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Rich (Now with the Upper Middle Class) Rich (Now with the Upper Middle Class)

10-01-2010 , 02:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitilism
As I recall, you are also an attorney. What type of an attorney are you? Is it possible your highest tax bracket salary is a result of government regulations and/or the governments' application of violent force? If so, you are not paying taxes, you are receiving a net transfer from taxpayers.
Holy cow!!! I stopped paying attention to this thread until I got a couple of post reports, saw my name mentioned, and then read backwards until I got to this.

I have read a ton of stupid, handwaving, and generally bull**** AC posts in my day, but this pretty much takes the cake. It doesn't even merit a substantive response, so I'll just say that someday you may learn to thrive within the rules of the society in which you live and when and if that day comes you will be surprised at how petty and bitter some people seem because you have more money than they do.
10-01-2010 , 03:03 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvn
Well, this is the greatest goalpost shift in the history of mankind.

Subsidies/handouts/protectionism/what-have-you to group X in particular may require a huge socio-economic apparatus to make them happen. That, however, does not imply that you can't have the socio-economic apparatus without the what-have-you for group X. You don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as you're basically implying here.
But some particular subsidy (I don't even know what that is - bar examination doesn't do much to limit the supply of top lawyers, which you generally need to be to earn well over 250K) wasn't the goalpost, this was:

Quote:
Is it possible your highest tax bracket salary is a result of government regulations and/or the governments' application of violent force?
So we were talking all along about the effect of "government regulation and/or governments' application of violent force" on ElliotR's salary, not some particular handout or subsidy.

I find it interesting that every time you accuse me of shifting the goalpost, it turns out that you're the one guilty of it.
10-01-2010 , 03:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by O.A.F.K.1.1
BFWIW, I am not allowed to sell my assets (Bonds) to a central bank in return for money it has just printed (quantitative easing) and I am not allowed to charge other players (those with access to the QE programme is limited )a fee to sell their assets to the CB.
What do you mean you can't sell bonds and get money? Why does it matter if you sell it to a central bank or anyone else? Market prices are the same. If I own say, 500 shares of GS and the Fed starts buying GS shares, I get the same price regardless of whether the Fed buys my shares or someone else's shares. They are entirely fungible.


Quote:
I am not able to take huge positions on margin and leverage, which if they **** up, will be bailed out by the tax payer, allowing me to make one way bets for millions of dollars.
Why don't you start a hedge fund? Btw, banks are far more restricted in their ability to do this, than, say a random multi-millionaire running a hedge fund. So you have it backward.


Quote:
I am unable to access credit at wholesale prices and must do so at what ever rate the IB decides to lend it to me at.
Which is the market price for the cost of lending to you. This has nothing to do with the Fed or anything and everything to do with your credit and scale. What system won't have this problem? In any conceivable system, a retail borrower will borrow at a rate financial institutions decide to lend at, which will take into account retail costs and creditworthiness.


Quote:
You do realise that their is a big difference in credit costs within the financial system and retail direct to joe blow. Different charges for access =! equal access.
Nothing stops you from starting your own investment bank. I understand that you don't have enough money and don't have the knowledge to run such a business but this is like saying that factory-owners are privileged by having enough money to build a factory and knowing how to run a factory. Or that Wal-Mart is privileged by being able to buy goods made in Chinese factories in bulk at prices lower than you can get buying one item at a time. That's just free market at work. Note that you can always buy shares of existing investment banks, or Wal-Mart or other companies.


Quote:
Also most market players dont time the bubble and get blown out, of course this does not apply to those at the top of the financial system blowing the bubble (Investment bankers) as they get bailed out. This is evinced by the fact that retail banking, which deals credit to joe blow is in the toilet, whereas investment banking is currently going great guns.
So you're saying that people who are able to game the system better are richer. How is this different in any other conceivable system? I don't understand how bailout has anything to do with this, given that Lehman was allowed to fail and GM was bailed out. Investment banks and other financial institutions are allowed to fail all the time (Lehman, Drexel Burnham, etc). What does any of this have to do with inflation and money creation? The argument that you're supposed to be making is: money creation obviously benefits those to whom money first goes and it's easy to pinpoint who these people are and how they directly benefit from this process.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zygote
high up employees obviously raid the shareholders too when they can so the accounting gimicks can work against shareholder long run interests.
So I think we're on the same side here - how does this have anything to do with money creation, as opposed to just plain market failure? Can't high-up employees raid the shareholders in any system? How does money creation facilitate this process?



