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September 20, 2010

Are you rich when you make over $250,000?

Prof. Todd Henderson at the University of Chicago got probably more Web traffic than he anticipated when he wrote about the effect the expiring Bush tax cuts might have on his family. There's a bit of "who knows best how to spend your money, you or the politicians?" tendentiousness. But mostly it's a straightforward description of his family's finances -- $15,000 in property taxes, big mortgage, $500,000 in education debt for Henderson and his doctor wife etc. -- and how they might respond to higher taxes.

Henderson doesn't specify his family's exact income. He says only that's over $250,000 but not by a lot. Tyler Cowen quoted someone else saying it was $455,000, but has since recanted. Henderson:

If our taxes rise significantly, as they seem likely to, we can cut back on some things. The (legal) immigrant from Mexico who owns the lawn service we employ will suffer, as will the (legal) immigrant from Poland who cleans our house a few times a month. We can cancel our cell phones and some cable channels, as well as take our daughter from her art class at the community art center, but these are only a few hundred dollars per month in total. But more importantly, what is the theory under which collecting this money in taxes and deciding in Washington how to spend it is superior to our decisions? Ask the entrepreneurs we employ and the new arrivals they employ in turn whether they prefer to work for us or get a government handout.

There was a very hostile reaction, with Henderson being accused of "sniveling," "mendacity, ignorance, and small-minded cupidity" and other grave sins.

I suspect the Henderson household will find a way to adjust without canceling the cell phones and cable if the Bush tax cuts expire. Nevertheless it seems to be a family without much in the way of net worth, the traditional measure for "rich."

Posted by Jay Hancock at 9:46 AM | | Comments (38)
Categories: Taxes
        

Comments

Well, how about an answer to the man's question.

"what is the theory under which collecting this money in taxes and deciding in Washington how to spend it is superior to our decisions?"

I have to wonder if this family understands the concept of marginal taxation. It's only their earnings above $250k that will see a tax hike. And if they don't make much more than $250k, their tax payout can't really increase by all that much.

It's also hard to have sympathy for their lack of assets. It's their choice to spend money on a big mortgage and lawn care/house cleaning rather than saving.

I'm not saying it's no big deal to raise taxes, but this guy sure isn't making a compelling case.

Henderson has kids, right? And they might one day have kids? The old "Who's better equipped to spend your money?" excuse doesn't cut it anymore. It's: Why would we want to pass on our debt to future generations, so that they're likely to have much less of a future? I'm sure that, if Henderson's like me, he worries about why his teens can't find part-time work even now, or what that portends in the longer term if we don't tax the rich (yes, he's rich enough to make some minor choices about his family's discretionary spending) to make up for the fact that we have a deficit from NOT taxing them for the last decade.

A family can still have a great income--$250,000--but not have any sort of perspective on how to hold onto or manage money. That's roughly my father's income as a physician, and my parents haven't been in debt since paying off his medical school loans in the early '80s. We still took yearly vacations (modest camping trips when I was a kid, trips to Europe after debt was gone), and my parents have only owned one home at a time, purchase new cars (they have only two--one for my mom, one for my dad) and drive them for about 10 years on average. They live extremely comfortably, and have been able to help with college expenses for my brother and myself. In the meantime, we've known other docs who earn the same but have been in debt for years due to over-investing in material goods right out of medical school while under-paying or paying only the minimum on their med school loans. Young docs just out of med school (and society at large) need to realize that debt is a fact of life for everyone coming out of med school. The good news for newly-minted docs is that if they learn financial responsibility early, the loans can quickly be repaid.

I have faith that Henderson has the brains to get a grip on his money management. But I don't like his rush to play the "pity the poor young doc" card. I hope he gets over that, soon.

Principles of Economics #2: Your contribution to society is what you produce, not what you consume.

Principles of Economics #5: A tax cut on another man helps you when compared to no tax cuts for anyone. But when compared to a tax cut for yourself, the choice is clear which is better for you.

I disagree with the concept that the Henderson family does not have significant assets. I will assume that it is true that they lack significant assets that would show up on a balance sheet, but they have other assets that are very significant.

For instance, Henderson's law degree has great value. After all, he graduated magna cum laude and was elected to the Order of the Coif (sort of the law school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa). He clerked for a federal judge and is either tenured or on tenure track at a major, prestigious law school. (One commentator has opined that Henderson's foolish commentary, in and of itself, disqualifies him from ever holding a position in academia. I would agree. His piece is nothing more than a whine applying arguments one should have abandoned after the freshman or sophomore years in college.)

