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(Boing Boing)   A family with a million dollar house earning $200,000 a year but with no savings will get more student aid than someone with a modest house earning $50,000 a year and $200,000 in savings   (boingboing.net) divider line 277
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10594 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 May 2013 at 11:11 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-14 01:01:38 PM  

abhorrent1: Just be a minority. The government will make rain for you.


I think your user name is appropriate.
 
2013-05-14 01:01:48 PM  

Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.


Of course of all the mofos here on Fark, a resident Jew has to utter those words! Damn the stereotype!!!
 
2013-05-14 01:02:47 PM  

Dusk-You-n-Me: While you're all arguing about whether or not $200K is middle class, a reminder that:

Half of all jobs in America pay less than $34,000 a year. Link


Need I remind you of the rich tradition of staying extremely stupid and/or extreme shiate on the interwebby so that people will quote/talk to you?
 
2013-05-14 01:04:00 PM  
It's true that we have a wide disparity in home prices.  And the inflation in some markets is huge - we bought our first house in '91, it's worth oh, 3 x what we paid and more than a million bucks most likely - as noted, how our kids will afford that kind of morgage is beyond me.  No mansion, BTW, Two bed, two bath, one car garage, small lot....

Yet you go to what some laughingly call flyover country and a family house of 3/4 bedrooms can be under 150K, sometimes well under.

Where I live now, starter homes are in the "Low 100's" but top of the line is around $25 million or so.

There must be some reasonable balance between income and debt that would make it fair to both sides - if fairness is what we seek.  I paid full ride for college, no loans or grants, have no idea how to game the system.
 
2013-05-14 01:05:01 PM  

jshine: dustygrimp: Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.

derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

I have to second Tatsuma's post though -- Mrs. jshine & I are over $200k/yr and we're not rich.  We've got one car (a Mazda 3), an apartment, and a dog.  We're certainly not starving, but neither are we wealthy.


You make more than 95% of the households in the US.

bestuff.com
 
2013-05-14 01:05:01 PM  

SuperNinjaToad: Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.

Of course of all the mofos here on Fark, a resident Jew has to utter those words! Damn the stereotype!!!


Hey, there's no reason to think Tatsuma is wealthy just because he's Jewish.  After all, they can only carry so much gold in that pouch they wear around their necks.
 
2013-05-14 01:05:18 PM  
Looks like it's time to start keeping my money under the mattress like my grand-daddy did during the war.
 
2013-05-14 01:07:25 PM  

Tatsuma: In Israel it's pretty much the case anywhere in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or the surrounding areas. Like, you will hardly find something decent in Jeru or TA if you put down less than $500,000.

How that can be the upper 10% in America, that just confuses me.


People per sq. kilometer - Israel - 337.7
People per sq. kilometer - United States - 33.2

Israel has 10x the population density of the United States. Only New Jersey and Rhode Island have densities greater than 338 people/km^2. Interestingly, those states have real estate prices approaching those of Israel.

Let me put it this way -- if you moved everyone in Israel to Alaska, Alaska would still only have the population density of South Dakota.

In the US, land is cheap.
 
2013-05-14 01:07:28 PM  

jshine: Hey, there's no reason to think Tatsuma is wealthy just because he's Jewish. After all, they can only carry so much gold in that pouch they wear around their necks.


In fact I'm actually poorer than the vast majority here, I'd bet.
 
2013-05-14 01:09:19 PM  

This text is now purple: People per sq. kilometer - Israel - 337.7
People per sq. kilometer - United States - 33.2

Israel has 10x the population density of the United States. Only New Jersey and Rhode Island have densities greater than 338 people/km^2. Interestingly, those states have real estate prices approaching those of Israel.


Yeah I spent my life living in big cities and places with huge concentrations of people, so it clearly skewed my views on this
 
2013-05-14 01:10:14 PM  

Nutsac_Jim: dustygrimp: Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.

derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

Not derpp.   In my area, if you are a single dude making 100k, you are just getting by.  If you have a family and all the extra expenses invilved, which probably means the wife works and you have to pay someone to watch your kids,..  200 is ok.  Certainly not rich and swimming in a bathtub of coins like Uncle Scrooge.

If you live in Houston, you are doing well.  But then, you have to live in Houston.


Again.. bull

As a single guy, I was "getting by" in NY on $25k for several years.
If you are making $100k in Sanfran or NYC, you are comfortable, or you are an idiot.
 
2013-05-14 01:10:59 PM  

brap: I like Senator Warren's plan of allowing students to borrow at the same rate as banks.


To a point. This should only apply for expenses that would qualify for 529 accounts. One issue is there's not much of a limit to how much people can borrow, so they live like kings as students, and then they can't afford to pay back the loans and can't get them discharged in bankruptcy. So allow Warren loans for qualifying expenses, and then people can borrow from private lenders -- but those lenders wouldn't get the special bankruptcy rules. (So they'd likely require a co-signer, thus limiting willingness to take those loans.)