On a related note - since we're talking about jealousy, resentment, etc, etc - another common attitude of right-wing populists is this: apparently, the system is screwed up because all these other people are taking advantage of the system, but it's okay if I do it.

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...7&postcount=56
http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...&postcount=293

Granted, this attitude is common on the fringe of any society. It's interesting though how inversely correlated this attitude is with actual success. Virtually the entire prison population, for instance, has this attitude. Yet, we tend to believe that successful people are like that. Here's my take on why.

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...&postcount=274

Here's a slightly different take on the same phenomenon:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...952689390.html
10-01-2010 , 04:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thutter
One of these days you may accumulate a certain degree of wealth and when and if that day comes you will be surprised at how petty some people seem because you have more money than they do.

This thread has been so full of envy and bitterness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElliotR
lol. I'm well inside the highest tax brackets and live in a high-tax state and the only people that seem "petty" and "bitter" to me are people who are crying about paying an extra 4% on a relatively small fraction of their income.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitilism
As I recall, you are also an attorney. What type of an attorney are you? Is it possible your highest tax bracket salary is a result of government regulations and/or the governments' application of violent force? If so, you are not paying taxes, you are receiving a net transfer from taxpayers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElliotR
Holy cow!!! I stopped paying attention to this thread until I got a couple of post reports, saw my name mentioned, and then read backwards until I got to this.

I have read a ton of stupid, handwaving, and generally bull**** AC posts in my day, but this pretty much takes the cake. It doesn't even merit a substantive response, so I'll just say that someday you may learn to thrive within the rules of the society in which you live and when and if that day comes you will be surprised at how petty and bitter some people seem because you have more money than they do.
So I guess we've come full circle, then?
10-01-2010 , 04:22 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone Booth
But some particular subsidy (I don't even know what that is - bar examination doesn't do much to limit the supply of top lawyers, which you generally need to be to earn well over 250K) wasn't the goalpost, this was:
It doesn't even matter. Whether Elliot is or is not one of these guys, or even whether "lawyers" in general are net recipients does not make one bit of difference.

The point is that intervention CAN and DOES benefit particular parties more than others. And not only that, we can determine who is benefitting in MANY (but not all) cases. We may not be able to make a precise determination of HOW MUCH the benefitted, but it IS POSSIBLE to be pretty sure that SOME benefit was received in a lot of cases.

Quote:
So we were talking all along about the effect of "government regulation and/or governments' application of violent force" on ElliotR's salary, not some particular handout or subsidy.

I find it interesting that every time you accuse me of shifting the goalpost, it turns out that you're the one guilty of it.
picard.jpg

perhaps you're conflating my posts with someone else's and getting some bizarre bastard version in your head.
10-01-2010 , 04:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone Booth
On a related note - since we're talking about jealousy, resentment, etc, etc - another common attitude of right-wing populists is this: apparently, the system is screwed up because all these other people are taking advantage of the system, but it's okay if I do it.

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...7&postcount=56
http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...&postcount=293

Granted, this attitude is common on the fringe of any society. It's interesting though how inversely correlated this attitude is with actual success. Virtually the entire prison population, for instance, has this attitude. Yet, we tend to believe that successful people are like that. Here's my take on why.

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...&postcount=274

Here's a slightly different take on the same phenomenon:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...952689390.html
The distinction that bills217 fails to emphasize is acting in your own self-interest at the expense of others versus selfish goals that provide ancillary benefits to society, the latter being the fundamental aspect of voluntaryism and the one we should encourage. Stealing from individuals or groups that have stolen from you is retribution and not immoral. Stealing from innocent bystanders is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bills217
2. Yes, that is my general model for how I believe other people behave - although I think hardly anyone actually admits that to themselves. Any goal-oriented communication could be considered manipulation - most people just suck at it. The "nice guy" tries to manipulate hot chicks to have sex with him just as much as I do, only his technique sucks and mine doesn't. We are morally equivalent.
No. The intent might be the same (this is usually a myth), but only one is likely to leave the victim needlessly crying and emotionally scarred. If I down a fifth of Jack and head out on the highway, am I "morally equivalent" to the dude driving next to me because neither of our goals is to crash that day? A world full of nice guys is a much better place than a world full of *******s.
10-01-2010 , 04:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by T50_Omaha8
So I guess we've come full circle, then?
i think that was a level.
10-01-2010 , 04:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvn
It doesn't even matter. Whether Elliot is or is not one of these guys, or even whether "lawyers" in general are net recipients does not make one bit of difference.
It may not matter to you, but it happens to be what we were talking about. Stop responding to an imaginary argument in your head.