His wife is a physician, thus is similarly likely to have a fairly remunerative career.

Not only do those professional accomplishments have value, but it is obvious that the Hendersons understand that they have value. That's why, for instance, that they borrowed heavily to purchase an expensive house and are willing to "invest" heavily in their childrens' education. In essence, they were betting that their future was rosy due to the value of their professional credentials.

BTW, does anyone want to bet that the huge educational loans that the Hendersons have are subsidized either directly or indirectly by the government. I guess that Henderson only objects to the government "spending other peoples' money" when neither he nor his wife are the direct beneficiaries of that spending.

One should really take the time and effort to read the various bloggers such as those of DeLong and Fallows who gave Henderson a well-deserved public spanking.

Stuart Levine hit the nail on the head and identified a huge problem for not only Henderson, but the country at large.

Far too many of us rail about how much the "government" spends on others, all the while neglecting (deliberatly or not) to recognize how much is also spent to benefit us.

John20723: "what is the theory under which collecting this money in taxes and deciding in Washington how to spend it is superior to our decisions?"

Here's an answer:

A lot of what the government spends money on is public goods: things we either cannot buy for ourselves (e.g., national defense), that require powers we do not have (e.g., regulating the stock market, having embassies in other countries, enforcing immigration laws), or that are subject to other market failures (i.e., someone could, in principle, have built the interstate highway system for us, and we would all have benefitted, but in practice it works better to do this collectively.)

If the government were deciding for me whether I should get a flat-screen TV or go on vacation, I'd be upset. But when the government spends money on things I cannot purchase alone, like national defense or the FDA, that's not "it deciding how to spend my money"; it's our elected representatives deciding how much of our money we want to spend on public goods, and how much on private goods.

As a rule, I think that it is bad form to comment more than once to a posting. However, I will make an exception here.

Apparently, Professor Henderson felt so strongly about his position that he deleted the post that caused such a stir. See here: http://bit.ly/c7sWXP

It's hard to believe, but I now have even a lower opinion of Henderson.

Who actually pays these 36% and 39% rates? Those with incomes into millions and billions?

No. It mainly falls on the 250K to 450K eraners.

Why should someone earning 250-500K pay at a higher tax rate than someone earning into the millions and billions?

It may not matter to those earning less than 250K, but there are those making 250K+ to a billion+ in the other set. What if the distribution of that higher tax burden disproportionately falls on those at the bottom of that 250K+ class?

He may have presented his case like a buffoon, but what Henderson says about the bottom heavy distribution of the tax burden, among those tax payers in the class he is dumped in (those making 250K+), is a fact. Supported by data from actual returns. The high marginal rates will only _only_paid_ by people making about 250-500K.

That is the dirty secret of US tax code and rates. For anyone interested, the data is here. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/07in05tr.xls

Bucket -- tax-rate -- AGI floor

Top 0.1% -- 21.46 -- (2.155 mil +) <--- pays less
Top 1% -- 22.45 -- (0.419 mil + <--- pays more
Top 5% -- 20.53 -- (0.160 mil +)
Top 10% -- 18.79 -- (0.133 mil+)

So it is perfectly OK for Prof Henderson to say that he should not be taxed more. He already pays the highest tax rates in the US. There are people who make ten times his income and pay at a lower rate. _They_ should be taxed more.

"You are rich, you can pay" is only an argument from power. It does not address the unfairness of Henderson subsidizing taxpayers earning million+ and billion+ income.

Read Surowiecki for an intelligent and tactful argument of Prof Henderson's case.

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2010/08/16/100816ta_talk_surowieck

Obama's capital gains tax is set at 20%. He s not going to change the 15% carried interest tax on hedge fund owner incomes. He is proposing a tax raise which mainly falls on higher income workers.

Prof Henderson is absolutely NOT rich, since his income is of the "earned" variety.

Rich people enjoy the miracle of "unearned" income: rents, interest payments, dividends, capital gains, etc. - which are taxed at a much lower rate. Also note that none of these low-tax income streams require any actual "work".

Interesting that the Administration chooses to attack the higher "earned" income folks instead.

Prof Henderson must have thought that studying, working hard, and being productive in America would somehow be rewarded. He was wrong.

What is so magical about the $250K income level? If I had my 30 seconds on TV with the President I would ask him if he wants to tax millionaires then why not tax those with a $1,000,000 income?

