What Does it Mean to Be 'Rich' in America?

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U.S. President Barack Obama holds a backyard discussion at the home of John and Nicole Armstrong to discuss with their neighbors Recovery Act investments on September 13, 2010 in Fairfax, Virginia.
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Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich breaks down the politics behind the Bush-era tax cuts, made during a time of budget surplus, and the proposals to allow the cuts to expire on individuals making more than $250,000 a year. Are there political agendas here? Also, chief economist for the Concord Coalition, Diane Lim Rogers, discusses the economics of this debate. Will this benefit middle class America and, in turn, stimulate the economy or will it negatively affect small business owners that are in the $250,000 income bracket that will lose their tax break?

We asked our listeners: What does it mean to be rich these days anyway? The tax code says it's $250,000 a year. How much do YOU think you have to earn to be considered rich?


Here are some responses we've been getting via text message (find out how to send us texts here):

Just what we needed! The change that we we believed in is the change we got.
—New York, NY

I would say $100k a year

End it already and let's move forward. It really doesn't matter what "rich" means. What matters is getting out of the red ink. I mean..$300 for 8th grade sports?
—Pontiac, MI 

Another 70k
—Miguel, Hialeah, FL

Another 50/100 thou would be great! Not rich, still way under half million, but would allow savings & happy extras. Personally, I don't see MY taxes at work for ME: kid free, car free, pay own med insurance etc.
—New York, NY

I have no idea what "rich" is anymore. I think it has more to do with access & security than income.
—Pontiac, MI

Think the definition of rich should be revised downward to $150,000.
—Geneva, NY

$52k more wld help me cover my current expenses and plan ahead. That amount wouldn't bring me over 100k either. I live a simple life.
—Tamara, Baltimore, MD

More than 500k yr
—Denver, CO

I think 250k is not rich. I support president obama but he needs to increase the threshold to 500k.
—Winchester, MA

—Providence, RI

I say the estate tax needs to be revisited. How is it justifiable that wealth should be redistributed after someone works to build savings throughout their life
—Key West, FL

Hahahahaha! Not even in Idaho anymore. In my next life I wanna be a congressman! "What? Me worry?" Let's get real!
—New York, NY

$150 k:)
—Denver, CO.

I say all taxpayers need a brake.No taxes for 1 year will revive the broken economy.
—Allan, Woonsocket, RI

I say if you own a second home, boat, or drive a mercedes. A 100k or so ought to get you all three depending on where you live.
—Miguel, Hialeah, FL

Thats about right. A person can survive on $100,000. Everything over that is excess.
—Tamara, Baltimore, MD