Wednesday, October 26, 2011

If you earn $250,000 a year, admit're rich.

You don't need to afford a mansion or limo to be wealthy. According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, you'd just have to earn more than almost everybody else. And $250,000 a year is over 5 times the median income. But don't worry, Obama and the American people don't want to tax you.

But a vast majority of Americans don't even come close to earning $250,000 a year, let alone, $1 million (and let's not forget the millions of unemployed and those who are earning sub-standard wages).

Yet Fox News and the Republicans have been on a propaganda campaign to scare small business owners, and even those who do earn $250,000 a year, that Obama wants to raise their taxes, when in his Jobs Bill, he only wanted to raise taxes on those whose personal incomes were over $1 million a year.

The U.S. had a record 3.1 million millionaires in 2010 with a combined wealth of $11.6 trillion. The rich depend on financial markets (which have rebounded) while the rest of America depends on jobs and homes for wealth -- both of which remain in a slump. 30 million Americans work for sub-standard wages and another 21 remain unemployed (10 million didn't even have one paid day of work last year.)

Income inequality has been steadily widening, but the Republicans have accused the poor and middle-class of waging a class war against the rich, when all the while, the opposite has been true. Warren Buffett says his class has already won. Yet the Republicans want to tax the poor more and tax the rich less with their "999" and "flat tax" proposals. The Republicans also want to cut programs that the inner city poor and newly suburban poor need for their very survival.

All employees (those still working) who normally pay 6.2% on their first $106,800 of wages into Social Security, are now paying only 4.2%. That break is set to expire at the end of December, and Obama wanted to cut the tax in half to 3.1% (which is a whole different debate).

The original bill would have charged a mere 0.7 percent surtax on personal incomes in excess of $1 million. The Senate version of the bill differs from the president's original version only in that it replaced his proposals to pay for it with a 5.6% surtax on modified adjusted gross PERSONAL income over $1 million.

Many people in New York City, San Francisco, and Boston might disagree with the number of $250,000-a-year as being "rich", where the cost of living is higher than anywhere else in middle-America. But even then, you'd still be doing very well. If you lived in one of the most expensive places, like in Manhattan, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment would average you just under $3,100 a month -- or $37,200 a year from your $250,000 annual salary (a fifth of your wages). After your highest expense, that would still leave you with a balance of $213,000 for bread and bus fare.

And a home mortgage of $3,100 a month would buy you a beautiful 4-bedroom house in the suburbs of middle-America on a half acre of property.

I was a casino bartender in Las Vegas and I last earned $33,000 a year before being laid of in 2008. My rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $850 a month (a third of my wages). According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bartender's median wage in the U.S. was $21,310 a year.

And this is for doctors:

  • Physicians practicing primary care had total median annual compensation of $186,044.
  • Physicians practicing in medical specialties earned total median annual compensation of $339,738.

The median wage for lawyers were only $129,440, excluding contingency fees from settlements in large lawsuits.

Secretaries and administrative assistants held about 4.3 million jobs in 2008, ranking it among the largest occupations in the U.S. economy, and whose median annual wages were just $40,030.

Median annual earnings of all post-secondary teachers were $58,830. The middle 50 percent earned between $41,600 and $83,960. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,870, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $121,850.

The median wage for management occupations wage $105,440.

The median wage for all occupations was $44,410

From the Small Business Administration - There were 27.5 million businesses in the United States, but only 6 million firms had employees and 21.4 million did not (being self-employed could include huge hedge fund managers or local landscapers).

Small firms with fewer than 500 employees represent 99.9 percent of total businesses (whether they are actual employers or self-employed "non-employers"); and the most recent data showed there were about 18,311 large businesses. Most are corporations, usually multi-nationals, whose CEOs and company executives averaged $11 million a year in total compensation last year, and paid a 15% capital gains taxes on stock options (a lower tax rate than their secretaries.)

Of the 15.5 million individuals whose primary occupation was self-employment (incorporated and unincorporated), the median personal marginal federal tax rate was just 10 percent. Only 4.1 percent of the self-employed were in the marginal tax bracket of 33 percent or more. (People like Karl Rove are self-employed.)

