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Seattle Bubble Forum Archive • View topic - Define middle class in Seattle

Define middle class in Seattle

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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby biliruben » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:35 pm

"Anyone remember "UHB," from "Metropolitan"?"

Urban Haute Bourjoise.

Great movie, with some fantastic lines.

"It's a tiny bit arrogant of people to go around worrying about those less fortunate. "

"I don't read novels. I prefer good literary criticism."

"Playing strip poker with an exhibitionist somehow takes the challenge away. "

"I've always planned to be a failure anyway, that's why I plan to marry an extremely wealthy woman. "
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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby Civil Servant » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:52 pm

"Is our language so impoverished that we have to use acronyms of French phrases to make ourselves understood?"

"Yes."

Hooray for Bili. I love this movie too and watch it every Christmastime. Strip poker and mescaline are optional.
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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby WestSideBilly » Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:51 pm

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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby grumpy old guy » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:49 pm

West Side Billy
you wrote:
The majority of people are middle class. You can slice this a million ways, but the middle class are mostly wage earners with defined/restricted benefits (i.e. 3 weeks vacation) who must work to make ends meet

Yep that's us

. Any interruption in work means increasing debt load
Nope
or other drastic measures.
Depends on what you mean we have 12 months income set aside for just such an eventuality since I expect it's a liklihood.

Major purchases are financed and must be balanced against other needs.
Um, all purchases are balanced against other needs and needs are very clearly differentiated from WANTS! Besides the house, nothing is financed, if we can't pay cash we can't afford it. If we want it and can't pay cash, we save for it then buy it.
Luxury purchases and savings are limited.
Again to me it depends on what you mean by 'limited.' Our savings are 'limited' to 50% of our gross (well 49.7 last year if you want to be precise)
Is that your definition of middle class?
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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby Niuska » Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:51 am

Which would you rather have?

a) $100,000 annual passive income (based on $2 million in assets) and all of the free time in your life?

or

b) $120,000 per year in a job that requires 40+ hours per week of labor and the continuation of that income depends on the decisions of your boss and the health of the company?

If you work for your money, you are working class. Most people tend to lead a lifestyle at their income level. But if a change in your income (loss of job or a promotion) is going to change your lifestyle (up or down) then you are a working stiff. There are different classes of working stiffs. But they are all some version of middle class.

You cannot be defined as "upper class" or "wealthy" if your lifestyle is depending on the paycheck from an employer, even if it is $300,000 per year.

Someone who is an owner (doctor practice, partner of law firm) of the asset might be defined differently. That is an income, but they are also one of the decision makes on how that asset is distributed. But then again, 10% of all bankruptcies are lawyers and doctors going out of business. They are working stiffs also.

If your money works for you, as in investment assets throwing off passive income, then you are wealthy upper class.

Even NBA or MLB players are working stiffs the first few years.
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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby rose-colored-coolaid » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:30 am

This entire thread has missed the point in my opinion. Middle class has never been as much about income or how it's earned per say as financial stability. The term grew out of the change from agriculture jobs where a bad harvest or two could ruin you to the more stable blue and white collar jobs. But we've shifted back the other direction.

Consider the 1960s: if a worker on a Boeing manufacturing line were laid off in 1964, he would have no problem moving to Detroit and getting a similar job with a similar pay. Catastrophic risk to his income was rather low. Now, if a worker on an auto manufacturing line is laid off, what is he going to do? He can't find a similar quality job with his current training. Losing your job is now catastrophic for a significant chunk of the population.

Jim Jubak about this very situation earlier this year. This of course is ignoring such things as illness or injury which have always been potentially catastrophic.
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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby WestSideBilly » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:44 am

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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby rose-colored-coolaid » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:15 am

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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby WestSideBilly » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:30 am

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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby rose-colored-coolaid » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:09 am

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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby WestSideBilly » Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:27 pm

It is difficult, which is why I am purposely vague. There are areas of overlap based on lifestyle choices, which you're getting at. We're also looking at it from an American perspective. A laborer in a 3rd world nation would probably view even the poorest workers here as "rich".

I would argue that anyone who views a new BMW as expected has a fairly skewed view of the world, but you and I both know those people are out there (and probably complaining about not having enough to get by). Most people, however, could easily distinguish between filling a transportation need (with the trusty ol' Corolla) vs satisfying wants with the much nicer BMW.

I look at your definition (posted on #11 and quoted above), and while I don't disagree with it, it allows a huge range of lifestyle and "class". You could probably find a family that fits that description in Skyway, and another on the lakefront in Medina, and both would be "middle class" even though I suspect the latter is far better off.
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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby rose-colored-coolaid » Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:54 pm

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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby lamont » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:34 pm

Working class has nothing to do directly with lower/middle/upper class. Working class is defined in opposition to Capitalist class. If you own things (businesses, investments, etc) which passively make you money then you are not working class.

This is a little bit blurry, but a huge chunk of this country is clearly working class and basically has no investments. There are some people who I would still also consider to be working class who have considerable 401(k) investments but are still doing 'work and save' it is just going into index funds and I think its stretching it to consider them capitalist class. Most lower rung management in companies also may have stock incentives but they still get most of their income from their salary.

When jeff bezos sells 100,000 shares of amazon every now and then, that is in a completely different league to the 5000 shares that i got for working there for 5 years.

If all your income comes from investments, investment properties and businesses that you own a fraction of, then you are not working class. You may do a lot of work, but your income is due to your capital that you own. You do work on your own capital, as opposed to doing work on someone else's capital.
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Re: Define middle class in Seattle

Postby sid » Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:10 am

What It Takes to Be Rich --
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