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Cost of Living and Taxation or Something

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Posts

  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    syndalis wrote:
    The thing is, rent DOES cost that much more. End of story.

    Then how do poor people live in cities?

    COL adjustments for rent should be made, just not to the extent that calculator made them.

    Welfare and food stamps....
    You can qualify for welfare while working a minimum wage job? Where'd you find that time machine that took you back to 1993?

  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    Julius wrote:
    Cost of living adjustments assume the same quality of life, not the same value.

    No they quite clearly assume a different quality.

    Unless of course you're going to say that quality is not affected by location, which is silly.

    Quality isn't affected by location, provided that you're using a definition of quality which is based on uniform, location-independent metrics like "percent difference from median value" or "ability to purchase equivalent goods". Food in Hawaii costs roughly 30% more than anywhere on mainland USA because of the shipping costs involved in getting it there. Cost of living in Hawaii is, therefore, higher, completely ignoring anything about housing. Pretend you're living rent-free on the mainland or rent-free in Hawaii. Maintaining an equivalent diet and a similar lifestyle in Hawaii will be more expensive purely due to the higher price of goods. The goods aren't any higher quality in Hawaii; they just cost more.

    If you're suggesting that we should consider reducing the quality of food by a degree sufficient to keep your food budget the same after moving to Hawaii equivalent to the food you ate on the mainland with extra quality coming from eating worse food in Hawaii then there is no quantitative way to ever define quality of life or cost of living across regions.

    Living in a city where almost everything is within a 5 minute walk is an increase in quality over living in a small isolated town.

    Your argument about hawaii is like me saying that having my groceries flown in by private helicopter is not an increase in quality of life. There are advantages for living in the inner city, which is why people pay more. If location didn't affect quality of life then surely people wouldn't pay more for it?

    Also:
    Quality isn't affected by location, provided that you're using a definition of quality which is based on uniform, location-independent metrics
    Quality is not affected by location as long as you define it as not affected by location? Seriously? That is your argument?

  • XaviarXaviar Registered User regular
    HeraldS wrote:
    Modern Man wrote:
    Xaviar wrote:
    As for those ridiculous apartments people are throwing out, there has to be a piece of the picture that we are not seeing. I would imagine either those are outliers, or there is something else at play. Because that cannot be an average living place, while the average income in the area cannot afford it. That isn't how the world works. So again, I accept that not all jobs are available everywhere. But I'll bet that in your area, there are people working at mcdonalds and starbucks. And I bet they make way less than you. And I'd also bet they don't have a 4 hour commute. Because if they did, they'd find a job at a closer mcdonalds or starbucks. So how are they getting by? I don't suggest you do that. But I do suggest you find a middle ground. It's there. Trust me.
    In a place like NYC or DC, people who work at McDonalds or Starbucks have to live in bad neighborhoods and/or have a whole bunch of roommates. There's no real secret there. You can live anywhere if you're willing to accept an incredibly low standard of living.

    In places like New York most of those that work in McDonald's and similar places are poor minorities or immigrants who live quasi-communally in the outlying boroughs. They take these jobs because working in Manhattan beats working in the Bronx. I could barely get by in Manhattan on $40k. 0% chance of doing it on or near minimum wage. New York is an outlier and you (Xaviar) really should refrain from commenting on it unless you've lived there and/ or know what the hell you're talking about. It does not compare, financially or otherwise, with any other city in the US.

    That's fair, and brings me back to the first point in that quote, being that it either has to be an outlier, or there have to be more issues at play -- I meant no offense.

    But that does make me want to ask about the consistent trend in this thread in trying to compare the rest of the US to an outlier. If that really is the case, wouldn't this discussion be more productive using Boston or something as a model? Just curious.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I wonder how open people would be willing to share their personal finances in here, at least to the extent of "After all my bills I have $X left over to go out to eat, etc" just so we can get a better idea of this NYC and such debate.

    Ladies.
  • XaviarXaviar Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    It fluctuates a bit for me, and I don't really budget it out, but after a quick estimate, I've got roughly $800-1k to play with a month. (in northern minnesota)

    Xaviar on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Mine is also in the ballpark of $1000 a month, though that's including the ~$400 I toss in savings/retirement. (Central NY)

    bowen on
    Ladies.
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    Depends on what you're counting as bills, and what you're counting as money to throw around, but I range from about $1,000 to about -$1,400 at the end of the month after bills and such.

  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    JihadJesus wrote:
    syndalis wrote:
    The thing is, rent DOES cost that much more. End of story.

    Then how do poor people live in cities?