While those who make $250K and live in $800K houses are wealthy it is a stretch to put them in the same stratosphere as Fortune-500 CEOs and hedge fund managers.

A simpler way to impress the cost of taxes is this: If a family's tax burden increases by $5,000 how will that family's budget change? Will it save less? Will it borrow more? Will it eat out less? Will it buy fewer clothes? Something will have to change, what will it be?

Why even give this over-indulged rich guy more publicity? The fact that he spends his high income living in an expensive way in an expensive city does not make him middle-class.

I wonder how many of those who use this worn-out mantra about the government not knowing how to spend our money better than we do have actually thought about the spending habits of large numbers of Americans when it comes to illegal drugs. Don't forget that the Mexican drug wars are a direct result of the willingness of Americans to pay lots of money for illegal mind-altering substances. It is pretty clear that even the immediate past POTUS was a consumer of illegal cocaine at one time.
If Americans were to stop using illegal Mexican drugs tomorrow they would 1) stop the drug wars and 2) have a lot more money available for other things. I am told that it is commonplace for large numbers of young people to use marijuana in this country, and that many use cocaine. Do they know how to spend their money better than the government which will spend it on unemployment insurance, the school lunch program or public education? I don't think so.

There is one glaring problem with his logic...all the expenses he complains about are deductible. Property taxes, interest (which is the lion's share of a mortgage, student loan interest, and even some tuition payments are all tax deductible. If after all that, he is still over $250K, then yes, he is rich.

There is the old adage that one spends to level of your income. The more income the better the house, the better the cars, the better the furniture, the better your child's education, etc. So for most people nobody would consider themselves wealthy. But we do need to look at it from a societal standpoint. Most families making $250K or above would be looked upon as possessing wealth, but as most of us can atest, we do a great job of spending what we earn. The American economy is based on us spending not saving or living below our means. I do think if $200K is thought of as being wealthy for an individual; then in today's working world I would raise the bar to $350K for a family. I really do not understand how politicians can view a bump of $50k for a family to be adequate. Then tax breaks should be implemented at those levels; not at lower income limits.

I'll second the poster who noted that Mr. Henderson seems to lack the understanding about marginal taxation.

But I think the whole paradigm needs to be shifted in the national conversation about taxation. My family's combined income is just shy of $150K. In a city such as Baltimore, we are "wealthy" and yet we really are just breaking even, and one health disaster or job loss away from a problem.

Still, we don't view our taxes as the culprit. My student loan debt - for a state school I might add - is pretty tough to crack on a public interest career. Our daycare costs - necessary, because I depend upon my employer health care benefits - are the equivalent of a small mortgage. We don't have cable TV, don't go to movies, rarely eat out, and never take vacations. But really that's ok. We work hard, and frankly, consider our higher property taxes (which are deductable) the price of living in a good public school district. But the broader picture for middle class America is one with skyrocketing health care costs, lack of affordable childcare, and lack of family leave making it necessary to find such expensive childcare for infants. These are systemic issues that are far more problematic than minimal tax hikes to ensure that our schools have air conditioning and our bridges don't collapse.

Piggy backing on what's been said already, I've heard tons of criticism of the poor and middle class for over extending themselves, buying houses they really couldn't afford, and living pay check to pay check. It's not our fault that this well-to-do family is making some of the same mistakes. Something about what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

>"what is the theory under which collecting this money in taxes and deciding in Washington how to spend it is superior to our decisions?"

Since when did taxation become about "who can spend the money wiser"? It's about everyone chipping in according to their ability to pay for common services. It's pretty darn simple. It gets more complex when we talk about which services are "vital" or not, and whether common-service money is being wasted. But the idea of taxation is pretty simple, and it's got nothing to do with this question being posed.

This is insane. What a cry-baby culture we have! In the 1960's the wealthiest few were paying up to 80 percent of their income into taxes. Now, its around 37 percent. Our roads are falling apart, bridges are crumbling, 120 year old water pipes are bursting, we have a health care system that is on par with China's and all the well-off can do is complain! What a joke. I say we need to all have a civics lesson about the importance of everyone paying his and her taxes without the bitching and moaning. Fewer taxes means poorer roads, fewer schools and libraries, and less services that our elderly and poor can count on to get by. And why did this joker run up such student loan debt? What's the difference between him and the people who took out too much in home loans before the bubble burst? This professor is an anti-American loser in my opinion. Real Americans care about their fellow citizens. But people like this guy are just selfish twerps.

