Moldy, Rancid Leftovers In The Fridge Of Derp

Jennifer Rubin has a problem with President Obama’s “class warfare” on those clearing more than a quarter-mil a year, particularly with Susan Estrich not being happy about it.

I don’t mean to pick on Estrich. She’s a very pleasant, reasonable Democrat (and a former, fellow congregant of ours). But she is indicative of the problem facing Obama and fellow liberals. If you live in New York or Los Angeles and have an income of $250,000, two kids and a house in a nice but not ostentatious neighborhood, you are not living a lavish lifestyle and you already pay gobs and gobs in taxes. You didn’t inherit wealth and you worked hard in college and in your profession, only to find yourself living paycheck to paycheck. And now, you’re going to get socked with a tax hike.

You see, Obama’s class warfare game becomes far less effective when the targets aren’t a sliver of plutocrats but hardworking white-collar parents with school bills, aging parents and no idea how they are ever going to retire. (They’re not, as to the latter. In 20 years, offices will be filled with professionals age 70 and up, which creates a whole other slew of problems, but that’s for another time.)

I think if I ever met anyone making $250,000 a year who claimed to be living “paycheck-to-paycheck”, I think I would be compelled to smash them over the head with a 2×4 with the words “Get the hell over yourself” written on it in Sharpie until my arms fell off.  Little math here, top marginal tax rates going up only on income earned over that point would for a household earning $300K amount to about three-quarters of a percent in additional taxes total on that income.  My heart weeps tears of something something whatever.

The Republic has had much higher marginal tax rates over the last 100 years or so, and America has mysteriously avoided implosion and Mad Max mode.  Get over it, it’s going to happen.  Either that, or get a copy of Quicken and see where all your frigging money is going, then come up with one percent less.  Pink Himalayan salt and all.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

159 replies
  1. 1
    mai naem says:

    I think you are getting your right wing sluts mixed up. Himalayan pink salt is Megan McCardle. Jennifer Rubin is the one who looks like she needs a massive makeover.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    Rubin raises a real issue. The fact that Obama lost New York and California by such wide margins should serve as a warning to all Democrats.

  3. 3
    c u n d gulag says:

    The NY Times keeps running these stories on “The New Poor” – the people who can’t make ends meet right now, on $250,000-$400,000 in NYC.

    The poor dears can’t afford to sent their kids to upper echelon Kindergartens and Private Schools, keep three luxury cars, a boat, go to upper-end restaurants, AND go on expensive vacations!

    Talk to the lower middle class people in the small two-story homes in the boroughs, and the ones in the housing projects, why don’t you?
    Find find out how the other 98% of NYers are managing to get by, without having to mothball and Audi, or make their Nanny take a pay-cut.

    Dear NY Times:
    The people you keep writing about in the Styles section (when they’re not some front page story) are part of the top 2% of wage earners – PERIOD!
    Oh, and paying and additional couple of percentage points above the $250,000, isn’t nearly as tough as trying to scrape by on working some low-wage job(s), and still trying to live in NYC. I know, I used to live there in the 80’s, when, in order to live like you wanted to – go to the shows, opera, ballet, symphony, restaurants, jazz and folk clubs, you needed to earn at least $50,000-$75,000.
    I had to scrape and scrape by on my $20,000 salary, to pay rent, eat, and go do ONE of the above things every month or two.

    If the whine – FECK THEM!

  4. 4
    Lurking Canadian says:

    My heart still bleeds for the U. Chicago prof who wrote, “After we pay the mortgage on our million dollar house, make the payments on our two luxury cars, pay the private school tuition for our two kids and put $100K/year into our retirement fund, we’re barely scraping by!”

  5. 5
    Alex says:

    Also, that person (with high state taxes and a mortgage) is paying AMT, not paying at the marginal rates. This tax hike won’t even hit them. I did the math for myself (live in nyc, and make more than $250k, and happy to pay more in taxes for the good of our country) — tax hike would have cost us about $18k more. But AMT already costs us $21k, so this just makes it a closer call for us not paying AMT.

  6. 6
    magurakurin says:

    This article reminds of the time when Matthew Iglesia tried to convince all his readers that his having a 2 million dollar town home in NYC didn’t make him rich because to get that money he would have to sell the house and live in Queens or some such shit.

    I second the beating suggestion. If you are taking home 250g’s a year, I don’t give a rat’s ass where you live, you are making bank. And if you whine about it, fuck you. I’ll be 50 next week and for this year I’m on track to make about 48,000. It’s the most I’ve ever made in my life by a long shot and I had to start working for myself to make that. I am over-joyed at my good fortune and more than happy to pay my tax bill (albeit to a different government).

    So, fuck that “we take home mid to low 6 figures and are just barely scraping by” shit.

  7. 7
    Sargeant Pepper's Spray says:

    The fact that Jennifer Rubin is making anything more than $15 dollars an hour and not working at The GAP is proof enough that our society is rigged against any form of meritocracy.

  8. 8
    Kane says:

    Susan Estrich writes;

    “One of the amazing things about this country is that the middle class doesn’t hate the rich.”

    I would agree with that. But a convincing argument can be made that the rich hate the middle class.

  9. 9
    SensesFail says:



  10. 10
    MattF says:

    @Alex: Rubin misses the point that people living in the wealthy NYC, LA, and DC suburbs live and work there because they choose to. They pay high taxes and they get an expensive lifestyle. You don’t want to pay taxes? Fine, have your version of a good life with crumbling infrastructure and trailer-trash neighbors.

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    When you say pink Himalayan salt, you mean “Green balloons,” right?

  12. 12
    geg6 says:

    You simply cannot imagine the entitlement of some of these people who make what I would consider a fortune (250K). Fuck Jen Rubin and fuck anyone who makes that much who whines about paying a slightly higher marginal rate.

    A few years ago, I had a mom in my office just having a fit about paying tuition for her son. She kept insisting they couldn’t afford it and was demanding that I provide him with a bunch of need-based aid, a federal Pell Grant especially. I kept explaining as nicely as possible that he didn’t qualify, that there are regulations that we have to follow, and that there was no way for me to take into consideration the amount of debt they had because the debt wasn’t the allowable sort for a special circumstance evaluation, like unexpected high medical debt.

    I looked at their FAFSA information and saw that they had an AGI of $270K. When I pointed this out and said that Pell recipients come from families that have less than $30K for a family of four, she kept saying that they needed their 5000 sq. ft. home, their lavish vacations, and their luxury cars and that I didn’t know what it was like to have to go into debt to get those things. I was at the end of my rope at that point and said yeah, you’re right lady, I have no idea how you make the kind of money your family makes and still spend so much that I’d be in debt. And I’ll never know because I’ll never make that much. And that I have students who came to us from homelessness who were thankful for whatever help we could give them but didn’t demand anything and who worked while in school just so they could eat. She was just furious with me and stood up and screamed right in my face, “WELL, I GUESS I’LL HAVE TO SELL MY LEXUS!”, stomping her foot to emphasize each word. I told her that, yeah, I guess you will and that I hadn’t seen a temper tantrum like that since my nieces were 3. And then I showed her the door.

    I was so angry when she left that I sat at my desk just shaking for about 15 minutes. I’ll never forget how ugly she looked when she screamed at me, this well-dressed perfectly groomed woman with big rocks on her fingers. Never. People like that will never have enough money, no matter how much they are given or earn. I’m a terrible enough person that I have wished, over the last few years of this awful recession, that this woman had some true hardship, like a foreclosure or unemployment. Maybe she would learn something from it. But I doubt it.

  13. 13
    different-church-lady says:

    So, in Rubin’s world nobody could afford to live in Los Angles or New York before the GW Bush administration?