    COL adjustments for rent should be made, just not to the extent that calculator made them.

    Welfare and food stamps....
    You can qualify for welfare while working a minimum wage job? Where'd you find that time machine that took you back to 1993?

    Section 8 Housing
    HDFC Housing
    Hereditary Rent Control
    Rent Stabilization
    EBT/WIC
    Earned Income Tax Credits
    Medicaid
    Heating Assistance
    Child care assistance
    School lunch/breakfast programs

    I'm sure I'm missing some, I'd file all of these under 'welfare'

    How do you spell Justice?B D S Non-Violent Resistance to Israel Apartheid & Occupation.
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    It's hard to compare Manhattan living costs to anywhere else. Everyone my age who lives in Manhattan either lives in grad student housing or a group apartment with more people than bedrooms in a marginal neighborhood. Otherwise you're moving to Brooklyn.

    Atomic Ross - is the place you live in actually IN Dallas, or a suburb?

    I live in DC - actually in the city. There are plenty of people who live on their own - but if you want to live on your own and in a safe neighborhood near transit, you have to pay quite a bit. You can find small (technically not legal) basement apartments for $1300-1500 a month (including utilities). Until That said, if you live in those neighborhoods, you don't have to own a car - I don't, so that's $200 minimum every month that I save. I spend about $100 on transit every month, though my work pays for $60 for commuting. I also ride my bike everywhere.

    steam_sig.png
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yar wrote:
    Depends on what you're counting as bills, and what you're counting as money to throw around, but I range from about $1,000 to about -$1,400 at the end of the month after bills and such.

    The requirements. Food, electric, heat/gas/water, necessities like toiletries and other groceries, car/transportation, rent, insurance. Pretty much anything but "entertainment and eating out" I'd put in there. I'd be willing to concede on gym membership and internet/phone/tv bundles too.

    Ladies.
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    This thread has some epic misunderstandings of what medians and cost of living mean. However, the real thing we should do is increase estate taxes/death taxes. Why? We never intended there to be a high-powered aristocracy in this country, but yet we have one. That, with reforming the tax code (trust tyrannus, he is an accountant and can probably tell you 8 easy ways rich people can hide income) should net us what we want. Taxing poor people is dumb and unprofitable, as they have less money to contribute overall, despite the fact there are more of them.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    The problem is the estate taxes can fuck over the middle class as well.

    Oh so your dad was frugal and saved up $2 million in his life time and left it to you? Laugh go get a job hippie.

    The interest alone on 2 million is enough to live off of in most areas.

    Ladies.
  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    I don't understand - the federal exception amount is $5,000,000. There'd be no federal estate tax on $2,000,000

    tyrannus on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Okay, let's say he got lucky and could predict future stocks and left his children $6,000,000.

    A bit unrealistic but I'm sure there are families who fall into middle class with that much in estates with houses and other equity.

    Ladies.
  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    tyrannus wrote:
    I don't understand - the federal exception amount is $5,000,000. There'd be no federal estate tax on $2,000,000

    Arguments against the estate tax generally overlook or ignore the actual composition of the law.

    etxvv5.jpg
  • TehSlothTehSloth Hit Or Miss I Guess They Never Miss, HuhRegistered User regular
    edited August 2011
    bowen wrote:
    Okay, let's say he got lucky and could predict future stocks and left his children $6,000,000.

    A bit unrealistic but I'm sure there are families who fall into middle class with that much in estates with houses and other equity.

    Well, I'm not a tax pro, but I believe you'd pay what, 35 or 55% on the amount after exemption, so you'd have... damn near 5.5 million dollars.

    Poor baby

    EDIT: That came off way more dick-ish than intended.

    I believe even beyond that there are lots of way he could get around even the $5,000,000 figure unless he was just straight handing over cash, which is a pretty poor move.

    TehSloth on
    FC: 1993-7778-8872 PSN: TehSloth Xbox: SlothTeh
    twitch.tv/tehsloth
  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    So he'd pay tax on 1,000,000 at 35%. Maybe.
    bowen wrote:
    Okay, let's say he got lucky and could predict future stocks and left his children $6,000,000.

    A bit unrealistic but I'm sure there are families who fall into middle class with that much in estates with houses and other equity.
    There'd be ways to reduce that. Like, set up a life insurance trust that pays the premiums on behalf of the insured, and when the insured person passes, the proceeds are payable to the trust which is then liquidated to the beneficiaries.

    Irrevocable life trusts!

