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July 21st, 2009
08:26 AM ET

What is "Rich"?

The original House Democrats' plan to reform health care is funded in part by a "tax surcharge" on American families making more than $350,000 a year. Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants to change this threshhold to $500,000 for individuals and $1 million for couples.

This has prompted a lot of discussion on whether "the rich" should pay for health care reform. We got a ton of responses when we asked you that question here on the blog Friday.

Today - we want to take the discussion a step further and ask what "rich" is? How would you define the term?

Post your comments here.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Sport

    It doesn't matter what Nancy wants to call "rich" -my husband and I have earned every dime we ever made the hard way. We proactively take repsonsibility to protect our health with vigilance and we saw to it that we earned a spot with companies with good benefits. What if I were to become catastrophically ill and needed our own personal wealth to cover cancer bills? This is communism to steal from the rich and give to the "poor". Who are the "poor"? Were we not all born in the same free society? If you want what I have do what I did to earn it!

    July 21, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  2. Constance

    Donald Trump is "rich." So is Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. President Obama is "rich" and Wayne Huizenga, too. There are a lot of celebrities that are "rich." Then there's all those invisible bankers and developers who are incredibly rich and no one knows who they are. There are a lot of those 'invisible millionaires' here in Florida. However, to put a number on "rich" would have to include how much does that person give back? THAT should be part of the equation. I think it has something to do with the equitable distribution of wealth. There are too many people on the planet living in poverty and they are beginning to find their voice. I think Nancy Pelosi is on the right track; $500,000 for a single, $1 million per couple. Families can easily grow and thrive on that much money! I know I could. I make $50 grand a year and have been putting my kid through college. Think what just twice that would do!

    July 21, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  3. JoAnn

    Anybody with more money than me.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  4. Walter Mrak

    To escape the relativity issue, where one's wealth is another's poverty, tax the products that only the wealthy can afford.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  5. Jillion

    We may be able to define what rich means from a dollar standpoint but who feels "rich" will be different for everyone. If you're living well under your means making $40k you may feel more wealthy or even have more disposable income than someone living beyond their means at $500k. The threshold we designate as rich is arbitrary as there's no guarantee that people making more money are not as cash strapped as those the plan is trying to help. Especially in this economy where people have lost their life-savings in the market crash.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  6. Nick

    I work over 80 hours a week at two jobs and make less than 40,000 a year. I bleed, sweat and cry just to try and make a living for myself. I'm afraid to have children because I don't know how I'd provide for them. No person needs half a million dollars a year to live on. Why should I not be able to go to the doctor just so you can drive a Ferrari?

    July 21, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  7. michael armstrong sr.

    the yearly pay check of congress

    July 21, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  8. Chris Hudson

    Anyone who has a home/ roof over their head, a car or two to drive, food in their fridge, clean water to drink and clothes in their closet is rich. Of course I'm comparing, for the most part, life in the United States versus life in other 3rd World Countries.
    However on the flip side, I disagree with taking more money from the "rich" (people who make over $350,000) to pay for Healthcare, because that is basically punishing them for being successful and setting up a system where the "rich" carry the country on their own backs. If the government continues to steal (tax) the rich for being successful, then they are using it as a get-out-of-jail free card instead
    of taking the responsibility of creating the problem in the first place (Richard Nixon). There is no easy answer, but we will soon experience another type of Boston Tea Party revolt very soon if we are not careful.

    -Chris Hudson

    July 21, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  9. Jay

    The American dream is, and always should be about working harder to get ahead. Not working harder to give everyone else healthcare. Particularly when that money is going to a government that is proven to be poor managers of our money.

    The "rich" already pay the vast majority of the taxes in this country and as someone who falls into what the government has chosen to call rich, I can tell you it sickens me to see how much money I pay each year and how it is managed.

    I would imagine that your CNN poll will come out with the vast majority of people saying the "rich" should pay for healthcare. That is because the vast majority of the people in this country fall below that line so it is natural the numbers would be in favor of it. That DOES NOT make it right. Work hard, save well, plan well and you can achieve the American dream. Don't achieve it by taking mine. socialism does not work over time. What makes America great is the drive for some measure of wealth and personal security achived through hard work and innovation. Our innovation has driven the worlds economy for decades and should for many more........unless we take away the reasons for doing it.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  10. lee

    I believe spock said it best."The needs of the many outway the needs of the few or the one".Rich,i define as having more money than you will ever need for food,shelter,clothing,health problems.This does not include self-endulgence.

    I agree with the speaker of the house.$500,000 and over is the correct amount to fund the healthcare bill.A better society depends on it.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  11. becky

    Rich is church income...since the churches/religion have so much influence in politics & government they are the ones that should be taxed. Religions have become extremely big businesses.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  12. Simon

    The rich are us you and me, though it is Obama who makes more than $350k I am also rich as Obama because I can be making this much. We do not want another Soviet Union but in the USA

    July 21, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  13. guatdoc

    What is rich? A quick search on the internet this morning found that in 2007 the Census bureau indicated a family of 5 with an income of $25,300/ year would be considered as living in poverty. If someone has an income of 10-12 times MORE THAN someone we say is poor, that to me would be RICH. I would label incomes of $350,000/year not as being rich, but as being OBSCENE.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  14. Mary Ellin

    What is rich? Rich is a doctor's salary. Rich is a pharmaceutical executive's bank account. Why don't we ever hear anyone talk about the huge profits being made by fancy fat cat doctors and health insurance companies, and malpractice insurance, and the pharmaceutical industry and the people manufacturing health and hospital supplies and machinery? How are we ever going to humanize and improve our health care system and make it more democratic as long as people are entering the system in order to make huge profits and big salaries? The reason health care has gotten so expensive is the individual greed of everyone participating in the business of delivering health care. As long as health care is viewed as a money making "business" and not an altruistic and noble calling, for instance, like the clergy or teaching, it will never be reformed. Everyone talks about the greedy fat cats on wall street. But if you had visited any resort during the boom times (the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard) you would have found plenty of fancy doctors and other health care profiteers in big mansions on cell phones lounging by swimming pools. The whole larger vision of what it means to participate in health care and what the profession is has to be steered away from riches and greed and toward a higher calling that truly "does no harm."

    July 21, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  15. Dan

    Rich is defined as someone who makes greater than 100% more than I make.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  16. Paul Dembow

    Heidi, you've asked the wrong question. We don't live in a socialist economy. Everybody should be able to enjoy the wealth they create. What government agency is the model of efficiency that you want to run your health care system or make decisions for you... As Ronald Reagan said, "The scariest words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.'"

    July 21, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  17. Brian

    Rich is when your residual income far exceeds your monthly expenses. Rich is also those that can do whatever they want to anytime they want to do it.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  18. Sonia Vivar

    If middle class hard working citizens are taxed to the gill, we are told to CUT BACK & FLUSH LESS in order to conserve. Why should the rich be spared, it's high time they roll up there sleeves and see not just read, how hard working citizens have had to live all there lives. I think a crash course in humility will do them some good.