  14. 14
    Alex says:

    @MattF: Agreed. My point was that the AMT builds more progressive fairness into the tax increase (a kind of minor corollary to the fact that the tax doesn’t apply at all to the first $250k, so if you make $260k, really stfu). On some of the others who are being vitriolic, remember that the stupid is coming from the press, and/or the people complaining just don’t understand the increase. Don’t vilify those of us who are making coin in high tax/high cost states. Educate; don’t alienate.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Lost in America says:

    I think it’s amazing that we’re supposed to take at face value that these people “living check to check” despite making over 6 times my annual income are FORCED to live the lifestyle they live, in the size house they choose, in the neighborhood they live in, with their kids in the private schools and expensive activities they choose, a guarantee to retire young with plenty of income for leisure, all the electronics they want, fully-waranteed new vehicles, and so on.

    This is the problem–no matter how good people have it, they think they don’t. Personally, I’m nowhere near the top 2% but I feel completely blessed every day when I think of what I have that others don’t…and I’d be perfectly happy if ALL the Bush tax cuts went away and I had to pay more. I WANT fully-funded infrastructure, defense, education, health care, food and drug safety, social safety net, research and development, national parks and forests, environmental protection, regulation, etc-and competent people carrying out those services. We’re passing on a huge bill to future generations that will leave our kids CONSTANTLY fighting off calls for austerity from conservatives. I know it’s politically toxic to suggest otherwise, but I cringe when Obama talks about more tax cuts for the middle class, even when coupled with letting tax cuts expire on the wealthy.

    SOMEBODY has to do the heavy lifting and start paying for civilization–fuck these rich babies…raise my taxes on January 1st, I’ll fucking do it.

  17. 17
    Scout211 says:

    “gobs and gobs” . . . seriously?

    Why does she . . . .oh, never mind.

  18. 18
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Further knockdown of Jennifer the Stupid:

    Numero one-o: you can’t design your policies around extremal situations (NYC, LA). Policies have to be designed around the norm, but with some attention to whether they produce totally crazy effects in atypical situations, just to give the Jennifer Rubins of the world less excuse to bleat if nothing else.

    Numero two-o: given that corporate profits are at insanely high levels even in our only slowly recovering economy, with all too little of it trickling down tto middle-class Americans, my WAG is that if that extra 3/4 of 1% of tax burden on a couple making $300K/year makes NYC and LA suddenly unaffordable for our yuppie couple, I suspect that their employers can afford to give them a 0.75% raise, to keep them around.

    Nmero three-o: my wife and I don’t live or work in NYC or LA, but we do work inside the DC beltway, which is also one of those legendary high-cost areas. Even though we make a good deal less than Rubin’s hypothetical $250K couple, we’re living pretty well while stashing away 15% of our paychecks in our 401Ks and paying for the kid’s day care.

    People like my wife and I can afford to pay more taxes, so I call bullshit on the notion that a small tax increase on a similar couple earning an extra $100K but living in NYC or LA would really notice the tax hike that Obama is talking about. Oh, and if they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, WTF are they spending their money on, especially if, as Rubin suggests, they aren’t saving for retirement and won’t ever be able to afford it?

    Numero four-o: at least Rubin recognizes that many Americans now working will be unable to afford retirement. But between Social Security as it is, and the 15% of their salaries that our yuppie couple should be socking away in their 401Ks, they should damned well be able to afford to retire someday, though they may need to retire to somewhere cheaper than NYC or LA. (And I have no sympathy whatsoever for whiners living in expensive locales who complain because they won’t be able to retire in place. Fuck ’em.)

    But if she’s worried about the retirement prospects for her yuppie couple, what does she think will happen with couples earning $40K a year, rather than $250K? And where does she think that a solution to that problem might come from?

    It won’t come from the free market, because quite frankly, work-til-you-drop IS the free-market solution. It can come from one of two places: either an expansion of Social Security benefits, paid for through, yes, higher taxes, or a sufficient resurgence in the power of unions to shake all those excess corporate profits loose so that the workers derive some of the benefits.

    Needless to say, Rubin would be against either of these alternatives. So her concern over the retirement prospects of working Americans is an empty thing.

  19. 19
    Thlayli says:

    If you’re earning $250K per year and you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, UR DOING IT WRONG.

  20. 20
    The Tragically Flip says:

    Does it get more Versailles than the people debating whether the poor dears struggling to make ends meet on $250K can afford slightly higher taxes?

    I bet Rome had a moment like this slightly before the Visigoths came knocking where someone proposed a tax hike on the wealthy to improve Rome’s defences and was shouted down because the nobles might have to give up a few house slaves and drink slightly less expensive wines at their banquets.

    In the end it was Roman slaves who opened the gates of Rome to the Visigoths upon their third siege.

  21. 21
    Woody says:

    In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.

    Jennifer Rubin and her ilk still loathe President Carter for speaking the truth.

  22. 22
    WereBear says:

    How completely and utterly clueless do you have to be to run “ooooooooooooh, the poor quarter millionaries” kinds of stories?

    When people stand in line for hours to get something looked at they worry is fatal?

    When so many people have lost their jobs AND homes?

    When they are striking at WalMart?

  23. 23
    Bmaccnm says:

    Also, too, isn’t that figure of $250,000 taxable income, as opposed to gross income? If so, those people subject to an increased marginal tax rate are making considerably more than $250,000.

  24. 24
    Lost in America says:

    @geg6: Greg6, your story SHOULD be unbelievable, but sadly it’s not. Some people just never know what it’s like to WANT, let alone NEED. Unfortunately, I’m guessing her kids will grow up feeling completely entitled.

    I’m also reminded of boomer-aged teabagger idiots who often worked union jobs with pensions, didn’t have to go into debt for school, are retiring in comfort with their bills paid, and now collect far more government benefits than most other demographics but scream and moan about paying taxes and want every single government service THEY don’t use eliminated, even things their own grandchildren need like education and environmental protection.

    The hypocrisy and disregard for society these days is amazing.

  25. 25
    Lost in America says:

    Hey! Shouldn’t we all be stampeding box stores like the rest of the cattle, dutifully sending our income to China?

    Or did that happen last night while I was sipping eggnog & whiskey with the fam?

  26. 26
    The Tragically Flip says:

    I should say I somewhat understand how people even making magnificient sums like $250K/year could end up consuming their entire income as they try to live a lifestyle even more affluent than their income supports.

    This, after all, is what the economy does to so many in ordinary realm of income levels. Marketing is damn good at what they do, pushing our “predictably irrational” buttons to make us make short-sighted spending decisions and let them become habits.

    It’s a reminder that people making large sums are not necessarily gifted with special financial acumen and foresight. They’re just lucky and they fall prey to the same advertising bullshit many others do. This is why social security is needed even for the middle class who could in theory (and some do) save enough to retire on. Many people suck at finances. That fact is not going to change.

    All that said, my sympathy only goes so far. You may live a lifestyle that consumes a $250K income, but that means you have some relatively easy sacrifices that can easily lower your consumption without some kind of major personal deprivation. It’s not “food versus rent” it’s “vacation versus new car” – yeah, with the new taxes you may not be able to afford both. Oh well.

  27. 27
    Alex S. says:

    Does Jennifer Rubin live in New York? Maybe it’s Rubin’s subliminal fear that her own existence, and her own making $250.000/year is over as soon as someone important figures out what nonsense she writes.

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Jennifer says:

    The additional taxes on a $300,000 income, under Obama’s tax plan, amount to $1500. So yeah, not the end of the world – we’re talking about $125 per month on people who are bringing home (after tax) $12K – $15K per month.

    But…I continue to think there is something extremely ridiculous about lumping people making between $250K & $300K into the same tax bracket as folks making over $1 million, $5 million, etc. A big part of the problem with our current tax policy is that it is too flat – we have too few brackets. This happened under, yep, Ronald Reagan, and it was specifically designed to give more pushback leverage against higher taxes for those in the astronomical income brackets. There really are very very few people making in the millions per year; lumping them in with folks making “only” $250K inflates their numbers at least 10-fold. My preference would be to see a more modest increase on those making $250 – $350K, with those making $350 – $500K paying a bit more, those making $1 million paying a bit more yet, and so on and so forth. Once upon a time – in fact, at the time we had those 91% marginal rates we all like to point to – we had several dozen tax brackets. Now we have 5 or 6; and at one point under Reagan, we had only 2. This flattening of the tax structure was carried out for the express purpose of dividing and conquering, and it would be a good thing to see it revert to the days where people who made a LOT more also paid a much higher rate than those who are just upper-middle class.

