Author Topic: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"  (Read 15297 times)

sol

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #50 on: September 11, 2017, 08:39:05 AM »
"motherfucker, I'm a goddamned millionaire, so listen to what the fuck I'm puttin' down!"

This needs to be dude's new .sig line, appended to the end of every single forum post he makes.

Bucksandreds

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #51 on: September 11, 2017, 09:09:58 AM »
Well said, sol.

Capitalism doesn't care about who deserves what the most. Markets are supposed to find their own equilibrium, and that's that.

It's useful to be reminded how much we stand on the shoulders of the people who came before us. Who here can build a refrigerator from scratch?

I would go door to door campaigning for Sol for president. He eloquently states what us center left folks think. He's a badass and I wish I knew him.

DoubleDown

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #52 on: September 11, 2017, 09:45:20 AM »
Did anyone notice that one young family profiled in the article earned $500k/year, yet spent $600k the previous year and marveled at how they spent so much and didn't know where all the money goes? Imagine earning half a million dollars a year and still not being able to live within your means.
"Not all quotes on the internet are accurate" -- Abraham Lincoln

mm1970

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #53 on: September 11, 2017, 10:57:14 AM »
Quote
As for being a "rich hater," I have no problems with the rich so long as they don't game things to the disadvantage of others. I believe that those that work the hardest and take risks to better themselves should be rewarded. However, wealth does not spring forth in a vacuum. Certain conditions help it grow, including infrastructure, a reliable judicial system, an educated populace, etc. I do have an issue with wealthy people who don't realize that. Especially those that were born on third base and think that they hit a triple.

This is really it right here. I  think a lot of people use the term "rich hater" without actually *thinking*.  I've worked for two start-ups now.  I understand, and have seen, the immense effort that the CEO and execs put into one of them that was successful.  I saw them sell thousands of shares of stock (on a regular schedule), worth millions.  Every year.  But I also know that those guys all got 4-5 credit cards each and 2nd mortgages on their homes to start the company.

I'm not talking about those guys.  You can't turn around without reading a story about a CEO who makes millions while driving a company into the ground, cutting jobs, cutting salaries and benefits.  I mean, come on.  You've got the Walmarts vs the Costcos, and everything in between.

Manipulating the system while you are in power is not just a 1% thing though.  I just had a convo with a friend whose brother is a retired sheriff.  That public system is awesome.  Your pension (which you can collect at age 50) is based on your highest year's income.  So all of the overtime goes to people who are close to retirement.  Thanks taxpayers!  Imagine a pension well over $100,000 a year (plus bennies) for...20-30 years.  Many times for longer than they actually worked.  (Not only that, but apparently my friend's brother changed his state of residence to a neighboring state to decrease taxes even MORE than they'd already managed.  In addition to that awesome pension, they inherited a family house with very low prop taxes, thanks to Prop 13.)

Sigh.

tarheeldan

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #54 on: September 11, 2017, 11:20:51 AM »
But sometimes don't you just want to scream at your consumerist friends who pine for huge houses and luxury auto brands and complain about their financial problems, "motherfucker, I'm a goddamned millionaire, so listen to what the fuck I'm puttin' down!"  I really want to sometimes.  But I don't.

Thank you! This made me laugh pretty hard :-)

uwp

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #55 on: September 11, 2017, 11:50:42 AM »
Quote
“We have a pretty normal existence,” she told me. ... “That’s kind of a little spousal joke. You know, like: ‘Hey. Do you feel like this is the $600,000 lifestyle? Whooo!’ ”

Eat the rich.

Dabnasty

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #56 on: September 11, 2017, 12:19:03 PM »
But sometimes don't you just want to scream at your consumerist friends who pine for huge houses and luxury auto brands and complain about their financial problems, "motherfucker, I'm a goddamned millionaire, so listen to what the fuck I'm puttin' down!"  I really want to sometimes.  But I don't.
Who else read this in Samuel L. Jackson's voice?

SecretSquirrel

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #57 on: September 11, 2017, 12:21:28 PM »
I'm not talking about those guys.  You can't turn around without reading a story about a CEO who makes millions while driving a company into the ground, cutting jobs, cutting salaries and benefits.  I mean, come on.  You've got the Walmarts vs the Costcos, and everything in between.

The problem is: what can we do about that behavior? Corporations are voluntarily hiring their CEOs, and setting their pay structure. The workers of said corporations are voluntarily working there. And, the customers are voluntarily buying the products/services provided by said corporations.

sol

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #58 on: September 11, 2017, 01:19:37 PM »
While we're all on this topic, this is probably a good time to bring up the classic (and oft-discussed by MMM forums) Joshua Kennon post Stealth Wealth. It has spawned pages and pages of related discussions here.

