General Question

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Where do you feel the line between the haves and have nots should be drawn?

Asked by ARE_you_kidding_me (19773points) September 26th, 2016

Lines between the working poor and “middle class” seem to be quite blurry these days. The bulk of the top 1% are what we used to call “upper middle class” Where do you think the line is between those who have and those who don’t? Paid off education, house? Enough disposable income for a real vacation?

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39 Answers

Seek's avatar

This question is terribly confusing.

Are you intending to imply that the “bulk of the top 1%” should be part of the “have nots”? I don’t think that’s what you’re driving at, but that’s how it reads, a bit.

Anyway, I’m definitely in the “have not” part of the spectrum, and not only is paying off my house nowhere in my line of sight, ever being able to own a home seems less and less plausible as time goes by.

My current goals include moving into a rental home that isn’t literally falling apart, and being able to afford food without state assistance.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“Upper middle” Is obviously in the 1% and in the haves. I’m asking where the lines are between what you consider to be a have and have not.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

When a family or individual does not have access to the right kinds of food, potable water, clothing, shelter and access to proper healthcare to maintain homeostasis from conception to death, then that family or individual is in the “Have Not” category. Every one else is in the “Have” category.

I would add safety to that list—to not be so unlucky as to grow up in a war zone.

5.9 million children under the age of 5 years died in 2015 for lack of one or more of these things. 20% of the children born this year will not see the age of 21.

janbb's avatar

I would love to see a day when the line is not between the “haves” and “have nots” but between the “have enoughs” and the “have mores” – worldwide. Apparently, worldwide abject poverty is decreasing ( see Kristof in The New York Times) but we still have a long way to go.

jca's avatar

I don’t believe that the ”The bulk of the top 1% are what we used to call “upper middle class”
I have relatives who are “upper middle class” and I can assure you that while they are very comfortable, they are not in the 1%.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@jca Salaries that put someone in the top 1% are much lower than people think they are. But…I suppose we should define “upper middle class” first.

jca's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: I’m talking about people that make between half a mil and a million a year.

jca's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: I found a site to check and I’m posting a question about it. Apparently it depends on your area, too.

SmashTheState's avatar

The most frustating part of this for me is two-fold.

First, all of this bickering between the poor and the middle class is deliberately created by the rich. People simply have no idea of how inconceivably rich a tiny handful of humans are. If the stolen wealth of billionaires was recovered, there would be no need to touch anyone else’s wealth. The billionaires are sitting with the entire box of cookies in front of them and telling the guy with one cookie to be careful because the guy with no cookies at all is trying to steal his cookie. I’m not trying to take money away from the petite bourgeoisie, no matter how much contempt I hold for their cultureless, crass, materialist social class; I’m trying to get the billionaires impaled on spikes as a warning to other capitalists. No one needs a billion dollars. Ever. No one should have a billion dollars. Anyone who tries to get that much should be either treated for mental derangement, kicked out of the community, or simply shot.

Second, I take extreme resentment to the idea that we should all be fighting to give everyone a middle class existence with a jerb and a mortgage and an ever-evolving heap of kitchen gadgets. There are lifestyle options other than bourgeois materialism and starvation, and I do not want to be forced to choose between them.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@jca that’s the point I was driving, it greatly depends, half a mil a year is wealthy where I live.

jca's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: Right. Some are in NY Metro area and some are in Las Vegas.

I just checked myself and I’m middle class.

jca's avatar

I should add, “middle class as I knew I was.”

Seek's avatar

I have absolutely no idea what having a million dollars feels like. The concept of having that much money is completely foreign to me.

I felt like a “have” when we had a successful small business and were bringing in $65,000 a year, and had a mortgage on three acres with a modular home, and two used cars that were paid off.

We were able to take a honeymoon out of the country, and go out to dinner and a movie without number-crunching, and afford our prescriptions. We had gym memberships and $20K in the bank at all times, a life insurance policy and a Roth IRA.

It was fantastic.

I’d love to be back at that point.

janbb's avatar

@Seek So what happened?

Seek's avatar

2008. People stopped paying $10,000+ a pop for new floors, or half that for refinishing their old ones.

janbb's avatar

Got it.

jca's avatar

A good friend used to do hardwood floor installations in the late 80’s thru the 90’s (NY metro area). He said a lot of South and Central Americans came to the industry and prices dropped way down.

Seek's avatar

More accurately, people who owned flooring businesses realised they could pay immigrants to do the labor for considerably less money than they could pay a citizen who had a household to maintain.

It’s not the immigrants’ fault; it’s the bad business owners.

Jason’s employees made a living wage – a real living wage, not $10/hr – and received bonuses for particularly difficult jobs or for doing a particularly good job. Yes, it cuts into profits, but a skilled laborer leads to happier customers and better word-fame for the company. He still occasionally gets call-backs from old clients.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

That could turn around but most people do “hardwood” (read cheap pergo or engineered floor) themselves now also.