  30. 30
    Some Random Brit says:

    @Alex S.:

    New York? Rubin doesn’t live on Earth.

  31. 31
    1badbaba3 says:

    If our Galtian Overlords are such rugged individualists, why do they require around-the-clock fluffing from their vast media empire? Shouldn’t they be more, well, rugged?

  32. 32
    El Cid says:

    Good thing then, that that person making $250K in his or her household won’t pay a dollar more in income taxes, and will only pay a fraction more for the dollars which make it past $250K.

    But then, marginal tax rates are Communist.

  33. 33
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:


    I’m a terrible enough person that I have wished, over the last few years of this awful recession, that this woman had some true hardship, like a foreclosure or unemployment. Maybe she would learn something from it. But I doubt it.

    The only way this woman would have learned something from it would be to stick her head on the end of a pike. But I doubt it.

  34. 34
    Rick Massimo says:

    I wonder how Jennifer Rubin feels about public school teachers in New York and Los Angeles. Her party’s line is that they’re overpaid moochers, but I’d love to see her try to reconcile the two.

    P.S. Annual per capita income in Manhattan is around $65,000.

  35. 35
    The Tragically Flip says:

    It’s also true that if you live on Manhattan or some other ultra-high cost urban area, $250K doesn’t buy a “luxury” lifestyle in terms of daily Michelin Star restaurant meals, servants, helicopters and private jets – but the point should not be lost that living in such a place is itself a massive luxury. You *want* and *chose* to live in these exclusive locales for some pretty obvious benefits you draw from it. You probably don’t have to face some long commute, you have access to all sorts of cool services, you have automatic social status by virtue of your address, you likely get business and financial opportunities by being in these locations where other, even richer people also live, and so forth.

    The only kinds of places I am sympathetic to the “high cost of living” argument are actually remote places where goods are all imported and so on – places like Canada’s far north, or say if your job required you to live on some remote island. A North West Territories miner who makes $100K but has to spend 2-3X normal amounts for food, housing, fuel and heat can really argue his $100K income doesn’t buy a “normal” $100K lifestyle.

    But not when you choose to live in one of the world’s most elite and exclusive places, which are expensive precisely because so many people want to live there. You paid $1M for that small Manhattan condo because you had to outbid 10 other people who could only afford to pay $900K for that place. And they outbid 100 others who could pay $800K.

  36. 36
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @doofus: At work so I can’t listen to the podcast now. Is there a particular incident of the Roman elites balking at doing some obvious and necessary public spending which might have averted (or delayed) the sack?

  37. 37
    HRA says:

    Those of us who could say “OK I have enough money to buy milk or bread” can remember buying the milk and making the bread.
    We did survive using the same formula for whatever came up to be reasoned with. They will never ever understand.
    Not too long ago, my ancestral land got hit hard economically.
    Friends were crying “how will they survive?” My answer was they will go home to the countryside where life is simple and life can be sustained. Now there are several videos showing many of them doing quite well after learning all that glitters will not always be gold.

  38. 38
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Rick Massimo: You’re assuming Rubin isn’t capable of holding two mutually contradictory positions at the same time. Apparently you didn’t follow her columns this year.

  39. 39
    rlrr says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    I read a history of the late Roman Empire – a number of times the elites were exempt from the taxes that were needed to pay the Roman legions…

  40. 40
    Mike Dixon says:

    I think if I ever met anyone making $250,000 a year who claimed to be living “paycheck-to-paycheck”

    Hey, Wal-Mart might have some openings… tomorrow! They could fill out an application to pick up two hours a week, which make up more than the shortfall.

  41. 41
    A Farmer says:

    Did everybody see JP Morgan wrapping itself in the flag and saying that free enterprise is what makes this country great? Thanks for letting us steal from your pension, etc. Apparently, a lot of people were moved to tears, but I just wanted to punch Jamie Dimon. If you didn’t see it, you can check it out here.

  42. 42
    Mark S. says:

    Has Jennifer Rubin ever had an original idea in her life? All she does is regurgitate the most stale Republican talking points and interpret the most mundane events as Obama’s next Waterloo. Who the hell is the audience for this shit?

  43. 43
    Schlemizel says:


    But you have to remember they are paying $7500/mo for that tiny place on the Upper East Side and the au pare ain’t cheep. Plus have you seen the prices on decent truffles? Simple necessities like that have just gotten too expensive

  44. 44
    Jamey says:

    get a copy of Quicken and see where all your frigging money is going, then come up with one percent less. Pink Himalayan salt and all.

    Sacrifices like that are for the working poor who, as we’re told, are lucky just to have jobs…

  45. 45
    Azrev says:

    Why don’t the news guys point out the concept of “adjusted gross” income or effective income after deductions. Someone earning $250,000 a year is probably paying taxes on significantly less.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Schlemizel says:


    maths is hard! The same reason they can’t explain that they will pay the exact same amount of tax on the first 250k they do right now & only an extra 3 cents on the two-hundred and fifty first dollar (after exemptions)

  48. 48
    Billy says:

    It seems that some of you are surprised that there are people who live paycheck-to-paycheck on $250K. I’m not. It’s the American way. Whether you make $30K or $300K, a huge proportion of Americans spend every last dime of it trying to look prosperous rather than be prosperous.

    Back in the prehistoric days when I was growing up, you could afford something if you could pay cash for it. (everything except a house and MAYBE a car). Nowadays the mentality is that you can afford something if you can cover the payment for it. Of course the problem with that mentality is that is never accounts for any loss of income, job loss, pay cut, tax raise, anything that disrupts the fragile flow of $X in, $X-minus-a-pittance out.

    Which of course is ludicrous, if you are going into debt to buy consumer crap you deserve whatever is going to happen to you.

  49. 49
    Ash Can says:

    Math is hard.

    ETA: And yes, Schlemizel beat me to it.

  50. 50
    Walker says:

    These papers run these types of articles because that is their demo. Which is another reason why they are dying.

  51. 51
    hep kitty says:

    I think if I ever met anyone making $250,000 a year who claimed to be living “paycheck-to-paycheck”

    You just described my ex-husband. And I worked FT. And we didn’t have kids.

  52. 52
    wonkie says:

    Before I retired my take home was three thousand a month. I saved one thousand, gave away another mostly to animal charities and spent the rest. And by god I knew I had plenty of money.

    What I miss the most about living on a substancially smaller income is the luxury of being able to support charities. I still give but not nearly as much. I loved writing those charity checks.

  53. 53
    The Tragically Flip says:


    You’re talking (I think) about the cultural mentality toward debt that was prevalent after the Great Depression. You borrowed to buy a house, and that was about the only thing that was a socially acceptable reason to be in debt for.

    Yeah, that’s gone with the Silent/Greatest Generations and I don’t know how it comes back. Maybe it shouldn’t, maybe that was too hard set against debt, but we probably need to move a ways back that direction toward a healthier perspective on debt.

  54. 54
    hep kitty says:

    If you live in New York or Los Angeles and have an income of $250,000, two kids and a house in a nice but not ostentatious neighborhood, you are not living a lavish lifestyle

    Those of us with half a brain understand this.


    What about personal responsibility? Remember that, republicans (or so-called “conservatives”)? If you make 250k a year and you really can’t afford to have kids then


    Don’t have kids! Or move somewhere where you can afford it.

    You want to criticize poor people for being so irresponsible as to be born poor and yet those of you who by any normal standards, are “well off” choose to live beyond your means and then bitch about it as if it’s OUR fault. You spoiled bunch of assholes.

    The same rules that you apply to the rest of us apply to you too.

    So if you can’t afford to pay a little more in taxes, you deserve no more sympathy from me as you have for those welfare moms you all bitch about.

    This is the kind of stuff that makes my blood boil.

    (Oh, and btw, since your party doesn’t believe you should have access to birth control, you’re gonna have to get used to holding that aspirin b/w your knees a LOT)

  55. 55
  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Stupid broad needs tumbrel ride.