I would go door to door campaigning for Sol for president. He eloquently states what us center left folks think. He's a badass and I wish I knew him.

You only say that because you don't know my dirty secret.  I'm actually a member of one of the most reviled groups in modern America, and a regular recipient of derisive commentary and hostile behavior because of it.  I could never win an election.  Americans hate people like me too much.

As for knowing me, I generally shy away from the meet ups.  I have a full time job and a family to raise and rental houses to look after and you folks to entertain online, and sometimes I even claim a little bit of time all for myself.

Paul der Krake

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #59 on: September 11, 2017, 01:21:22 PM »
You only say that because you don't know my dirty secret.  I'm actually a member of one of the most reviled groups in modern America, and a regular recipient of derisive commentary and hostile behavior because of it.  I could never win an election.  Americans hate people like me too much.
I'm going for atheist or ginger.

solon

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #60 on: September 11, 2017, 01:23:10 PM »
You only say that because you don't know my dirty secret.  I'm actually a member of one of the most reviled groups in modern America, and a regular recipient of derisive commentary and hostile behavior because of it.  I could never win an election.  Americans hate people like me too much.
I'm going for atheist or ginger.

I can't begin to imagine, but I'm REALLY curious.

Bucksandreds

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #61 on: September 11, 2017, 01:27:02 PM »
You only say that because you don't know my dirty secret.  I'm actually a member of one of the most reviled groups in modern America, and a regular recipient of derisive commentary and hostile behavior because of it.  I could never win an election.  Americans hate people like me too much.
I'm going for atheist or ginger.

The picture screams that he's a member of the way too large ears for your head club

FINate

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #62 on: September 11, 2017, 01:33:48 PM »
I'm not talking about those guys.  You can't turn around without reading a story about a CEO who makes millions while driving a company into the ground, cutting jobs, cutting salaries and benefits.  I mean, come on.  You've got the Walmarts vs the Costcos, and everything in between.

The problem is: what can we do about that behavior? Corporations are voluntarily hiring their CEOs, and setting their pay structure. The workers of said corporations are voluntarily working there. And, the customers are voluntarily buying the products/services provided by said corporations.

And most of us here aspire to (or already do) live off of investments in said corporations. We count on increasing profits and capital appreciation for our long-term finances, which means companies need to keep costs down while increasing revenues.

So I find it strange to have an "eat the rich" attitude while at the same time promoting amassment of enough wealth that one can live on passive income. I mean, how wealthy is that, to not need to work to live? Many of us here are, or will become, multi millionaires...multi millionaires that quite often pay little to no taxes because we need so little income to live while also taking advantage of subsidies, such as the ACA (I'm in this group). I don't have a problem with this, per se, just find the inconsistency fascinating.

I can understand poking at the rich for profligate spending (like $500,000 income being insufficient), but I guess I didn't get the memo detailing the magic dividing line between wealthy and too wealthy.

sol

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #63 on: September 11, 2017, 01:40:12 PM »
You only say that because you don't know my dirty secret.  I'm actually a member of one of the most reviled groups in modern America, and a regular recipient of derisive commentary and hostile behavior because of it.  I could never win an election.  Americans hate people like me too much.
I'm going for atheist or ginger.

Sorry, I wasn't trying to be vague.  I'm an atheist, and I haven't been shy about saying so on the forums. 

Part of the stigma against atheism is that so many people hide it that lots of people don't think they even know one.  They assume that everyone they interact with has bought the same fairy tale that they have, that it's totally normal for adults to pretend to believe in Santa Clause.  Well, I don't pretend. 

Throughout all of human history, every single mystery ever solved has turned out to be "not magic" and it baffles me that anyone would still cling to magic as a viable explanation for anything when we literally have robots on other planets, and the internet in our pockets, and gene editing technology in local hospitals.  There is no invisible man with a beard and a sword who watches over you.  Prayer has been scientifically proven not to work.  The universe was created by gravity, which exists for the same reason that 2+2=4.  Animals do not talk, water does not turn to wine, your consciousness will not be reincarnated as an ant if you are a bad person, and once you are dead you are returned to the same state you inhabited before you were born, i.e. non-existence.  This is not something to be afraid of, but celebrated.  All of it.  The universe is amazing and beautiful and every bit of it is non-magical.

Now imagine me giving that answer to a television camera at a live debate when my opponent questions my faith.  So yea, not running for office over here.

solon

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #64 on: September 11, 2017, 01:44:24 PM »
Debating whether or not one can run for office is not something ordinary people do. I say he's running. He's protesting too much.