The per-person amount could be capped, with that amount going up annually by inflation. That would reduce resulting tuition inflation.
 
2013-05-14 01:12:02 PM  
So clearly the solution is to loan both kids $100k+ for their sociology degrees at 0.75%, then forgive that debt after a few years at their McJob.

// Poe's Law is making it real hard to even be sarcastic about that kind of shiat anymore.
 
2013-05-14 01:13:10 PM  

PhDemented: Nutsac_Jim: dustygrimp: Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.

derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

Not derpp.   In my area, if you are a single dude making 100k, you are just getting by.  If you have a family and all the extra expenses invilved, which probably means the wife works and you have to pay someone to watch your kids,..  200 is ok.  Certainly not rich and swimming in a bathtub of coins like Uncle Scrooge.

If you live in Houston, you are doing well.  But then, you have to live in Houston.

Again.. bull

As a single guy, I was "getting by" in NY on $25k for several years.
If you are making $100k in Sanfran or NYC, you are comfortable, or you are an idiot.


single yes, family with kids.. NO.
 
2013-05-14 01:13:22 PM  

PhDemented: Nutsac_Jim: dustygrimp: Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.

derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

Not derpp.   In my area, if you are a single dude making 100k, you are just getting by.  If you have a family and all the extra expenses invilved, which probably means the wife works and you have to pay someone to watch your kids,..  200 is ok.  Certainly not rich and swimming in a bathtub of coins like Uncle Scrooge.

If you live in Houston, you are doing well.  But then, you have to live in Houston.

Again.. bull

As a single guy, I was "getting by" in NY on $25k for several years.
If you are making $100k in Sanfran or NYC, you are comfortable, or you are an idiot.


This ... because at $100k a year, you're GROSSING $8,333/month.  For $2200/month, I was living in Manhattan in a decent one-bedroom walk up at 52nd and 2nd during my time in NYC in 2008.

GTFO ...
 
2013-05-14 01:17:25 PM  

SuperNinjaToad: PhDemented: Nutsac_Jim: dustygrimp: Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.

derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

Not derpp.   In my area, if you are a single dude making 100k, you are just getting by.  If you have a family and all the extra expenses invilved, which probably means the wife works and you have to pay someone to watch your kids,..  200 is ok.  Certainly not rich and swimming in a bathtub of coins like Uncle Scrooge.

If you live in Houston, you are doing well.  But then, you have to live in Houston.

Again.. bull

As a single guy, I was "getting by" in NY on $25k for several years.
If you are making $100k in Sanfran or NYC, you are comfortable, or you are an idiot.

single yes, family with kids.. NO.


Oh, no way in hell I could get by on that with a family, but the claim was $100k was "just getting by" for a single man
 
2013-05-14 01:17:39 PM  

PhDemented: As a single guy, I was "getting by" in NY on $25k for several years.
If you are making $100k in Sanfran or NYC, you are comfortable, or you are an idiot.


Problem is, many people define "comfortable" as a 3 bed/2 ba with a big garage and a yard. THAT is why I think so many say they are only "middle class" in NYC when they make $200k/year. They have expectations for "middle class" as being able to purchase a home like that where ever they want. Unfortunately, economics doesn't work that way.
 
2013-05-14 01:18:48 PM  

BMFPitt: So clearly the solution is to loan both kids $100k+ for their sociology degrees at 0.75%, then forgive that debt after a few years at their McJob.

// Poe's Law is making it real hard to even be sarcastic about that kind of shiat anymore.


The best way to fix the student loan problem, IMHO, is to make student loans equivalent to any other unsecured loan (something that can be discharged in bankruptcy).  Also, get the government out of the student aid (loan or grant) business, except for cases like the military where its a form of compensation for employment.

By putting all the burden (and default risk!) on the private sector, loan rates would rise dramatically -- the (nearly) free money would dry up -- and colleges would be forced to adjust tuition to compensate or face a sudden and dramatic drop in enrollment.  It would probably force them to get creative: drop lots of luxuries like free gyms for students (etc.), trim programs that are unpopular, extract more money from sports, seek more funding through research grants, etc. -- and probably shrink somewhat.  ...but if it ended up making tuition more accessible without life-long crippling debt, that would all be worthwhile.
 
2013-05-14 01:19:00 PM  

Tatsuma: jshine: Hey, there's no reason to think Tatsuma is wealthy just because he's Jewish. After all, they can only carry so much gold in that pouch they wear around their necks.

In fact I'm actually poorer than the vast majority here, I'd bet.


I'd bet you're more of an attention whore than the vast majority, too.
 
2013-05-14 01:19:11 PM  

PhDemented: Oh, no way in hell I could get by on that with a family, but the claim was $100k was "just getting by" for a single man


Meh, I have plenty of friends who live in nice areas in the 'burbs who get by on that with their families. Cheap cars and cheap rent and no vacations and a lot of money management. But they do it.
 
2013-05-14 01:20:09 PM  
None of this is going to make any difference unless the feds start playing harball with the universities.