Quote:
The point is that intervention CAN and DOES benefit particular parties more than others.
No one ever disagreed with this.


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And not only that, we can determine who is benefitting in MANY (but not all) cases.
Please enumerate these cases. More specifically, who benefits from an increase in the minimum wage?


Quote:
We may not be able to make a precise determination of HOW MUCH the benefitted, but it IS POSSIBLE to be pretty sure that SOME benefit was received in a lot of cases.
But how do you know this benefit isn't offset by some other hidden cost?

Either way, I'm assuming that you now believe the economic calculation problem isn't a problem for central planners? After all, they can just choose to enact only those policies where they can be "pretty sure" about the effects. While you can't predict the effects of policies in a general sense, in many specific cases, they can, correct?


Quote:
perhaps you're conflating my posts with someone else's and getting some bizarre bastard version in your head.
You didn't write the original post by Nitilism, but you were definitely discussing my response to it. To use you words, you're shifting the goalpost. If you're not discussing a response to this, why are you talking about lawyers? Since when was anyone other than yourself talking about specific subsidies or handouts to lawyers or whatever? Since I wasn't addressing any previous argument you made, but you were all along discussing my response, do you admit that you were, in fact, shifting the goalpost?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitilism
As I recall, you are also an attorney. What type of an attorney are you? Is it possible your highest tax bracket salary is a result of government regulations and/or the governments' application of violent force? If so, you are not paying taxes, you are receiving a net transfer from taxpayers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvn
To go from that to "therfore, lawyers aren't benefitting" (or even "lawyers aren't benefiting more than anyone else") is missing at least a few steps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvn
and 3) we're not talking about a general case. There was a pretty specific subset that was in question.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvn
Nitilism asks a question. PB's response doesn't answer it. And your paraphrase is basically wrong, anyway.

Also note that lawyers in particular have certain government-provided barriers to entry that protect their profession. These are smaller than government barriers protecting (eg) doctors, but they're higher than those protecting (eg) barbers.
10-01-2010 , 05:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvn
It doesn't even matter. Whether Elliot is or is not one of these guys, or even whether "lawyers" in general are net recipients does not make one bit of difference.

The point is that intervention CAN and DOES benefit particular parties more than others. And not only that, we can determine who is benefitting in MANY (but not all) cases. We may not be able to make a precise determination of HOW MUCH the benefitted, but it IS POSSIBLE to be pretty sure that SOME benefit was received in a lot of cases.
pvn, we were talking about whether ElliotR's failure to whine about taxes is explained by him personally being a net beneficiary of government, not whether the Federal Reserve funnels their treacherous inflation fiat dollars to their crook-nosed friends on Wall Street before letting real Americans get a taste.

You, of course, couldn't follow the Nitlism/Elliot exchange but you're still sure you hate government for all the reasons various pamphlets told you to hate government. Did you think we had forgotten?
10-01-2010 , 05:30 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone Booth
No one ever disagreed with this.
except the person who said this:

Quote:
you can't discern who's benefitting from the intervention
Quote:
Please enumerate these cases. More specifically, who benefits from an increase in the minimum wage?
Wow, that's a disingenuous question. I just said that you can't ALWAYS identify a particular individual in every case, but you can in many. Given that, you should be asking me to supply a case where I can identify an individual, rather than you cherry picking a case.

Quote:
But how do you know this benefit isn't offset by some other hidden cost?
It might be! which is why I said we can't determine the absolute size of the benefit. Of course, if the cost does completely outweigh the benefit, the "beneficiary" would eventually figure this out and decline the subsidy/handout/whatever (unless he can somehow externalize this cost).