Kroaler

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #65 on: September 11, 2017, 02:23:40 PM »
You only say that because you don't know my dirty secret.  I'm actually a member of one of the most reviled groups in modern America, and a regular recipient of derisive commentary and hostile behavior because of it.  I could never win an election.  Americans hate people like me too much.
I'm going for atheist or ginger.

Sorry, I wasn't trying to be vague.  I'm an atheist, and I haven't been shy about saying so on the forums. 

Part of the stigma against atheism is that so many people hide it that lots of people don't think they even know one.  They assume that everyone they interact with has bought the same fairy tale that they have, that it's totally normal for adults to pretend to believe in Santa Clause.  Well, I don't pretend. 

Throughout all of human history, every single mystery ever solved has turned out to be "not magic" and it baffles me that anyone would still cling to magic as a viable explanation for anything when we literally have robots on other planets, and the internet in our pockets, and gene editing technology in local hospitals.  There is no invisible man with a beard and a sword who watches over you.  Prayer has been scientifically proven not to work.  The universe was created by gravity, which exists for the same reason that 2+2=4.  Animals do not talk, water does not turn to wine, your consciousness will not be reincarnated as an ant if you are a bad person, and once you are dead you are returned to the same state you inhabited before you were born, i.e. non-existence.  This is not something to be afraid of, but celebrated.  All of it.  The universe is amazing and beautiful and every bit of it is non-magical.

Now imagine me giving that answer to a television camera at a live debate when my opponent questions my faith.  So yea, not running for office over here.

Your not going to get the southern vote with that interview! Lol

uwp

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #66 on: September 11, 2017, 03:18:52 PM »
And most of us here aspire to (or already do) live off of investments in said corporations. We count on increasing profits and capital appreciation for our long-term finances, which means companies need to keep costs down while increasing revenues.

So I find it strange to have an "eat the rich" attitude while at the same time promoting amassment of enough wealth that one can live on passive income. I mean, how wealthy is that, to not need to work to live? Many of us here are, or will become, multi millionaires...multi millionaires that quite often pay little to no taxes because we need so little income to live while also taking advantage of subsidies, such as the ACA (I'm in this group). I don't have a problem with this, per se, just find the inconsistency fascinating.

I can understand poking at the rich for profligate spending (like $500,000 income being insufficient), but I guess I didn't get the memo detailing the magic dividing line between wealthy and too wealthy.

It's not that just being rich is contemptible.  The dividing line is the attitude of "Haha. It's a little private joke we have: where did that half a million in spending go?"
While trying to claim you live a "normal" life as you make 10X the median income in your city.

libertarian4321

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #67 on: September 11, 2017, 03:59:51 PM »
I know a farmer in my state who makes roughly twenty million dollars per year in profits. 

A farmer making $20 MILLION A YEAR in profit?

Wow, his farm must be about the size of Rhode Island, or he's growing and refining opium poppy.


libertarian4321

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #68 on: September 11, 2017, 04:24:11 PM »
Debating whether or not one can run for office is not something ordinary people do. I say he's running. He's protesting too much.

Why can't ordinary people run for office?  It's certainly nothing special to run for local office.  I've done it.

And even running for Congress isn't that big of a deal.  There are many Congressional races every year where only one candidate runs, because Gerrymandering has rendered the "election" a farce.  Gerrymandering has rendered most American congressional districts one-party fiefdoms where the election is not even remotely competitive.  I can tell you which party will win the 2018 Congressional "race" in 35 of the 36 districts in Texas, with essentially 100% accuracy (even though the candidate have not yet been declared).

If you live in one of those districts (and most of us do), almost anyone can run as the token "opposition candidate" (with no chance in Hell of winning)- the major parties go begging for candidates in these districts to at least give the appearance of Democracy.  Or you can run as a third party candidate.  As long as you realize you have no hope of winning, it's easy to run for office.

I've run as a Libertarian in a district Gerrymandered about 80% Dem.  The Republicans haven't even fielded a candidate in the last 2 elections.   Anyone who wants to run as a Republican can do so in this district. 

A bit off topic, I guess.  Sorry, I couldn't resist my "evils of Gerrymandering" rant.



sol

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #69 on: September 11, 2017, 04:48:57 PM »
I know a farmer in my state who makes roughly twenty million dollars per year in profits. 

A farmer making $20 MILLION A YEAR in profit?

Wow, his farm must be about the size of Rhode Island, or he's growing and refining opium poppy.
 

