You know we sound like whiners to the rest of America, complaining that a $250,000 New York income isn’t the same as being rich.
“Oh, poor babies,” they’re grumbling in Tucson and Topeka, usually with theatrical eye-rolling for emphasis. And these outside-looking-in people do kinda have a point. But our north-of-250 bellyachers do, too.
Yes, a $250,000 annual income still puts high-earning New Yorkers into the nation’s top 2 percent. And yes, it’s an easy figure to outspend around here, especially with sky-high Long Island taxes and the ransom that we call paying for real estate. Throw in a couple of family vacations, and a travel soccer team and some credit-card bills. People on the high side of 250 can still feel broke. Still be broke.
This all comes up, of course, because of the bitter fight over extending the Bush tax cuts. President Barack Obama has made his deal with Republicans in Congress to keep the lower rates for everyone, leaving no millionaires or billionaires behind. Despite the midweek Democratic tantrum, the deal almost certainly becomes law.
And a big part of the argument’s emotion hung on what exactly is rich. And who.
The small-d democratic ethos of America means that no one, no matter how wealthy, can ever say, “I’m rich.” We all prefer to call ourselves and think of ourselves as middle-class, no matter what we’re taking home.
Why else do you think he put in a last-minute amendment placing the raise-your-taxes line at $1 million? “Given the deficit,” he argued, “people who make over $1 million should get no extra tax cuts.”
You know the people.
Unless you happen to be one. Then they’re middle class.
1. Obama’s 250
2. Schumer’s 1 mil
3. Anyone who earns more than I do
4. Anyone who earns more than I’ve ever earned
5. Anyone who earns more than I hope to
ASKED AND UNANSWERED:
Are more people driving drunk this holiday season? Or are the arrests just getting more coverage in 2010? . . . Wasn’t Donald Trump supposed to be the get-it-done-on-time developer? Hope you didn’t book early at his it’ll-open-eventually Jones Beach banquet hall . . . Feeling too thin? Pretty soon we can all get fat on Magnolia Bakery cupcakes without driving to the city? Then can someone please explain: How did those “Sex and the City” girls stay so skinny on their Magnolia diets? . . . Don’t you just love the team names in the roller-derby box scores? Rolling Thundercats 151, Ladies of Laceration 107 at Skate Safe America in Old Bethpage . . . How can anyone trust the Nassau police crime lab now? And shouldn’t science – not trust – be the issue? . . . Is it possible that Alexis Roderick is wise beyond her 29 years? After all, Billy Joel’s new friend is a SENIOR Morgan Stanley risk officer . . . Am I the only one who feels manipulated by Snooki and JWoww’s LI house hunt? Any chance the new place won’t be wired with reality-show cameras and a really big hot tub? . . . After five weeks of painstaking vote counting, is Tim Bishop sure he still wants the job in Congress? Could be a tough two years for the Dems . . . Quick show of hands: How many members of the Nassau and Suffolk legislature will sign up for Taz’s new TNA pro-wrestling school? The moves could come in handy . . . Will Roosevelt High School ever climb off the low-achievement list? What tricks does Stephen Strachan have that other principals didn’t? Let’s hope he has a few.
LONG ISLANDERS OF THE WEEK
When the temperatures start tumbling, most sane people stay indoors. But a few hearty souls – and more than a few people who need the work in this deep-freeze economy – don’t have that snuggle-up luxury. Traffic cops. Snow shovelers. Roadside Christmas-tree sellers. Food-delivery folks. They climb into their long-johns. They pull down their stocking caps and they work. Let’s be extra nice to them this weekend. A smile! A fatter tip! A hot-chocolate toast to them!
Category: In Print