Due to my professional obligations, I cannot “pick a side” when it comes to politics. If I did, then I would never be able to cover politics again in a supposedly objective manner, the fear being that I would some how paint one party more negatively or another more positively. Sometimes I want to express my opinions on some topics, but I must hold it in.
I’m pretty sure, however, that when a congressman says that his $6.3 million income is more like $600,000, and after “feeding his family,” he barely has $400,000 left over, and he believes that this is not much money, I am allowed to say that the aforementioned congressmen has lost touch with reality.
On Sept. 20, Congressman John Fleming of Louisiana was on MSNBC talking about President Obama’s plan for increasing taxes on those with an income of more than $1 million. During the interview, Fleming said that the taxes won’t create new jobs and wont leave small business owners with enough to reinvest into their businesses.
“The amount that I have to reinvest in my business and feed my family is more like $600,000 of that $6.3 million,” he stated. “So by the time I feed my family I have, maybe, $400,000 left over to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment.”
Even taking his word that $6.3 million can go down quickly after paying rent for the store front, paying employee wages, resupplying his Subway chains with food, and his UPS stores with boxes, I’m having a hard time buy what he is selling.
According to the Census office, the national average income for an entire family in 2008 was $61,521. Congressman Fleming is making more than ten times that amount by himself.
Additionally, how does one spend $200,000 feeding their family? As a college student living in an apartment, I need about $200 a month for groceries, if that. Assuming a six-person family would spend seven times that amount, when calculated over 12 months, groceries run up a tab of only $16,800.
This still leaves $183,200 of money only spent on “feeding his family.” You can get a lot with $183,200. You could buy, for example: six new Macbook Pros; six new iPads; three 60-inch, ultra-thin, Samsung 3D TVs from Bestbuy; one year of out-of-state tuition to Ohio State; an Xbox 360 with Kinect starter bundle; 12 months of Xbox live; two 2012 Sea-Doo jet skis; and a 2012 BMW X6 with more than $30,000 left for taxes and fees.
Don’t let this dizzying amount of material goods distract you from the fact that this is left-over money from the “feed the family” section. There are still $400,000 other dollars that the senator intimates isn’t much money left to reinvest in his businesses.
Let’s once again look at how much money that really is. According to glassdoor.com, a website that compiles average salaries and wages, the average “sandwich artist” makes $7.50 an hour. At 40 hours a week for 52 weeks, that comes out to $15,600 a year. That means that the senator could hire six new staffers without even spending $100,000 and can still invest $300,000 in upgrades.
Or the senator could take to heart his message that jobs need to be created and invest $390,000 and create 26 brand new jobs. Heck, he would still have $10,000 left over for “feeding the family.”