He's part a hops consortium.  Technically it's the consortium that banks so much, but it's not like there are a hundred guys in it.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 05:16:23 PM by sol »

Clean Shaven

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #70 on: September 11, 2017, 05:09:11 PM »
You only say that because you don't know my dirty secret.  I'm actually a member of one of the most reviled groups in modern America, and a regular recipient of derisive commentary and hostile behavior because of it.  I could never win an election.  Americans hate people like me too much.
I'm going for atheist or ginger.
Sorry, I wasn't trying to be vague.  I'm an atheist, and I haven't been shy about saying so on the forums. 

I was going for "Lannister," as I was scrolling through the comments... 

SecretSquirrel

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #71 on: September 11, 2017, 05:20:24 PM »
I'm not talking about those guys.  You can't turn around without reading a story about a CEO who makes millions while driving a company into the ground, cutting jobs, cutting salaries and benefits.  I mean, come on.  You've got the Walmarts vs the Costcos, and everything in between.

The problem is: what can we do about that behavior? Corporations are voluntarily hiring their CEOs, and setting their pay structure. The workers of said corporations are voluntarily working there. And, the customers are voluntarily buying the products/services provided by said corporations.

And most of us here aspire to (or already do) live off of investments in said corporations. We count on increasing profits and capital appreciation for our long-term finances, which means companies need to keep costs down while increasing revenues.

So I find it strange to have an "eat the rich" attitude while at the same time promoting amassment of enough wealth that one can live on passive income. I mean, how wealthy is that, to not need to work to live? Many of us here are, or will become, multi millionaires...multi millionaires that quite often pay little to no taxes because we need so little income to live while also taking advantage of subsidies, such as the ACA (I'm in this group). I don't have a problem with this, per se, just find the inconsistency fascinating.

I can understand poking at the rich for profligate spending (like $500,000 income being insufficient), but I guess I didn't get the memo detailing the magic dividing line between wealthy and too wealthy.

I call it: The 2% Problem. Wealthier than 98% of the population, but less wealthy than the 1%. They have a lot, but are still part of The 99%. This way they can complain with the 99% about how much that filthy rich CEO makes, while having enough money to be financially independent and living a life of leisure.

Gondolin

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #72 on: September 11, 2017, 08:37:50 PM »
Quote
The 2% Problem

Yeah, it's uncomfortable being in the social twilight zone where you're too rich to be one of "the people" but not rich enough to fund your own charity or buy yourself a congressman.

But not as uncomfortable as, ya know, being poor.
"There cannot be two skies"

Louis XIV

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #73 on: September 11, 2017, 11:00:10 PM »
Did anyone notice that one young family profiled in the article earned $500k/year, yet spent $600k the previous year and marveled at how they spent so much and didn't know where all the money goes? Imagine earning half a million dollars a year and still not being able to live within your means.

I can definitely imagine it... Its a recipe of:
  • Few hundred thousand for undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications (borrowed of course) for a fancy elite education
  • Living in one of, if not the most HCOL places on the entire planet
  • Need to live in the "right" neighbourhood to fit in with your wealthy finance friends
  • Needing to have the "right" wardrobe for your high powered Finance gig. Of the rack? Please, this is Wall Street. Suits must be bespoke, a decrepit old, preferably Italian man must have poured blood, sweat and tears into every hand sewn stitch. Wearing clothes with ghastly plastic buttons is so... common. I only wear animal bone, the closer to extinction the animal is, the better. If its extinct, that's the best! Supply & Demand baby! That's the name of the game
  • You can't just go for a $5 beer after 14 hours straight in front of your bloomberg terminal, you punted around millions of dollars worth of other people's money today, treat yourself!
  • If you don't send your kids to an elite private school with the "right" kind of peers, how will they grow up to be able to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to a fancy elite university and get their own high powered corporate careers started?

To be fair, I've met quite a few people (working on the tech side of finance) who fit this exact mould. A few burn out, presumably have a mid life crisis and disappear, but most still seem to end up doing fine. At some stage they settle down and cut back on the $500/$1,000+ bar tabs, $20,000 holidays, etc, the kids move out & even if they've got fairly terrible spending habits, as long as they've made their minimum pension contributions, bought some property at some stage (usually several, for the ego/wank factor), they end up doing fine. I know some burned out hard in the GFC and made it back in, but it seems like most finance types I know of either got back in and started making $$$$$ again or were able to tilt from finance to something else high paying and business-y that still allows them to live ridiculous lifestyles.