Hard cap of $20k/year for tuition, with those over required to reduce by 5%/year every year until they get under.  No increases after that of more than the rate of inflation.  Anyone who doesn't comply - your school doesn't qualify for any federally-sponsored student loans until you do.

Harvard will just have more rich kids and a few poor kids on University scholarship, just like it was back in the day.  Every other university will have to focus on providing education, not stupid overpriced crap that nobody needs.
 
kab
2013-05-14 01:20:09 PM  

Nutsac_Jim: kab: And the best interest rates are reserved for the folks who need them the least. pay their bills and are likely to repay your loan.


Payment punctuality has little to do with what interest rate you're offered on loans / credit.
Come back when you have a clue.
 
2013-05-14 01:21:09 PM  

seadoo2006: PhDemented: Nutsac_Jim: dustygrimp: Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.

derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

Not derpp.   In my area, if you are a single dude making 100k, you are just getting by.  If you have a family and all the extra expenses invilved, which probably means the wife works and you have to pay someone to watch your kids,..  200 is ok.  Certainly not rich and swimming in a bathtub of coins like Uncle Scrooge.

If you live in Houston, you are doing well.  But then, you have to live in Houston.

Again.. bull

As a single guy, I was "getting by" in NY on $25k for several years.
If you are making $100k in Sanfran or NYC, you are comfortable, or you are an idiot.

This ... because at $100k a year, you're GROSSING $8,333/month.  For $2200/month, I was living in Manhattan in a decent one-bedroom walk up at 52nd and 2nd during my time in NYC in 2008.

GTFO ...



$8333 per month *gross*, but with a 401k and California's tax rates, you don't see anywhere near that full amount.  About half of my paycheck disappears before I see anything.
 
2013-05-14 01:23:32 PM  
My oldest is starting college next year, we just did his FAFSA app.  I have ~$500k in savings (no debt, never bought a house).  I'm waiting for them to tell me that I can "afford" to pay $56k/year in cash.

Should I be buying a house to "hide" my money in?
 
2013-05-14 01:24:46 PM  

jshine: BMFPitt: So clearly the solution is to loan both kids $100k+ for their sociology degrees at 0.75%, then forgive that debt after a few years at their McJob.

// Poe's Law is making it real hard to even be sarcastic about that kind of shiat anymore.

The best way to fix the student loan problem, IMHO, is to make student loans equivalent to any other unsecured loan (something that can be discharged in bankruptcy).  Also, get the government out of the student aid (loan or grant) business, except for cases like the military where its a form of compensation for employment.

By putting all the burden (and default risk!) on the private sector, loan rates would rise dramatically -- the (nearly) free money would dry up -- and colleges would be forced to adjust tuition to compensate or face a sudden and dramatic drop in enrollment.  It would probably force them to get creative: drop lots of luxuries like free gyms for students (etc.), trim programs that are unpopular, extract more money from sports, seek more funding through research grants, etc. -- and probably shrink somewhat.  ...but if it ended up making tuition more accessible without life-long crippling debt, that would all be worthwhile.


The problem is, with this scenario, kids that come from financially derptastic families will be less able to get financial help.  The thought is why should some 18 year old, with no credit of their own, pay for their parents financial mistakes.  I have no problem with loans that are not discharged through bankruptcy as it puts the financial burden on the STUDENT receiving the loans and not on the family.  This is why banks will lend to people (18 year olds with ZERO credit) because they are insured against the financial stupidity of young people.
 
2013-05-14 01:25:49 PM  

jshine: BMFPitt: So clearly the solution is to loan both kids $100k+ for their sociology degrees at 0.75%, then forgive that debt after a few years at their McJob.

// Poe's Law is making it real hard to even be sarcastic about that kind of shiat anymore.

The best way to fix the student loan problem, IMHO, is to make student loans equivalent to any other unsecured loan (something that can be discharged in bankruptcy).  Also, get the government out of the student aid (loan or grant) business, except for cases like the military where its a form of compensation for employment.

By putting all the burden (and default risk!) on the private sector, loan rates would rise dramatically -- the (nearly) free money would dry up -- and colleges would be forced to adjust tuition to compensate or face a sudden and dramatic drop in enrollment.  It would probably force them to get creative: drop lots of luxuries like free gyms for students (etc.), trim programs that are unpopular, extract more money from sports, seek more funding through research grants, etc. -- and probably shrink somewhat.  ...but if it ended up making tuition more accessible without life-long crippling debt, that would all be worthwhile.


I completely agree.
 
2013-05-14 01:28:25 PM  

jshine: seadoo2006: PhDemented: Nutsac_Jim: dustygrimp: Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.

derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

Not derpp.   In my area, if you are a single dude making 100k, you are just getting by.  If you have a family and all the extra expenses invilved, which probably means the wife works and you have to pay someone to watch your kids,..  200 is ok.  Certainly not rich and swimming in a bathtub of coins like Uncle Scrooge.

If you live in Houston, you are doing well.  But then, you have to live in Houston.