    July 21, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  19. Tony Hill

    If someone makes $500,000 a year and pays over that amount in debt then in my opinion that person is very poor. The person that makes $100,000 a year and is financially sound in terms of debt to income is the one who I would call rich.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  20. Ameer Rutherford

    One of the problems with this country is the misunderstand of being rich and being wealthy. I would have thought that the last year would have been an exercise in spreading that delineation to more people. Being rich cannot be defined by a number. If a person were to have a lower income and spend that money wisely, they could be rich as defined by a more satisfying life. Another person could make $400,000 a year and have no time for friends, family or any pleasure at all. Who would be the"rich" one there?

    July 21, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  21. Charlie Rhodes II

    Who is rich? I would define that as anyone who has two or more homes they maintain. The second home of equal or greater value than the first.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  22. Lynn Delevan

    "rich" is when you don't have to add up the orders in your head when dining out.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  23. Vince McKay

    The middle class are getting a free ride when it comes to H.C.. The wealthy and rich are getting the raw end of the deal. Why not have a VAT tax that would be solely used for H.C.? This way, EVERY individual would pay equally to what they purchase. People will continue to purchase products. The rich and super rich will not stop buying yachts, mansions and super cars. The poor will continue to make their weekly survival purchases. This would be a fair and equitable solution to the vexing problem. We need to take GOVERNMENT out of the hands of the HMO'S.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  24. J

    I think a Healthcare flat tax should be implemented. It is unfair to punish the rich for working hard. I think Congress should quit spending money they don't have. And have an Oversight Committee place a uniform price standarded on all related medical and pharmaceutical products. If Insurance companies won't pay for procedures or products they deem too expensive. Why should it be fair to price gouge all of us! It's foolish not to fix the real problem- price gouging!

    Those representatives receiving money from pharma or big insurance companies- this is a big conflict of interest. These representatives should not be allowed to vote for anything they benefit from. The same with doctors getting paid by pharmaceutical companies and judging the approval of new drug applications. All of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    If Obama wants real change- he should start by fixing Conflict of Interests among Congressmen and Senators. They should be forced to disclose and not be allowed to vote if their is a conflict.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  25. Al

    I think $50,000 would be rich compared to us.

    I worked for fifty years at some of the hardest jobs in the country. I am medically bankrupt and live and maintain a small house on $10,000 a year. My 62 year old girl-freind lives with me and after 3 lay-offs she has found a part-time job cleaning toilets and lunch-rooms at an Electrical equipment place.

    Our combined income is around twenty thousand, and we still have two thousand dollars worth of bills that have accumulated during the last two years. If these are the "Golden Years" it certainly isn't what we expected.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  26. Diane J

    Rich in terms of money in the US would be anyone earning in the top 5% of the US family average. Many of these people do not believe they are rich because they spend more than they earn and live above their means. I used to earn over $250,000 and did not consider myself rich, but I had more income than I needed to live.

    Keep in mind that people in this category are also mostly Republicans and not at all interested in the well being of others as long as they are OK! The rich also know how to invest and hide money, and can reduce their taxable income to below any bar we set to tax them higher. Poor or middle class families tend to live paycheck to paycheck and do not have the means to achieve the deductions necessary to reduce their taxable income.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  27. Robert W

    Rich is 500,000 per year or better without pushing your life style to exceed your salary.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  28. Rob

    I am "rich" with the love of my three children. I am "rich" with just enough knowledge to answer my kids questions. I am "rich" in knowing where to get answers if I don't know them. I am "rich" with friends. I am "rich" just having a job where so many do not. I am "rich" in having few materialistic items, but just enough for me and my family. I am "rich" is my belief in Jesus Christ while many have lost their way. I may not be monetarily "rich", but I am "rich" is so many other ways.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  29. sarah

    I'd like to think I am rich. I have a house that is paid for. I have a car that is paid for. I have loving relationships with my daughter, husband, mom, sister, and friends. My health is still good and in general I do not have anything to complain about. Life has dealt me a hand that always provides me exactly what I need.For all those who think money makes you rich I say you are wrong. Peace of mind makes you rich. I am blessed and that is as rich as you can get.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  30. Bart

    The news media is missing a very important point about who is rich and going to pay for the health care plan. 40% of the cost is going to be born by retirees on medicare and I do not think they are rich by any definition. The public is getting the idea that only rich are going to pay. What a misjustice of news reporting.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  31. Leonard

    What is rich generally depends on geographic location. Two hundred thousand would not be considered rich in areas like New York City, California, or Washington D.C. area.

    In the Rust Belt and most of Appalachia, two hundred thousand would be considered rich.

    To me, rich is being able to afford extravagent items (such as yachts, mansions, luxury cars) and not having to worry about finances.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  32. russ

    It is amazing that so few people control the media in this country. I have been a business owner for 32 years. I am a veteran of vietnam(2 tours). I have raised( with my wife of 38 yrs) I don't have much money, but I am "rich " beyond my wildest dreams. The things that truly make us wealthy, thank God Mr obama and the Democratic congress cannot touch. I will not willingly pay for the health care of others, regardless of what I have. I worked for everything I have, let them do so also. I am hopeful that sanity and a God given common sense returns to the American people once again, and let the liberals go back under ground. Just a thought, how about the churches stepping up and taking care of the widows, orphans, and poor as we should.....

    July 21, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  33. lori

    Picking a number out of thin air is not the answer to "what is rich".
    The average annual income in the U.S. Should indicate who's rich and who's not.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  34. Lee Loveland

    Discussions on the "rich" always focus on a dollar amount (i.e $200,000 for example) but never place that amount in context for an owner of a small business that is either an LLC or 'S' Corp. Income from an LLC flows through on tax reporting to the individual owners (Members) of that LLC. Money left in the bank for operational expenses and to employ people shows as income to the individual on their tax reporting and does not provide an offsetting expense. Owners of such small businesses can therefore, often show an income level which would classify them as "rich" when, in fact, their take home pay is substantially less.

    If the above is not discussed by the press, many will never understand the implications of increased taxes on owners of small businesses. I am afraid small business owners will, at some point, rebel against the notion of higher taxes. Those who will be hurt are the very ones the government (in their infinate wisdom?) is trying to help. For every action there is a reaction which the government dosen't seem to appreciate. CNN can help to clear this up and I encourage you to do so.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  35. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    The original House Democrats’ plan to reform health care funded in part by a “tax surcharge” on American families making more than $350,000 a year. Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants to change this threshold to $500,000 for individuals and $1 million for couples. Why do we have to worry about the rich? Did they worry about us? No. I simply do not care to put a label on the term “rich.” I only care for the politicians to find an answer. Negative attitudes do not solve issues. Negative attitudes simply excuse the issues. We need to find a solution. Today for the first time freedom is free. Let’s use this freedom of speech to discuss the issue.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  36. Marissa is anyone who makes over 250.000 and doesn't give back . Everyone in Hollywood should be taxed 25% to make up for the excessive pay should be put into an a coifer that funds the "medical care for all"...universal healthcare is a right..not something only for the ones that can afford it . IFts time to stop being a me me society and help our fellow sisters and brothers.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  37. Jimbo

    It is impossible to call someone – making 200k or whatever number is out there – rich. That might be A LOT in Alabama or Kansas, but if you live in San Francisco or New York where the average price of a house is 500,000+ it is not a lot. There is nothing wrong with making "those who are well off" pay more than someone on minimum wage. But taxing 55-60% (federal+state+local) of income in nothing short of legalized robbery. Even if you want to spend the 45-40% you have you still have to pay sales tax. If you have money left over when you die, there's the death tax. Am I the only one who thinks this is unfair?