Its not a path I'd want to take, but its also important to consider that while insane by any reasonable person's standards, a lot of their spend is part and parcel for the jobs that pay that sort of $$$. Personally I'm pretty stingy, so I'd be looking for any possible way to cut it down (rent the stupid flashy apartment and invest in markets that have a better yield, get my tailored suits made somewhere much cheaper, keep the work related drinking and boozing expenses to the bare minimum....)

former player

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #74 on: September 12, 2017, 04:24:40 AM »
Anyone who thinks their nanny or cleaner doesn't know how rich they are or how much they spent on the house or sofa is kidding themselves.  They are covering up the price tags for themselves, not their servants.
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

Cranky

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #75 on: September 12, 2017, 05:33:05 AM »
I felt like it mostly illustrated that "rich" is a moving target - you feel "rich" when you have more than 95% of the people on your street, and poor if you have less than maybe 80%, but it's very much a relative number, not an absolute. And as we all know, there are any number of ways to spend money on stuff we don't actually need.

KBecks

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #76 on: September 12, 2017, 05:40:37 AM »
I'm curious how many people here have read "Harrison Bergeron", by Kurt Vonnegut.  I read it in high school and find it unforgettable.  On fairness:

https://archive.org/stream/HarrisonBergeron/Harrison%20Bergeron_djvu.txt

Gondolin

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #77 on: September 12, 2017, 07:34:45 AM »
Harrison Bergeron? The early, lesser Vonnegut satire that would be completely forgotten except that every few years some well read conservative trots it out as a "dire warning" of where our society is heading because too many black kids got to go to college that year?

What relevance does it have to this conversation? Are you trying to imply that rich people are all rich because of natural inequality of talent and thus any abrogation of thier wealth or happiness is akin to Bergeronesque handicapping?
"There cannot be two skies"

KBecks

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #78 on: September 12, 2017, 11:25:26 AM »
Are you kidding?  Vonnegut is a master writer.  I also learned there is a movie version from the '90s, but I haven't seen it.

If the NYT piece is leading us to greater class envy and desire to make things "fair", then it's absolutely relevant.

MgoSam

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #79 on: September 12, 2017, 12:11:30 PM »
What I took from the article wasn't that these rich people are out of touch, but rather that they are stuck comparing themselves to their surroundings. They are spending $600k annually due to their high cost of living but also because they seem to want to keep up with their neighbors. As a result they can't allow themselves to feel comfortable apparently.

I've spoken to a few people that make a ton of money (think 7 figures) and they are shocked that I would consider retiring if I had less than $5M. One guy flat out told me that I would be "stupid" for doing so and shut up when I told him that my annual expenses are probably less than the property taxes on his brownstone. I think that was the moment he realized just how frugal one can live outside NYC without children in private school.

Kay-Ell

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #80 on: September 12, 2017, 12:57:39 PM »
But sometimes don't you just want to scream at your consumerist friends who pine for huge houses and luxury auto brands and complain about their financial problems, "motherfucker, I'm a goddamned millionaire, so listen to what the fuck I'm puttin' down!"  I really want to sometimes.  But I don't.

Haha, yes all of the time!  It absolutely drives me crazy that so many people who are financially miserable make themselves that way because they don't see the link between spending money on one thing, and not having the same money to spend on something else.  Did nobody else have to do those annoying work problems in elementary school that supposedly helped you develop basic logic?  "Susie has a dozen apples.  She eats 1 and trades 4 to Timmy for a chocolate cupcake.  How many apples does Susie have left?"

Part of the stigma against atheism is that so many people hide it that lots of people don't think they even know one. 

I'm agnostic and not shy about it!  Maybe we should start a write in campaign for Sol :-)

obstinate

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #81 on: September 12, 2017, 01:38:00 PM »
What I took from the article wasn't that these rich people are out of touch, but rather that they are stuck comparing themselves to their surroundings.
Wait. Isn't that what "out of touch" means?

obstinate

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #82 on: September 12, 2017, 01:41:42 PM »
Are you kidding?  Vonnegut is a master writer.  I also learned there is a movie version from the '90s, but I haven't seen it.

If the NYT piece is leading us to greater class envy and desire to make things "fair", then it's absolutely relevant.
For any given direction in which one might choose to move the status quo, one can find a satirist who has satirized an extremity of that direction. It's "relevant" but not relevant.

dude

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #83 on: September 12, 2017, 01:55:15 PM »
"motherfucker, I'm a goddamned millionaire, so listen to what the fuck I'm puttin' down!"

