Mean by "Rich"?

  1. Africans living without electricity or running water in mud huts with grass roofs look at Americans with electricity who live in inner-city slums and consider them rich. What’s more, the Africans want reparations for climate change.
    The UN, Agenda 21 and the technocrats who met in Durban last week agree with them! How will the OWS crowd feel if they are taxed as individuals by a UN entity to fork over reparation money?

     
  2. For left/liberals, that means anyone who earns enough money to pay taxes (except, of course, for them and their buddies).

     
  3. Render to Caesar………………………………….
    We didn’t ask for a King………………………….
    Things are unravelling as we speak.
    Time for the old heave Ho!

     
  4. Well I might have skewed this survey….as for being rich (in money terms only, not in life in general), I would say above $200K might qualify you. If you make $150K and have a family of 4 or 5 to support, you don’t have much left over after mortgage, car, food, gas, electric, ins, health care, etc. I know some may not agree but certainly in the area where I live, property taxes, housing, food, gas, etc. are extremely high.
    We are all going to be paying through the roof for this admin’s spending in one way or another.

     
  5. Who are the rich ? Those with hearts of gold and silver tongues…teeth of pearl and ruby red lips…eyes that sparkle like diamonds…and who never
    need ask the cost of whatever they most desire.

     
  6. Dr. David Duke has a video on about how the money is printed or supplied, whatever you think to say, by the FED who are independent of the President and our congress. This has not always been the case.
    OUr constitution has Article 1 Section 8 that mandates that Congress should utter credit to be issued as currency to fund the United States. When Alexander Hamilton granted the first twenty year “lease” to a central bank, the currency wasn’t abused, and the US began to live up to the expectations of the founding fathers, and abandoned the monetarist system of the oligarchs, which was and still is aimed at keeping the masses poor and dumb, and keeping all access to mineral resources tec withing the grasp of the few, the elite, the oligarchs.
    We do not have to put up with this situation any longer.
    It is a matter of choice. Marcy Kaptor D Ohio has THE RETURN TO PRUDENT BANKING ACT in the House of Reps, waiting to be heard and passed, which would reinstate Glass Steagall. Then the NEED ACT of 2011 introduced by Denis Kucinich addresses the need to give the power back to Congress to utter credit, once the banks of the oligarchs are under bankruptcy protection because of Glass Steagall being the firewall preventing them from messing around with peoples savings etc.
    MF is a prime example of what the elite do when they have an opportunity to abuse their power to access private persons money and use it for their gain, or in this case to pay off their gambling debts and give themselves huge Christmas bonuses no doubt.
    The choice is in our hands, we can insist of the reinstatement of Glass Steagall and pass Marcy Kapturs act, or sit by grumbling and accept the consequences.

     

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