Sunday, December 26, 2010

Rich Is A Quarter Million Annual Income

Right now I'm listening to the weekend edition of Marketplace on NPR.  There's a lot of discussion on the mentality of the wealthy.  Many rich folks don't seem to think they're rich, even if they're centimillionaires.  That's funny.  I would definitely think of myself as rich if I reported that kind of adjusted gross income on my IRS Form 1040.  I'll go with the argument that a $250,000 annual income qualifies an American as rich.

Pundits spent a lot of bandwith defending extension of the previous Administration's tax cuts.  The focus was on redefining wealth upward to portray quarter-million incomes as non-rich.  The meme won thanks to help from mass email lists and the blogosphere. 

The Census has a detailed breakdown of thresholds for relative affluence based on educational attainment.  The data for holders of master's degrees imply that I'm affluent.  I'll buy that.  The odd part is that the people I meet at the San Francisco Opera probably consider me to be unworthy of being affluent.  I'll buy that too.  I'll also buy their real estate out from under them when deflation wipes out their bond portfolios and hyperinflation leaves them too illiquid to pay their bills.