This needs to be dude's new .sig line, appended to the end of every single forum post he makes.

hahaha!

dude

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #84 on: September 12, 2017, 01:56:10 PM »
But sometimes don't you just want to scream at your consumerist friends who pine for huge houses and luxury auto brands and complain about their financial problems, "motherfucker, I'm a goddamned millionaire, so listen to what the fuck I'm puttin' down!"  I really want to sometimes.  But I don't.
Who else read this in Samuel L. Jackson's voice?

LOL!!!

dude

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #85 on: September 12, 2017, 02:05:50 PM »
While we're all on this topic, this is probably a good time to bring up the classic (and oft-discussed by MMM forums) Joshua Kennon post Stealth Wealth. It has spawned pages and pages of related discussions here.

I would go door to door campaigning for Sol for president. He eloquently states what us center left folks think. He's a badass and I wish I knew him.

 I'm actually a member of one of the most reviled groups in modern America, and a regular recipient of derisive commentary and hostile behavior because of it.  I could never win an election.  Americans hate people like me too much.


By this you mean a federal government employee, correct?  Because I know the feeling.

Lots of people pissed off at folks like me -- even though they more or less had the same damn option as I did to decide between the public and private sector -- because we get pensions at retirement. "Not fair," they scream, "we pay for their retirement when we don't have them ourselves!"  Well fuck, you pay for GE/Ford/Cisco and a bunch of other people's retirements too, when you buy their shit and invest in their stock. I'll never understand the disconnect between paying for public and private services (yeah, yeah, I know, taxes are compulsory, yada yada yada). At any rate, a race to the bottom benefits nobody except our capitalist overlords (the 0.01%), so perhaps people ought to start thinking about starting a movement to restore pensions, not snatch everyone else's away.

There, I've gone and done it now. The anti-gov crowd (not to mention the pensions-are-for-losers-I-can-invest-the-money-better-in-my-401k crowd) is going to go crazy for another 3-4 pages of this thread. Have at it.

dude

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #86 on: September 12, 2017, 02:07:07 PM »
Oh, atheist, ha!  I still think gov employees are more reviled!

trollwithamustache

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #87 on: September 12, 2017, 02:35:00 PM »

The one obscenely wealthy gentlemen (somewhat famous if you follow tech entrepreneurs ) I sort of know didn't seem like a very happy person. As we chatted on and off over several years, it was clear most people he met or interacted with wanted to sell him something or in someway try to take advantage of him.

So yeah, things like hiding price tags make sense to me.




DireWolf

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #88 on: September 12, 2017, 02:35:48 PM »
One of the things I've come to realize in recent years as to why my DW and I don't "feel" that well off despite our income being in the top 5% is that we save a huge portion of that income. Our 7 figure net worth is something that will allow us to RE and live comfortably for the rest of our lives, but our current day-to-day spending is comparable to a lot of families that are middle/upper middle class. Many (most?) of those families are living outside their means - running up cc debt and not saving what they need to retire. I always had this mental image that someone in maybe the top 20% tier of incomes would have vacation homes and drive Porsches and belong to country clubs and send their kids to private schools, and all of those things seem extravagant to me based on our income. We have a nice, but still somewhat modest home for our area. We drive base model vehicles. Kid goes to public school. About the only thing we really splurge for are multiple vacations a year, and even those we try to keep costs down (some of these have an ulterior motive, trying to identify places we might want to live when we RE).

jlcnuke

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #89 on: September 12, 2017, 02:44:05 PM »
some jobs pay more now, but they also deserve it as a general rule based on the basic rules of supply and demand and fair compensation for increased responsibilities and the associated accountability...

Since when have people ever been paid for responsibility or accountability?  That's a crock of shit.

There is a municipal engineer who tests your drinking water every day.  He makes about $85k/year, and if he screws up then literally millions of people will die.  He has more real responsibility than virtually anyone else in the country, but he's not paid for it.

I work an office building where I sit at a computer and wiggle my fingers all day over a keyboard.  There are other people who wiggle their fingers in my same building for approximately 25% of what I make, and there are people who wiggle their fingers for twice what I make.  It's not like you can tell who works the hardest based on their paycheck, or who is the most dependable, or who has the most work stress or responsibility, or even who has the most specialized skill set.  Mostly, the size of a particular person's paycheck corresponds with the sizes of the paychecks of the other people they communicate with, and not with the actual work they do or the topic of their communication.

In pretty much any given large company, the regional manager gets paid more than the district manager because they have more responsibility, not because their job is harder. The district manager gets paid more than the store manager because they have more responsibility and accountability. The regional manager's boss similarly gets paid more because they have more responsibility. The exceptions to this are the stupid and the ignorant that take on more responsibility without demanding to be compensated appropriately. As job duties and responsibility increase, people generally get compensated more for that.