Again.. bull

As a single guy, I was "getting by" in NY on $25k for several years.
If you are making $100k in Sanfran or NYC, you are comfortable, or you are an idiot.

This ... because at $100k a year, you're GROSSING $8,333/month.  For $2200/month, I was living in Manhattan in a decent one-bedroom walk up at 52nd and 2nd during my time in NYC in 2008.

GTFO ...


$8333 per month *gross*, but with a 401k and California's tax rates, you don't see anywhere near that full amount.  About half of my paycheck disappears before I see anything.


HALF? Please prove this to me.  What is your state income tax? Because at $100k, you're only paying an effective 18.7-ish percent at the MOST to the feds with NO itemized decuctions and NO dependents.  Add in the 7.65 OASDI/SSI and 2% local tax and you're still under 30% ...

Are you seriously telling me that California's tax rate for a $100k income is MORE than the federal tax rate?
 
2013-05-14 01:29:08 PM  
Raptop, yes you probably should. But a lot of schools get data well beyond the fafsa, especially expensive ones with a lot of aid available. Some will recognize home equity as an asset that can be used to pay expenses. I think retirement accounts are the only "on the books" assets that are never considered as payment resources.

I expect you'll be told your need is zero. What was the fafsa number? They say it's not intended to indicate the amount you are able to pay per year, but it's clearly based loosely on that. I used that to experiment with a few scenarios of moving money around.
 
2013-05-14 01:29:16 PM  

FARK rebel soldier: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by _a rea  suggests that Israel has the land size of Massachusetts.


And that's really an overstatement.  Roughly half the land in Israel (and this is subtracting Gaza/WB) is an almost entirely uninhabitable and uninhabited desert.  The part that holds 99% of that 8 million in population is only about 2000 km^2.

I can think of two eastern Kansas counties (leaving alone near-desert western Kansas) with an area of roughly 2000 km^2.  Every bit of that land better suited to agriculture, human survival, etc than anywhere in Israel (what an objectively miserable 'promised land'). Population of the two counties combined? Under 11,000.

For a little more Census-based Tats-bubble-popping, consider this chart.  86% of the nation's population lives in one of those 381 areas.  Half the nation lives in one of the top 38.  But, fully half the nation lives in either the table from Milwaukee down (including the 14% that aren't on the chart at all).
 
2013-05-14 01:29:36 PM  

seadoo2006: jshine: BMFPitt: So clearly the solution is to loan both kids $100k+ for their sociology degrees at 0.75%, then forgive that debt after a few years at their McJob.

// Poe's Law is making it real hard to even be sarcastic about that kind of shiat anymore.

The best way to fix the student loan problem, IMHO, is to make student loans equivalent to any other unsecured loan (something that can be discharged in bankruptcy).  Also, get the government out of the student aid (loan or grant) business, except for cases like the military where its a form of compensation for employment.

By putting all the burden (and default risk!) on the private sector, loan rates would rise dramatically -- the (nearly) free money would dry up -- and colleges would be forced to adjust tuition to compensate or face a sudden and dramatic drop in enrollment.  It would probably force them to get creative: drop lots of luxuries like free gyms for students (etc.), trim programs that are unpopular, extract more money from sports, seek more funding through research grants, etc. -- and probably shrink somewhat.  ...but if it ended up making tuition more accessible without life-long crippling debt, that would all be worthwhile.

The problem is, with this scenario, kids that come from financially derptastic families will be less able to get financial help.  The thought is why should some 18 year old, with no credit of their own, pay for their parents financial mistakes.  I have no problem with loans that are not discharged through bankruptcy as it puts the financial burden on the STUDENT receiving the loans and not on the family.  This is why banks will lend to people (18 year olds with ZERO credit) because they are insured against the financial stupidity of young people.



Yes, but it also means a person who is just barely old enough to sign his name can basically turn him/herself into an indentured servant.  Reasonable people can disagree, but I think your scheme (the current prevailing situation) is less ethical than the one I proposed.  If banks want to loan money to an 18 year-old with no credit, that's their business, but they should not be insulated from the risk of loaning money to an 18 year old with no credit.  If the parents are willing to co-sign (and have decent credit), again, that's great.

The point here is to force colleges to reduce tuition.  By giving students "free money", you allow colleges to become bloated and inefficient by giving them a huge trough they can gorge themselves at.  Take away the free money and tuition would fall to compensate -- or the colleges would starve to death from lack of funding.  ...maybe then a student could actually work his/herself through school without having to rely on loans in the first place -- or at worst take out much smaller ones.
 
2013-05-14 01:34:14 PM  

ThatGuyGreg: A family with a million dollar house earning $200,000 a year is most likely horrifically in debt, or if not, a layoff or health problem not covered by insurance away.

/just saying


So in other words, just in the same boat as someone with a modest house and $200,000 in the bank.
 
