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The rich and poor


Fri, Apr 29th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

The rich and poor. Who are they? The stereotypic view is that the bottom 20 percent are an enduring and never-changing class who are often there through no fault of their own. As those at the top never change as well as the 60 percent in the middle. Always and forevermore the same people. Nothing ever changes except the rich get richer and gap between rich and poor constantly increases. Accordingly, to many intellecuals, we have to redistribute the obviously misbegotten and unfair gains of the rich.

The facts, however, are otherwise. These 20 percent quintiles are not static at all. They are dynamic and always in a state of flux. Many of us, over a lifetime, will be in all of these quintiles at one time or another.

After graduating from high school most of us have zero wealth. Education, training, and jobs follow and over a period of time, we move up from one quintile to another. For the especially lazy fellow who wants to move up in the quintiles, however, the key is to find a bright, educated, and ambitious woman who will take care of him for the rest of his barren life.

By the time one is ready to retire, many will be in the top income bracket. Others will end up one time in the top 20 percent through no fault or effort on their own. A large inheritance will do that. The sale of a farm, home, or business may, once in a life time, also place one in the top 20 percent quintile or maybe even in the top five or one percent.

According to the latest IRS data, a person with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $67,280 is in the top 25 percent of income earners. To be in the top 10 percent one needs an AGI of $113,799; the top five percent, $159,619; and the top one percent, $380,354. I'm surprised. I expected these figures to be higher. A couple of years ago they actually were. So much for the ever-increasing gap between the rich and the poor.

Finally, when people retire, their income generally goes down and so, too, does their location in the upper quintiles where they have spent most of their working lives. But, by that time, a significant number of retirees will have accumulated wealth that belies and is not reflected in their annual income.

By the way, today 80 percent of US millionaires made their "fortune" in their lifetimes. The same as in, are you ready for this, 1892.

Tom Sowell observes, "The persistently rich and persistently poor, put together are not a major segment of the American popula .....
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Senator Miller applauds Governor Dayton for signing Green Acres Reform

Fri, Apr 29th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

St. Paul - Senator Jeremy Miller's (R-Winona) legislation, intended to reform Minnesota's problematic Green Acres program, was signed into law by Governor Dayton Friday morning. The legislation, House File 12 (Senate File 222), is intended to protect ..... 
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One moment, please... Ghost towns?

Fri, Apr 29th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone: 507-251-5297

It appears the business landscape of Fillmore County has been changing in a disorganized yet synchronized fashion.

In the past six months, two hardware stores have clo ..... 
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What are they thinking?

Fri, Apr 22nd, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Pundits are busy taking the pulse of the nation's voters to find out what they are thinking. I have some ideas of my own about this.

They believe the recession started January 21, 2009, rather than in the fall of 2007. They believe Obama is ..... 
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One moment, please... A unified vision

Fri, Apr 22nd, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone: 507-251-5297

While I spend the majority of my time in Fillmore County, I do venture out a bit between 14 counties in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, spending quite a bit of time on the road ..... 
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High cost of gas

Tue, Apr 19th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

With spring comes the desire to wander about looking for migrating birds and the first wildflowers; to return to favorite places, favorite trails in woods and grasslands, along streams and the Mississippi River; and to explore new places. Whitewater ..... 
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With congress and the courts, what matters is balance

Tue, Apr 19th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

A year after the passage of the health-care reform law known as "the Affordable Care Act," its legal future is up in the air. Judges in five federal courts have weighed in on it, two of them declaring it unconstitutional and three supporting it. The ..... 
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Are you talking to me?

Mon, Apr 11th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

One wonders, who are the major politicians, in both parties, speaking to? Perhaps I am dense but I can usually follow a conversation that isn't on the topic of quantum physics or marine biology with at least an appropriate nod here and there. I don' ..... 
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The roots of congress' unpopularity

Mon, Apr 11th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

I suppose it's possible that Congress could enjoy even less popularity than it does at the moment, but it's difficult to imagine. Recent public opinion polls show it plumbing depths that have rarely been seen before.

Certainly that's true of ..... 
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