According to compensation survey administrator PayScale in 2010, the average income of small business owners varies widely depending upon their level of experience. For example, small business owners with less than one year of experience in running an organization earn an annual salary ranging from $34,392 to $75,076. Those with more than 10 years experience, on the other hand, earn upwards of $105,757 per year.

According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, not one category is showing an average income of over $250,000 a year. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, and sales managers show an average in range of $100,000-$150,000, but not near $250,000.

Obama's millionaires’ tax rate would affect only one third of one percent of top earning taxpayers - that would be fewer than 450,000 out of 144 million federal tax returns that were filed for 2010. The plan, named "The Buffett Rule", is supported by most Americans.

  • Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos - SEIU: 73% of Americans, even 66% of Republican voters.
  • A Pew survey showed 66 percent support the idea.
  • A poll from CBS News and the New York Times showed 63 percent in support.

Why? Because, with the exception of brain surgeons, the vast majority of Americans don't earn even $250,000 a year, let alone $1 million. Small business owners may GROSS more than that in sales, but the owners don't pay themselves that as a salary. Even Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal reported: "The average small business owner or a chief executive brings home an annual salary of $233,600, according to's Small Business Compensation Survey (of course, the CEOs of large corporations are compensated much more in the form of stock options in addition to their base salaries).

Large corporate CEOs, hedge fund managers, and bankers earn the really BIG money. Exceptions would be Fox News commentators, a few professional athletes, a few movies stars, a few rock bands, and a few best-selling Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck.

And of course, there are members on both sides of the aisle of Congress, who besides earning $174,000 a year, half are also millionaires themselves. And all the Republican Presidential candidates are millionaires too.

Since the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, how many more jobs did rich Republican and Tea Party millionaires like Bill O'Reilly, Paul Ryan, Sean Hannity, Eric Cantor, Glenn Beck, Rick Santorum, Rupert Murdoch, the Koch bothers, Michele Bachmann, Paul Rand, Nikki Haley, Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, and Mitt Romney create?

Not enough when 40,000 factories and millions of jobs left our shores in the last ten years.

So then, why are the Republicans so adamant about NOT raising the taxes on a very few just a mere ½ of 1% over $1 million to help pay down our deficit and national debt? Didn't they say we have a debt problem?

Why does the GOP instead want to close this gap with cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and government services...programs that even those earning $250,000-year benefit from?

Why have the Republicans been attacking the middle-class, lower-middle-class, and the poor for the benefit of the uber-wealthy? Why doesn't the GOP want to tax millionaires and billionaires, or make the largest corporations pay their fair share of taxes?

Why do the Republicans try so hard to have us all believe that many people, including small business owners and the self-employed, earn over $1 million a year in salaries, when the vast majority don't even earn $250,000. And it's just those earning over $1 million a year in PERSONAL income (like CEOs, hedge fund managers, and bankers) that Obama wants to tax.

So if you do earn $250,000-a-year, you have just as much to fear from the Republicans as I do...who now earns ZERO dollars a year. If Obama caves in or compromises on this (like I heard he has already done for corporate government contractors), I'll vote for Bernie Sanders next year...whether Bernie runs or not.

When the Republicans say they want "government" out of the way, they're saying they want "us" out of the way (i.g. Medicare, Social Security, etc.)


  1. Today, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered a speech titled “Saving the American Idea: Rejecting Fear, Envy and the Politics of Division.” In his remarks, Ryan blasted President Obama for “sowing social unrest and class resentment” and said that the rhetoric of progressive thinkers highlighting economic inequality is dividing the country.

    But the truth is that the words of President Obama are not the cause of division in America today. Rather, the harsh economic realities and growing inequality in the country caused by years of right-wing policies are actually responsible for dividing Americans — dividing their wealth and income and siphoning off the nation’s riches to the top one percent.

  2. Americans Support 99 Percent Movement Causes, View GOP As Defenders Of The Rich

    A new report from the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday added to the evidence that the income gap between the top American income earners and the middle- and lower-classes continues to grow, as the top one percent saw its average after-tax income grow by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007. During the same time period, it grew just 18 percent for the bottom 20 percent, resulting in a “substantially more unequal” distribution of wealth than there was three decades ago.