    July 21, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  38. Fred

    I think for some it's simply $ in the bank, though it appears to differ from person to peron. But I think for others it's more than that. It's a kind of independence and freedom in a certain respect.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  39. steven

    addtional taxing of people who earn over 500k to fund an expense of the poor in my opinion is nothing more than stealing from people who have earned the American dream and their right to keep their money.

    Our government now want's to become the modern day "Robin Hood" and steal from the rich and give to the poor. Robin Hood although loved by the poor was jailed and executed for his crimes.

    Americans making less than 500k should be careful for what they ask for.........the next time it might be the government reaching in your pocket for something else that needs to be funded!!!!

    Steven from New Jersey

    July 21, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  40. Shirley

    This time Nancy Pelosi is correct. My husband and I made slightly over 350k last year. We live comfortable lives, but we are not rich! We don't own a vacation home, yacht, or expensive cars. We have 2 kids in college (state schools not ivey league) we already pay 40% in taxes and around $500.00 per month for lousy health insurance. Let the Bernie Madoffs and Paris Hiltons of this country step up.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  41. Al

    America has to make decisions based on the well-being of the whole country. All these people who are so concerned about "their money' and "their property" might remember that the whole country belonged to the Indians at one time. Decisions were made based on the needs of the country.

    When the needs of the country are not met, the people will rise up and demand change. The French Revolution didn't happen because the government over-taxed the Aristocracy. It happenned because the government didn't tax the Aristocracy and provide for the common good.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  42. Randy

    I am sure the higher your income the higher your standard of "rich".
    I gross a little over $300,00 per year. To many I am sure I would be considered rich. I am single and do not have a half a dozen kids for deductions. The percentage of my income that goes to taxes if already ridiculous. If you work hard to get the right education, apply yourself, are inteligent in business that should not be penalized. I think of the people I have known all my life in school that just partied and now work for low paying jobs. In the work place that just did what they could to get a paycheck allowing others the pick up the extra workload. These are the ones I have excelled over and now I have to pay for their shortcomings.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  43. Megan

    Rich is when a person has enough wealth that he/she could, at any time, stop working completely, and not be worried.

    The thing I don't get about healthcare is the cost issue. I don't see how it is so hard to finance this. I mean, do the math. $1 Trillion for 10 years means $100 billion per year. US population was 304,059,724 in July 2008 (US Census Bureau). That's $328.88 per person, per year, or $27.41 per month.

    Sounds like people can pay themselves. Now, the only remaining issue is that this is meant to cover people who can't pay as well. If we charged $50 per person, per month, and every person paid in, the total [gross] monthly income would be $15,252,986,200, when we really (supposedly) need $8,361,687,034.84. So our needs are only using 54.82% of that gross income (at $50 per month per person).

    Basically, what that means is that 54.82% of people need to pay into the system for it to continue to work. Or, 45.18% of people at most can be unable to pay without breaking the system.

    $50 a month is not bad (especially for health insurance). From
    "The most recent figures are from 2005, and indicate that the average individual's job-based premiums were $3,991 that year, while families spent an average of $10,728."

    If that projection ($1 trillion over 10 years) is accurate, then I fail to see the problem in funding, when the cost per person is easily covered as noted above.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  44. Melvin Stokes

    Our society as a whole has a stain that can only be removed by compassion for our fellow man.Dolloars wasted on things like 700 millian dollar football stadiums (examole:Indianapolis) where only 12 home games are played while we walk past the homeless on the street to get there. Dollars wasted in Government for 75 dollar hammers and one hundred dollar toilet seats, etc. The money can be found for health care as it exists everywhere when you look.
    All problems can be solved when we as a nation turn to our fellow man and say"are you okay" can I help!

    July 21, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  45. george black

    The money part of the health bill is a diversion! Nobody is asking what benefits are being cut. We will be standing in line at the free clinic with the illegals.

    George NJ

    July 21, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  46. Jim

    What is Rich?? NOT ME !!!!!!!!!!

    July 21, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  47. Ed From Smalltown Iowa

    Being "Rich" is more than money. It is health, family, home, God, and friends. A history lesson: It was only 25 or so years ago, Federal Tax Rates were 70% and higher, after standard deductions, on those who made $200,000. How times change. Our parents and grandparents built this country with sweat and tax money without a whimper. Now, we have TEA parties. Athletes, movie stars, politicians, and radio/tv personalities are wealthy, yet they own no factory, are not the "job creators" so many say will be hurt. One last question to all: What Would Jesus Do? He taught Christians to look after the less fortunate and peole in need without rancor. Was HE wrong?

    July 21, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  48. steven

    Pink Floyd said it best in their song called "Money. KEEP YOUR HANDS OF OF MY STASH!!!!!

    Steven from NJ

    July 21, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  49. Eric Smith - Philadelphia, PA.

    Being rich is as much a "state of mind" as it is a "state of being." First the "state of being," if you could take carte of your basic necessities – food, shelter and clothing for 5, 10, 15 years without having to generate new income, you are rich. Second the "state of mind," <> if you love yourself, have a family that loves you and possess the capacity to love others you are indeed rich. Good discussion, thank you!

    July 21, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  50. Brian Earle

    Rich should be defined by net worth. I believe the current definition in the USA is 5 million or more net worth. People making 250k and over per year may not be rich, ie young doctors paying off their med school debt or business owners paying alimony and child support. In addition rich people may have a net worth of over 5 million a year but may not have a taxable annual income over 250k per year.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  51. cole

    Ive heard several comments saying, "Its not fair that the rich are being taxed"
    Well its not fair that when George Bush was NOT taxing the rich when he was president.
    All they are doing is simply paying up what they were pardended
    Obama can not fix 8 years worth of bush problems in 100 something days.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  52. John

    Rich! is having more income than you need to support the life style you enjoy! How, much more is rather unimportant.

    Regarding health care "everyone" must have health care coverage in a humane society. If you are rich enough to buy more coverage or service for yourself or your family, you should have that choice.

    Everyone should pay the same amount for coverage, even if you choose to use other service providers. The government needs to pick up the tab for those who cannot pay their share. That's humane too.


    July 21, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  53. kim harrington

    If you want to to find a fair tax law on the rich then let it start at Congressional base pay.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  54. Margaret

    Rich in economic means? A person that lives far beyond what an average person earns.Alot of employers make money off their employees yet don't want to have an added cost of giving health insurance to them yet they themselves have health insurance. Health insurance shouldn't be an option it should be a standard. I say give everyone that needed healthcare. It is an investment in this nation to have healthy working individuals. What's so wrong about that? Let the public health plan pass for it is just another competitor to the big insurance companies and will hurt the big insurance companies profits.Hmmmm people profiting off your health how sick is that?!