    Just sayin’.

  57. 57
    The Tragically Flip says:


    Sounds exactly like what’s happening with those off shore corporate tax holidays.

    Also to a lesser extent, the non-prosecution of all those rich fucks caught in the UBS whistleblower/leak. Nominal fines and non-apology-apologies for all! All is forgiven, though you don’t have to admit there was anything to forgive!

  58. 58
    Billy says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    There is nothing inherently wrong with debt. But there is when it is used to support a lifestyle that far outstrips one’s actual income, and that it just what most Americans do with it.

    I’m simply responding to the idea in the OP. The whiner says she is living paycheck to paycheck on $250K. If so, she is spending too much of her income, simple as that. And talk about “entitlements”, these people (I know plenty of them) think they are “entitled” to a certain level of house and car and clothes and etc, etc, etc – the FACT that they do not earn enough money to pay for those things doesn’t seem to concern them.

  59. 59
    Bulworth says:

    This is the greatest blog title post in the history of mankind.

  60. 60
    Bulworth says:

    Also, too: the “I just had my Oakeshott…” is the most greatest tagline ever.

  61. 61

    Oh, fuck Jennifer Rubin with a rancid turkey leg. Really.

    Here’s my Black Friday rant, and some links to some good news. What’s everyone doing today? I’m off for a run before it starts raining again.

  62. 62
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    They always trot out these worst-case scenarios whenever this tax hike is discussed. I live in DC, and there are areas of the city where you can spend a lot of money for not a lot of house ($900K in Cleveland Park will get you a 3 bedroom 2 bath home, if you’re lucky). But they can’t make the rules for these exceptions. Besides which, people buying houses in Cleveland Park have cheaper neighborhood options in other parts of the city where they could live comfortably and not stretch the family budget to the limit.

  63. 63
    Mike in NC says:

    Yeah, I well remember the days when I was living paycheck-to-paycheck on my $25,000 salary. Oh wait, where did that pesky zero come from?

  64. 64
    Amir Khalid says:

    I think it’s the demo of the people who write for the NYT, as much as it is their readers’ demo. It’s a prestigious newspaper to write for, and its journalists are seen as the elite of their profession. So they’d get paid to reflect that, which I imagine puts them in the $250k/yr and up class.

  65. 65
    Rosie Outlook says:

    @geg6: Let’s both learn to knit and we can sit right in front, with Madame Defarge , when the show starts.

  66. 66
    Misterpuff says:

    @Azrev: Mosdef. Deductions, personal and mortgage and charitable contributions (?) can easily be 50 to 100K so gross salary is probably 300 – 350 to start.

    Boo Hoo I gotta pay $1500 more in taxes. Boo fucking Hoo.

  67. 67
    Schlemizel says:


    I always thought more of
    “He had been eating acorns for a week so no one was surprised he had oakeshott a bucket full.”

  68. 68
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    If I made more than $250k a year and I had to pay half of it in taxes I’d still have a shitpile more disposable income than I do now.

  69. 69
    Trakker says:

    Hey, Jenn, it wasn’t Romney who lost this election, it was Reagan. Your era is finally over. Really. Just watch what happens in this coming year. The tea party killed your party before it could kill our country.

  70. 70
    RSA says:


    At least Republicans are willing (at least in principle) to cut the government in order to spare Estrich and others more financial pain.

    Riiiight. Leaving aside the idea of principle in Republican politics, what do Republicans mean by complaining about the 47% and proposing to broaden the tax base?

  71. 71
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    @Jennifer: There is something ridiculous about not have tax brackets above $250K, especially when those folks aren’t paying payroll tax on all their income. The tax bracket gets more progressive quickly, and then just gets flat rather than becoming more and more progressive. It makes no sense. It also makes no sense that nothing is indexed to inflation.

  72. 72
    JenJen says:

    Marginal Tax Rates!! How do they work??

    It’s fun to see that Rubin is still in the “bargaining” stage of grief, though.

  73. 73
    Downpuppy says:

    The fight over marginal rates is going better than it appears, if you only think in terms of income tax. The 3.8% surtax is bigger than the rate changes going in next year, and the payroll tax holiday has lasted 2 years.

    Meanwhile, the Masters of the Universe are back to pumping crappy tech stocks like CRM.

  74. 74
    Alex says:

    The dumbshit apparently doesn’t understand how marginal tax rates work. A tax rate that kicks in at $250,000 only affects taxable earnings over that amount. Whole the cost of living (primarily rents and real estate) in places like LA and NY does require higher income (and often two incomes) to replicate a middle class life style, it doesn’t convert those on the margin of the top 2% of wage earners into the working poor unless they buy more house than they can afford and send all their children to private schools, which of course means they have disposable income and are choosing to spend it and live “paycheck to paycheck” nonetheless.

  75. 75
    Woodrowfan says:

    Living in the DC area I can imagine some families making $250 K living paycheck-to-paycheck, but only in situations with extraordinary expenses, such as medical bills or 5 kids in college, or supporting both spouse’s parents or something. But for most situations? No.

  76. 76
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Here’s my Black Friday rant

    And a fine, righteous rant it is.

  77. 77
    Woodrowfan says:

    @geg6: WOW. And you know she’s going around now complaining how “those people (wink, wink)” are so greedy with their food stamps and Obamaphone, etc…

  78. 78
    bemused says:

    It’s bad enough hearing $250K plus folks whining they just can’t manage their lives adequately anymore with a relatively small (for them) tax hike. What kills me is well-off conservatives lecturing everyone making less down to those at poverty level about taking personal responsibility for their circumstances. Truly breathtaking. Words like chutzpah, gall, nerve just don’t do the job of describing the asshole arrogance.

  79. 79

    @Kane: it’s a cornerstone of right-wing ideology that the reason people are poor is that they’re losers or slackers.

  80. 80
    rlrr says:


    Here’s Harlan Ellison’s holiday rant

  81. 81
    John says:

    The whole thing is utterly absurd. A married couple earning $250,000 is, in fact, not going to pay any more taxes at all. A married couple earning $300,000 probably isn’t either, what with deductions. And if you have a taxable income of $300,000, you’re paying about $100/month extra. Do these assholes really expect anyone to believe that people earning $300,000/year can’t afford an extra $100/month?

  82. 82
    Marc says:

    Hey, funny thing about that “Obama supporter” who is “very upset” that the president is going to raise taxes on the rich (if only he had told us during the campaign!): she’s a Fox News commentator and she writes for NewsMax.

    In other words, concern trolls are concerned.

  83. 83
    Kent says:

    Ouch….the stupid just hurts. As others have noted:

    1. Under Obama’s proposal, a family making $250,000 would get tax cuts on the first $250,000 of their earnings and a modest increase on earnings above $250,000

    2. Due to the plethora of deductions (local taxes, mortgage interest, dependents, charity, 401Ks, IRAs, Health savings accounts, etc.) the typical family of 4 that does a reasonable amount of financial planning will be able to hit a gross income of between $300,000 to $350,000 before they hit the AGI of $250,000 at which point higher taxes would kick in for any additional income.

    3. Remember, we are talking about Obama’s proposal to renew tax cuts on the first $250,000 of income and only raise it on income above $250,000. That means everyone with AGI over $250,000 will receive a combination of tax cuts (on all income under $250,000) and tax increases (on all income above $250,000). In order to reach the point where the tax increases outweigh the tax cuts a family is going to have to be earning an AGI of upwards of $450,000. Everyone earning less than this will still receive a net tax break.

    4. The real scandal in the tax code is the special treatment that investment income and corporate income receives. That is how Romney and his ilk can get away with paying 10% or less in taxes year in year out and in many instances pay no tax at all despite income and wealth in the millions or billions. That is how one gets at the income in the top 1%, not by fighting to raise taxes on earned income.

  84. 84
    eric nny says:

    Someone remind me why, how, when this idiot got her job?

  85. 85
    John of Indiana says:

    I make a gross income of $44,000 a year. I find it impossible to relate to somebody who’s having it rough with an AGI of $250,000.