I love the warped perspective everyone has.

Let's start with how people in society live today. When I grew up we had one car and my stayed at home to raise the kids. My dad work two jobs to make ends meet. Today everyone has two $40K cars, live in a $400K-$600K home or better, both parents work, kids go to private schools, wear designer clothes, go to the salon for their hair and nails, have thier own computers, Ipods, plasma tv's and on and on.

Yet we cry how poor we are. Also let's not forget that everyone has a shrink at $250 an hour because of all the stress in our lives.

We've totally lost perspective because we're caught up in a life style portrayed on TV that we can't really afford.

Now when the stuff hits the fan as it has done in today's economy we all go looking for someone else to pay the bills.

I"m not rich but I really despise the notion that those that have done well for themselves either through hard work or luck or both should have to make up for the inadequacies of others.

To me the solution is real simple, a flat tax for everyone.

If you do well you should be able to reap the rewards of your efforts, if you don't you suffer the consequenses. The notion that people are entitled to what other have earned is rediculous and to let the Gov't have control of that money to eventually just piss it away is delusional at best.

It's time for the American public to get a grip and learn to live within their means and stop trying to keep up with the Jones.

If one makes $250,000 while living in Missoula, Montanta, it's sure worth more than living in Chicago, right? That's one thing I never understood about the tax code. The DC-Baltimore metro area is expensive - not quite California expensive but certainly more expensive than most of the country.

Also, I like Henderson comment that the government doesn't know how to spend its own money. Think about how much money goes down the drain in the Baltimore City public school system!

I propose a study to attempt to answer the question in the title of the article. I just need $250k, and one year to write a report.

I'm a fairly young lawyer at a big law firm in DC. We get paid a lot. I make over $200,000 and when you add in my wife's income we just crest the $300,000 line.

We live in DC, in a 1,500 square foot condominium that cost us $500,000. When I graduated from law school I had about $75,000 in student loan debt (and I got off easy, compared to most of my classmates). We've actually got it pretty good, since we don't have kids and we don't live extravagantly. We save a lot, and we pay a ton in taxes.

Many of the young professionals I work with are income-rich but wealth-poor. Most of my friends have negative net worths and a $200,000 income. How is this possible, you ask? Borrowing $200,000 to go to college and law school (or medical school), living in the kind of city that allows you to make a high income, etc., all contribute to eating up the cash and making it difficult for the person to claw out of debt. It's irresponsible to brand every high earner as "rich," when their net worth is below zero.

I actually checked the calculator over at the Tax Policy Center, and it looks like we'd be about the same under President Obama's proposal than if the Bush tax cuts were extended. So in a practical sense, it doesn't really matter to me what happens. However, I am upset with the idea that the president can draw an arbitrary line in the sand, and brand everyone below the line as "victims" and everyone above the line as "evil fat cats who got what they have by exploiting the victims." I guess it's a result of our "sound bite" politics, but it still drives me a little crazy.

If 90% of everyone has less than you, you can safely be said to be "rich".

If you so badly arrange your affairs that you find yourself with little or no cash in your pocket after that, you can safely be said to be "foolish".

If you then publicly complain that all that wealth isn't enough for all the stuff you feel you deserve, you can safely be said to be "whining".

Taxes don't even begin to enter into it.

No one forced him to have the big jumbo mortgage or the 500K in college debt. Those were choices he made.

What about the poor guy with 125K in college debt that cant find work or only makes 40K a year and cant even buy his/her own place?

I am 62 years old. My father was an executive with BG&E in the pre-"Constellation Energy" days. There were five of us (mom, dad, girl, two boys) in a 3 bedroom, 1 and 1/2 bath house near McDonogh School. When I was little, we had one car--my father carpooled with someone, leaving the car for my mom. We went to Ocean City for a week every summer. My brother and I went to Baltimore County public schools, my sister to Notre Dame prep. Not a glamorous life but, on the other hand, my father put all three kids through private undergraduate schools and paid for a year of grad school for my brother and sister (I opted out.) All done without loans, so none of his children started adulthood in debt. I guess it was because both of my parents were adults during the Depression, but the lessons sunk in. I have a tiny mortgage on a row house, drive a ten year old car and am confident that my retirement will be comfortable. The folks Mr. Hancock profiles made choices, as did I. They live the high life and bellyache about a possible, minor tax increase while I am comfortable with where I am.

