Sunday, October 30, 2011

What is Middle Class?

I am thinking that we need some common definitions to help us have better discussions.  I did some research for Hennepin county and found the following demographics regarding household incomes.  My peers and I often begin to think that we are normal, since we are almost all in the same situation. (ie 1 or 2 incomes, college educated technical professionals)  Therefore we kind of forget that we are average for the upper 25th percentile (ie orange) and certainly not normal for the total population. (and many in the top 4%)

With these $100+K incomes in mind it is easy to say, "why isn't everyone saving more???"  Whereas if they had half that income, they may sing a different tune.  And with 25% of it they would certainly become more empathetic.

When my friends and colleagues start expressing that they are middle class, I start pointing out all of the adults that serve them at stores, restaurants, gas stations, etc in an attempt to help them appreciate their current status and income.  Though I accept it is hard to feel well to do while trying to "keep up with the Jones's".  Maybe they need to find some new "Jones's" to compare themselves with.  This would likely breed more gratitude and less jealousy.

So do these numbers make sense to you?  What is your definition of middle class?  How can that lower 25th percentile breakout?  Thoughts?

City Data Hennepin County (source of graph above)
Census Quickfacts Hennepin County
Hennepin County Fact Sheet 2006

The pdf below is a bit dated, but it has some great info.
Hennepin County Demographics

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Rich Get Richer

Just think, I found this on  So much for them being biased...

Of course this seems somewhat like common sense, since assets/investments typically compound in value.  This is why we save and invest.

Fox News Rich Outpace Middle Class

WonkBlog CBO Income Inequality

NY Times Top Earners Doubled

CBO Study Links

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Conservatives Hate the Environment?

I recently heard that someone had said "all Conservatives hate the environment".

Then I spoke with several friends that had just gotten back from China.  All of them said that the air pollution was awful.

So it seems to me that though China is supposedly Communist, they seem to embrace the Conservative belief that little or no regulations is the way to go.  I mean we want growth, right?  I mean people will make the right decisions, right?  And we want low cost solutions, right?


Facts and Details: China Environment
Google Photos

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Women Driving USA to Socialism?

Well, I am visiting my incredibly Conservative parents.  I  told them a little about Would Shoulda Coulda.  In particular, I discussed the hypothesis that our society's choice to give "Women the Right to Vote" could have led to more Liberal results over the past ~90 yrs.

My rationale is totally based on stereotypes and wild assumptions.  So take this with a few grains of salt...  Very simply, sometimes women tend to be more community based and nurturing than men.  There are exceptions and this may be changing, however historically this seems to have been the case.

Of course I was met with shocked disbelief...  I am used to that...  Thank God they Love me anyway...

So what do you think of this crazy hypothesis.  Possible or not?  Rationale?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

People Unite !!!

I can almost here the Wall Street and Conservative crowd saying "Let them eat cake"...

So is this the rebellion the Liberals have been talking about or just another passing fad?

Do you think the cell phones of the protesters say Motorola or LG/Samsung?

What about their cars?  GM/Ford or Toyota/Honda?

How would us established citizens feel if our portfolios were cut in half because Wall Street stopped worrying about corporate profits?


HP: Occupy Wall Street
CBS: Occupy Wall Street
CNN: Occupy Wall Street
TC Daily Planet: Occupy Movement in Mpls
Minnpost: Occupy Wall Street

Friday, October 7, 2011

Peace Activists Confuse Me

As I drove past the corner of Rockford Rd and Winnetka last night, I saw some folks out holding up various signs. (ie PEACE, GET OUT OF AFGANISTAN, etc)  This along with all the news and commentary of late (see example below) got me thinking...
  • Would getting out of Afganistan really serve the cause of PEACE? 
  • Or would it serve the cause of VIOLENCE?
I can think of many reasons for getting out of Afganistan, some include:
  • Stop the wounding and death of American soldiers
  • Stop the excessive spending of American tax dollars
  • Butt out of a foreign nation's internal strife
  • They've been fighting forever, unlikely to change anytime soon
However I can also see potential negative consequences, some include:
  • Women's rights in Afganistan disappear again.
  • Tribal killing increases again.
  • Drug production and terrorist training proliferate again.
So I am unsure what we should do? 

As a test of the Peace protester's beliefs, I think we should remove all Policeman from the Minneapolis streets for 6 mths.  I would be interested to see if the city would be more or less peaceful after the 6 months.  Of course, Mexico may give us some indicators of what may happen.  (Mexico)

I am thinking that pulling the troops out of Afganistan may be the right thing to do for America, but I am not naive enough to think that it will enable peace in Afganistan.

CNN Afganistan

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

No Taxes No Vote !!!

A friend of mine asked me to propose this to you folks, just to see what kind of comments this would generate.  To give you some background, he is pretty conservative however he has someone close to him that is on the "public dole". (ie got a refund for more than they paid in...)  The rationale is pretty straight forward, if you are not smart or driven enough to earn a modest taxable income, should you really help guide the country with your vote?

Though it is probably illegal for some reason, do you think people should lose the right to vote if they do not pay Federal Income Taxes for a period of time?

An analogy that comes to me is my local PTA, I do not get to vote on how the funds are spent if I do not pay dues...  Even though my child attends the school and I contribute to the fund raisers.  Should the USA be any different?  If so, why?  If not, why?  Thoughts?

A different topic...  Cupboards and countertops are installed...  Everything looks great !!!  All I have left to do is to blow more insulation into the attic where I shoveled it off when installing the recessed lights...  Though I'll probably do the whole thing while I am up there...  I mean it is ~26 yrs old and settled, and natural gas isn't getting any cheaper.  Yippeee, I may get back to my hobbies at some point !!!