That municipal water chem tech taking samples each day (or one of many people doing so for larger municipalities) actually has little real responsibility. He's responsible to do a test (or in many cases, just gets the results of the water tests) and then do what he's told to do based on the results (nothing, tell someone, take a specific set of actions, etc). He isn't responsible for much at all really, despite the potential for negative consequences if he screws up and can't follow the relatively simple requirements of his job. If he screws up, AND some other stuff other people are responsible for screws up (the systems that make the water safe), AND the systems put into place to back them up fails (generally automated testing and alarms are put in place), THEN some people MAY have some problems for a period of time, most of which would be "inconvenient" rather than "significant in the grand scheme of things". For most such places, he screws up and there's no impact at all since it's unlikely all the other failures necessary for it to actually impact anything would happen at the same time. In fact, if he didn't test the water for a week the most likely result would be "an audit says he screwed up and maybe he loses his job".

If the CEO of GE (for example) screws up badly enough, the company fails (like say, Lehman Bros), then hundreds of thousands of workers lose their jobs, millions of investors lose their money, the economy of the US and the world are negatively impacted causing hardship to billions of people.

So, a global economic problem with hundreds of thousands of immediate potential job losses because a CEO's direction causes a company to fail vs "if some other stuff also goes wrong, then maybe a few thousand people are temporarily inconvenienced, call it a few hundred thousand if it's a large city AND IF the equipment isn't doing it's job properly AND all the other guys doing the same job screw up AND their bosses don't notice AND the water plant operators screw up and don't notice the systems not working properly".

Personally, I'd say the guy who can cause the global economic problems responsibility is a bit higher than the guy testing the water for the city.


Now, that's not to say that people ALWAYS get more pay for more responsibility. Change companies and the pay may be different (higher or lower) even if the responsibility is the same. Change regions and the pay will likely change as well (Higher COL areas tend to pay relatively lower salaries adjusted for cost of living for instance). Change countries and you can count on the pay changing. Then there are the people who don't know their own worth and accept more and more responsibility without ever negotiating/demanding more pay (employers love these idiots, willing to do more work and take on more responsibilities without having to get paid more is great for the bottom line, even though you know they're probably not bright enough to promote much farther).

It's also not to say that responsibility or accountability are the ONLY things that determine pay. The laws of supply and demand (fewer qualified individuals with lots of openings generally means more pay for instance) also hold true and the relative value of the work done matters (tons of artists, but few are selling painting for 5 or 6-figure sums because the market doesn't value most that highly).


For the record, however, I think objective data on pay should be included somewhere, so though it isn't relevant to the quoted post, I'll point this out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding executive (including chief executive) pay:

Quote
The median annual wage for general and operations managers was $99,310 in May 2016.

The median annual wage for chief executives was $181,210 in May 2016.

Now, that "median" pay CEO making $181,210/yeah isn't making 300x what the lowest paid worker is getting working full time since none of the full-time workers in the US are earning $604/year.... despite how much some people think every CEO is making.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 02:53:35 PM by jlcnuke »

starguru

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #90 on: September 12, 2017, 06:06:57 PM »
Does that average annual wage count other forms of compensation such as RSUs or options or bonuses?

For all the reasons CEOs get paid more, how come when they drive a company into the ground they often receive 8 or 9 figure bonuses?


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sol

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #91 on: September 12, 2017, 06:43:24 PM »
Quote
The median annual wage for chief executives was $181,210 in May 2016.

Now, that "median" pay CEO making $181,210/yeah isn't making 300x what the lowest paid worker is getting

This is so grossly dishonest as to be comical.  That number includes everyone who calls themselves a CEO, which means there is one for all 25 million businesses in America. 

I assure that the the CEO of GE, to use your example, is NOT making $181k/year.  That salary would be laughably low.  You probably already knew that, and made your ridiculous point anyway.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 06:44:55 PM by sol »

bender

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #92 on: September 12, 2017, 08:27:09 PM »
Median CEO compensation (including stock/bonus) is about 11.5M for CEOs in the S&P500 who have remained at their post at least 2 years.
http://www.equilar.com/reports/48-associated-press-ceo-pay-study-2017

We put a lot of focus on CEO pay, but I think this is misguided/misinformed for two reasons:

1.  If we were to take all the pay away from the 500 CEOs and distributed it to the 24M employees they oversee, each employee would get about $240.  Based on this, I don't see that CEO pay is a problem that's significantly hurting the earning ability of the rank-and-file employee or the overall economy.  People are jealous/envious - sure, but it doesn't seem to be doing real harm. 
Math:  (11.5Mx500)/24M=240.  (Probably better to call it $150 as we should take the money away after tax so we don't take money away from the IRS).

