Not very much – really?

Income inequality is a hot topic lately.  If you’re running for President, the conventional wisdom is that it’s a good idea to stay on top of the trends. I’m not sure that worked so well for candidate Mitt Romney when he was talking about income:

My last 10 years, I’ve — my income comes overwhelmingly from some investments made in the past, whether ordinary income or earned annually. I got a little bit of income from my book, but I gave that all away. And then I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.

What does “not very much” actually total? $374,327.62 1  Worth noting is that the “not very much” amount, as a stand alone annual income, is more than the annual household income 98% of the US population. 7

The US median family income was S49,445 2 in 2010, according to the US Census Bureau.  Thus “not very much” is 7.57 times the average median income in this country.

For American Indians, “not very much” is an even more striking contrast, since the household income is lower among that population group. What Romney earned in speaking fees alone over a year is over 10 times the average household income of $37,348.3  And that’s for the average – the median family income for American Indian and Alaska Natives is $33,627.26.6 Thus “not very much” is actually 11 times the median.

“Not very much” is 7.10 times the cost of a year at Harvard for undergraduate work ($52,652 for tuition, room, board and fees combined). 4 The fact that the cost a year at Harvard is greater than the median US family income is striking in itself, and the subject of a related, but different discussion.

In addition, “not very much” is 1.7 times the median new home price in the United states in 2010 5 Clearly, “not very much” is a relative concept.  I’ll admit that Romney’s idea “not very much” could affect my life in some appreciable ways, and I suspect that’s true for many of us.  My idea of “not very much” is an amount I’m willing to spend on a whim, or that I’m comfortable losing if I found myself in a competitive poker game.  And it’s way less than $374,327.62.  By a couple of orders of magnitude.  What’s “not very much” to you?


7 Responses to “Not very much – really?”

  1. 1 Omnes Omnibus
    January 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Different things at different points in my life. Much like you, I would say it is an amount that I would not regret the next day.

  2. 2 Delia
    January 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Hmm . . . I’d do a lot less worrying about money for the next ten or fifteen years if I had Mitt’s “not very much” tucked into my account.

  3. January 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Don’t forget, this is a guy who cavalierly threw out a $10,000 bet to Rick Perry too. This guy just lives in a completely different world from the rest of us.

    Honestly, it wouldn’t be so bad if he just owned it. “Yes, I’m fabulously wealthy. My father was fabulously wealthy. I’ve been lucky…” You know, don’t try to pass yourself off like some commoner who clawed his way out of the salt mines.

    He inspires such antipathy in people that I just read about a Tennessee guy who tried to auction his services on eBay to anyone wishing to publicly embarrass Romney.

  4. January 19, 2012 at 12:42 am

    I don’t know which is more surreal…watching battle of the holier than thou nutwhack wives with Karen Santorum and Callista Gingrich, or Richie Rich Romney try to convince us he’s a self-made man. It’s really one cheek swab away from Maury Povitch and “Who’s your daddy?”

  5. 5 Arm The Homeless
    January 19, 2012 at 1:04 am

    There is no ‘not very much’ in my life. I am literally a ramen every night (when the GF doesn’t save me from myself) for no other reason than I am a broke ass mo’fo with a graduate degree.

    BTW keep rockin the blog. I think you’re pretty insightful, despite what everyone else thinks 😉

  6. January 19, 2012 at 1:12 am

    His not very much would get me out of debt-no more student loans and no more mortgage, with a hefty amount leftover that I could invest and immediately retire on.

    I agree, he should accept the fact that he was born with a silver spoon like Kennedy and FDR. But then again, both those gentlemen had lives of service behind them when they ran for office. Romney doesn’t really have very much of that.

  7. 7 Paul in KY
    January 19, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Comments like those above by Mitt will look great in the ads Pres. Obama will blanket Ohio with.


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