    I mean, estate taxes are kind of a joke because anyone that'd really be affected by them can hire estate attorneys/CPAs to help them get around stuff.

    tyrannus on
  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    Okay, let's say he got lucky and could predict future stocks and left his children $6,000,000.

    A bit unrealistic but I'm sure there are families who fall into middle class with that much in estates with houses and other equity.

    Okay, now I'm confused. How is a $100,000 a year salary "wealthy", but $100,000 x 60 in cash is "middle class"?

    YOLO. Swag. Whatever. Fuck it. Lets do this.
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Chances are if you're middle class is tied to your cost of living in NYC, one could argue that you could have real estate in the millions. Then tack on some estate cash? I don't know it seems like it'd be remarkably easy to get near 2 million on what I make after 40 years of saving and investing, especially after factoring in a spouse's income.

    Ladies.
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    Julius wrote:
    Quality isn't affected by location, provided that you're using a definition of quality which is based on uniform, location-independent metrics
    Quality is not affected by location as long as you define it as not affected by location? Seriously? That is your argument?

    I think the entire argument is basically:

    "Location is super expensive and because its so super expensive to rent any kind of similarly-sized and constructed home in NYC, COL adjustments should account for that!"

    versus

    "Location is super expensive because location is where high demand meets very limited supply and you can't expect to keep other housing variables similar while increasing the 'location' value of your house without paying out the nose!"

    Which raises the question of whether a COL adjustment should be willing to adjust for an obvious outlier of housing costs or if a COL adjustment should assume that someone moving to a dense, low-supply / high-demand housing market will need to adjust their expectations in terms of size and construction quality to compensate for the increase in location quality.

    Some people will deny the latter and argue, despite all evidence to the contrary, that location should not be considered, as if an apartment in the middle of the best trendy neighborhood across the street from a train station is worth the same as an apartment three miles away in a bad part of town. Note that not everyone disagreeing with me is arguing this point (don't get huffy).

    Still, there's room to say "I accept that location is part of the quality of a home" while still arguing that COL adjustments should account for the majority of the housing cost discrepancy. I think that's more of a lifestyle thing, some people shouldn't live in areas that are really expensive because its the equivalent of paying for season passes on the 50 yard line when all you want to do is watch a football game on your couch. Still, it can be hard to just say "blah blah supply demand market dynamics" when you're looking at turning down a new job with a big raise because you can't afford rent.

    Regardless, someone out there is willing to pay a small fortune to live in a desirable neighborhood, and just because you don't agree with their assessment of that value (the amount they will pay) does not mean that value ceases to exist.

    Two goats enter, one car leaves
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    Chances are if you're middle class is tied to your cost of living in NYC, one could argue that you could have real estate in the millions. Then tack on some estate cash? I don't know it seems like it'd be remarkably easy to get near 2 million on what I make after 40 years of saving and investing, especially after factoring in a spouse's income.

    I don't think it's actually that easy. Unless you spend very little on yourself or your children.

  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    Deebaser wrote:
    bowen wrote:
    Okay, let's say he got lucky and could predict future stocks and left his children $6,000,000.

    A bit unrealistic but I'm sure there are families who fall into middle class with that much in estates with houses and other equity.

    Okay, now I'm confused. How is a $100,000 a year salary "wealthy", but $100,000 x 60 in cash is "middle class"?

    Yeah, how can you have 6 million coming your way in inheritance and be "middle class?"

    I mean, maybe you were middle class up until the moment you inherited that amount of money, assuming your parents / whatever didn't give you any money up until that point. But once you have a 6 million dollar windfall, you're no longer middle class, and you no longer get to stand up and say "Don't tax me bro, I'm just a workin' stiff!"

    Two goats enter, one car leaves
  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    If you have a spouse, avoiding estate taxes is even easier. You could divide up assets and have them put into a bypass trust and have any spillover over the state exemption go into a qualified terminable interest trust, which qualifies for the martial deduction. The QTIP trust'll only be taxed once, and the bypass trust won't be taxed at all. Or, you could set up a Crummey trust and make annual gifts of $26,000(13,000 from you, 13,000 from your wife to it, which would then be invested and grow over the years and be restricted to being raided by kids who are dumb. Like, you could make it so they can only take stuff out after they reach 25 or something. That way those annual gifts reduce your estate.

    tyrannus on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Oh I never doubted that, just that the estate could very well been accumulated with a middle class income.

    Ladies.
  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    It could have, but when you do stuff like that, you should always have plans for it. Like, when you do your power of attorneys, also do your wills and health directives. I say power of attorneys, and not power of attorney, because many banks will not accept a durable power of attorney (they're not supposed to) unless it's printed on their form.

    tyrannus on
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    Oh I never doubted that, just that the estate could very well been accumulated with a middle class income.