2013-05-14 01:34:37 PM  

seadoo2006: HALF? Please prove this to me. What is your state income tax? Because at $100k, you're only paying an effective 18.7-ish percent at the MOST to the feds with NO itemized decuctions and NO dependents. Add in the 7.65 OASDI/SSI and 2% local tax and you're still under 30% ...

Are you seriously telling me that California's tax rate for a $100k income is MORE than the federal tax rate?


I don't make $100k -- between myself & Mrs. jshine its a bit over $200 (and we file jointly).  Also our 401k accounts have something to do with it, so its not just taxes.  ...then again, with pensions having gone bye-bye, a 401k is basically obligatory.
 
2013-05-14 01:34:49 PM  

Raptop: My oldest is starting college next year, we just did his FAFSA app.  I have ~$500k in savings (no debt, never bought a house).  I'm waiting for them to tell me that I can "afford" to pay $56k/year in cash.

Should I be buying a house to "hide" my money in?


Good luck with 56k.

I had a fifth of your savings and was told to to fork over 45K-ish.  I guess the calculation was: Divide the savings over two years and then sell the house?

When my second son went to college, they kindly lowered it to 30k each.
 
2013-05-14 01:35:44 PM  
Sociologists, who work in percentiles and quintiles, define middle class as everybody in the middle three quintiles (60% of the population, most of them working class or lower middle class).

Political scientists define middle class in terms of minor political activity, such as voting and small political donations, as well as mass political activity such as following the news in newspapers and other media. The upper class are active running things or else so rich they have dropped out of the political game and have people to protect their interests for them.

Americans define middle class in several overlapping and conflicting ways, in terms of income or wealth, in terms of social and political engagement (without great power or influence) and in terms of self-identification.

The real middle classes are not as clear cut as castes but they do include many self-identified upper income and upper middle class people.

It is very difficult to say where the middle class ends, but I would accept that many of the wealthy few are middle class and that there are in fact, several upper classes.

At the top you have the Aristocracy, people whose status is inherited and does not depend on the class symbols and status symbols they can buy. In the US, this class officially does not exist because there are no titles, there is no monarchy or court, and there are few families that have hung on to the status and power for more than a few generations. Nonetheless, they exist in the form of the people whose entire social and family networks are well-to-do and sometimes very rich, but also are the best educated, the most cultured, the most influential and the best-connected in a lot of old-fashioned ways.

Beneath the Aristocracy, who are mostly Old Money, there is a class which we may call Big Money. They are the super-rich of inheritance, wealth-accumulation and creative accounting. The Big Money includes a lot of the movers and shakers. The Aristocrats have the Mover and Shakers over for coffee and politely suggest what they move and shake. Billionaires are almost all Big Money but few of them are Old Money as well, despite the tendancy of class and wealth to be inherited.

About a third of the Big Money is inherited.

There are Mellons, Hiltons, DuPonts, Rockefellers (still), and even straggling pockets of older families with well over $100 million in capital each or between them. Many of these people, who number in the thousands, are living middle class lives (or are down and out, perhaps, due to alcohol, drugs, or what not) but still have the cachet of being who they are. They aren't aristocracy in the Euro-British sense, but they are haute bourgeoise to some extent.

They are joined by middle class people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates III, not to mention the Romneys who are on the cusp of Aristocracy or Old Money but are still lacking in the status. Hence Mrs. Romney's hobby of dressage. If you aren't into philanthropy, horses are one of the shorter roads to the hearts and acceptance of the Old Money and Aristocracy.


In these classes of people, you can have several classes--a class of origin, a class of arrival, a class of aspiration. If you have read Marcel Proust, you have seen a chronicle of such people over the course of a generation. The middle class and upper bourgeois arrivistes in the novel (which is 4,000 pages long and published in eight or more volumes) turn into the aristocrats they so envy and covet before the novel is done. The unobtainable quarry are replaced by the pursuers. Maybe this is why the old rich love fox-hunting. It is the history of their families for the last thousand years AND MORE.

Below the really quite sincerely rich (which includes a layer of creative types such as actors, sports stars, nouveau riches, etc.), there is the upper middle classes who are defined in terms of education, addresses, goods and services and profession. In other words, the mass affluent consuming classes. These people are all about branding but they vary from the quite rich (tens, even hundreds of millions of new capital or old), to the quite poor (upstart Yuppies living outrageously beyound their means).

Since being lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc., is quite hereditary, they are part of the upper or upper middle classes but not full upper or full mass. They have the look of wealth, power, influence, culture, etc., but may not have the means to fully participate in the class to which they aspire.

In the right sort of city (Boston, New York, Washington, even San Francisco) these people spend freely but are constantly in danger of falling into the masses from which they, their parents, or their grandparents rose.

They are the worried rich. They should worry. It's almost impossible for a doctor's son to become a manual labourer, but it's fairly easy for the labourer's son to become a better doctor than the established physicians, even the established fashionable physicians. These people have to fight for their money. And fight they do. They tend to be over-achievers by force of habit if not by necessity.

