There is a lot of talk going around regarding the "rich" people in America. However, what does that term mean? Obama uses the loaded term "millionaires and billionaires," yet if you look at his official definition of the "rich," it is single people making (a.k.a. grossing) more than $200,000, or a married couple grossing more than $250,000.
Besides using the loaded term "millionaires and billionaires" to refer to those making $200,000 ($200,000 is a loooooooooong way from $1,000,000,000), there are many other problems with Obama's definition:
1) Different areas of the country have different costs of living. For instance, living in the suburbs of NYC or LA, you may have to fork over $600,000-$800,000 for a decent four-bedroom home, when the same home in Kentucky may only cost $200,000-$300,000. Thus, I think it is disingenuous to use arbitrary numbers (such as >$200k or $250k) to define who is rich in America, especially since those numbers have much different values in different areas.
2) Obama's definition does not take into account any personal or family situations. For instance, what if I am single, gross $200,000 per year, but I have a medical condition that requires costly monthly infusions that insurance does not fully cover. Let's say that these infusions cost $4000 per month, and my mortgage on my 3-bedroom house is $3,800 per month. Is it fair that I can now barely get by, but yet I am still considered "rich?" Such a person would not even be able to contribute any money into a 401K/403b, but yet they are somehow "rich?"
3) Obama's arbitrary definition is not original: It is the definition of "rich" under LBJ's administration over 40 years ago. Since then, there has been LOTS of inflation. In fact, $1 in 1968 would be worth $6.20 in 2010 dollars. That means, in all fairness, if we accounted for inflation, Obama should have redefined his definition of "rich" to single people grossing more than $1.24 million per year and families making more than $1.55 million per year. That's a HUGE difference.
There are many more problems, but I think I've illustrated my problems with Obama's defintion of "rich" succinctly enough. Now let me definite what I think is "rich." There is no arbitrary number, but in order for someone to be considered "rich," they must meet the following definition:
If a person is able to lose their job TODAY and be able to send all of their children to college, afford one vacation per year (overseas) for the rest of their life, pay off the mortgage with ease (if the home is not excessively lavish or ostentatious), be able to afford all of the basic amenities in life, be able to afford to go out to a fancy dinner once per week for life, and be able to pay out of pocket for the most costly of medical conditions for themselves and for all of their immediate family members, THEN I will consider such a person RICH. Anyone that does not meet this definition's criteria is, at least in my book, not rich.
How would you define "rich?" Do you agree with Obama's defintion? Do you argee with mine? Do you have your own definition?