Seek's avatar

He still works in flooring, but now as an hourly employee for someone else instead of a business owner. The many-thousands-of-dollars equipment is long, long gone and prohibitively expensive to replace.

Seek's avatar

Yes, @ARE_you_kidding_me – hubby spends quite a bit of time fixing DIY flooring disasters.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I know several who were basically wiped out in 2008 just like this.

jca's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: Yes, Pergo and the like is now all too common.

He did a free floor for friends (prefinished real hardwood). Just using a “machine” and circular saw, which is really all you need unless you’re going to sand and stain/poly.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Mods: move to social.

SmashTheState's avatar

See, this is the pernicious way the billionaires control wealth. People with a poor understanding of economics say, “Well, Smash, the billionaires aren’t sticking their billions under the mattress; they’re investing it. It’s back into everyone else’s hands!”

And that may be so, but billionaires aren’t investing in a thousand hardwood floors. They buy a small handful of luxury items, and then use all the rest of their money to drive artisans and craftspeople out of business with ventures made possible only by access to effectively infinite amounts of wealth. For instance, every yacht-building shipyard on Earth is currently booked for years in advance because so many billionaires are making them, and high-end Rolls Royces simply aren’t available in Europe for any amount of money because they’re bought right off the assembly line by billionaires.

In this way the billionaires passively control which industries become flush with cash and which industries get driven into penury.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Billionaires can’t spend the bulk of their own money. It’s tied up in their accounts and not being pumped back into the economy.

Seek's avatar

^ Truth. @SmashTheState

On the contrary, the wealthiest clients with the most expensive jobs are the ones most likely to try to charge-back on the credit card and get their $50,000 job done for free.

Assholes.

jca's avatar

Relatives selling a multi-million dollar apartment in the heart of Manhattan tell me the buyers are now coming from Russia and China. No need to stage the apartment, just do “virtual staging.” The buyers often don’t even see the place in person before they buy it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@jca real estate bubble never fully popped here and mainly for that reason. It’s too expensive to retire in florida now so they come here to the hills. They come from all over the world.

jca's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: Where are you located?

Seek's avatar

I’m going to guess somewhere near the Carolinas. Back in ‘07, when I was working for the County, people who were retiring were leaving Florida and heading to North Carolina. They could sell their family homes here, and get something smaller in NC, and have a healthy bonus left over to live off of, added to their retirement income.

Joell's avatar

Always felt out of place during the grown up talks :(

jca's avatar

@Seek and @ARE_you_kidding_me: NC is a very popular place to retire to, according to friends who bought a condo and are preparing to retire there. I hear it’s hot in the summer but more temperate in the other seasons, unlike NY, where I live, which can be totally frigid for a good four-five months, which is hard to tolerate.

JoyousLove's avatar

Draw the line above the haves’ heads, instead! That way we have-nots can have our way with them!!

stanleybmanly's avatar

You shouldn’t fall into the trap of trying to figure the delineation of the lines in class divisions. Just recognize that a prime reason societal inequities persist is the tireless effort of the BIG winners to keep those lines as vague as possible. There has been a fundamental and undeniably successful effort in this country to both suppress and obfuscate matters of class. The necessity for this becomes rather clear once our current situation is explained as the class war which it most certainly is. The reluctance on the part of the bulk of us to recognize what stares us directly in the face is proof enough of the effecitveness of winners in controlling the discussion.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t begrudge anyone their affluence. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being in a fortunate financial position as long as there is some altruistic sharing.
Plenty of billionaires are philanthropically minded and give in very generous ways.
I agree there are a thousand different ways to live and I am now living an alternative lifestyle on a low income that still provides me with everything I need and still a decent amount of what I want, but my wants are not exorbitant.

The line is the line that @Espiritus_Corvus mentions.
My situation is similar to @Seek , when the economy crashed and the housing bubble burst, my years of work as an Int. design asst. and home stager crashed as well. Luxury businesses are the first to go when an economic recession occurs. People quit paying to have their homes decorated or staged for a fast sell and that was that.

From 60 to 0 in a short period of time.
Didn’t take long to fall hard and far from my years of grace and prosperity.
Oh well, I’m alive, my needs are met and I am able to survive quite well on very little.
As long as ones basic needs are met the rest of how one manages to live on less is largely a matter of creative endeavor. You’d never know by looking at me that I live on less than a $1000.00 a month at this time.

If life hands you lemons, make lemonade. I am one that has and continues to survive, inspite of some really dark times and I do not feel like a “victim” of any institution.
If you have the money to buy a castle, a Lear jet, a Rolls, well enjoy! I won’t lie and claim I am nearly as happy as I once was but I am also not one for wallowing in misery. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@jca I grew up in rural western North Carolina and now live in eastern Tennessee

Coloma's avatar

Well in Ca. where almost all real estate is prime, if I staged a million dollar home and it sold within 3 months I received a !% commission plus initial staging fees.
Do the math.
If I had 3–4 homes on the market at any given time between 500k and a million, well…I could live for 3 months in one commission. Sigh…the good old days.

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