They all consider themselves middle class because they are painfully aware of a least the bottom layers of the massive spire of social accomplishment and privilege above them. They may vote Republican or they may be liberal Democrats but they are not the Masters of the Universe. They work for the people who are.

Everybody else is lower middle class and therefore far game for the sociologists to study. You're not really upper class until you are out of reach of damned sociologists (except those born into the upper class).

Paul Fussell, the author of several amusing books, one of which is on the American Class system (published under the title Class and also Class Marks), divides American into

top out-of sight
upper class
upper middle class

middle class
lower middle class

upper working class
middle working class
lower working class
bottom out-of-sight

Not bad, and quite defensible.

However, since people are constantly moving within these classes (and occasionally between them), there is an illusion of democracy and egalitarianism created which allows many Americans to deny the existence of class.

A lot of PR, marketing, and BS work goes into confusing the matter.

For example, during the Cold War much was made of the number of American households that had televisions, without distinguishing between televisions in the servant quarters and televisions on the kitchen table; and those who had refrigerators, without distinguishing between a 1932 Kelvinator holding warm beer on the verandah and walk-in freezers that would make the top secret research facilities of the Pentagon plotz.

It infuriates me that the dividing line used by sociologists and journalists and others who ought to know better always runs right through the middle of what is usually the middle middle or at best the upper middle class.

There's really not much difference between many of the people who are $80,000 on either side of the higher line, and none at all between people who are $50,000 plus or minus of some of the lower lines.

In fact, many working class individuals and families are well above the "upper" cutoffs that I see.

IT'S COMPLETE BULLSHIAT!

But maybe that's just me being picky because I have spent a couple generations reading about class in scholarly and comic papers.

I don't want to say I would have made a good sociologist, but I will say that anthropology is a bit of a hobby of mine and I often feel like I am doing research on some sort of alien species of ape. Jane Gooddall, eat your heart out. I get to research stupid apes and have an indoor toilet with shower-bath! Serves all of you girls right for sleeping with your mentor.
 
2013-05-14 01:36:05 PM  

bmwericus: It's true that we have a wide disparity in home prices.  And the inflation in some markets is huge - we bought our first house in '91, it's worth oh, 3 x what we paid and more than a million bucks most likely - as noted, how our kids will afford that kind of morgage is beyond me.  No mansion, BTW, Two bed, two bath, one car garage, small lot....

Yet you go to what some laughingly call flyover country and a family house of 3/4 bedrooms can be under 150K, sometimes well under.

Where I live now, starter homes are in the "Low 100's" but top of the line is around $25 million or so.

There must be some reasonable balance between income and debt that would make it fair to both sides - if fairness is what we seek.  I paid full ride for college, no loans or grants, have no idea how to game the system.


I just bought a 4 bed/3 bath home on a huge corner lot for $103K. I put $23K down, so my mortgage is laughably low, and taxes are under $3K per year. I'm currently earning a salary of around $80K. 

The only bad part about all of this is that I live in the panhandle of Nebraska.
 
2013-05-14 01:36:13 PM  

jshine: Sticky Hands: jshine: Sticky Hands: Bumblefark: Well, the most obscene thing is that that we as a society has decided that it isn't in our best interest to ensure post-secondary education to the nation's best and brightest. We decided that we should make higher education a consumer item.

The best and brightest are pretty much guaranteed school.
Now they may have to choose between paying various amounts for a top tier school (If the school thinks they can get money out of them) or going to a state school on a full ride. But IMHO if you get offered a full ride to the best public schools in your state, you don't have much room to biatch about the costs if you choose to go to school in some other place.

It's the rest of us that have to make the choice.

That said: A  $600 scholarship? Really? Fark you USC...


I forget my numerical SAT scores, but the sum put me in the 99th percentile -- #2 of 416 in my graduating class -- and was offered exactly $0 in aide by my state school (Univ. of Minnesota).  I didn't end up going there for undergrad, but still...

What were your grades? What about your extracurricular?
I managed a very high ACT as well, but I finished HS with a 2.7 GPA
Obviously while I may have been bright I was not the best.

My step daughter OTOH finished with a GPA in the top 10 of her class  AND had good test scores.
Full rides at Utah and BYU  (thank God she skipped that second one) .

Her peers had similar offers (though most of them got into places like Cal Tech, MIT  and Stanford)


My grades?  Its complicated because my HS didn't use a 4.0 scale, but basically I got "A"s in everything (except one gym class) up to junior year.  At that point it gets more complicated because I started taking classes from the Univ. of Minnesota and the local community college on the high school's dime (Minnesota was generous with tuition as long as you were still a high school student), so my high school GPA has to be averaged across 2 colleges + my high school itself, all using different metrics.  By senior year I was actually living on campus at the Univ. of Minnesota in Minneapolis in a dorm, but the credits transferred back to high school.  ...so academia was pretty much my only extra-curricular, but I was deeply engulfed in it.

