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Thick as a brick

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"Hello, I'm Tom Brokaw, and I don't have a clue about the lives of millions of Americans."

Over at Esquire.com, Charles P. Pierce has written a great post today that does two things: One, exposes the muddle-headed, perverse priorities of Republican politics in Washington, and two, exposes the Washington press as muddle-headed themselves.

Perhaps the most offensive comment from televised weekend political discussions came from Tom Brokaw, who was discussing how people in major metro areas shouldn't be considered "rich" because they make $250,000 a year. Remember, this comment is from a guy who has no small impact on national political discussions:

A lot of people don't realize in the large urban and suburban areas of America, 250,000 dollars doesn't make you rich. You've got two kids in college at 60,000 dollars. If you're a boomer, you may have a dependent parent of some kind. You're spending another 20-25,000 dollars on. So we have to have the definition of what is the middle class.

To which my response is, "A lot of people like Brokaw don't realize that millions of Americans have the same expenses he complains about, but our incomes don't reach six figures—before taxes."

If Brokaw is considered to be a journalist, then my driver's license identifies me as Nellie Bly.

Here's the entire post:
(Clueless media)


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 31st, 2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
*Sigh* And I had always kind of liked Brokaw.
Dec. 31st, 2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
I did, too, but despite trying to give him the benefit of a large doubt on this one, I just couldn't do it. His statement was self-centered, thoughtless and utterly uninformed. But it's not just Brokaw. The political press corps, generally speaking, have no idea of what life in flyover country is like—and I don't use that term as a stereotype, but rather as an accurate description of where I've lived my entire life.
Jan. 1st, 2013 12:34 am (UTC)
If you make $250,000 a year chances are you have a financial planner and a good taxman to lower your taxable income. You also are not brown bagging your lunch or driving a Hugo. Brokaw lives in Wyoming, a state either first or second in debt per person; I think when you live a high profile life like Brokaw a lot of doors swing open for free or with complimentary gratuities. his mere presence around you doesn't even require an endorsement.
Jan. 1st, 2013 01:04 am (UTC)
Good points all. And I'll bet he makes more than a mere quarter-million dollars a year. He's clueless.
Jan. 1st, 2013 08:41 pm (UTC)
I agree with most of what you're saying, but must also add, I kinda get what he's saying about $250,000 not making a person "rich."

My brother and sister-in-law have 3 boys and live in a suburb of San Diego. I'm guessing when they both worked (he's since retired) they made something close to that figure and were comfortable in the way that we are - a nice home, safe reliable cars, yada, yada, yada, but definitely living in a middle class bracket rather than a rich one. Our house here is worth somewhere between $160,000 - $180,000, but in San Diego, it would be worth more like half a million dollars according to my sister-in-law. My grown niece and her family who also live out there may never be able to own their own home because of the high cost of real estate, even though they're both gainfully employed and have been for nearly 20 years.My other brother living in the D.C. area is in a similar situation, house-wise, with what they pay there for a similar size/style house as ours.

But if we were ever to have an annual income of $250,000, I would indeed feel "rich" - so I think it does depend, at least to some degree, on where you live.
Jan. 1st, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
That's the "tails" side of the coin, and it has merit. In fact, it can't be argued. I watch shows like House Hunters on TV and wonder how people can afford houses in the $500,000 to $1 million range. What kind of jobs do they have that pay them enough money to make such purposes? I have a colleague with a daughter in San Diego, and he told me she'll probably never make enough money to afford a house.

My beef is with Brokaw, who showed no indication of realizing that those of us whose after-tax income isn't in the six figures have the same kind of expenses he was complaining about. Granted, I don't have to pay for college for kids, but still, his statement was an insult to millions of Americans.

Jan. 1st, 2013 10:05 pm (UTC)
Totally agreed. We do the same thing driving around some neighborhoods here - wonder what the heck these folks do to afford the kind of opulence their houses suggest.

I have one client who bought a house on a very prestigious old street in Snyder - probably paid at least $300,000 for it - and TORE THE HOUSE DOWN so they could custom build a new one.

In their defense, I will add that they are very philanthropic people, but still...
Jan. 1st, 2013 11:23 pm (UTC)
Location, location, location.

Money, money, money.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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