    When the Visigoths come, I’m gonna be all “What? You’re going to go sack and pillage the gated communities? Can I come along?”

  86. 86
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I live south of Los Angeles, in one of the richest communities on the planet, never mind the United States. I have one neighbor out of the six living on our street who might get “socked” by this proposed tax hike. While he doesn’t live in a palatial mansion on 5000 acres of land, he’s doing just fine.

    Fucking raise them. Raise them on me and my wife, who in a good year might make $125k between us (and I realize that makes us INSANELY FUCKING RICH by any sane standard, but truly at best middle class where we live). We can pay more, it will hurt but we can. And then start fixing shit, because all the infrastructure I can see in our country is broken all to hell and it’s a fucking disgrace. I’m posting from Mexico right now and most of their roads are in better shape than ours. FUCKING MEXICO, people. My wife and I have been tallying up what they’ve got down here that’s better than America. That list is getting dismayingly long.

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:


    Also, too, isn’t that figure of $250,000 taxable income, as opposed to gross income? If so, those people subject to an increased marginal tax rate are making considerably more than $250,000.


    In almost all that I read and hear about this, pundits, reporters and the general public confuse gross income and taxable income.

    Unfortunately, politicians, including the president, don’t help when they talk about “folks making over $250,000.”


    Rubin raises a real issue. The fact that Obama lost New York and California by such wide margins should serve as a warning to all Democrats.

    California also passed Prop 30, which increased the state tax rates on those with over $250,000 in taxable income. Conservative talk radio was buzzing about how rich people would move out of California, but I have not seen anything about caravans of moving vans at the border.

  88. 88
    suzanne says:


    Rubin misses the point that people living in the wealthy NYC, LA, and DC suburbs live and work there because they choose to. They pay high taxes and they get an expensive lifestyle. You don’t want to pay taxes? Fine, have your version of a good life with crumbling infrastructure and trailer-trash neighbors.

    Or, you know, they could choose to live in Phoenix or Denver or Minneapolis or any of the other large American cities with lower costs of living. I realize that this is not as awesome. My heart bleeds. Oh, wait, no, just kidding, it doesn’t.

  89. 89
    Freemark says:

    @geg6: I have an issue maybe you can give me some advice.

    I am hitting the 180 credit rule because of what are now 50 useless attempted credits 25 years ago from the same school I am now attending. I am no where near lifetime limits on federal FA. According to the federal website they now allow appeals of this but is up to the schools appeal process. My state school in PA does not currently have an appeal process. Think there is any way to convince them to now start one?

  90. 90
    auntie beak says:

    an extra $1500? i’ll bet these folks maxed out their contributions to rmoney for both the primary and the general election, so that’s what, 4K? so they spent something like almost 3x their tax increase in order to elect a guy who would have lowered their taxes? amirite here? no wonder they have to live paycheck-to-paycheck. they don’t do math so good.

  91. 91
    PeakVT says:

    @eric nny: She works because she writes the kind of crap that the Test Prep Daily thinks its readers should read.

  92. 92
    geg6 says:

    @Rosie Outlook:

    Oh, I already have that skill. My mother, a proud warrior in LBJ’s War on Poverty, taught me when I asked, which was when I was about 12 and had just finished reading “A Tale of Two Cities.” She believed in her kids always being prepared for any possibility. A wry sense of humor, my mom had.

  93. 93
    Tripod says:

    Well, god forbid if we have to live in New Jersey…

  94. 94
    Ksmiami says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: dude u in newport? The chasm between the rich and poor and middle class in the us is bad for democracy.. I would happily be less rich on a individual basis but wealthier as a society as in more opportunities, healthier people and better infrastructure. Also bring back pensions cuz they worked better than 401ks

  95. 95
    handsmile says:

    There are few who wish for the demise of Jennifer Rubin’s employer (Kaplan Test Prep Daily) more fervently than myself, but this editorial demonstrates what that newspaper could be (and once was):

    “The GOP’s Bizarre Attack on Susan Rice”:

    The subject of its commentary is the letter sent to President Obama by 97 House Republicans on the potential nomination of Susan Rice to be Secretary of State. The editorial’s final paragraph is frankly astonishing for what we might call its “shrillness.”

    Both Josh Marshall and Booman have posted this morning of their surprise and approbation. From Booman: “When the Washington Post editorial board calls you racist, you know you’ve crossed some kind of invisible line.”

  96. 96
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Here’s Harlan Ellison’s holiday rant…

    That’s a keeper. Thanks, hadn’t seen it before but I’ve thought some version of it every.single.year.

  97. 97
    Argon says:

    Heck, just reduce your cable package and you’ll cover the tax increase…

  98. 98
    geg6 says:


    A state school with no appeal process? Seriously?

    And these sorts of appeals are not new. It’s just slightly different than it used to be. Federal satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards have changed in the last two years. It used to be that you got 12 semesters of aid and then you hit the SAP time limit. Now it’s measured by number of attempted credits rather than number of semesters. So they should have an appeal process that has only changed slightly since federal SAP changed. At my school, a student has to write out why they find themselves in this situation and what has changed in the present. And then they have to make up a semester by semester, class by class academic plan, signed off by their academic advisor. And as long as the student follows the plan exactly, they will continue to get aid until they graduate or reach their aggregate loan limit. This is monitored on a semester by semester basis and any deviations can result in a loss of aid eligibility. This is the same process we’ve had since I started at my large PA university (state-related, not part of the state system) over 15 years ago. It’s only the measurement that has changed.

    I think someone is lazy and is bullshitting you. I’d insist on talking to someone in chage in financial aid and asking them why they don’t have an appeal process when every other school in the state, even the privates, have one.

  99. 99
    JoeShabadoo says:

    This is why thy call everything hand outs. They see themselves as living paycheck to paycheck just like these people making 200 grand less than them a year. They honestly don’t see a difference or if they do have talked themselves into believing they NEED all their stuff while these others don’t for some reason. When they have doubts at their poor status they just look up at the Gates and Buffets of the world and feel bad they are o very poor.

  100. 100
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    Jennifer failed to notice that the people living in the places where 250K is more common, along with really high house payments, i.e. California, New York, Connecticut, etc., don’t seem as worried about more taxes as she does. You can tell that because THEY VOTED FOR OBAMA ANYWAY. So, if they aren’t really worried about sending the goverment a few thou more, I have no idea why she’s so worried about. Projection much??

  101. 101
    Ruckus says:

    @The Tragically Flip:
    That is why people making 250 large can complain about living paycheck to paycheck and the countries debt.
    They have no idea how to live any lifestyle on whatever they make and they figure the government works the same way. Their debt is so big they can’t figure how to ever get out from under it and it’s not because they make to little, they spend too much. The thought is they think they are entitled to it and that the government thinks the same way.

  102. 102
    Ruckus says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    8 to 10 times more for me. Hell I’d still have over twice more than my best year ever.

    I think I been doing it wrong. Oh well too late now.

  103. 103
    Freemark says:

    @geg6: There is nothing on the MU website about an appeal process. When I talked to them personally I used Penn State’s website appeal information as an example. It is nice to know from you that an appeal is possible.

    It is quite frustrating that I might not be able to get federal aid because of my screw ups 25 years ago, for which I did not get aid.

  104. 104
    amy c says:

    We live inside the Beltway, in an area with high incomes and fairly crazy housing prices.

    At well under 250K (but over 150K), we do fine. Certainly not paycheck to paycheck. I have lived paycheck to paycheck and this is not it. I have an easy life. Saving for retirement is actually a concern, but that has more to do with the cost of daycare – two grand a month for two kids – than anything else, and that’s a temporary burden.

    I’m cool with paying lots in taxes. And we do pay more in taxes than most of our peers because we don’t own a house. (See aforementioned crazy housing prices – yeah, we could buy a house out in buttfuck Loudoun County, but we choose shorter commutes and a one-car lifestyle. That means renting unless a wealthy relative we don’t have dies.) Still, we could pay more. I am good with that.