However the GPA math worked out, I ended up very high (over 4.0 on our high school's scale) and -- like I said -- #2 of 416 graduating seniors.  Still no free ride at the UofMinn after I graduated from high school.

I ended up going to the Univ. of Wisconsin in Madison for my BS and getting my PhD in chemical engineering from the Univ. of Minnesota (the PhD was free, actually -- plus a $26k/year stipend).


You know what's funny? None of what you wrote about GPA and college classes meant anything to me with respect to intelligence until I saw PhD in ChemE.

Some of the smartest people I know are chemical engineers. As an undergraduate biomedical engineer who took a lot of classes in chemical engineering, I can tell you that without exception, my chem E classes were harder than anything I took in med school.

on the other hand, my understanding if physiology benefitted from it, so I'm glad I took a hard major and hard courses within it, even if it hurt my application to med school (most scgools have a minimum GPA cutoff to consider you, and my college GPA want really great. In my defense, in the time I was taking "weed out" courses like organic chemistry, that class was by far my least challenging, while most pre meds had that as their most challenging class).

/CSB
 
2013-05-14 01:37:15 PM  

jshine: Yes, but it also means a person who is just barely old enough to sign his name can basically turn him/herself into an indentured servant. Reasonable people can disagree, but I think your scheme (the current prevailing situation) is less ethical than the one I proposed. If banks want to loan money to an 18 year-old with no credit, that's their business, but they should not be insulated from the risk of loaning money to an 18 year old with no credit. If the parents are willing to co-sign (and have decent credit), again, that's great.

The point here is to force colleges to reduce tuition. By giving students "free money", you allow colleges to become bloated and inefficient by giving them a huge trough they can gorge themselves at. Take away the free money and tuition would fall to compensate -- or the colleges would starve to death from lack of funding. ...maybe then a student could actually work his/herself through school without having to rely on loans in the first place -- or at worst take out much smaller ones.


True ... I see your point.  I know that tuition inflation has been a scourge on us in recent times, but public schools are still very moderately priced.  My college (from 2006-2010) cost roughly $10k/year for tuition and fees and another $10/year for room and board for the required two years.

I was able to get a full tuition scholarship for scoring a 31 ACT/1400 SAT as well, so my financial burden was really just living expenses.  I realize not everyone tests well, but any student in Ohio wanting to go to a public school is eligible for tuition scholarships starting at only a 25 ACT ...

i39.tinypic.com
 
2013-05-14 01:39:18 PM  

Archae hippy: Ivo Shandor: For example in Vancouver, BC a million dollars gets you this. A half million might get you something about the same size, between two auto body shops and across the train tracks from a rendering plant.

what's that, like $35 K  American?


Close... about $42K American. Difficulty: using this kind of dollar, not those silly "federal reserve" things.
i.imgur.com
 
2013-05-14 01:41:10 PM  
It's not about assets it's about cash flow.
 
2013-05-14 01:43:57 PM  

rga184: Some of the smartest people I know are chemical engineers. As an undergraduate biomedical engineer who took a lot of classes in chemical engineering, I can tell you that without exception, my chem E classes were harder than anything I took in med school.

on the other hand, my understanding if physiology benefitted from it, so I'm glad I took a hard major and hard courses within it, even if it hurt my application to med school (most scgools have a minimum GPA cutoff to consider you, and my college GPA want really great. In my defense, in the time I was taking "weed out" courses like organic chemistry, that class was by far my least challenging, while most pre meds had that as their most challenging class).



My congrats on challenging yourself.  Some of the best physicians I know were BME or ChemE majors in their undergrad years.
 
2013-05-14 01:44:46 PM  

ThatGuyGreg: A family with a million dollar house earning $200,000 a year is most likely horrifically in debt, or if not, a layoff or health problem not covered by insurance away.

/just saying


Not really. The cost of living is super high where I live. Only debt we have is one car and the house, which is half equity. A million buys a starter house here. Ours is actually a duplex. Since it is a cheap house (relative to the market) it would sell in minutes.
 
2013-05-14 01:46:51 PM  

brantgoose: I don't want to say I would have made a good sociologist, but I will say that anthropology is a bit of a hobby of mine and I often feel like I am doing research on some sort of alien species of ape. Jane Gooddall, eat your heart out. I get to research stupid apes and have an indoor toilet with shower-bath! Serves all of you girls right for sleeping with your mentor.


You would love this book: Natural History of the Rich
 
2013-05-14 01:46:56 PM  
This is the area I live in. Houses south of us are going for $2Mil. Not uncommon and were not even in 'Murca.

http://tinyurl.com/c8esss9
 
2013-05-14 01:47:29 PM  

Bullseyed: Slaves2Darkness: brap: I like Senator Warren's plan of allowing students to borrow at the same rate as banks.

Stupid idea is stupid. The problem with the system as it currently stands is too much free money and too little competition. You want to fix the college tuition problem then go on a Federal University spending spree, Federally mandate that tuition start at 5,000 dollars a year and only rise at the rate of inflation.

Please cite the line in the Constitution that states they can set prices for goods and services.


