It’s long been known that U.S. Citizens tend to grossly underestimate their wealth. Almost everyone considers themselves “Middle Class” or at most “Upper Middle Class”.
My sister has a job as a manager of a team that has 10 – 20 members and performs other management tasks like developing procedures and training programs that are utilized company wide across a pretty big corporation in addition to her supervisory duties. She puts in about 60 hours a week and makes about $50,000 a year.
This puts her at the median income of the United States, meaning that roughly 50% of people make what she makes or more and 50% of people make what she makes or less. She doesn’t lead what I would call a lavish lifestyle, she has a house and a car. Maybe she spends money on things I don’t know about but it seems to me that she lives from pay check to pay check. She buys clothes (for which women are vastly over charged for shoddy goods) when hers wear out and maybe once a month goes out to a lunch or dinner at what are termed “casual dining” spots like Applebees or Olive Garden with some friends. Dutch treat of course so the tab might be $50.
So, “Middle Class”.
What’s it like to be rich?
According to Bloomberg and the Winter 2018 edition of the Internal Revenue Service’s Statistics of Income Bulletin (.PDF) if you make more than $480,930 annually you are part of the 1%. There were 1.4 Million of you in 2015 (out of 115 Million Households, 1% duh).
The average income in your bracket is also about $1.4 Million ($1,483,596 in 2015), but for the purposes of further discussion let’s assume that you’re at the lower end, a mere mid 6 figures.
You can hardly claim to be even “Upper” Middle Class, after all you make more than 99 out of a Hundred random people. You have a nice house, maybe two of them, and a nice car or 4. You can own a boat (not as expensive as you might think, they kill you with gas and Marina fees), $200 a night Hotel bills don’t faze you nor does the same amount for Greens Fees, a Cart, Lunch, and some Drinks at the Golf Club (not to mention $5 a pop for those 6 Balls you left in the middle of the pond at the 15th Hole, each one is two strokes you know). You need some $150 Lift Tickets for your Significant Other and 2.5 kidlings? Whip out the Visa.
Junior not doing well in Public School? Well $45,000 is a small enough bribe to make sure he gets bought and paid for grades and meets the right sorts, not bad influences and riff raff. Oh, sure there will be sacrifices, you might have to cancel the annual Romantic Retreat to Aruba, just you and the SO. Make sure Junior feels guilty about that so he has something to tell his Therapist and learns the value of a Dollar.
To me the amazing thing is the obliviousness of these people to the incredible lives of privilege they lead. “I don’t have a Lamborghini, I drive a Lexus. It’s just a boat not a yacht. It’s only a Cessna (again, gas and Hanger fees- they’re not as expensive as you think) not a Gulfstream. But she really loves that pony (Hay and Stable).”
“I’m just barely getting by. WHY DOESN’T ANYONE CARE ABOUT ME!”
Two things. At this level of the Upper Class you are exposed to people who really can have it all, indeed when you consider how staggeringly, astronomically wealthy they are in any rational way you’ll see they can hardly piss their money away fast enough. If you want a refresher course I recommend Brewster’s Millions with Richard Pryor and John Candy.
Secondly, this is the Donor Class. Is it any wonder our deeply corrupt Politicians and Institutions pander to them constantly?
Je prononce à regret cette fatale vérité… mais Louis doit mourir, parce qu’il faut que la patrie vive.