    But I want folks who live outside of my defense-contractor fueled, wealthy suburb to see some benefit from that money. I want infrastructure that isn’t crumbling. I want universal health care and preschool. I want good public schools in poor neighborhoods.

    My problem with taxes is that they all seem to go to making my already-rich neighbors richer. And I really hate it when people like Jennifer Rubin make the case that the only thing people care about is their own bottom line.

  105. 105
    rikyrah says:

    I think if I ever met anyone making $250,000 a year who claimed to be living “paycheck-to-paycheck”, I think I would be compelled to smash them over the head with a 2×4 with the words “Get the hell over yourself” written on it in Sharpie until my arms fell off.


    I feel ya.

  106. 106
    Gian says:

    I can see where having a high debt load can hammer someone making high income.

    two words.
    student loans. kid makes bad choice, goes to undergrad and grad school, mostly on student loans. if you look at the university of califorinia the published numbers are saying close to $30K a year cost to go to school.

    add grad school for a profession to that and you’re talking the potential to be in $200K in debt to student loans is very real….
    debt service on a 200,000 loan (more with compounded interst while in school, right?) takes a huge chunk out of a salary of $150K a year.

    My student loand debt about 15 years ago was over $1200 a month, when I was making about $50K a year, I waited until I got raises to rent an apartment and buy a car that was less than 10 years old.

    But costs have gone way the hell up since I was in school, and I expect that the numbers are much higher in private schools without some sort of scholarship assistance.

    The question with debt loads and all is what kind of debt. Debt for the 100K german wundermobile is one thing. Debt to go to school and get a job is another.

  107. 107
    Not Sure says:

    Shorter, and more to the point – Your argument is invalid because New Jersey.

  108. 108
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Baud: Ha! That’s exactly what I was thinking. If the good people of NY and CA believed President Obama was waging a war against them, they would have voted for The Bot. Why is Rubin bringing up a non-issue?

  109. 109
    mattH says:

    @Rick Massimo: P.S. Annual per capita income in Manhattan is around $65,000.

    Median income for NYC according to the US census for 2006-2010 is $55k, the median income for the US as a whole at teh same time is almost $52k. This whole article is social-circle driven. Rubin needs to just shut the hell up and get some perspective.

  110. 110
    J R in WVa says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I doubt that NYT reporters are in the $250K category by virtue of their paycheck. It’s a Union shop with a contract regulating who gets paid what, and how much the raises are each year, etc. Just like Steelworkers, etc.

    According to an ex-member of the same union, Times writers start at around $2000/week, which would be around $104k before taxes, which are high in NYC. Not like TV network anchor millionaires, at all.

    Now, that doesn’t say that there are no reporters for the NYT who are independently wealthy based on family businesses, authorship of best-seller books, appearances on famous TV news/analysis shows, etc. But the payroll is probably more like half of the $250K rich person’s level, except for front-page stars.

  111. 111
    geg6 says:


    Well, if they don’t take care of you, you might want to go somewhere else if that’s possible. It’s a load of garbage that they don’t have an appeal process. Ours is a good one; we are one of the select few schools’ student aid departments designated by the USDoE as a quality assurance school, which means we are under greater scrutiny but also that we follow the regs to the letter. In fact, it’s been my experience, when dealing with transfer students, that we are stricter with SAP appeals, special circumstance evaluations and dependency overrides than most schools.

  112. 112
    Arclite says:

    This is the biggest load of shit I’ve ever read. Nobody with a smidge of self awareness would think they are struggling on $250K/yr. Income over $250K should be taxed at 50%, no deductions. End of story. JESUS.

    One of the effects of low taxes has been a massive increase in housing prices. With all that extra income, houses in many markets have far exceeded the cost of building them. A healthy increase on higher income would temper this for sure.

  113. 113
    eyelessgame says:

    Here’s the thing. Yes, it can feel like not a lot of money. Yes, I can angst over bills and fret over the future. College is freaking expensive and I have three teenaged kids.

    But when a new expense of a couple thousand dollars comes up, I adjust my expenses somewhere and pay the expense.

    I have problems. But they are first world problems.

  114. 114
    Bex says:


    Prop 30 only passed on the votes of the LA and SF metro areas – AKA the only parts of California where people with AGIs above $250K live. The interior, very red, frequently very poor counties rejected it soundly (and their precincts, with fewer votes to count, reported in earlier, which is why I went to sleep election night convinced that it had failed.)

  115. 115
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    Where is my Che Guevara hat? I want an artillery barrage on some of these upper income neighborhoods or better yet an Mongol Style invasion, of these neighborhoods with maximum pillage. Then after that torch these neighborhoods to the ground with the survivors sold to work as Wal-Mart clerks in the pet department.

  116. 116
    James Hare says:

    I’m getting really tired of private school tuition being claimed as a necessity. Sending your kids to private school is not a necessity. If you’re making $250,000 and living paycheck to paycheck, you’re not budgeting properly. Simple as that. The idea that I should feel sorry for folks because their BMW payments, house payments and private school tuition costs a great deal is ludicrous.

    Try REALLY living from paycheck to paycheck knowing one bad day could make you homeless. Try that and come back to me with your whining.

  117. 117
    wu ming says:


    prop 30 passed in humboldt, mendocino, lake, sonoma, marin, napa, yolo, sacramento, SF, contra costa, alameda, san mateo, santa clara, santa cruz, san joaquin, stanislaus, merced, san benito, alpine, mono, monterey, san luis obispo, santa barbara, LA and imperial counties, and tied in ventura.

    prop 30 map

    unless i’m missing something, lake, sacramento, yolo, san joaquin, stanislaus, merced, alpine, mono and san benito counties aren’t on the coast, and none of them are terribly rich. together, they make up most of the population of the central valley, a region that we’re constantly told is poor and reactionary. they aren’t done counting provisional ballots yet (1 million left to count), and fresno county may end up pretty close as well.

    news flash: poor people like schools too.

  118. 118
    Ruckus says:

    @James Hare:
    And that homelessness is not from losing a 1.5 mil, several bedroom, 3 car garage house. It’s from not being able to pay rent on a shitty 1 bedroom apt and ending up living in a 12 yr old car that the only upside is that process servers don’t know where it is.

  119. 119
    Mart says:

    I think it is an organized righty rant as I here it on progressive radio shows all the time. “In our neighborhood making 250-300-350K is middle class. And we already pay $125K in taxes and the new taxes will ruin us.” Sadly I never hear the liberal radio host say – If you make 250K under Obama’s proposal your tax is the same, if you make 300K your taxes go up $2,000 and if you make 350K your taxes go up $4,000. Deal with it.

  120. 120
    Hattie says:

    Can you believe these idiots?

  121. 121
    opie_jeanne says:

    @JoeShabadoo: Not at Buffet, I think. These people don’t want to live the way he does.

  122. 122
    srv says:

    You fucking liberals have no idea how much Pink Himalayan Salt costs.

    I’m sure y’all can make tradeoffs to Walmart employee tears salt, but the rest of us are making great sacrifices to provide the best for the next generation in our expensive urban centers.

  123. 123
    Brachiator says:

    @James Hare:

    I’m getting really tired of private school tuition being claimed as a necessity. Sending your kids to private school is not a necessity.

    Actually, it often is a necessity. I don’t begrudge anyone who is trying to get a good education for their kids, and cannot call this any kind of selfishness or bad faith.

    If you’re making $250,000 and living paycheck to paycheck, you’re not budgeting properly. Simple as that.

    Actually it’s not that simple. People think that there is some magical amount of money where financial problems vanish and you are set for life. Yeah, wealth often allows more flexibility, but it does not provide a magical shield against all contingencies.

    I’ve known plenty of moderate income people, especially young singles, who live from paycheck to paycheck for no reason other than their lack of budgeting and common sense.

    The idea that I should feel sorry for folks because their BMW payments, house payments and private school tuition costs a great deal is ludicrous.

    You can understand someone else’s situation without feeling sorry for them.

    Rubin is an idiot, and I don’t think that there is any rational reason why tax rates should not be increased for upper income people, but apart from that, I don’t see much point in judging how people live or the decisions that they make for themselves and their families.