"Rich" is an ambiguous term and cannot be clearly defined. It is also irrelevant. Need does not (or at least should not) factor into any argument about taxation. What matters is the philosophical question about how much the government should be allowed to take from the money that anyone earns. Money represents nothing except an abstraction of time and labor. Arbitrarily dividing people up into wealth classes is absolutely ridiculous and meaningless.

Yes. When compared to the average American, persons earning more than $250,000/year are rich indeed.
And yes, it is about class warfare. Get over it.

From the perspective of someone with a family income of about $45K, yes - someone collecting $250K is rich. Expenses are something we all have, and some of those expenses hit us equally. If those of us on the lower end of the scale need to "pay our fair share" more because "it's our fault we over-extended ourselves", then what's this person complaining about? Is it my fault he over-extended himself? Everybody feels like he's doing more than his share - that's human nature. But when the numbers show a skyrocketing relative increase in the money at the top of the heap over the past couple decades, combined with a real drop in the amount of money circulating at the level where almost all of us live, there's a problem, for the country as much as for us all. How many remember what life was life before Social Security? It looks like we're going to experience it again, because the "Grover Norquist" ideology has almost finished its long struggle against the hated Socialist New Deal.

No you are not rich, but you are well off. There are other factors that determines how well off you are: number of children, debt, area of the country you live. 2 out of that three were completely your choice. Even the area you live in is your choice but if the job paying you that amount is in the city you are in moving may cut off that income.

If you earn 250,000 a year and move into a 1 million dollar house you will not be well off. If you earn this amount and have 14 kids you will have financial problems. Its about choices.

No one likes paying taxes however I like having a military, police, fire department, social security, medicare/medicaid, public schools and colleges and other services.

When I graduated high school, I was accepted at a state run university and after one year was dismissed for academic incompetence – basically I failed out. I was too young and immature to handle the responsibility. After wasting my parents money I came home an attended community college, which I paid for on my own, and graduated with honors. I subsequently enrolled at a smaller state university and earned a B.S. degree with honors, which again I paid for. I earned my education.

My first job out of college was working in sales for a pest control company. I had to crawl in attics in the middle of summer looking for vermin including bats, rats, snakes, etc. I had to climb into crawl spaces under houses filled with mud b/c they flooded every time it rained. I was stung more times then I can count while trying to remove hornets nests the size of a small Volkswagen from second story eves, trees, wood piles, and countless other places. And I worked 6 days a week for 10 hours a day because I was paid straight commission and I didn’t get paid unless I produced results. It was terrible, I hated it, but it was my job and I worked hard to excel as I knew I was creating a track record for myself. I had every chance in the world to do the minimum to get by and not try to advance my career, but I decided to work hard. Oh, by the way, I made about $40K - $50K a year for the two years I was there.

I then interviewed with a Pharmaceutical company and was hired out of a pool of over 300 resumes. Before my interview I studied everything I could about this company – entire portfolio of medications and the disease states they treated, I researched their drug pipeline to get an indication of future product launches and I even called my doctor to get his opinion on some of the drugs this company represented. I earned that interview with my previous hard work and I earned that job with the work I put in to making myself the best candidate. I enjoyed the job very much, I was promoted twice in two years but I was always keep an eye out for opportunity. Oh, by the way, I made about $65K - $70K a year for the two years I was there.

About 10 years ago I had a friend recruit me to work at a technology start up company in a sales position. I didn’t know the first thing about the industry and was not what anyone would consider an ideal candidate. Again, I did research on the space and the company, determined they had differentiating factors that made them attractive and decided to join. If you have never worked for a start up in the technology space, all I can tell you is that it’s brutal. Long days and even longer nights, constant traveling, staying in bad hotels and eating fast food in order to save the company money, constantly pushing to develop and innovate more quickly than your competition – it’s a constant pressure cooker. I was scared to make the move but I decided, again, I was willing to work as hard as I could to learn the business and help make this company successful. I worked every day, in one way or another, for two straight years. I was promoted and given additional responsibility over the first 4 years of my tenure. Oh, by the way, I was making about $150K a year at this point.

Through a ton of hard work from everyone at the start up, we were acquired by a large leader in the space. The acquisition by a much larger company provided opportunity that didn’t exist with a small start up and I went back to the formula that had worked in the past – I worked hard and proactively sought out information and skills that would make me more valuable and impactful to my company. Flash forward to today, I have worked my way up within the organization and I make over $250K a year.

