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Old 08-20-2012, 02:40 PM   #1
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Post How Top Executives Live...

... in 1955. From a Fortune archive:
There are in the U.S. approximately 30,000 executives, with incomes of $50,000 or more [my note: CPI inflator translates to ~$427k/year]. These men sit on the top-most rungs of the business ladder either as managers or as owners of their own businesses. Obviously there is no "average" executive among them (they are all singular men). But their lives do have certain common characteristics, and there is visible a kind of composite way of executive life.

The successful American executive, for example, gets up early--about 7:00 A.M.--eats a large breakfast, and rushes to his office by train or auto. It is not unusual for him, after spending from 9:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. in his office, to hurry home, eat dinner, and crawl into bed with a briefcase full of homework. He is constantly pressed for time, and a great deal of the time he spends in his office is extraneous to his business. He gets himself involved in all kinds of community work, either because he wants to or because he figures he has to for the sake of public relations.

If he is a top executive he lives on an economic scale not too different from that of the man on the next-lower income rung. He surrenders around 40 per cent of his salary to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (he may cough up as much as 75 per cent) but still manages to put a little of his income in stocks, bonds, life insurance. He owns two cars, and gets along with one or two servants. What time he has left from his work--on weekends and brief vacations--he spends exercising, preferably outdoors, and usually at golf. Next to golf, fishing is the most popular executive diversion.

He spends almost no time on politics. He entertains often because he must (i.e., for business reasons or on account of his wife) and, under much the same compulsion, he attends cultural events. He does little reading outside of newspapers, newsmagazines, reports, and trade papers. (For a notable exception, see "Texas Eastern's Naff," page 108.) He drinks, if he drinks at all, moderately and on a schedule. Alcoholism, it is clear, does not go with success and is to be found only among some executives' bored wives. Extramarital relations in the top American business world are not important enough to discuss.
It's a pretty interesting article, especially the comparisons and contrasts to today's top executives.

Link to full article
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:05 PM   #2
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I enjoy reading the comments the most.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:01 PM   #3
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I don't. I hate reading the ignorant statements.

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Isn't ironic that the same era idealized by the GOP was also an era of very progressive income taxation, relatively low inequality, high civic participation, and terrific economic growth?
I don't find this ironic at all. It's called politics.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:11 PM   #4
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My favorite one:

"The executive lived a moderately more comfortable, moderately nicer lifestyle than those who worked for them. They also seemed to be part of their community and working to make the country a better place. Sure, there were exceptions but it seems even CEO's of the day were not too far away from Main Street.

So, where did we turn the corner?"

I think it was when we stopped taxing 50-75% of their income. I can't be positive but I think that opened up a lot of spending money. What a ******* idiot.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:15 PM   #5
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Give me all your money because...gimmie!
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:38 PM   #6
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My how times have changed. Incomes for these guys has gone up 475% relative to work force income levels and they typically pay lower tax rate than upper/mid level employees with much of their income converted to tax preferred capital gains.

Bob
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Old 08-20-2012, 05:24 PM   #7
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My how times have changed. Incomes for these guys has gone up 475% relative to work force income levels and they typically pay lower tax rate than upper/mid level employees with much of their income converted to tax preferred capital gains.

Bob
and we're off!!!
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Old 08-20-2012, 05:36 PM   #8
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My how times have changed. Incomes for these guys has gone up 475% relative to work force income levels and they typically pay lower tax rate than upper/mid level employees with much of their income converted to tax preferred capital gains.