Quote:
Either way, I'm assuming that you now believe the economic calculation problem isn't a problem for central planners? After all, they can just choose to enact only those policies where they can be "pretty sure" about the effects. While you can't predict the effects of policies in a general sense, in many specific cases, they can, correct?
Being pretty sure about person in Group X benefiting from a particular political action is not sufficient to solve a general case of economic calculation.

Quote:
You didn't write the original post by Nitilism, but you were definitely discussing my response to it. To use you words, you're shifting the goalpost. If you're not discussing a response to this, why are you talking about lawyers? Since when was anyone other than yourself talking about specific subsidies or handouts to lawyers or whatever? Since I wasn't addressing any previous argument you made, but you were all along discussing my response, do you admit that you were, in fact, shifting the goalpost?
I'm not talking about specific subsidies or handouts. Someone used the example of Elliot being a lawyer, but that wasn't important to your response or my response to that response.

Using an example doesn't mean the discussion is forever restricted to that one case. Saying that you can examine individual cases doesn't mean we are talking about one particular case, either.
10-01-2010 , 05:31 PM
How about we just start over. You never responding directly to this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by pvn
So you would agree that people who sell things to corn farmers benefit from corn subsidies, but you're not sure if corn farmers themselves benefit?
would you care to now?
10-01-2010 , 05:32 PM
I know it looks like a goalpost shift because in the first example lawyers were used but now I'm using a different example with farmers.
10-01-2010 , 06:43 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle0468
So what?
The "so what" is that it's all a matter of perspective. The $250k person doesn't see themselves as rich, even though by all reasonable standards they certainly are, because their perception is out of whack. They have a lot, but they're used to it and they look at other richer people who have things they want but can't afford and think they must not be rich if they don't have those things. But it's complete psychological BS. They are rich whether they think they are or not.

The only way to make a word like "rich" have any meaning at all is to go with something that a strong majority of people using the word would agree with, and there's no question that a strong majority of people in this world would consider a $250K a year American to be quite rich.

Personally, I don't make nearly that much and I definitely consider myself rich despite the fact that I'm struggling to make ends meet right now. Of course, the only reason I'm struggling to make ends meet is because of choices I make about expenses. I choose to have my daughter in a nice school. I choose to live in a nice house in a nice location. These are choices I make that make my finances more difficult than they could be, but that doesn't mean I'm not rich!

Note that most people would not consider me rich.

Last edited by ColbertFan; 10-01-2010 at 06:49 PM.
10-01-2010 , 07:03 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColbertFan
It's insulting to most of the world to claim that anyone who makes $10K isn't rich...
+1
10-01-2010 , 07:06 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle0468
So what? We are not the rest of the world, thank god. In this country rich is simply a perspective of the viewer. I see rich as having enough money to pay off all of my bills and live debt free at a comforable level. I might see 250K a year as rich since that level of income could do just that. Someone living at the poverty level might see rich as being able afford three squares a day, a roof over their head and transportation to the job of their dreams.

As for the rest of the world; looks like they've got some catching up to do to reach the affluence that exists in the US and several European countries.
The reason why it matters is because some people talk about progressive taxation as if it is a question of morals.
10-02-2010 , 10:16 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Not_In_My_Name
$250k is pretty clearly rich imo. It's towards the lower end of "the rich", but they are still rich. It seems unreal to me that people suggest that it not rich.

It's not the best way of measuring stuff like this (though I can't think of a better way off the top of my head), but what do you think the poll result would look like for that question. My gut reaction tells me that a huge majority (like 80%+) would say that $250k is rich, and I think you could get majorities to designate people on significantly less money as rich.
Im pretty left of center on fiscal stuff, and I must admit 250k is sure as hell not "rich" to a man/women who has children and works in Manhattan.

If you live in rural Alabama....your surely rich by most people's definition.
10-02-2010 , 10:24 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioPlayersGang
Im pretty left of center on fiscal stuff, and I must admit 250k is sure as hell not "rich" to a man/women who has children and works in Manhattan.

If you live in rural Alabama....your surely rich by most people's definition.
Having actually lived and worked in Manhattan, I can only say "you are wrong".
10-02-2010 , 10:35 AM
lol because Elliot gets to define what is rich or not. Why is Sklansky's definition of "rich" an unreasonable one?
10-02-2010 , 10:44 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElliotR
Having actually lived and worked in Manhattan, I can only say "you are wrong".
Im guessing there is simply a semantics thing at work here...