2.  CEOs are a small fraction of the top earners.  IRS data shows there were over 16k returns with AGI over 10M.
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/14in11si.xls
If the median S&P salary is 11.5M, there are many CEOs at top companies making less than that.  I checked out CFO/CTOs as well, and a small number make over 10M.  I would estimate that executives likely compose less than 10% of all 10M+ tax returns, but seem to be the focus of more than their fair share of outrage in the income inequality debate.

Let me know if my research is flawed - I'm open to facts.  I tried to find IRS data that showed income by occupation - if anyone can find this please post.

Gondolin

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #93 on: September 13, 2017, 06:56:29 AM »
Quote
In pretty much any given large company, the regional manager gets paid more than the district manager because they have more responsibility, not because their job is harder. The district manager gets paid more than the store manager because they have more responsibility and accountability

So when the district manager gets caught snorting coke off his secretary's chest he's immediately held accountable and fired, right? No? He gets shuffled off to another district because his wife plays tennis with the VPs wife? Ok, then.

I think we can all agree that the "on paper" hierarchies of accountability are often pretty far from the experienced reality.
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KBecks

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #94 on: September 13, 2017, 07:02:07 AM »
OK, on people behaving badly at work -- first of all it sounds like you're making that shit up and passing it off as commonplace.  Second, people don't always get fired for things like affairs at work.  It depends, and I think it sometimes gets complicated with HR and legal issues.

What does this have to do with salary again?  Oh, all regional managers are evil? 

StarBright

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #95 on: September 13, 2017, 07:14:44 AM »
OK, on people behaving badly at work -- first of all it sounds like you're making that shit up and passing it off as commonplace.  Second, people don't always get fired for things like affairs at work.  It depends, and I think it sometimes gets complicated with HR and legal issues.

What does this have to do with salary again?  Oh, all regional managers are evil?

Going off on a tangent - but - maybe more commonplace than you think? Just last week I asked a coworker "So, is Bob on drugs?" Coworker replied "That's a dumb question." I said "Is Bob on different drugs than usual?" Coworker replied "That is a much better question." Bob is a sales manager.

Each company I have worked at has had a Bob and nothing they do seems to get them fired (drugs, harassment, crazy rages, etc). To tie it into the article - Bob is sort of like the folks in NY Times piece but in a Lower COL area; 200k+ income, family inheritance, kids in private schools, twice a year ski vacations. Bob is sort of a douche but I have great work stories.

-End Tangent :)

SharkStomper

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #96 on: September 13, 2017, 07:18:35 AM »
I'm curious if the people complaining about CEO salaries believe it should be the government's role to dictate how companies distribute their payrolls?

obstinate

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #97 on: September 13, 2017, 07:24:49 AM »
I'm curious if the people complaining about CEO salaries believe it should be the government's role to dictate how companies distribute their payrolls?
The government cannot help but do so, as any tax has at least some distortive effect, and no one has yet devised a nation that can exist without revenue. I don't think that the government needs to explicitly set salaries for CEOs, but it should enact policies to make sure that their slice of the pie is not excessively large. And they should balance those policies with the need for efficiency and growth.

former player

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #98 on: September 13, 2017, 07:46:40 AM »
I'm curious if the people complaining about CEO salaries believe it should be the government's role to dictate how companies distribute their payrolls?
Well yes, of course.

Do you not realise that companies only exist because governments make it so?  That they are an artificial legal structure entirely dependent on the will of government to create the laws that enable them to exist?  That the reason all the CEO's wealth is not at risk to pay the company's debts is because the government says so?  That the reason the CEO doesn't go to prison when the company kills someone, or defrauds someone, is because the government says so?  That in return for this limited liability it is entirely right that companies operate within the regulatory and tax structures that those governments think appropriate in return for those extraordinary benefits?  That there is no conceptual difference between regulating for a minimum wage and regulating for a maximum wage?

Good dog, people.  Such blinding ignorance.
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

trollwithamustache

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #99 on: September 13, 2017, 07:58:19 AM »

So when the district manager gets caught snorting coke off his secretary's chest he's immediately held accountable and fired, right? No? He gets shuffled off to another district because his wife plays tennis with the VPs wife? Ok, then.

I think we can all agree that the "on paper" hierarchies of accountability are often pretty far from the experienced reality.
[/quote]

in any union facility you can replace "district manager" with any represented worker... and it doesn't matter if their wife plays tennis with the stewards wife or not!