During coffee the other day, I was astounded to hear a friend complain that she was tired of reading about all those wealthy folks with their million dollar houses. Normally, I’d listen and nod but this time I had to correct her. “I’m sorry, Betty, but you’re a bit behind the times. A million dollars wouldn’t buy a home fancy enough for the wealthy. Start with 2 million, at least.”
She blinked when she heard me, then conceded my point. “You’re right. The gap between us and the wealthy is bigger than I thought. Who makes $250,000 for example?” She was referring to Romney’s comment in the recent presidential campaign that people making $250,000 a year were middle class.
“I don’t know anybody who makes that much,” I shrugged in answer to her question.
That was the moment when we peered over our fiscal cliffs. Our incomes weren’t keeping pace with the cost of living and certainly not with medical costs. Somehow, we’d become part of that 47% so disparaged during the election. We were both puzzled. How could that happen? We were retirees but we’d worked hard all our lives. We hadn’t been lazy or a burden on our society. Still, we didn’t feel middle class anymore.
The truth is that 2% of population makes $250,000 annually. The median family income is more like $62,000. Worse, one out of every three people now average about $9,000 a year. (Column Reprint in The Week, by Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, 11/12, pgs. 11-12)
Maybe it’s time for politicians to stop giving lip service to the middle class with their $250,000 incomes. Let’s think about the growing numbers of the poor.
(Courtesy of blog.usnavyseals.com)