Can someone please tell me, perhaps you Mr. President, what I have done wrong and why do you feel the need to vilify me for the income I have worked so hard to EARN? Please tell me how I have cheated the system. What did I do wrong? I earned what I have in my life and I am proud of it, and I certainly don’t think I should be demonized by a government that can’t stop spending money it doesn’t have and then pointing the blame on the other side of the aisle. I certainly don’t consider myself rich while others would, but I do know anyone can have what I do if you are willing to work for it. I just can’t comprehend how a society tells you to work hard and you’ll be rewarded, but if you work too hard and you’re too successful then you are the enemy.

I own a very small construction company. I make about fifteen thousand dollars a year.which is good , but not great.

i dont begrudge those that make more than me.Good for them! And ,as an economic conservative,i believe ,the less taxes the better.

But as a fisical conservative , i also believe that you have to pay for the governemnt that you have.And we are not doing that right now. Yes, we should cut spending.

But i have seen no one prove how we can balance the budget ,simply by cutting spending.

In Great Britian right now thier leaders are making hard choices and being honest with thier citizens about what needs to be done.The same is happening in Ireland.But our "leaders" pretend that we dont need an austerity budget.

The fact is that we cant balance the budget simply by taxing the rich.But we cant balance it by cutting "waste" or various welfare programs that many conservatives dont like.

Our politicians need to be honest.And we need to be honest with ourselves. Taxes arent a "punishment" . they are the method that we pay for our Government.

I myself would like our Federal Government to be much smaller. But we should all admit that most taxpayer dollars dont go to the rich or the poor. They go to middle class Americans.

Insteadof "Starving the beast" ,tax cuts have allowed this country to spend money that it doesnt have. Conservatism used to be about cutting governemnt spending.now it seems that its all about cutting taxes,balanced budget be d**ned

I own a very small construction company. I make about fifteen thousand dollars a year.which is good , but not great.

i dont begrudge those that make more than me.Good for them! And ,as an economic conservative,i believe ,the less taxes the better.

But as a fisical conservative , i also believe that you have to pay for the governemnt that you have.And we are not doing that right now. Yes, we should cut spending.

But i have seen no one prove how we can balance the budget ,simply by cutting spending.

In Great Britian right now thier leaders are making hard choices and being honest with thier citizens about what needs to be done.The same is happening in Ireland.But our "leaders" pretend that we dont need an austerity budget.

The fact is that we cant balance the budget simply by taxing the rich.But we cant balance it by cutting "waste" or various welfare programs that many conservatives dont like.

Our politicians need to be honest.And we need to be honest with ourselves. Taxes arent a "punishment" . they are the method that we pay for our Government.

I myself would like our Federal Government to be much smaller. But we should all admit that most taxpayer dollars dont go to the rich or the poor. They go to middle class Americans.

Insteadof "Starving the beast" ,tax cuts have allowed this country to spend money that it doesnt have. Conservatism used to be about cutting governemnt spending.now it seems that its all about cutting taxes,balanced budget be d**ned

"Prof Henderson must have thought that studying, working hard, and being productive in America would somehow be rewarded. He was wrong."

Are you for real? He's being handsomely rewarded. You people make me sick.

Which country should I move to in order to get as far away from Libertarians as I can?

The average that I saw online for obtaining a medical degree is $200,000.

Ok they have two doctors. Doctors average NET income goes from $100,000 to over $300,000 depending on their field. That means if they could live on one income ($100,000 per year) they could pay off their college in under 3 years. What's their problem? They are spending more than they should be on stuff

The average that I saw online for obtaining a medical degree is $200,000.

Ok they have two doctors. Doctors average NET income goes from $100,000 to over $300,000 depending on their field. That means if they could live on one income ($100,000 per year) they could pay off their college in under 3 years. What's their problem? They are spending more than they should be on stuff

Who care how he spends his money he earned it. Looks like they went to school got a education then went on with life. It does not really matter what he buys he still is going to payer a higher tax because he tried to better himself. Why should a guy making more money have to pay a higher tax rate. Why can't we all pay our fair share make $75k or $250k. PICK A NUMBER AND EVERYONE PAY THE SAME we would have so much money it would be scary

so let's borrow 700 billion from the chinese so that this fool's kids can text unlimited

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About Jay Hancock
Jay Hancock has been a financial columnist for The Baltimore Sun since 2001. He has also been The Baltimore Sun's diplomatic correspondent in Washington and its chief economics writer. Before moving to Baltimore in 1994 he worked for The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk and The Daily Press of Newport News.

His columns appear Tuesdays and Sundays.
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