Bob
But the quality of life for everyone has increased as the overall pie has gotten bigger. Everyone has a bigger piece albeit a few might have had a much larger increase. If you as a 99% are complaining that your piece has not grown as quickly as theirs are you not exemplifying the same greed that the 1% is being accused of possessing? If so, then the root cause of your disdain is envy of the fact that others have been able to attain more then you were able. Maybe you were just making a simple observation.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:19 PM   #9
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But the quality of life for everyone has increased as the overall pie has gotten bigger. Everyone has a bigger piece albeit a few might have had a much larger increase. If you as a 99% are complaining that your piece has not grown as quickly as theirs are you not exemplifying the same greed that the 1% is being accused of possessing? If so, then the root cause of your disdain is envy of the fact that others have been able to attain more then you were able. Maybe you were just making a simple observation.
BS. Technology has made life better in terms of having unnessacary cosumer products but. In 1955 a single bread winner of average salary was all that was needed for a comfortable middle class life for a family of 4. We have a Gini Index of income distribution equivalent to that of a third world country and 15.1% below the poverty line.

Our tax rate to GDP is low 193 out of 213 countries.

Bob
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:24 PM   #10
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BS. Technology has made life better in terms of having unnessacary cosumer products but. In 1955 a single bread winner of average salary was all that was needed for a comfortable middle class life for a family of 4. We have a Gini Index of income distribution equivalent to that of a third world country and 15.1% below the poverty line.

Our tax rate to GDP is low 193 out of 213 countries.

Bob
Technology should have to give away it's money because it modernized menial book-keeping and eliminated jobs. I want Microsoft money in my wallet.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:53 PM   #11
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BS. Technology has made life better in terms of having unnessacary cosumer products but. In 1955 a single bread winner of average salary was all that was needed for a comfortable middle class life for a family of 4.
If you want to live the 1950s lifestyle of one automobile (max), less than 1000 sq feet for your family of four, one landline, no central air conditioning and sticking with books and fireside stories for entertainment, I am sure you can do so on the income of a single breadwinner of just about any job.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:02 PM   #12
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If you want to live the 1950s lifestyle of one automobile (max), less than 1000 sq feet for your family of four, one landline, no central air conditioning and sticking with books and fireside stories for entertainment, I am sure you can do so on the income of a single breadwinner of just about any job.
Stop pretending all those things are still ridiculously expensive in comparison. AC is cheap, phones are cheap, cars can be cheap.

It's good to point out that the top tiers have grown in income under some stupid belief that they'll drive the economy. If that were true, they'd be giving away jobs that paid too much, and we're never gonna see that happen.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by VAmazda View Post
Stop pretending all those things are still ridiculously expensive in comparison. AC is cheap, phones are cheap, cars can be cheap.

It's good to point out that the top tiers have grown in income under some stupid belief that they'll drive the economy. If that were true, they'd be giving away jobs that paid too much, and we're never gonna see that happen.
Does taking personal property or cash from the people who earned it make everything right? If all you want is a tax increase, how does that trickle down to people who swipe bar codes on the **** we buy?
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:42 PM   #14
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Does taking personal property or cash from the people who earned it make everything right? If all you want is a tax increase, how does that trickle down to people who swipe bar codes on the **** we buy?
It might help keep the rest of the nation from being owned by the Chinese. In the 50" executives certainly earned their income. Now with a few exceptions it is more that they simply buy it. Capitalism and our government are being severely distorted by wealth inequality.

Exponential changes in wealth distribution kind of like exponential population growth in a society will come to an end. The results likely wonít be desirable.

Bob
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:26 PM   #15
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It might help keep the rest of the nation from being owned by the Chinese. In the 50" executives certainly earned their income. Now with a few exceptions it is more that they simply buy it. Capitalism and our government are being severely distorted by wealth inequality.

Exponential changes in wealth distribution kind of like exponential population growth in a society will come to an end. The results likely wonít be desirable.

Bob
Just for the sake of clarity, you do or don't advocate seizing money and assets from the wealthy?
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Old 08-21-2012, 02:19 AM   #16
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Just for the sake of clarity, you do or don't advocate seizing money and assets from the wealthy?
I am for a fair and slightly progressive tax structure that pays for the cost of a civilized nation including things like infrastructure, education, national security and social safety nets.