    My dad is quite careful with his money but there is no way he could've given me a large inheritance. At least not of the amount that we'd have to worry about estate-taxes in the US.

  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    [qu
    JihadJesus wrote:
    syndalis wrote:
    The thing is, rent DOES cost that much more. End of story.

    Then how do poor people live in cities?

    COL adjustments for rent should be made, just not to the extent that calculator made them.

    Welfare and food stamps....
    You can qualify for welfare while working a minimum wage job? Where'd you find that time machine that took you back to 1993?

    Section 8 Housing
    HDFC Housing
    Hereditary Rent Control
    Rent Stabilization
    EBT/WIC
    Earned Income Tax Credits
    Medicaid
    Heating Assistance
    Child care assistance
    School lunch/breakfast programs

    I'm sure I'm missing some, I'd file all of these under 'welfare'

    Of those, only WIC/Foodstamps are entitlements. I have no idea how you think the EITC is comparable to welfare other than that it's a cash payment.

    Most importantly, the driver in cost of living is housing and none of the housing programs you mentioned are easily accessible - they certainly don't come close to being entitlements for those with low incomes. So you meet the requirements for Section 8? Awesome. In 18 months when we open the three year long wait list you can apply to be on it. Rent control apartments are fiercely coveted if I understand correctly, there is little project based housing in areas and it's utter shit in most others, and some things (like hereditary rent control) don't even exist in most areas even if they do have insane housing costs.

    People seem to massively overestimate the extent of the social safety net in this country, and how utterly fucking desperate you have to be to qualify for it at all in many cases.

  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    the EIC actually requires you to be working and have dependents (usually).

  • AtomikaAtomika not a robot. does not eat bugs!Registered User regular
    tsmvengy wrote:
    Atomic Ross - is the place you live in actually IN Dallas, or a suburb?

    Hard to say. Dallas isn't a city the way NYC or Chicago are. No one lives within the metropolitan centers because not only is it cheaper and easier to live in a bigger place in the suburbs, but there aren't actually that many jobs in the downtown areas. Dallas' major hiring centers are things like corporate HQs of big companies like AT&T and Frito Lay, and those are all interspersed throughout the various suburbs. Ostensibly, Dallas' nicest area is a community collectively called The Park Cities, all named that way because they have "Park" in their name somewhere, e.g., North Park, Highland Park, University Park. It's where people with money in Dallas live. Also, while it's fairly close to Downtown, it's still 4 miles from the center of the city's urban area.

    I live in the sprawl here in Dallas, about 29 miles from Downtown, but that's not important. I can make that 29 miles in 29 minutes. As well, I rarely go Downtown unless I'm going to see basketball or hockey or a concert. I'm 10 miles from DFW airport, 35 miles from downtown Ft. Worth (where I'm far more likely to go), and 25 miles from the stadiums and amusement parks in Arlington.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    There are apartment complexes downtown. But at least since I was last there they were all luxury complexes aimed at young singles and childless couples with plenty of disposable income.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    Okay, let's say he got lucky and could predict future stocks and left his children $6,000,000.

    A bit unrealistic but I'm sure there are families who fall into middle class with that much in estates with houses and other equity.

    If you leave 6 mill, you can deal with dropping some of it. That's a lot of fucking money, and that means you were rich.

  • AtomikaAtomika not a robot. does not eat bugs!Registered User regular
    Quid wrote:
    There are apartment complexes downtown. But at least since I was last there they were all luxury complexes aimed at young singles and childless couples with plenty of disposable income.

    There are some high-end apartments in the downtown areas, but it's not like the bigger cities back east. There's fewer of them, and almost no housing to speak of in the immediate downtown area outside of seasonal luxury apartments.

    Why would there be? You can get a 3000 sq.ft. McMansion 10 miles from Downtown for $300K.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    Oh I agree. If the wife and I ever moved back we'd likely be opt for a large house out of town too. Just pointing out there are residents in the city, though for most of them living there is a sort of phase until they get older.

  • AtomikaAtomika not a robot. does not eat bugs!Registered User regular
    Quid wrote:
    Oh I agree. If the wife and I ever moved back we'd likely be opt for a large house out of town too. Just pointing out there are residents in the city, though for most of them living there is a sort of phase until they get older.

    Exactly. Outside of a handful of very upper-class white collar types who work in the downtown area, the only people living in the Dallas luxury high-rises are trustfund brats who couldn't stand to live in mom and dad's pool house in the Park Cities, but still want to be in short distance to the clubs on Lower Greenville.

