Jewish Journal

Aspiring To The 1 Percent of Earners

by Pini Herman

October 24, 2011 | 12:45 pm

.............Got $1.5 Million?

It just got harder.  Time Magazine’s (10/31/2011 edition) on the Occupy movement definition of Who Are the 1%?:

1% = Average yearly income: $1,530,773
99% = Average yearly income: $54,792

That’s 3 times $506,553. Tax Policy Center’s, the annual income threshold for entering the top 1 percent of U.S. household income that I accepted last week.

This is a classic example why averages are not used to calculate income thresholds.  Extremes of incomes influence the calculation of averages.  The median income, 50 percent of houshold are below and 50 percent of households are above the point of income one is interested in is a much better indicator. 

Time Magazine apparently used the $506,553 Tax Policy Center cutoff point and then averaged the incomes of the 1,175,000 U.S. households who together own approximately 40 percent of the wealth of the country. This created the astronomical $1,530,773 yearly income that would put only 456 US CEOs earing more last year and put thousands including Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer ($1.35 million) and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet ($.45 million) in the lower earning 99 percent.  As much as I’d like to see the prominent and Jewish CEO Steve Ballmer a member of the 99%, I don’t think so.


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Bruce Phillips is Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles. He has conducted Jewish population...

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