  124. 124
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: Be sure you know the voting patterns of people in each of those houses before you start shooting. In our neighborhood most of us voted for Obama, and there are some wealthy people here.

    Of course, the old farts across the street in the 17,000 sq ft house voted for Romney, as did the couple who live in a trailer three doors down.

    What I’m trying to say is that some of us are part of the solution.

  125. 125
    Bruce S says:

    Jennifer Rubin is dumber than dirt. Oh, wait a minute. She’s not stupid, she’s terminally mendacious.

    NO ONE will have their taxes increased if their income is $250,000 a year or less. Not a dime. So the family cited by Rubin has nothing to worry about. This exercise in demagogy is bullshit – because as is pointed out above, the only tax increase FOR ANYONE will be on whatever they might be earning in addition to that initial $250,000. Crap demagogues evade the fact that marginal rate increases don’t raise taxes even on millionaires’ first quarter million. Rubin’s entire premise of the $250K family as she states it above is based on a lie. But then, it’s a Jennifer Rubin column, so what else is new?

  126. 126
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Brachiator: I used to tell people if they wanted better public schools to become involved in the schools in their neighborhoods.

    I’m glad my kids are grown now.

  127. 127
    Mike G says:

    So how the hell did these people survive in the Clinton years when the max tax rate was 39.6%? You’d think someone was proposing a Pol Pot Year Zero revolution from all the wailing of the BMW yuppie set.

    And these are the people who call blue-collar union people overpaid.

  128. 128
    Basilisc says:

    Haven’t read through the comments so I don’t know if anyone made this point. But if you’re earning $250,000, and the tax rate on income above $250,000 goes up, you pay nothing extra.

    If you’re earning $260,000, and the tax rate on income above $250,000 goes from 33% to (say) 36%, your extra tax is, ummm … $300.

    That’s right: $300.

    Is it possible that someone could get to the point where they’re earning $250,000 (which is more than about 98.5% of the population) without understanding the concept of marginal tax rates?

    Evidently, yes.

  129. 129
    freemark says:

    @geg6: Any suggestions, as far as what tack to take, if I get them to consider an appeal. Without the credits from 1986-88 there would not be any issue, but I also must admit some problems are my own making I started out as a CS major, switched to Physics, and also while attending part-time withdrew from classes a few times when I realized the out of class work was too much for my full-time job. That is about 20 ‘bad’ credits. I’m also trying to get a graduate degree, after my ug degree,in GeoPhysics which generally means more classes than the absolute minimum 120 for a standard Physics degree.

    I should have gone into nanotechnology since we have an agreement with PSU but can’t stand the thought of so much time in clean rooms.

    Any additional thoughts are greatly appreciated.

  130. 130
    Bruce S says:

    “You fucking liberals have no idea how much Pink Himalayan Salt costs

    $4/lb in a 1 kilo package (totals $9) with free shipping from Amazon. Pretty inexpensive kitchen item if the truth be known. That a lot less than a 30 pack of cheap beer at Walmart and lasts a hell of a lot longer.

  131. 131
    mai naem says:

    I know several couples who make more than $200k and a few who make over $250K. They may not be thrilled with higher taxes but it is not the end all and be all for it for them. They don’t base their votes solely on taxes. A few of them know they’re rich but they’re older so they can compare themselves to other people on their own and know that their six figure retirement income is way more than other people. And I don’t mean this in a bad way but some of them don’t think they’re rich because while they’re on their way, they’re younger and they still have to pay for their kids’ college education and buy their last trophy house, they don’t have their retirements funded etc. I think the right wingers have almost made up these almost caricatures of people who they think complain about taxes and regulation. In fact I think the only people who really complain about taxes are the super wealthy like hedge fund managers and the Waltons.

  132. 132

    @Baud: And Californians raised state taxes by proposition as well as elected Democratic supermajorities in both legislatures. Time to stock up my fallout shelter with pink Himalayan salt.

  133. 133
    Bob says:

    Mr. 400K says:
    What the hell – here’s my monthly budget and it’s no luxury living, just essentials for the way people live here
    $4000 mortgage on $800,000 loan
    Property Taxes: $2000/mo
    Insurance: House + 2 cars: $500/mo
    Nanny for one year old: $3000/mo
    Private school tuition for a six year old: $2000/mo
    Utilities/phone/cable – $1000/mo
    Car payments & transportation: $1500/mo
    Food,clothes,entertainment, living expenses (credit card): $5000/mo
    Health insurance: $500/mo
    Add it up: about $20,000/mo or $240,000 per year
    Income: about $400,000/yr, take home about 60%=$240,000
    OK, there is a tax deduction for all that interest and taxes, but all that does is allow us to take a couple of small trips per year.

    So savings = 0!!! And you want to tax me more!! And then what? No trips, send the kid to rotten public school, shop at Walmart I suppose, either way I’ll be humiliated. There’s no leeway for a tax increase. I know we spend more than some, but our lifestyle is an essential part of our income, we work long hours for what we make so we can live reasonably well and take care of our kids. All I’m trying to say is, it’s not as easy as you think, once you’ve adjusted to your income.

  134. 134
    Brachiator says:


    I used to tell people if they wanted better public schools to become involved in the schools in their neighborhoods.

    Yeah, that’s a big part of it, but I don’t know what’s happening in the education arena anymore. I have friends who have kids in private school, but still spent money on tutors, because even the private school teachers were crappy.

    And in some Southern California school districts, there is an odd disconnect at work. Some teachers pay lip service to the idea of parental involvement, but then diss parents as unable to judge or to criticize teaching professionals.

    And then you have those conservative parents who pay their taxes and then deliberately send their kids to Christian Ignorance Academies.

  135. 135
    Tehanu says:

    But if she’s worried about the retirement prospects for her yuppie couple, what does she think will happen with couples earning $40K a year, rather than $250K?

    Couples earning $40K a year are just losers to Jennifer, so who cares what happens to them? Certainly she doesn’t.

  136. 136
    AA+ Bonds says:

    If you make $250,000 in New York City, take a page from all those Jewish deli owners decades ago: live in a sub-par apartment, eschew vehicles you don’t absolutely need, send your kids to public school and marvel at how much fucking money you have compared to someone tied to a home and trying desperately to find a job in the Detroit metro area.

    I know people working for the City and they make nowhere near that amount of money and yet somehow they manage to fucking save money and do fun stuff at the same time.

    Of course, what these whining ‘stories’ actually reveal is how desperately the wealthy cling to image, as most of the ways that you get rich in NYC and L.A. depend completely on your ability to boondoggle others into going along with what you do or say and paying you fees to do or say it, whether or not it’s wise.

    They reveal the social poverty of capitalism, and beg for its demise.

  137. 137
    AA+ Bonds says:


    Oh man, if you were telling the truth, you sure would suck… 10/10

  138. 138
    AA+ Bonds says:

    The class warfare scare-mongering is pointless anyway. Where are these rich assholes gonna move? Singapore? Caracas? Paris? Good fucking luck matching your current standard of living with low taxes on the upper bracket!

    It’s exactly the same as when conservatives talked about doctors leaving America if health care costs came down. There’s nowhere to go, assholes.

  139. 139
    Brachiator says:


    Since you kinda asked, I would say that you might take a look at the expenses for the nanny, utilities, phone and cable, and food and entertainment. You might be able to find better deals on insurance.

    In California and other states, people are fighting for, and getting, lower property tax assessments.

    Not as a leeway to absorb more taxes, but in terms of your own life.

    You didn’t mention anything about savings and investments. Not unusual, but this should be considered an essential as well.

    I have already noted in this thread that I think that education is vitally important, and although this goes against a lot of current conventional wisdom, but from pre school through the equivalent of third or fourth grade, you have to ask a serious question about how much you are spending on education, and how much on fancy baby sitting.

  140. 140
    kyle says:

    if I ever met anyone making $250,000 a year who claimed to be living “paycheck-to-paycheck”, I think I would be compelled to smash them over the head with a 2×4 with the words “Get the hell over yourself” written on it in Sharpie until my arms fell off.