    July 21, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  55. Paul

    A tax on the rich? Lets call it what it is, class envy, wealth transfer, socialism??? If I didn't go to school or work hard(smart) enough then shame on me. Nobody owes me anything but the opportunity to make the most of myself. And I sure don't want the goverment up in my business. It makes you why is our president in such a hurry? Is it to get all this legislation done before the American people wake up?

    July 21, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  56. Struggling

    In California, there is a "Self-Sufficiency Standard" for individuals and families that varies depending on which county you live in. It is the amount of money needed to support yourself and your family. I would define "rich" as anyone who earns in gross excess (e.g. five times) of this amount. The notion of taxing the rich is an attempt to make the distribution of wealth in this country more equitable. If you look at other countries in the world with better health, better quality of life, less violent crime and longer life expectancy, you will notice a more fair distribution of wealth among its citizens. That is, the gap between rich and poor in those countries isn't as extreme as it is in America.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  57. Marissa

    After reading your responses...I just wanted to respond to those well off people who say that hard work is the way to money...It is I agree..but if you can't get work due to the lack of them.. then you cannot save, invest or be smart with it. So why shouldn't the ones who make excessive amounts of cash be make to give 25% of it back to the people who make their success possible by using, buying, reading , watching etc. the products the rest of us use. Why should those toys that you use not be taxes to the hilt? The rich should help with social programs. Its hard to think of others, I agree. But we must.,its the only way to turn this sorry world around

    July 21, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  58. rocky

    lets just make 1 million dollars a year...what exactly is it going to cost you...under this new proposed health plan?

    July 21, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  59. Tiffani

    In one sentence I think 'Rich" is anyone bringing in over $2 million a year or more. However, with this Administration's uncapped spending and quadrupling the nation debt since Former President Bush left office I think this Administration is going to be forced to raise taxes on everyone which infuriates me.

    1. Why should "the rich" no matter what income be burdened with paying for everything that everybody else wants and the Administration's Blank Check Unlimited Spending Spree.

    Eliminating the Federal Income tax for everyone and allowing everyone to receive 100% of their hard earned pay check and implementing the fair tax would be fair. Everyone including (Indians, illegal aliens, drug dealers, etc.) would pay taxes on what they choose to buy. Everyone contributing fairly would fuel the economy instead of burdening certain groups.

    2. I do not trust the Administration. They flip flop. Now they are contimplating families earning $350K a year and $500K, but they will come back and migrate to lower and lower brackets. No matter what the income it is all relative to a current family's budget. I am part of a family that is earning close to $250,00 per year, live on a budget, save in a 401K, work endless hours to earn a 3% raise each year and the government thinks taking another 2-4% tax increase on families like us won't effect us. Obama has said before they are looking at family's making $250,000 or $200,000. This Administration causes me to loose sleep at night because there is no end to their spending and the Government is not on a budget and want to spend all of the tax payer's money!

    July 21, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  60. Lynn Mohr

    You did not have a place listed for questions or comments about this topic, so I am just asking here. If we as a country, realize that we need to learn the Afghanistan languages to really do our job, i.e.
    "Marine Special Ops taking lessons in Afghanistan languages",
    why are we so willng to let immigrants flood into this country and
    NEVER insist that they be able to speak our language. However, we
    are asked to push "one" for English, WHY?"

    July 21, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  61. Amy Himelright

    Hi Heidi. "What is Rich" is an impossible question to answer because it is so subjective. If you ask farm workers in rural China or orphanage workers in Ethiopia where the children go long periods without electricity or running water; you'd certainly get a different answer than when asking a middle or class American.

    My truth is that we are the richest country in the world. It is archaic to let children and families go without health care. We will be a richer nation when all our citizens are well cared for. It's not socialization that I'm promoting. I am promoting adequacy of health care for Americans. We can afford to take care of our own.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  62. Charlie Murrell

    Why shouldn't the wealthy help the poor or less fortunate ? Republicans have an attitude ; I got mine to hell with the rest . Anyone taking home 200,000 is rich , make them pay a fair tax to help others .

    July 21, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  63. ekh

    Does it really matter what the definition of rich is, a simple flat rate tax would be fair to everyone. The funds to run the IRS could fund health care once medical charges are brought in line.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  64. Star B.

    I'm going to have to agree with Nancy. I think they should consider people who make $500,000 and more a year, rich.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  65. max spriggs

    Rich is not being in debt. Rich is also the notion of being self-sufficient. If people lived within their means and never acquired debt, the standard of living might not be as portrayed as the elusive American dream but it would relieve the stress of everyday living. The other problem is people (and companies) are looking for others to take care of them and our government is the main culprit of "enabling' these people to continue living a lie.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  66. Tim, Arizona

    Rich is easy..........
    I have my social security, a morgatge that I can afford, all the vehicles I need, all the food I can eat, good health care from the VA, and a relatively calm and happy life. I am wealthy.
    In my experience in my 62 years is that the amount of money I have has little to do with my happiness.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  67. Pierre Angiel

    The iomportant thing in any tax isn't its size it is its impact. If you tax a poor person 5% you could devestate him. But taxing a rich person 5% is nothing.

    Taxing someone 5% with an income of $5,000,000 leaves that person with an astounding $4,750,000 to get by on.

    For years under Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower the Marginal rate was 94%. That forced the rich to reinvest their money in the US economy. That way they didn't lose the money, rather, they had it working for them.

    Since then, the rich bought Presidents and they bought Congress, and they forced local taxes to rise in order to allow that 94% to be lowered to 15%. In other words they transfered their taxe burden to everyone else.

    That kind of redistribution of wealth is unconscionable. And the screams against transfering it back are pure comedy.

    Our Country has been destroyed as a result of that monetary manipulation.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  68. Glen Matheny

    Rich is being able to live a life of abundance or fill an expensive taste that we all have in some shape or form,but rich and being wealthy are to different things. Shaquille Oneal is rich, but Bill Gates has true wealth.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  69. Eva

    Rich is different in different parts of the country. I live on 26,000 a year and am not starving, have a car, and can do a few things but if I went to a different part of country I could not afford to live. Although I do know a lot of people who claim they are not rich but their standard of living is so high that they have no more money than I do. To me someone who has 6 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms for two people then complain how poor they are is a false statement. I do not have enough money for health care so guess if I get sick then I will not be able to go to Dr. or end up in bankruptcy but some of these people cannot see that we are paying for healthcare anyway for people who cannot afford health insurance.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  70. Paul

    I certainly agree that $500,000 is rich. With a salary like that, you can easily live in a big house, drive a mercedes, pay for your kids college and save alot of money for retirment. But does that mean that more of that salary should be taken away to provide a service that probally all people making over half a million already have? If everyone would just take care of themselves, we wouldn't need the rich to keep the poor afloat.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  71. S.Greve

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
    First of all, the "rich" would be anyone actually working.
    Secondly, anyone rich enough to be called rich doesn't pay mmuch tax. They can afford to hire the best to advise them how to get out of such responsibilities.
    Thirdly, the entire concept of them vs us serves to separate this country, rather than untie our people. This is wrong. The wealthy, working, non-minority are seen as the "problem" and the "solution". This makes as much sense as drinking salt water to survive.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  72. Doris Munoz


    My view is that you are "rich" when your net annual income is $500,000 after all taxes are paid. I wish I could net $50,000! Personally, I could live well with that and give a lot back, too.