I am opposed to a social order where a small group of people amass fortunes while contributing almost nothing of value and do not pay proportional to their reward of wealth for the operating cost of the society that enables them to be so fortunate.

Example Bush Tax cuts of 2003 which disproportionally benefited the financial genius types that helped orchestrate the financial meltdown and increased the federal deficit by 2.4 trillion over the same duration the stimulus bill of 2009 adds only 700 billion. Romney and Ryanís plan is to do even more of what bush did and throw in some of Herbert Hoovers policy errors such as privatizing government functions to give tax payer money directly to corporations. It doesnít work!
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Old 08-21-2012, 03:02 AM   #17
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Stop pretending all those things are still ridiculously expensive in comparison. AC is cheap, phones are cheap, cars can be cheap.
They are cheap relative to our present-day income, which I believe was the point being made.

The average income of a dual-earner household, relative to the cost of luxury commodities, is higher today than it was in the 1950s. If one wished to do without these conveniences, then the amount of income required to support a household would decrease.

But let's do a bit of simple math:

My sister and her husband pay about $120 a month for cell phone service. A typical bundled cable TV and internet package is about $80 a month (at the low end, after the first-year rebate expires.) A typical car payment ($20k at 4.5% for 60 months) is about $370. Taxes fees and insurance will add about $100 to that, and we'll call it another $150 a month for gas. Running the air conditioner in a typical 2,000 sq. ft home will cost anywhere from $100-$200 a month depending on where you live (we'll call it $150) and that excludes the amortized cost to buy it in the first place.

That's $11,640 a year in after-tax income, or about $14,000 a year in pre-tax income assuming 20%.

$14k just for cable TV, a cell phone, a base-model Kia Optima, and air conditioning.

Ridiculously expensive? Well, it's roughly one-third of the total median household income for an "average" family in the US. And don't forget to pay the mortgage / rent, buy groceries, put clothes on the kids, and so forth.
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:26 AM   #18
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Our tax system is progressive. If you take in to account that the capital gains income the rich rely on so much is taxed twice the effective tax rate of individuals like Romney jumps from 15% to 30%. There is also a decent chunk of the population that has a negative effective tax rate. The reason top earners income has been increasing faster then that of the middle class is because the economy has gone global and made jobs that do not require a high amount of specialized skill level off in pay because there is always someone else willing to do it for cheaper. Wages are controlled by the market (unless of course they are artificially propped up by unions). People who have highly demanded and specialized skills or take large risks and get lucky reap large benefits because you can't just go down the street and find someone who can do the same thing. Its not like CEO's are setting their own income and it has also been shown time and time again that when put to shareholder vote a good CEO's pay stays very high or even increases because people are willing to reward those who can get them a good return.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:17 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by bbundy View Post
I am for a fair and slightly progressive tax structure that pays for the cost of a civilized nation including things like infrastructure, education, national security and social safety nets.

I am opposed to a social order where a small group of people amass fortunes while contributing almost nothing of value and do not pay proportional to their reward of wealth for the operating cost of the society that enables them to be so fortunate.

Example Bush Tax cuts of 2003 which disproportionally benefited the financial genius types that helped orchestrate the financial meltdown and increased the federal deficit by 2.4 trillion over the same duration the stimulus bill of 2009 adds only 700 billion. Romney and Ryanís plan is to do even more of what bush did and throw in some of Herbert Hoovers policy errors such as privatizing government functions to give tax payer money directly to corporations. It doesnít work!
What income levels should recieve this "more progressive" tax increase?
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:16 AM   #20
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What income levels should recieve this "more progressive" tax increase?
That is debatable, but one thing it should not be is regressive as it is now. And that is what is the Romney/Ryan solution for job creation. Make the tax for the oligarchs essentially zero donít even attempt to reduce deficits but throw in some austerity measures for everybody else. I also believe they will expand government just as every Republican led government has in my life time at a significant greater rate than the other side. You can see that in Ryans voting record.

Bob
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