Why Are Most of Us Middle Class?

“What then is the American, this new man?…He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the…

Are the Rich Getting Richer?

Their conclusion was clear. A recent Federal Reserve study tells us that the rich are getting richer. A closer look, though, reveals it is a lot more complicated. We need to be aware of two issues. How should we define…

Baseball Salaries and Taxes

There is a connection between baseball and President Obama’s budget proposals. Let’s start with USA Today’s baseball salary database. For 2011, at $32 million, NY Yankees’ 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez earns the most; #2 is LA Angels’ outfielder Vernon Wells…

The Big Tradeoff

During the 2008 presidential campaign, when asked who is rich, John McCain jokingly said the dividing line was $5 million while Barack Obama said $150,000. Now, referring to proposed tax legislation, President Obama says that a family earning $250,000 is…

Conspicuous Consumption

I once read that Thorstein Veblen let his dirty dishes accumulate until his cupboard was bare, then sprayed them with a hose and started all over again. Maybe a good idea, but unusual. This early 20th century scholar (1857-1929) was…

(Fictitious) Billionaire Facts

Did you ever wonder how rich Jed Clampett (the Beverly Billbillies) would be? According to Forbes Fictional 15, because of oil, gas, and banking investments, Clampett, worth $7.2 billion, is #5 on the list. C. Montgomery Burns, hometown Springfield, U.S.A.,…