    Dallas' downtown area is actually really boring. All the cool shit is in Park Cities or the upper-class sprawleries, like Southlake and Allen, or out in Ft. Worth or Arlington.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    Oh I never doubted that, just that the estate could very well been accumulated with a middle class income.

    Unless someone bought some property that somehow became exceptionally valuable over the course of 20 years, no. Also, when that happens, the families usually sell because the property taxes eat them alive. Also note that 45 years of working at $50k a year is only $2.25M BEFORE taxes. So 6 mill is doubtful. This is America's biggest problem - we're WAY too aspirational, because we don't want to be taxed when we're rich, even though 99% never will be.

  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    I wonder how open people would be willing to share their personal finances in here, at least to the extent of "After all my bills I have $X left over to go out to eat, etc" just so we can get a better idea of this NYC and such debate.

    I live in NYC in a decent neighborhood in a 1br apartment with my wife. We make under 60k/year and have little left over after our monthly expenses. I don't live in Manhattan. We do save a little for retirement (I'd prefer more, but its something). We could not afford living in Manhattan, though we both work there.

    We lived in Minneapolis for a decent amount of time, and I would say we made a little more than half our current income and lived comparably. Convenience wise our apartment in Minneapolis was probably roughly equivalent to where we live now.

    I suspect that people arguing that one of the many benefits of living in a city is that you can walk everywhere, probably haven't lived in a city and tried to walk everywhere. I'd much rather drive to buy groceries than carry them for blocks. Same with any other bulky/heavy purchase. Not to mention missing out on bulk discounts/savings more often. Or getting rained on/snowed on, etc. There are plenty of benefits to living in NYC, but being able to carry my groceries home isn't high on my list.

  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited August 2011
    This thread and argument completely misses the fucking point people, which is that the Bush tax cuts are bad for everyone regardless of income. Yes, even bad for the rich because these tax cuts have favored them so much that when/if things really get hairy, they'll be the first to be slaughtered. The backlash is under way, but for now they have co-opted it until Teabaggers can have the space to be rational, or the Progressives get elected in droves (support the congressional black caucus, the Progressives with balls).

    Personally, my family income is over $100K, and I can tell you that the Bush tax cuts give me less than half of a single paycheck, because I don't have sufficient wealth for capital gains income. If the majority of my yearly income was capital gains (like the real rich motherfuckers), then those same tax cuts would mean I pay almost no taxes, which is equivalent to several months of income at least.

    Only the wealthy can win under the Bush tax cuts for exactly this reason, and because they know capital gains are virtually tax-free, more and more of the rich shift their income to capital gains. To end this legal tax dodging I would encourage all of you to tell your reps to END ALL THE BUSH TAX CUTS, even those that apply to you, before it becomes impossible to end them.

    I'm willing to sacrifice this tiny blip of cash for better education and infrastructure, and for the side benefit of giving the rich the finger for creating this poison candy we all seem unwilling to give up before it makes us the thralls of the rich for generations.

    Can you imagine their confusion if large numbers of poor, working poor and middle class prove that they are both better than the rich and have fundamentally different values, instead of the going meme that says everyone is just unsuccessful rich people that want get rich at any cost? I don't think they would be able to respond effectively for a very long time after such a display of fundamental goodness, which is anathema to their view of humanity. We might even shame them into behaving responsibly.

    hanskey on
  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    we kinda did that but they ended up extending them anyway

  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited August 2011
    tyrannus wrote:
    we kinda did that but they ended up extending them anyway
    No we didn't, or the Teabaggers wouldn't be in Congress in sufficient numbers to pull this in the first place.

    Frankly, we failed because of "kinda" in 2010. We have to do a lot more than "kinda", because our opponents are not stopping at "kinda", duh. Also, I said "prove", which can't come from "kinda"

    Without the snark: the failure is in the execution not the strategy.

    By making our voices as loud and vociferous as the Teabaggers we CAN actually shift the whole conversation to the left. In addition, disappointed Progressives should do the minimum required to re-elect Obama, and really make sure that the whole government is stacked with Progressive Legislators. Now that would be proof, not just a poll no one fucking cares about outside of elections.

    hanskey on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    I think we might actually have a combined income of 100k while I live in Hawaii. Mind this is only because the government gives me enough money to maintain the same kind of lifestyle regardless of where I am, and that itself is through government subsidized housing that I opt for rather than take the housing allowance and trying to get the same standard on the island which would be nigh impossible at my current housing allowance.

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