There is such a thing as an UPPER MIDDLE CLASS.
10-02-2010 , 10:59 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioPlayersGang
Im guessing there is simply a semantics thing at work here...

There is such a thing as an UPPER MIDDLE CLASS.
Yeah, commonly known by the majority as "rich people."

There is nothing to say that only upper class people (a kind of nonsensica term in America considering its relative lack of an aristocratic, feudal past) can be rich.
10-02-2010 , 11:08 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Not_In_My_Name
Yeah, commonly known by the majority as "rich people."

There is nothing to say that only upper class people (a kind of nonsensica term in America considering its relative lack of an aristocratic, feudal past) can be rich.
I agree there is no such thing as an "upper class" in the US...in the class sense of the term. That is neither here nr there in regards to what im saying though. My point refers to the literal spending power/lifestyle of two distinct groups.

Where I live they usually reside in different areas....go to different HSs....and more and more in America they are attending different colleges. These arent perfectly straight lines of demarcation...but, more and more, they are lines that matter/and are real.

Where I live there is certainly a difference between upper middle class folks and rich folks.

If you are from Chicagoland you know the difference between being from Arlington Heights/Orland Park/Elmhurst and being from Highland Park/Lake Forest/Kenilworth.

An upper middle class person isnt living paycheck to paycheck, but they need to be constantly working and need to be somewhat selective on spending both in areas of day to day spending and larger items.

For instance, few upper middle class people can afford a country club membership at a decently regarded club IF THEY HAVE CHILDREN AND A MORTGAGE IN A NICE NEIGHBORHOOD and all the other accoutrement of being a affluent American.

A rich person can-if he or she wishes-drop 15k on a yearly membership for the family without thinking much of it. In Manhattan this might be closer to 40k.....hardly anyone making 250k PRE TAX in Manhattan can drop 40K on a club membership without significantly impairing their lifestyle otherwise/screwing up saving patters for their retirement or child's college education.

Last edited by OhioPlayersGang; 10-02-2010 at 11:26 AM.
10-02-2010 , 11:22 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sholar
Please keep in mind that dinner at Per Se is going to run you $300+ per person, and that's not including wine.
This is why Sklansky's definition (which includes dining at four star restaurants every night) is silly. And I assume that when he's dining at a four-star restaurant, he's also buying dinner (and wine) for his companion. He could spend $250K/yr just on dinner at that rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sholar
To recap: on $250K/year I could: be sole support for a family of five, live within a one hour commute of Manhattan, eat well, drive a nice car, and celebrate Christmas every year by lighting $50K on fire.
Or $40K for a club membership. At some point, if you light enough money on fire, you will find it hard to support other aspects of a luxurious lifestyle.

And as for that mortgage on your Tribeca apartment?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sholar
Owning real estate in NYC...is exactly the sort of thing that rich people do. Rich people accumulate capital.
Forget the mortgage: to live in (most parts of) Manhattan is to consume a luxury good.
10-02-2010 , 11:24 AM
ITT people get passionate over an entirely subjective definition

I propose a new thread where we try to define "cool" and whether cool people should be required to help losers become more socially acceptable. Much will be made of the fact that none of us (except Elliot, who supports the proposal) come close to the "cool" threshold.
10-02-2010 , 11:29 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sholar
This is why Sklansky's definition (which includes dining at four star restaurants every night) is silly. And I assume that when he's dining at a four-star restaurant, he's also buying dinner (and wine) for his companion. He could spend $250K/yr just on dinner at that rate.



Or $40K for a club membership. At some point, if you light enough money on fire, you will find it hard to support other aspects of a luxurious lifestyle.

And as for that mortgage on your Tribeca apartment?


Forget the mortgage: to live in (most parts of) Manhattan is to consume a luxury good.
So, David's definition is silly because it is not the same as yours. lol
10-02-2010 , 12:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjkidd
So, David's definition is silly because it is not the same as yours. lol
That's a good way of putting it. What constitutes "rich" is obviously hard to define precisely.

Sklansky's personal definition of the minimum boundary of "rich" is so excessive that we can be confident that his definition is "wrong" (in the sense of not capturing how the word is commonly understood), without being able to agree on more marginal cases.

      
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