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Original post made
on Feb 12, 2013
We try harder.
While somewhat correlated, I wish the media would distinguish between "income" and "wealth". Is a millionaire someone who grosses a million a year or someone who ekes out a living here while making payments on a million dollar bungalow? The top 5% in the article include couples who each still have just 5-figure incomes, hardly wealthy in the sense of lifestyles of the rich and famous. And a huge difference whether they are in their mid-twenties or late-fifties.
Forbes does wealth ranking of assets by individuals or zipcodes. This area is overrepresented in that category too. There are a ton of extremely wealthy people here.
Probably more than a ton, which would be only about a dozen.
Given the meteoric increase in the incomes of the public sector--the Census should make an effort to separate public sector and private sector incomes. Statewide, there are about 2M FTEs/Part-time employees on public sector payrolls--out of about 14M possible workers, and 12M-13M actually employed workers.
With the salaries printed by the Daily Post, periodically, it's clear that some public sector salaries have pushed through the $200K boundary, and some are even pushing through the $300K boundary.
And the point about differentiating between wealth and income is very important, as is identifying the number of earners in the average household.
Given the differential in cost of living between this area and many others in the country, this kind of ranking is rather meaningless.
This is why people who earn less than a million a year are made to feel like insignificant losers. By the merchants here, the banks here, even the neighbors.
My block is populated with engineers and biotech scientists, and yet a real estate agent from Coldwell Banker was prompted to say that most of the people on my block were losers!!!!
Can you provide a link? Federal judges make around $175,000, not much more than many first-year law clerks can make in many large law firms. The governor's salary in CA is about that, too, or maybe a little lower, reduced from just over $200k a few years ago. But we pay our school administrators far more than that. It doesn't buy more competence.
What do you mean by the meteoric rise of income in the public sector? Overall, in the Bush administration, there was a huge rise in the size of the public sector workforce, but under Obama the public sector has been shrinking and contributing to the unemployment numbers Web Link.
Federal wages have been essentially frozen for a few years. I thought CA public sector wages have grown, but according to the Economic Policy Institute, on average, CA public sector workers still make less than their private industry counterparts
But that's on average. it doesn't mean specific public sector salaries shouldn't be examined for appropriateness and reduced in some cases. School district officials shouldn't be making more than the top executive in the state. I wonder if Palo Alto shouldn't purchase some property, kind of like churches purchase parsonages, the state has a governor's mansion, etc., so we can offer lower compensation packages while recouping our initial investment should such a program be discontinued. Do we need so many administrators in a district where schools are so autonomous?
And my father's father lives in the second-lowest concentration of 5-percenters (according to the Census report). I'm not sure that there's much to be learned from this report....
It's so bizarre to be deemed "wealthy" and yet be "house poor" at the same time... We cut coupons, shop at Walmart, and never go on vacation. We will probably have paper in the windows as long as we live here.
On the other hand, the only way to get past being so strapped is to buy and eventually it gets better. Even though we bought at the peak of the market, it's already far more expensive to rent a comparable home than it is now to pay the exorbitant mortgage and tax.
That said, I like living here in Nerd Utopia, where the CEO of the richest company in the world lives around the corner in a modest house, and I never feel like I'm looked down on for having no conspicuous wealth. I would not like living in keep-up-with-the-Jones's Greenwich, where the rich own practically every inch of the shorelines and the social hierarchy is palpable.
Oops, I don't know why I remembered Greenwich. My bad. Bridgeport, Stamford -- it's all the same to me!
Who cares, you can earn your millions, but your life sucks.. You work 24/7 and find joy in consumerism... Go to real poor countries in Africa, Europe and see how happy those people are despit their circumstances. Rarely do I find a real happy person in any suburb in silicon valley - enjoy the stress and the bs clean living. Traders Joes is overrun with you suburban driving fools.
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