You misunderstand. They are not setting prices for goods and services, they are setting a price for a Federal university. Other universities can charge whatever they want, but the Federal universities would have their cost set by congress, because they are government run. Much like what the US government all ready does with the US Postal Service and the rates that they are allowed to charge for mail.
 
2013-05-14 01:51:39 PM  
Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.

dustygrimp: derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

jshine: I have to second Tatsuma's post though -- Mrs. jshine & I are over $200k/yr and we're not rich.  We've got one car (a Mazda 3), an apartment, and a dog.  We're certainly not starving, but neither are we wealthy.


These house costs and incomes are not uncommon in high cost of living areas like New York or DC.

HOWEVER, for comparison sake, check out the national average and median incomes from the Social Security Administration.
 
2013-05-14 01:51:44 PM  
I lived on the Central California coast for a while.  Houses are expensive there - you can easily spend half-a-mil on a 2-3 betroom cottage in a so-so neighborhood.

I live in San Antonio, TX now.  The people, surprisingly, aren't that much more wealthy here than there.

The difference is that it wasn't unusual to find professionals living in multi-story apartment buildings in California.  .  It's also cheaper here to pay a mortgage than to rent a house.

In San Antonio, you meet husband and wife high school teachers with 2200 sq. foot houses complaining about running out of space.  Heck, I had a conversation with a waitress at a brew-pub whose husband is a waiter - they were buying their first house.  There's no great barrier to home ownership here, as long as you have good credit and stable income.

So, Tats, you do have a skewed view, but I understand it given that I've liven in different places.  Would you consider it abnormal for a family to live in an apartment?  What would be a typical home for a median income family in Tel Aviv?  An apartment?  Rent a row-house?  Buy a fully-detached house with a quarter acre lot and a patio?
 
2013-05-14 01:57:27 PM  

brantgoose: There's really not much difference between many of the people who are $80,000 on either side of the higher line, and none at all between people who are $50,000 plus or minus of some of the lower lines.

In fact, many working class individuals and families are well above the "upper" cutoffs that I see.


WSJ had this "what % are you" tool after the Romney incident that focused entirely on income from wages.  It was insulting to anyone that wasn't an idiot, but it allowed people making $100k to call themselves a member of some meaningless upper-percentile.
 
2013-05-14 02:00:50 PM  

JungleBoogie: Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.

dustygrimp: derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

jshine: I have to second Tatsuma's post though -- Mrs. jshine & I are over $200k/yr and we're not rich.  We've got one car (a Mazda 3), an apartment, and a dog.  We're certainly not starving, but neither are we wealthy.

These house costs and incomes are not uncommon in high cost of living areas like New York or DC.

HOWEVER, for comparison sake, check out the national average and median incomes from the Social Security Administration.



How is are the statistics calculated though?  For example: consider a family of four (2 working parents, 2 minor children) with grandparents who are retired -- that's 6 people and only 2 real incomes (or  maybe a bit more if you consider the pensions or social security of the grandparents).

Even if both of the working incomes were (say) $80k/year, the *average* would be (80*2)/6 = $27k/year.

There are a lot of people who simply don't work who might skew the statistics -- not because they're lazy necessarily, but because they're minors or elderly or disabled (or lazy).
 
2013-05-14 02:03:45 PM  

RedTank: It's not about assets it's about cash flow.


People who try to structure their finances like a corporation's forget one thing: corporations are logical constructs, and people are actual physical things.

And in bankruptcy, when the music stops, the corporation declares bankruptcy, and the executive team gets severance packages and walk away, with more money than they had previously. However, when the music stops for a person, that individual is on the hook for the debts. He can't dissolve himself. He can declare bankruptcy, but that is not nearly as personally cost free as the logical construct declaring bankruptcy.
 
2013-05-14 02:10:43 PM  

jshine: JungleBoogie: Tatsuma: .... a million dollar house is a pretty regular (or even small-ish) house in most of the country, Subby. And a family of four living on a $200,000 is not any means rich.

dustygrimp: derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

jshine: I have to second Tatsuma's post though -- Mrs. jshine & I are over $200k/yr and we're not rich.  We've got one car (a Mazda 3), an apartment, and a dog.  We're certainly not starving, but neither are we wealthy.

These house costs and incomes are not uncommon in high cost of living areas like New York or DC.

HOWEVER, for comparison sake, check out the national average and median incomes from the Social Security Administration.


How is are the statistics calculated though?  For example: consider a family of four (2 working parents, 2 minor children) with grandparents who are retired -- that's 6 people and only 2 real incomes (or  maybe a bit more if you consider the pensions or social security of the grandparents).

Even if both of the working incomes were (say) $80k/year, the *average* would be (80*2)/6 = $27k/year.

There are a lot of people who simply don't work who might skew the statistics -- not because they're lazy necessarily, but because they're minors or elderly or disabled (or lazy).


The statistics are explained by HOUSEHOLD, just to avoid that complication you made apparent.
 
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