    If your arms fell off while you were writing with the Sharpie, how could you hit the yuppie with your 2×4?

    In other words … syntax, dear. Look into it.

  141. 141

    Rubin not only doesn’t care what the truth of the matter is, she doesn’t really care what the matter at hand is at all. She just prefers to mold her snarling, spitting, growling, hatred into words. Any words will do as long as they convey hate. She’s Michelle Malkin with less screechiness or grotesque facial expressions. More in the mold of Dick and Liz Cheney than Malkin or Coulter, really.

    Just for an example, watch someone say the word “Palestine” in her presence: she completely loses her shit. She would seriously murder the entire West Bank and Gaza with her bare hands if she could.

  142. 142
    SamR says:

    I had Estrich as a professor during law school. She took zero responsibility for the debacle of the Dukakis campaign, even though she ran it. The tank photo op happened “on her day off.” Campaign managers have days off? And they don’t approve the schedule for those days?

    One student asked her why as a Democrat she would go on Fox News (she was making a lot of FNC appearances then). Her response: I have kids in private school.

    She did have good Bill Clinton stories (we didn’t do much law in that class, it was basically “Estrich story time”).

  143. 143
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    I feel I have to defend the $250Kers in one respect. Everyone commenting on this thread makes out like they’re the ones who are complaining. I’ll confess that I haven’t ready Ms. Rubin’s column, but it seems like she’s complaining on their behalf – but so far as we know they’re all OK with this minor adjustment to their tax burden.

    I still can’t believe our tax code treats your $251 thousandth dollar the same as the $1 billionth dollar. That’s the real travesty. There should be higher tax brackets.

  144. 144
    Brachiator says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    The class warfare scare-mongering is pointless anyway. Where are these rich assholes gonna move? Singapore? Caracas? Paris? Good fucking luck matching your current standard of living with low taxes on the upper bracket!

    There are a class of business executives, bankers and tech people who are virtually stateless and who live quite comfortably. They abuse their expat status to help avoid taxes. Technology helps, especially if you are a writer or photographer who can use Skype and cloud services to transmit your work from anywhere.

  145. 145
    geg6 says:


    I have seen students with your situation several times. For our appeals, the student is expected to explain all drops, withdrawals, failures, etc. And then you have to say exactly why things have changed. Major changes are pretty easy to explain, as so many students do it when they realize the original major simply isn’t a good fit. Drops and withdrawals are more problematic, as it shows an inability to follow through, whether that is deserved or not. And it’s what you will not be able to do once an appeal is approved. I would approach the financial people with an academic plan that is realistic in relation to your work/family obligations, that is specific and completely mapped out, and that has been developed with the approval of your academic advisor (if he/she will sign off on it or even pen a letter pleading your case, even better). I’d mention that the feds want people to be able to appeal, which is why they give schools the power to do it. And that no one should be punished for foolish youthful decisions when that person has matured and gotten more motivated. That is what I want to see when a student to whom I’ve issued an appeal packet turns it back in to be evaluated and processed.

    Oh, and if you financially qualify for the PHEAA state grant, you can also appeal SAP with them if they are denying it to you for the same reason. PHEAA, unlike the feds, does not allow schools to exercise professional judgment when it comes to their grants. But you can go to and, under the state grant link,find a link to their documents, one of which will be an appeal form.

  146. 146
    the gal on the phone says:


    Wait–don’t forget the diet book she wrote!!

    (Seriously, I live in subsidized housing in a good district so my ASD kid can be in a school that can help her. So don’t give me the “school bills” crap.)

  147. 147
    the gal on the phone says:

    Just to prove I am not making this up.

  148. 148
    different-church-lady says:

    @Bob: 800k loan? Oh, you’re just precious.

  149. 149
    different-church-lady says:


    And we already pay $125K in taxes and the new taxes will ruin us

    Except, of course, they don’t fuckin’ pay $125k in taxes. Unless they’re counting the property taxes on their fuckin’ overvalued McMansions, in which case they’re still not paying $125k in taxes. I have met these people, I have had conversations with these people. They are convinced they pay half their incomes in taxes, and then when you quiz them on it, it turns out they actually don’t have any idea how much they pay in taxes, neither in absolute dollars, nor percentage.

  150. 150
    Bob says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Yeah, well, AA+ bonds ain’t what they used to be either. Whatta bunch of moochers we got on this site.

  151. 151
    freemark says:

    @geg6: thanks geg6

  152. 152
    CW in LA says:


    She was just furious with me and stood up and screamed right in my face, “WELL, I GUESS I’LL HAVE TO SELL MY LEXUS!”, stomping her foot to emphasize each word.

    I’m impressed that you managed not to laugh in her face.

    First they forced the people with a second luxury car to move to a less upmarket model, and I said nothing…

  153. 153
    liberal says:


    With all that extra income, houses in many markets have far exceeded the cost of building them.

    In any reasonably desirable location, the total price of a piece of real estate will exceed the cost of the improvements (like structures such as a house).

    Anyone who doesn’t understand the notion of economic rent, and what it implies for public policy, really has a sizeable gap in their knowledge of economics.

  154. 154
    Arclite says:


    In any reasonably desirable location, the total price of a piece of real estate will exceed the cost of the improvements (like structures such as a house).
    Anyone who doesn’t understand the notion of economic rent, and what it implies for public policy, really has a sizeable gap in their knowledge of economics.

    I’ve worked in the housing industry for the past decade, so I know a little bit about it. Of course I understand how it works and don’t think that housing in Hawaii should be $100K for a SFH. However, when you throw a couple of extra trillion into people’s pockets, that money has to go somewhere, b/c Americans sure as hell didn’t save it. The Bush tax cuts were in 2001. It’s no coincidence that that’s when the bubble started. When houses in desirable markets go up by 50%, 70%, 100% in five years, that’s dude to a massive influx of cash in the market. If people don’t have the cash, the prices don’t go up. That cash came from the tax cuts.

  155. 155
    Barry says:

    @Rick Massimo: “I wonder how Jennifer Rubin feels about public school teachers in New York and Los Angeles. Her party’s line is that they’re overpaid moochers, but I’d love to see her try to reconcile the two.”

    It’s easy; she just puts it into separate columns, and ignores that what she said on Tuesday and Thursday are 100% opposed.

    If she ever stops doing that, she’ll lose her cushy job, so don’t expect her to stop.

  156. 156
    shep says:

    They’re not making $250K, they’re netting $250K, after their tax accountants are done. And they’re only paying slightly more tax on the overage. Please get this right since no one else is.

  157. 157
    Halcyan says:

    Someone making $250,000 a year won’t pay more in taxes. Someone making over $250,000 a year will pay higher taxes only on the portion of their income that is higher than $250,000.

    Cry me a river.

  158. 158
    mclaren says:

    On what goddamn planet does a couple making $250,000 a year and living in “house in a nice but not ostentatious neighborhood” have less than $100,000 free spending money left over to cover food, clothing, etc?

    Do the math. On a $400,000 house with a 20% downpayment this hypothetical couple will be $2398 a month, according to this mortgage payment calculator site.

    $400,000 is slightly more than the median in Los Angeles or San Diego or Seattle or other super-expensive housing markets, so that’s pretty reasonable. Yet because of the mortgage interest deduction, this hypothetical couple will actually wind up paying around $24,000 a year in actual mortgage payments, when the federal tax gets figured in.

    State plus federal taxes plus FICA and so on aren’t going to account for more than 50% of income, so that’s $125,000 take-home pay, and subtracting $24,000 in mortgage payments leaves you with $100,000 a year.

    That’s $100,000 a year to pay for food, gasoline, clothing, electricity, and cable TV.

    Seriously. You telling me a couple can’t afford to live in a $400,000 house in the suburbs with $100,000 of disposable cash income per year?

    Not if they spend their evenings snorting wheelbarrows full of coke…but otherwise, how the hell does anyone spend more than $100,000 a year on clothes and gasoline and internet and food and cable TV?

  159. 159
    Steeplejack says:

    Never mind.

Comments are closed.