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People who make 400K A Year: Very Affluent


Prof. Brad Deling has an excellent post on a particular type of rich person rage, i.e. “$400,000 a year isn’t really that much money, so any increase in marginal tax rates is outrageous.” In this case the argument seems to be that if you don’t have an unlimited budget for luxury trinkets and vacations after buying an extremely expensive house in a good neighborhood in a terrific city and sending your kids to extremely expensive schools, you’re not really rich. I trust that this is self-refuting.

A central problem with the idea that 300 or 400 grand a year doesn’t go as far if you live in a desirable urban location is that living in a desirable location is something you’re getting with your money. If it’s really important to you to have money left over for ivory backscratchers, you can move to the periphery of the urban area; being very affluent doesn’t mean not having to make any tradeoffs. This goes double for Manhattan, where a status cost above and beyond actual amenities is built into the price of real estate. I mean, if you’re paying a huge premium to live on the Upper West Side instead of Brooklyn or Queens, it sure ain’t for the restaurants.

…Fallows has more.

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