Keeping Up With the Joneses

This article from the Financial Times has apparently been around for a few months, but I just came across it recently. Do I even need to detail how ridiculous I find it to be, an impassioned plea that we should see how difficult a fictional family of four named the Joneses have it because they only make $250K a year?

Okay, fine—I’ll even agree that judging by today’s standards, the Joneses are not technically rich. But I think they can probably afford to pay their fair share of taxes without whining about how hard their life is. I think, judging by some of their expenses, they can even afford to pay an increase in taxes, which is the whole point of this stupid article--a false argument against increased taxes for the Joneses, because they are just barely getting by.

Just barely getting by, mind you, even though they live “reasonably well—but not extravagantly—in a three- or four-bedroom home valued around $750,000.” The author would also like you to know that the Joneses don’t take lavish vacations, that they don’t belong to a country club, and they don’t own a second home. They don’t even get to grocery shop at high-end markets, the poor dears, but I guess are stuck shopping at Costco or something. As the author points out, “even if they’re in the top 5 percent of earners,” they are NOT wealthy.

Of course, for people who aren’t wealthy, the Joneses seem to have quite a bit of discretionary income. They are able to set aside $33,000 per year into their 401(K) accounts, as well as $8,000 per year into their children’s college funds. But sadly, they most also make “hefty run-of-the-mill payouts for charitable deductions….monthly sessions at the hair colorist, [and] membership at a gym.”

My absolute favorite paragraph:

"Some of the expenses incurred by couples like the Joneses may seem lavish – such as $5,000 on a housecleaner, a $1,200 annual dry cleaning tab and $4,000 on kids’ activities. But when both parents are working, it is impossible for them to maintain the home, care for the kids and dress for their professional jobs without a big outlay."

I had no idea that in order for my husband and I to both hold down our full-time professional jobs and care for our child properly, it is impossible for us to maintain our home, care for our daughter, or clean our clothes without professional help. I’ve been doing it wrong all this time, it seems, by not spending $400 a month on a maid, $300 a month on activities for Emmeline, and $100 a month for dry cleaning. (Although my husband does spend about $50 a month for dry cleaning, so we’re halfway there.) Don’t get me wrong—I would love to have a maid. But I hardly think that it’s honest to say that it is “impossible” for me to maintain my home without one.

Of course, if the Joneses are not rich, than Kenny and I are definitely not rich, as we don’t even make half of what the Joneses make. I honestly don’t know how we’re surviving. Oh yeah—we don’t have a $750K house, maxed out 401(k)s, a maid, etc. (Nor do we spend $1,500 a year on our dog—sorry, Tchoups.)

Yes, the poor, poor Joneses. After all of the financial outlays they have to make each month, including their mortgage, insurance, all household bills, the maid, the dry cleaning, the children’s activities, the car payments, the real estate taxes, etc., they only have around $7,000 a month to spend on groceries and entertainment. I’m not sure how they’ll survive. Hopefully, Donald Trump or Michele Bachmann will be elected in 2012 and put a stop to all of these insane, leftist attempts to raise taxes on the poor, poor Joneses.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is rediculous to make a case for the Jones'. Because it is really no one's business what they spend their money on. But assuming they make $250,000 and are able to get their ajusted gross income down to around $210,000 after deductions for dependents, mortgage interest, charity, etc. they would be paying around $46,000 in income taxes. They probably don't have that many allowable deductions, so they are paying an additional 33% on everything over the $210,000. I personally don't see why they should be required to pay more. That would be called income redistribution.