    Doris Munoz

    July 21, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  73. Mark

    Heidi why do you talk about bridging the gap between the poor "black", there are many poor white people also. Perhaps if you presented this as a class issue vs a racial issue. I am white and poor, with several inventions I cannot get funded because I am poor, and nobody lends funds to poor people.

    Heidi your reporting reminds me, that you are news for profit not for truth.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  74. Not-so-rich (Judy Symcox)

    The question isn't rich, it's rich WHERE ? $200,000 in San Francisco Bay Area and New York City is about the equivalent to $50,000 in Boise and Memphis. Quite UNjust for a POLITICIAN to arbitrarily pick a number! Cost of living varies by locale.
    Not-so-rich Bay Areaian

    July 21, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  75. Susan

    The term "rich'" can be defined monetarily but you will undoubtedly receive a wide range of answers due to it's subjective nature. I consider myself rich because I have a beautiful, healthy family and so much love in my life. Monetarily my husband and I make 130,000 a year combined.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  76. Ramal

    Most of the comments were not very specific as to what is rich. They did relate their comments to the healthcare question but they nor most of the government persons are looking at, or seeking answers that are simple and which would provide great releif to our medical cost problems. I have studied this problem since the late 1960's both as an interested party and professionally and upon that experience is what my conclusions are based. We must have formalized 'sick call' facilities available staffed with PA's and NP's to reduce emergency room expenses. The greatest need of all is better control of the legal profession which no longer tries to make people whole, instead works to make people rich. The sick call process I mention before cannot exist because of the legal community, more than 30% of pharm costs are cover for the legal profession, maybe as much as 63% of physician referals involve legal cover, a huge amount of lab costs involve legal cover. Check my figures and see how close I am.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  77. Stephen

    The selfish attitude that is displayed by many of these comments illustrates the delusion that has been indoctrinated into the American psych. For at least two decades people have be taught that they have no responsibility to anyone but themselves and their families. This incredibly selfish point of view has been legitimized by the White House and many in Congress. We have forgotten that our country was founded on equality for all.
    Yes, we all start our lives here but as is so clear (as illustrated in Gladwell's book Outliers) is that we all have different opportunities and abilities to make and earn a living. It is NOT as popularly perpetrated by those who have made it, simply a situation where if you want it you can get it. Even folks who have worked hard and positioned themselves well only to find that their companies go out of business, the skills they worked so hard to acquire and no longer needed, they got ill or had an accident and were unable to work or do the job they prepared for. To say to these people "too bad" is wrong and not what America is supposed to be about.
    The rich (the top 2%, $200k+) need to give back to the society that has given them so much. They need to learn that their wealth is a result of not only their hard work but of this society and it is their responsibility to give back.
    Only Government can insure that what the rich contribute is equally and equitably distributed. Charities are, by nature, devoted to social engineering. While they are good and fill an important place in our society they are focused on specific problems and outcomes and not on the good of the overall society.
    What the rich need to understand is that if they do not support national health, it costs them in higher health costs, if they do not support help for starving families that it costs them in a society that isn't able to produce the kind of workers and contributors that make their wealth possible, etc. If there is no one to buy your products you will not become rich. And if people are poor, have no health care, or are unemployed they have no ability to contribute to the economy and that hurts us all.
    No it is not true that you, the rich, earned your money and therefore should be able to keep it all. Without our system of Government and the contributions of our society you would not be rich. We made it possible for you to have what you have, now your responsibility is to give back to keep the wealth of this country growing.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  78. George

    We continue to attempt to define "rich" based on a yearly income threshold. In fact, being truly "rich" depends on one's accumulation of assets, equity and ownership. Our present tax code – right or wrong – gives preferential treatment for those who have amassed sizeable fortunes. Example: lower tax rates on dividend income and capital gains, availablility of like kind exchange trades, step up basis on inheritance, etc.

    On the flip side, we tax "earned" income (wages, business income) at the highest rates. So when we hear tax proposals that specify taxing those "earning" more than a specific figure, its should not be surprising that many hard working, high earners take offense.

    No easy answer, but as distasteful as it may seem to many, some sort of "asset tax" may be in order. We do it with estate and gift taxes, as well as real estate tax (on the local level). In fact, the estate tax percentages are among the highest we have....why not do away with it in total and have a small pay as you go asset tax. If done properly it can benefit everyone.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  79. Sal

    Why is being rich so hated? It seems lately that liberals see success as some kind of character flaw. I opened my own business back in 2005 and it's still going strong. I make $60k a year and I'm $40k in debt from starting my business. With that said, I really don't have time to care what other people make. Bill Gates started in his basement, so did Famous Amos and 1000's of other millionaires. I know my business will get there someday. If not, at least I get to make my own hours. 🙂

    July 21, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  80. Robert

    I think "rich" has to do with income earned from invested assets. If you have enough investment income to cover your lifestyle expenses while keeping up with inflation, then you're rich. Working is optional. But I believe this includes less than 5% of the US population.

    To stipulate an earnings number for "rich" is arbitrary. If you want to tax “high earned income earners”, which sounds like what Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others are referring to, then we should probably change the wording so no one is confused. Then you don't have to set an arbitrary number. Start with the highest income earners and tax down until you get the funding you need.

    I don't think it's a good idea to add additional taxes on to the bill of the country's most economically efficient earners, but if this is what you want to do....just be prepared to see earned income shift to other places to avoid having that tax assessed.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  81. RusRus

    Most of the people considered rich, DO NOT work hard. They got rich trough luck, nepotism, and other ways. The people who really work HARD, make under $50,000 a year, they do not have tax loopholes and if they get sick they fall into debt. I wish everybody who makes under $100,000 a year would go on strike for a week, and we will see what the rich get done on their own. Since getting rich often involves profiting from others labour, I think this nation would come to a stop if all us poor people went on strike for equity in pay for labour. Don't tell me CEO's, bankers, wall street types and other executives work hard, they don't sweat in the factory on hot days, freeze while picking up your garbage, or show up at the restaurant at 4AM to make your breakfast. The rich have choices us poor people don't dare dream about, like a vacation, or even a new pair of jeans (I buy mine second hand).

