September 21, 2010

The post that catalysed it all has been deleted from its original home, but was captured from Google cache. But the result is worth a look - a wide ranging discussion on how it is possible to make 9 times the US median income, and not feel rich.

The first response seems to have been this post, which worked through the numbers and concluded that the household income in question was at least US$340,000 per year, and probably closer to US$450,000/year. Brad Delong linked to it, and then got called out, which resulted in a blog post for the ages. An excerpt (Brad has deleted names) Instead, Mr. Xxxx Xxxxxxxxx looks up. Of the 100 people richer than he is, fully ten have more than four times his income. And he knows of one person with 20 times his income. He knows who the really rich are, and they have ten times his income: They have not $450,000 a year. They have $4.5 million a year. And, to him, they are in a different world. And so he is sad. He and his wife deserve to be successful. And he knows people who are successful. But he is not one of them--widening income inequality over the past generation has excluded him from the rich who truly have money. And this makes him sad. And angry. And it turns out that Mr XXXX has a predecessor, from the turn of the last century. Paul Krugman got in on the act, with a couple of blog posts. And the whole thing is usefully contrasted with a link to John Scalzi's Being poor is... post. I looked it up - I'm damn near in the top 10% of income in Australia, and I don't feel rich. I needed the reality check.

  • I'm trying to compare Australia to America here, and note that according to the 2006 census the average median income for the workforce of a Shire near Sydney was $43,052. One report said the median house price for what I think is this same area would be $448,000... So the value of a home over there is about 10 times the median income... Well, let's take a modest upper 25% median income of $80,000 a year in America. If housing were as inflated as in Australia, that would translate into having to pay $800,000 for a median value home. <:(O) EEK! Looking at New Jersey in Bergen County, a suburban area smack up against the richness of New York City, even there $500,000 is the median price. Nearer Philadelphia the median home price is about $200,000. Currency issues aside, Australians must carry even more debt than Americans! And Americans carry huge debt, not even counting their overly leveraged government... Could it be that debt is more evil than taxes?
  • My sweet lawd! That would get my husband and I totally out of debt, pay off the house and finish the remodeling, give us some sweet investments and make it so I don't stay up at night worrying about not having a job. Adjust your freakin' expectations people. I KNOW damn well you don't work any harder than we do.
  • Actually - didn't put it in the original post but I think my favourite comment is this one...the books, oh my yes.
  • And Dan - there is definitely a housing bubble here in Australia at the moment. It's scary.
  • "It's like a gilded cage," he says. Would you like some cheese with that whine, sir?