    Of course the RICH whine and cry, and insist they work hard and deserve to be rich, but if you benefit the most from society, you have an obligation to the same society you have benefited from. So quit whinning and accept the good with the bad, I am sure one less luxury overpriced item will not change your life that drastically, if it does learn to manage your wealth better.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  82. Tim Parker, Dalton GA

    Rich is someone who has the capability to live within their own means

    July 21, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  83. New York mom

    In the NY tri-state area, $200,000 or even $250,000 is not rich. Our family has income in that range and we cannot afford any more taxes than we already too. Deductions for taxes and benefits, is about 40% of my gross income. We have a modest home (a condo), one child in day care (costing $1500 per month), and two incomes. I am still paying off student loans. We lead a modest lifestyle - no fancy cars, not many nights out, no fancy vacations so this is not about living beyond our means. We had no financial help from family to buy our first home, so our mortgage is substantial but manageable for us. We put so much money in 401(k)s and dependent care plans to try to help reduce our tax liability after getting hit with a huge tax bill a few years ago - and look where our 401(k)s have gone in this market! I do appreciate the fact that we have a 401(k) option and realize that others don't. I hope it will be there for my retirement, but I sure could use some of that disposable income now. It saddens me that we will probably not have another child because we cannot afford one and we cannot afford to have one of us quit working to stay home. If we had another child there is no way we could afford the child care.

    I am not anti-tax. We have a progressive tax system in this country, that taxes according to ability to pay and that type of system is fair. We pay our taxes. I am not even asking for a cut. I just can't afford any more. I do think it's fair for those with much higher incomes ($500K and up) who can afford vacation homes, boats, other luxuries, who regularly buy designer clothes and appliances, to pay more than people who are just getting by. We just haven't heard any numbers for what this surcharge would be. If I had that level of income,I wouldn't mind giving up a luxury if it meant all could get quality health care.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  84. Brian


    Rich is having the freedom to be, go, and do what you want when you want according to your highest vision (not hurting anyone else or yourself) without any fear or anxiety about money.


    July 21, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  85. Thameea

    You was telling us how to conserve more energy. Rich is when Utility companies are asking more from their customers 'because we are cutting back in consumption'. NV Energy in Las Vegas just got approved for a second hike for residential customers this year, citing they need to cover costs. They have increased rates of consumption consistently for 3 yrs now.
    As you know Vegas' unemployed. is 12.3% now, not to mention the underemployed. Which means it's harder for people to pay the costs to cool their homes in the summer heat. An electric bill be upwards of $350.00 a month in the summer with the therm at 85f . They are the monopoly in this city and are strict with payment plans. If you can't fulfil the plan according to "their standard and structure" your electrity will be shut off and terminate your privileges with the public service commission of NV. Where else could one get electricity in most cities other than "one" company? Who doesn't want electricity, people would pay if they could? Rich can be Power to influence, good, in favor of, and giving. Rich can be false pride, merciless, and greedy too.

    July 21, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  86. George

    Sal, being rich is not hated. But like it or not, there are tax gaps that at this time must be filled.

    You have a start up business..well on its way to success. But right now, you are basically just earning a living...and still in debt. Should the additional tax come from someone in your that really feasable for you at this point?

    Those that get up on their high horses and declare "I worked hard for my money and see no reason to share it"......they are the disliked ones. We all work hard for our money. Some succeed more than others. Who can we, as a nation, turn to but those who have succeeded and can afford the additional burden?

    And as an aside, I agree with you totally....give it your best shot, be your own boss, make your own hours.......and someday, hopefully, you will be in the position to happily give back a little.

    July 21, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  87. Mike Stanton

    Heidi’s CNN report displaying enormous taxes to be paid by the rich (earning more than $500,000) is very misleading and not really accurate. In fact, most wealthy taxpayers are skillful at avoiding much of those taxes through tax shelters and deductions. A better, more accurate, report would disclose what percentage, on average, these folks ACTUALLY PAY.

    July 21, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  88. Brena

    I agree with Nancy Pelosi. Rich, to me, is $500,000 or more, even though I'm sure they get taxed to death.

    July 21, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  89. Shara

    Amen, Sport! We have earned every penny, working hard through graduate school, giving up a lot of personal pleasures–no partying through school, etc. Rather, my husband didn't leave the library til it closed; I practiced hours per day as a musician. He now has a dental practice in a rural area, serving under-served populations, employs 10 people and yes, would be considered "rich" by these new standards. Has he not earned it? Is this the type of person who needs to pay more yet?? He sees people on Medicare and Medicaid, those who don't pay because they are sick, and any child who walks in his door. I don't think the general population understands the commitment and care that they are given, often for free. We paid off our loans, I went back to school for a PhD and gained employment. Come on! Everyone has the opportunity! I teach at a university and see too many young people who want it handed to them. I don't give A's, they earn them. This attitude has to be fostered in greater measure across the US. If one earns their living, they ought to be able to keep most of it. With the new taxes coming down the pike, it looks like we'll be able to keep less than half. That isn't right! Who deserves our hard-earned money more than us? I don't mind sharing, but there's a time when it becomes outrageous and a time when we will cease to work as hard to avoid paying for someone else. A time when a caring dentist will be forced to limit if not stop seeing the nonpayers. A time when access and care will diminish due to lack of motivation by those who have earned the right to live freely, spending their earnings in the way they see fit. Socialism isn't a good idea. There will be fewer prosperous people and fewer "rich" from which to squeeze dollars. Better to offer incentives so that all will lift up themselves. Remember Jesus taught us to fish rather than just hand out the fish so that we could eat for a lifetime.

    July 21, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  90. r griswold

    Rich is everybody at the meeting except you.

    July 21, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  91. David Hutchinson

    We need to stop concentrating on wealt. As we found out in September wealth is just an arbitrary number that bought you security. You actually didn't physically see or touch your wealth. This wealth is something that is intangible. What we should be concentrating on is Happiness. You don't need millions of dollars to be happy. The concept of family is ruined by the thought that you need wealth to be happy. How about your good health, your children, possibly your spouse and a modest home with an intact or peaceful home life. Good friends, a pleasant hobby and a sense of purpose that interests you. But most of all a sense of purpose larger than yourself. My sense of purpose are my children. I can partially understand Joe Jackson because he gave his kids a sense of purpose and he gave himself a sense of purpose and I believe basically he found his happiness. And profited from it as well. So having a sense of purpose and having personal interests will trump being an empty human being and financially set.

    July 21, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  92. MtnMichif

    Taxes are the price we pay for the "commons" and those who think that they are self-made are not taking into account all that "taxes" provide for them and contribute to their accumulation of wealth. I pay approximately 12% of my gross (not net) income for full coverage health insurance (somebody notes they pay $500 a month, that would be a decrease in my costs). Somebody who has over 750K after taxes could easily pay what I pay as well as buy for insurance to cover major health issues that would bankrupt someone with less income.
    By the way, if we had taxpayer funded elections, our "representatives" wouldn't be swayed by Big Pharma/Health Insurance contributions and the 1.5 million a day that is being paid to lobby them on this issue. We'd have universal health care cuz their re-elections would depend on how they respond to our concerns, not the interests of huge corporations and people who are "rich" and have a chance to make a 10K contribution instead of needing to use that money to buy health insurance for their family.

    July 21, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  93. Isaiah Solomon

    Why should we give up anything ?
    When it comes to spending and the deficit why is always the tax payers that has to foot the bill.
    who do we owe when it comes to the deficit we owe ourselves.

    July 21, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  94. David Hutchinson

    Since everything is based on credit and ability to collect fees and penalties there is no true wealth. Just arbitrary numbers calculated to a number we assign value to. If the numbers a=say you are rich, you are numerically rich. True wealth woud be a tangible commoditiy we could see, touch and collect and would retain it's value in hard times.

    July 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  95. M. Hayward

    A major issue is that the President and Congress do not have the courage to do what is really necessary or to level with the American people. They prefer to foster class warfare. The following data is based on an article in the American Enterprise Institute dated December 2007: 1) The wealthiest 1 percent of the population earn 19 percent of the income but pay 37 percent of the income tax; 2) The top 10 percent pay 68% of the tab; 3) 47% of taxpayers have no tax liability. The proposed restructuring of the healthcare system, as it currently stands, leave the fundamental problems unanswered. For example, in Texas, Medicare patients cannot find physicians that will accept them due to the low payments, effectively leaving them unisured. Are we talking about financing an incredible drain on the wealth of this country and destroying the private health insurance industry employing hundreds of thousands of people? Not to discount the value of human life, but should we provide medical procedures because we can? It's not unheard of that insurance companies having to cover treatment that costs in the seven figures for a single patient. Do the taxpayers want to cover these kinds of cost. Perhaps a federal sales tax on all goods might be a way to go. Regressive...probably, but EVERYONE should share in this.

    July 21, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  96. excal

    for me rich as nothing to do with money, when you put money and material stuff of ahead of everything you have nothing....

    live for the journey not the destination.....

    July 21, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  97. builder7

    Since the wealthy haven't been paying their fair share of taxes for the last 8 years is one reason that they should be taxed to pay for some of the costs of running America. To say that the rich are the ones who are going to pay for this is ludicrous because millions of Americans pay insurance costs, deductibles, medicaid tax, out of pocket expenses, income tax, etc. to take care of these costs which are excessive. A surcharge of 1% is not too much to ask as their part of the medical dilemma that our country finds itself in. Medical care has been where the people in need are visited by the greedy who prey on these people who are limited on money for several reasons, one of the main ones being that they have lowered wages and another one is that they charge excessive prices that don't reflect actual costs! Since one group of people think that their wages should be millions and billions a year and that their employees should get minimum wage or something that is about half of what it should be causes the whole system to be out of equilibrium. It is as if the wealthy are trying to punish the rest of us for existing in this country. It is time to update our progressive tax system so that it is fair again.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  98. Robert

    Why don't we tax all the "rich" doctors and healthcare CEO's!!

    July 21, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  99. David

    An eye opener to me that a couple making 1.5 million a year pays some 500-600 thousand a year in taxes. Why not look at the overall percentage of income that those in the upper income brackets are paying in taxes? I'm not saying that the President's plan increases that too much, but it ought to be looked at.

    In my opinion, being rich is being well provided for, being secure financially, having enough income to take on projects that enhance your life, or somehow move it forward, and being able to contribute to society, the world around you, your talents, and participating as fully as you please or as you can in the life of the city or town or community you live in.

    I guess there's sort of an occupational hazard to being wealthy and that is that every once in a while someone might have to come along and stir your conscience. Maybe that happens all on it's own for many people.

    In my experience though, those that are wealthy have worked tremendously hard, and in the course of building an income or savings, contribute in innumerable ways to their communities. Furthermore they are working to provide for successive generations, so the question of taxation or of the surcharge to fund the President's healthcare plan, that today's blog post comes from needs to be looked at responsibly and carefully. I have the impression Congress and the Administration are in the middle of doing that right now.

    Those are the thoughts I have right now. I guess kind of serious. Sorry about that.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  100. Carol

    As a child of a divorced single mother, I we lived in a small 2-bedroom house with no dining room or garage. I thought rich meant, your house was made of brick, and you might have 3 bedrooms or a garage. Now, I know there are people all over the world who don't even have what we had. In the US, we should probably base "rich" on some kind of formula that includes REAL statistics of average income, cost of living, and, for good measure, adding an extra portion before taxing. This economic downturn has taught me one thing - I thought rich people made 3 or 4 times my income, but it's more like ten times more. Since Enron and Madoff, it is sickening to hear them whine.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  101. Lyall Abbott

    What is Rich? Rich is being alive, healthy, with family that share love, themselves with each other. Rich is not about the money. Or is it wealth? that we are really talking about. Yes even wealth can be defined as is Rich above. So though I am in debt I am Rich and Wealthy, because I am healthy, Healthy spiritually, physically, and even mentally.
    Or at least on the road to all the above in a whole sense where the crossroads of the way the truth and the life all meet up together.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  102. stan

    i'll give you my definition of "rich" in the worst sense of the word – someone who has spent no time or knows no one poor because if they had then there would be no comments like "we have worked hard for our money . . . ." to know someone poor is a deep heart call to share rather than hoard

    July 21, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  103. Al

    Its been my experience that the rich haven't even hardly worked. They just call what they do "work" and expect your respect.

    Its one thing to own a business and be at your place of business and supervise low-wage employees in their work and calling what you do "work".

    Its quite another thing to work all day no matter how many hours you are told to , doing things which are strenuous, difficult and tedious, possibly dangerous, and many times de-meaning because you weren't born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

    The rich have it made in this country. It's time for them to pay the difference.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  104. Grandmaw

    When President Obama was campaigning, he said he was going to discontinue the tax break for the top 2% of the people in this country. If you are in that 2%, then you are rich and you should be taxed. You've been getting a break that the rest of the citizens have not gotten. I am not now nor have I ever been rich. We have worked hard all our lives for everything we have. We are just happy that we are able to live a comfortable life in our retirement years. I don't believe if I were a millionaire I would ever resent some of my taxes going to help the millions of "legal " people in this country who for no fault of their own cannot possibly ever afford health care. These people need our help and I can't understand this "I've got mine and if you were worth a darn you would be rich too!" attitude. This is supposed to be a Christian nation, let's act like it. It sounds like to me if we tax the top 2% then we would have enough money to pay for the plan. They have had a wonderful break for 8 years and many of them are making money with their off shore businesses. If everyone was taxed according to their income, there should be enough money for everyone to have health care. Think of those who have pre-existing conditions and have lost their jobs due to this economy. This could happen to anyone. Its a disgrace that this country does not have national health care and this may be our last chance to get something done about it. Let's support our president!

    July 21, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  105. Lucy

    I think "rich" is relative to where you live, above anything else. The same person considered "rich" in, I dunno, the middle of Kansas, would most likely NOT be considered rich in Malibu. Think about cost of living before you just arbitrarily choose a number.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm |
  106. Beth

    Why are we constantly categorizing people when the whole message is supposed to be about breaking down those sorts of barriers: rich, black, whatever sepate us? All any of us can do is be true to ourselves, and kind to others.

    July 22, 2009 at 3:45 am |
  107. Dennis Wells, DAV/USN

    Rich is when you go grocery shopping and don't take a calculator! I aquired this status at the age of 53.

    July 22, 2009 at 9:01 am |
  108. Ronald

    There should be a sliding scale based on there income. Anything above the $300 K mark should be taxed. If the media stops playing around the fringe protecting their advertisers they could pursue the truth. Media coverage is sub-par. The insurance, pharmaceuticals, and others will find themselves in a new paradigm...not to pilfer the poor and middle class when faced with competition...The Public Option.

    July 22, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  109. carolyn in cincinnati

    We do live in a socialist country, whether people believe it or not. We pay taxes to the locality, the state and federal government. When we go to war, we all go to war. We all contribute to education, to war industry, to running the governments. We do not work and hide our income from the government so we can keep from paying taxes (at least not most people). If we were strictly capitalistic society, everyone would educate their children in their own private schools, form their own private hospitals, their own private country clubs that could discriminate at will, and many other individualism type of activities. Really, we are only a loose confederation of states getting looser every year. Our supreme court makes sure of that.

    You are wealthy when you no longer HAVE to think about money or making money. The wealthiest person can live so much over his or hers means that they quickly lose that wealth. Look at Michael Jackson. Making 100,000 is wealthy to someone making 20,000. Yet it is poverty to someone making 1,000,000 dollars a year.

    July 22, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  110. Milt

    Originally $250,000 was the "rich" taxing level level when I did this calculation. No matter what the upper level is in time, inflation will get us all to the "rich " levels!

    Summary of effect of inflation to reach $250,000 (The Rich) Level
    Inflation rate No. years to reach $250,000
    2009 income-– $25,000 $50,000 $75,000 $100,000
    2.0% 117 82 61 47
    3.0% 78 55 41 31
    3.5% 67 47 35 27
    4.0% 54 42 31 24

    Note 1: The average inflation rate over the last 65 years has been 4.1% US and 5.73% in the UK

    Note 2: At 4% inflation everyone BORN IN the LAST 7 years will pay maximum tax in their lifetime including poverty wages!
    Note 3.: This shows the transfer of money from the private sector to the government

    Note 4.: With this transfer of money there is little or incentive for government to curtail inflation!
    (Data from Dept Labor and Statistics)

    July 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  111. David Hutchinson

    Earning every dime and hard work is irrelevant.. Lend borrowed capital ( as long as you borrow at a low rate)l at as low an interest rate and charge double or triple the rate you got the money for. Charge monthly maintenece fees and an acquistion fee. and wait for the payments to come in. Repay your debt with half of what you recieve and keep the fees and interest.

    July 22, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  112. Gregory Hess

    I think "rich" caon be defined by a net worth of $750,000, or an annual income of $200,000 or more.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  113. Kaiser MAnzoor

    President Obama's press conference only solidified how I feel about Health Care Plan. I am originally from Pakistan and at times I feel Pakistan has a better healthcare system than USA. Ofcourse I am exaggerating a little but there is a public clinic in every city in Pakistan and for a developing country which is cash strapped and almost bankrupt the system there offers much better care than we have here.

    If you need a heart bypass and if you cant afford it I assure you that you would be taken care off within a faw days unlike the US, I had soarthroat problem and infection got from bad to worst and I called the clinic to get an appointment with the doctor and I was was an appointment 2 weeks into the furture and I simply hung up the phone

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  114. Charles Blackwell

    Poverty is usually seen as $15,000 or less per family. Middle income (not "class") is going up from there to $150,000 in areas of the country dependent on housing costs. If your family brings in more than that, admit you are "rich" in comparison to the rest of the citizens in this country even if your neighbor makes more than you do. And past that is the super rich with up to $250,000 income and Ultra Rich folks make the money past that $1 million/year. Beyond that is called Obscene Rich.
    Or, Put the lowest 20% of households in the poor category, the top 15% in the rich category and the middle in the middle....
    The top 5% should be called the ruling class.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  115. Steven Birkeland

    There is a distinction between wealthy and rich I believe. For clarification sake, let me pose this to you. Wealthy applies to generation after generation of people who have had WEALTH from years and years of hard work, smart investments and time honored traditions of giving back to the community and sharing the wealth with their family members.

    The RICH can be people who have "MADE IT RICH" in a quick minute and do not have the knowledge to necessarily keep it or make the money work for them over time.

    Wealthy in New York City is different than the rest of the world as our cost of living is inflated. Individuals with a net worth of $100 million or more are considered wealthy New Yorkers and they are involved in philanthropy and volunteerism.

    The RICH in NY are those individuals with net worths that will fluctuate with the markets and their positions in their career.

    Hope this helps clarify my viewpoint.

    Steven Birkeland

    July 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  116. John Sherwood

    What is rich can best be described as what is a proper wage?
    It depends upon who is giving and who is receiving! Or, who lives within their means and those that are not able to accumulate any wealth at all.

    In our part of the country where most breadwinners make fewer than Ten dollars an hour anyone earning over $65,000 annually is financially rich.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:49 am |
  117. Susan

    You never know how rich a person is from the outside because you don't know their personal circumstances and expenses from their business.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  118. angie

    "RICH" i'm not rich here, but why take from the rich when they worked hard to get where they are today. sure, most may have had it handed to them but hard work and long hours made a lot of people rich and put them on top. i am sure they had a goal in life and they acted upon it. i suggest, search and seek more into our system that is giving tax payers money to people that are abusing our they are "RICH"..they just keep getting/collecting monthly from our system. leave the hard working rich be for they didn't put us in this mess and they should not have to get or help us out of this mess! check more into the welfare, foodstamps and other services provided for people that do not need it and we just may see a lot that can be changed in this country and a hugh GAIN! people that are abusing the system when it comes to free help could care nothing about what state our country is in and headed toward. go that route to help with health care!!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  119. David Hutchinson

    When you have plenty you should share your bounty instead of hording everything because you worked hard for it. there are some people who will never get a break becausde of race, color or creed. Rich folks are generally snobs who wouldn't give anyone a crumb because according to them you have to work hard for something. Material items don't equal happiness. Sharing and helping others make a difference.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  120. Maria

    I work and have a home based type business (party plan) and do prttey well with it, as well as my regular "day job" which I have had to cut back on hours because the home business is doing so well.I file together, using a schedule SE for my home business to take the deductions out such as mileage (a HUGE deductions) airfare and hotel for training events, and usually after the mileage is calculated I wind up owing nothing on my home based business. I also deduct postage and advertising expenses, and office supplies, demo products, and any losses such as damaged or broken items I write them off.I do travel quite a distance to do my parties, several times a week.You cannot deduct clothing or dining expenses, or "fluff" your deductions, it will set off a big red flag, so be very careful that you only deduct what you actually can legally. Was this answer helpful?

    May 10, 2012 at 4:44 am |
  121. Rocio Wollin

    January 10, 2021 at 11:08 pm |

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